We have all gone to events, meetings, or bumped into others and done the obligatory business card swap and suggested coffee or lunch in the next few weeks. Some of us are diligent with sending the follow up ‘nice to meet you email’, and on occasion, we even set up and have the coffee meeting. But rarely does anything come from this and the ‘connect’ generally ends there without additional follow-up and therefore any real connections.
So why is that? Was it tough to find synergies or perhaps there were other higher priorities that week and month? It can be difficult to manifest real connections unless they have some intentionality behind them. And the consistent follow-up required to truly know someone often drops by the wayside. When networking, it is important to naturally embed not only the initial meeting but the meaningful follow-up into work flow and business objectives.
We’ve found that purpose driven connection building is the key element to growing your network and developing real relationships that will be fruitful both in your professional and your personal life.
Three elements make purpose driven connecting stand out:
- It’s intentional. You didn’t just show up to an event and say hello to the person next to you. You are looking to grow your network with specific individuals in specific fields at specific positions. If possible, research whom you want to meet ahead of time and then purposefully seek those people out.
- It includes a warm referral. Second and third level connections will often be most fruitful (and take less work).
- There is a specific take away or reason to connect. Indiscriminate connecting can result in haphazard relationships. If you share with the other person exactly what you are hoping to learn or achieve, you can spend time together in a directed and directive conversation.
In the social sector, where the ‘why’ matters a great deal in every element – from funding to mission to program outcomes – and the relationship often outperforms the bottom line, it makes a lot of sense that we should think about our connection building in the same way.
If you’re interested in learning more about how Starfish Impact approaches real connections and networking building, check out Purpose Driven Connections.
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