Let’s hop right into this blog post, boo. I’m going to share three habits that I personally use to network like a damn badass. I’ve been complimented many times on my ability to kick off genuine friendships and awesome connections with people in many industries. It’s beyond flattering and humbling to hear — but I gotta keep it 100, it’s something I’ve had to work at!!
I’ve learned these habits through many books, including How to Win Friends and Influence People. I’ve observed them through many networking pros, like my brother (he’d just be so happy to read this). I’ve experienced them through many experiences of my own at conferences, meet ups, and events. Most importantly, I’ve tested them through many interactions in my now two years within the industry.
Today, I’m able to pick up my phone and text or call anyone within an industry. Do you need a hairstylist, personal chef, makeup artist, copywriter, personal trainer, nutritionist, therapist, life coach, yoga teacher, accountant, lawyer? I gotcha. It’s only because I have found these three habits to start all of my friendships and connections.
First Habit: Learning Names Right After Introduction. I’m gonna start straight up with the kicker. Being “bad at remembering names” isn’t an option when we’re badasses at networking. We find a way to remember names when it’s important to us. When it’s someone that is really attractive, don’t we remember their name right after they introduce themselves? We sing that name from the mountaintops, don’t we?!
In order to get to the level of networking I’m at today, I reframed the name thing. I used to say I was so bad at remembering names, until I began testing out new ways to remembering names. The one that has been successful for a year now is repeating their name in conversation. For example, let’s say I’m on a break at a conference for entrepreneurial women. This is what my conversation will be like:
Me: Hi, nice to meet you, I’m Shanna!
Gabrielle: Hi, nice to meet you too, I’m Gabrielle!
Me: Aren’t you so excited to be here?!
Gabrielle: Yes, it’s such a great conference so far!
Me: Gabrielle, let me tell you, I’ve learned so much so far. Which talks have you enjoyed?
Gabrielle: I really loved when XX got on stage and talked about building capital in your business! I’m gonna head over to the ladies room real fast before the line gets too long!
Me: Oh my goodness, so smart! I’ll wait for you, Gabrielle, so we can sit next to each other for the next talk.
Once Gabrielle comes back out, I instantly remember her name. Why? I repeated that shit so many times to myself and throughout brief conversation. She may not remember my name, but that’s not important. It’s important that she knows that I’ve taken the time and effort to remember hers. Bam, I just networked like a badass.
Second Habit: Exchanging More than A Business Card. To keep it really real, I hate business cards. I don’t have my own now and I don’t believe in them. We, as professionals, use them as a crutch to place the responsibility in someone else’s hands to follow up with us. Nah, not my thing. I’ve started something else instead.
I ordered business cards when I first started out Shanna Tyler. I felt so professional with my cards printed by Moo.com and ready to hand them out to everyone I knew: my mom and dad were my first recipients. I went to events and handed out my business card with absolutely no luck. I never got emails nor more viewers on my website. So I decided to ditch them and do my own thing.
Today, I make sure to exchange phone numbers and email addresses with each potential friendship and connection. How do I do it? I literally stand right there and make sure my contact information is taken down. Most importantly, I gather the person’s contact myself. An aggressive, active approach to networking is way more successful than a passive exchange of a business card.
Third Habit: Ending Conversation with a Follow-Up. When we end a conversation with someone we just met, it’s important that we have some kind of follow-up. Just meeting someone and exchanging information doesn’t end there. It’s simply the beginning. Let’s see how to follow-up after conversation.
After exchanging information, I make it my job to find a way to connect with the person afterward. For example, let’s say I meet someone named Elise at a fitness meet up, Elise mentions that she loves yoga and is just starting out. After we exchange social media accounts and email addresses, I make it a point to send Elise some awesome apps and videos to get started with. The next day, I’ll send her an email such as below:
It was so great to meet you yesterday!! I was thinking about your yoga journey and thought you’d love the Yoga Studio App and these videos by Adriene. She’s one of my favorite online yoga instructors.
If you’re ever back in NYC, I’d love to take a yoga class with you one of my favorite local instructors, too. Have a great week!!
Bam, there’s goes my follow-up. I got in immediate contact with Elise after our conversation. I’ve made it a point to intertwine what we discussed and how I could support her. In my call to action, I made this a clear light follow-up with someone who I want to build a relationship with. From there, she can reply, if she doesn’t after a week, I follow up and ask how did she enjoy the resources? If I don’t hear back, I move on. Not for me.
These three habits have helped me start genuine friendships and awesome connections. Learning names right after introduction, exchanging more than a business card, and ending conversation with a follow-up is important. All three of these habits show interest in the person. It shows that you’re considerate enough to learn their name, determined enough to get their contact, and kind enough to follow-up afterwards.
Networking is an art. The most important part of networking is the introduction and connection afterward. If we want to become a badass at networking, we take matters into our own hands. While it may be uncomfortable at first, we’ll learn that the only way we start anything is by doing something.
Enjoy this blog post? Have any other tips on starting off friendships and connections? Share below!