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7 Tips I Use Every Day To Be A Better Networker (By Letting People Know I’m Thinking Of Them)

You have to grow your network to succeed in business (reminder to read about how each person in your rolodex may be worth $948 per year in income for you).

A key to being a better networker is to let people know you are thinking of them. This is because a key part of human nature is that people want to be loved, popular, etc.

This sounds easy on paper, but it’s tougher to execute.

Below are 7 effective and efficient tips to being a better networker.

1) Recommend A Partner, Customer Or Hire

Let’s say you are introduced to a new person through some type of business meeting or even at a party…we’ll call him “Mr. Jimmy.”

If you find Mr. Jimmy to be a person you want to get to know better, then ask yourself:

“Who do I know that Mr. Jimmy might be interested in meeting…and who might want to meet Mr. Jimmy?”

Perhaps Mr. Jimmy is a good potential partner, customer or hire of someone else you know.

It doesn’t matter if you just met Mr. Jimmy. This is part of the “Go-Giver” philosophy I wrote about in 7 Easy Tips On How To Be A Go-Giver (Not a Go-Getter).

Often the best way to help yourself is to help two other people come together — trust me, if they are solid people, they will highly value the connection you make.

2) Recommend A Company Or Product They Can Acquire

Mr. Jimmy wants to be the next Mark Zuckerberg and is interested in acquiring Web sites and even entire businesses.

I share the same interest in buying Web businesses and I check out a site called once in awhile.

Flippa includes small Web sites for sale and while I was on there I stumbled across a growing Web site on rugby (Mr. Jimmy’s favorite hobby) so I dropped Mr. Jimmy a note.

Flippa even includes details on the Web sites (such as Web traffic, revenue, Google Page Rank, etc.) so I shared that data too.

Mr. Jimmy took a pass on buying the rugby Web site (too expensive) but, boy, was he psyched that I thought of him.

You can of course apply this tip to products/hobbies — perhaps you see an old vintage Martin acoustic guitar that someone in your life would like to know about.

3) Congratulate Them On A Career Change

While Mr. Jimmy aspires to be the next Zuck, he’s still got a day job…which he changes every few years.

When Mr. Jimmy does find a new job, it’s common courtesy to congratulate him.

A convenient way to do this is through LinkedIn’s Network Updates — it summarizes any changes people make to their position/employer and also mentions new connections others in your network are making as well as other activity (blog posts, profile picture changes, etc.).

Afterall, you’ve got hundreds of Mr. Jimmy’s you want to keep track of!

4) Put Important Dates About People On Your Calendar

You run into people all the time and they share important milestones with you (birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, baby-delivery dates, etc.).

If these are people you want to get to know better, you can simply put those dates on your own calendar.

A favorite of mine: let’s say Mr. Jimmy tells me he is going to be looking for a job some point soon (e.g., because his stock options at his current job will soon be vested); well then put that date down on your calendar.

When that date arrives, reach out to Mr. Jimmy and ask him how how he’s doing with his job search — does he need any help?

Mr. Jimmy will appreciate that you remembered and are willing to help.

5) Mention You Ran Into A Mutual Contact

Mr. Jimmy introduced me to a Russian woman who everyone calls “KGB” (her real name is super-hard to remember and pronounce!).

I ran into KGB on the street the other day and we had a brief chat in which she told me she was entering an oyster-shucking contest…and we of course also talked about Mr. Jimmy (our mutual contact).

When I got back to my desk, I jotted a note to Mr. Jimmy that KGB was shucking oysters at an upcoming event and that it might be fun to attend.

Mr. Jimmy loved the fact that his name came up in conversation and he hadn’t even heard of the oyster-shucking event…and Mr. Jimmy loves seafood and competition.

Mr. Jimmy, KGB and I had a grand old time at the shucking event (KGB won third place (first place of women)).

6) Tell People You Are Attending An Event

If you are attending a conference, seminar or even personal event (music festival), let some people in your network know that you are going.

Even if they’re not likely not going, they’re going to love the fact that you thought of them.

They may also know someone else who is going or want to pick your brain on what you learned at the conference.

I often forget to do this ahead of time, but even last-minute is ok.

I attended an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) conference last year and on my drive down to the event, I voice-mailed a few colleagues of mine to tell them I was attending.

While none of them attended, my quick voice mail accomplished the following:

  • It alerted my contacts to the fact that I’m active in the industry
  • It made my contacts feel good that I thought of them
  • It gave my contacts the opportunity to connect me with their own contacts who might be in attendance (e.g. “I’m not attending, Rob, but look out for our CEO Bill who’s there).
  • It gave my contacts and I something to talk about next time we chat (e.g. “How was that SEO conference, Rob?”).

7) Congratulate Them On Press They Received

If you are like me, you read news stories about the industry you’re in.

If someone you have met before is mentioned in the press (e.g. they are quoted or got financing, etc.), take a moment to congratulate them

You can congratulate them privately in an email (if you have it) or publicly through your status on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook if appropriate.

Twitter is amazing in that you can give a “shout-out” to someone even if you don’t know them (e.g. write a tweet and include “@BillGates and Bill will receive such mentions of himself in a stream (no guarantees that he’ll read it).

You can of course also mention a company in Twitter (@Groupon) and someone on the the Groupon staff will probably se it.

Mr. Jimmy hates social media so when he recently got named CEO of a new sports startup (not rugby but he’s still psyched!), I wrote him an email congratulating him.

Final Thought To Make Your Networking Easier

You may have noticed a common thread (besides the mention of Mr. Jimmy) in my above tips on networking.

The key is to work these things into to your day-to-day routine/life.

You are already out attending parties or events, reading news stories, checking email, using Web sites like Twitter, LinkedIn and specialty ones like Flippa and talking about important calendar milestones/dates.

When you are, just take that extra moment to think of Mr. Jimmy.