Whether it’s at the Social Entrepreneur Meetup or standing in line for coffee, it can be difficult to know how to follow-up when you meet someone that intrigues you. Does it seem everyone else in the room has the magic sauce that makes building connections easy?
It’s not hocus pocus. It takes thought, attention, and time. The true magic lies in follow through and authenticity.
Here are some quick tips to help you non-awkwardly up your magic when you meet like-minded people you dig.
By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
Prepare for opportunity. When you start your own business, what’s one of the first things you do? Purchase business cards. Why? To give them to people. There are freelancers that don’t even pursue freelance work that have business cards. Do not go anywhere, especially a business function, without your contact information on a credible form of collateral. Though it may seem zany and down-to-earth, do you really want to do business with someone who has to write contact information on a napkin?
Don’t make excuses. Is your website not up to par? Do you work a full-time job and pursue your social entrepreneurship in your off hours? That’s okay. No one starts out on top.
Self perception is gold.
Believe in yourself, and the magic will follow. Transparency is valued, but there’s no need to flash a pocket full of insecurity when you meet someone. Apologizing before you move forward (Oh, but if you look at the website, it needs work.) only subconsciously undermines your credibility.
No matter how lofty your goals, they deserve your passion, attention, and action. Accept that you are where you are due to choices. If you don’t like the present moment, change it. Until it changes, own the living crap out of your present moment. Excuses won’t help you improve the world, but feeling comfortable in your own skin (without undermining yourself) will.
Be direct. You’ve met someone you’d like to chat with again. Don’t be shy. State it.
Yes, I know. It seems so easy, but it’s not. You hesitate. You wonder if the person will think you’re weird or needy or a hundred other things. Silence the questions in your head, and move forward.
I’d like to stay in touch.
I like how your business fits into xyz landscape.
I’d love to be able to recommend you to jkl.
I think that works well with my intentions to abc.
Do you have a card? Here’s mine. Let’s stay in touch.
Then you exchange cards (because you’re both prepared) and…
Great. I’ll look you up, and hopefully we can lmnoq together.
Touch base within 48 hours. Keep the stellar people you meet fresh in your mind and stay on their radar. Within 48 hours of meeting, send an email, reach out on Linkedin, and/or follow their business on social media. When you message them, reference the number one thing that stood out to you about your meeting, and share an aspect about your business that always puts a smile on your face.
Build rapport. Ask questions. Initiate a dialogue. If you don’t hear back, message again. Don’t be a cyber stalker, but don’t be afraid to get in touch again a few weeks after you initially touch base. People get busy – especially in entrepreneur and small business land. Keep the door open. Send a link that would be of interest. Recommend an event that embodies your contact’s mission.
Invite. If you’d like to connect in person again, invite your contact to coffee, dinner, or a workshop that benefits you both. If they decline, no problem. Don’t take it personally. Remember, everyone is on their own adventure, and it can be time consuming. Don’t let a decline hinder you from inviting them again… in a few weeks.
Repeat. Follow-up. Send another thoughtful link. Re-tweet, like, share. Turn your chance connections into meaningful relationships, friendships, and business opportunities.
We want to see you make the most out of the connections you make – both at our Meetup and in other areas of your life. Building a strong community helps you affect more lives, expand perception, and solidify your goals.
If you have questions or suggestions about how to strengthen this community and its reach, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Make magic, Portland Social Entrepreneurs.
Let’s work together to connect and impact.