There is no doubt that the interconnected web of social media has probably produced an abundance of new contacts for you. You are connecting with more people than ever as well as conversing back and forth with many in your local area you have never discovered before. But try to take it to the next level. Go from online to in person. As well as you seem to know someone online, you could get to know them even better when you actually meet. Of course this is tricky if someone is on the other side of the world, but if someone is right in your area, or perhaps even an hour away, there are great opportunities to connect. Here are some tips on meeting in person:
1. Meet People Not In Your Industry
The common path is we gravitate to people who are doing the same things as we are. There is much to talk about and it’s always fun to trade stories. But it’s when you start to meet up with people who are not in your industry that you really begin to expand your scope. Even if there is not a lot of common ground at first, you may meet with someone who seems to be totally unrelated but you find much to discuss. This wider scope almost always provides a better pathway to success, either in the form of clients or just informational. Or even developing a new longtime friend. I have met with people and discovered entire industries I had little to no knowledge of, some of these industries I am involved in now, so you never know.
2. Meet People More Successful Than You
It’s always a mix, but set up some meets with people who are really succeeding. Being around these people on a higher level really can not only get you thinking in new directions of achievement but it also forces you to excel just to keep up. If it is a potential client, you may be surprised that they want to work with you, which may also help you ramp up your skill set in a short amount of time.
3. Don’t Just Talk Shop
It’s always good to talk about common things, but always float in a few questions aimed at finding out who the person really is. This could be hobbies, causes, interests…people are complex with lots of layers. Diving in to some off the grid conversations can really illuminate the proceedings. If all else fails you can ask them what they do for fun. Often you will be amazed at some of the things people are in to.
4. Follow Up
Keep the momentum going. There are some people who have meets all the time, one after another. Really it’s best to develop a relationship and keep the flow going, as opposed to jumping into the next meeting. You’ll find that even if you don’t have an initial connection, if you keep the conversation going and keep the person in your circle, new things will come up that had not surfaced at first. A circle of contacts is like a circle of clients, with clients you may not work with one and then jump on to the next, you probably work with many on a continuing basis, along the way discovering more about them and their needs. Do the same with contacts, focus more on getting to know them as opposed to jumping to the next one.
Every person you meet is a doorway to a whole new world. But if you run around quickly peeking into doors you’ll never get the whole story. Spend some time, expand your contacts and get to know them better, you may be amazed at what you find when you move from online networks to in person connections.