The notion of networking and business connections is coming up a lot in my world lately.
I admit that I have a knack for networking, so sometimes I forget other people find it difficult. Fortunately, the Universe seems to be reminding me of this because for the last two weeks everyone in my orbit keeps struggling with business connections.
Here are four unusual ways to make business connections based on my experience. Additionally, let this serve as a reminder as to why you need to fill your life with different experiences.
Through friends in your personal life
I recently attended an industry event in my area where a personal friendship helped me make a very important business connection.
I was speaking with the person in charge of all the locations in the state for a particular financial company. I was inputting my email info into their phone, a familiar name popped up. It turns out they are good friends with one of my good friends.
Now, this friend has nothing to do with my career or theirs. But what’s cool is this personal touch helps me make a good impression without me even trying.
Long story short, make lots of friends in your area outside of your work. You never know when it’ll help you make business connections.
Attending cultural events
Another way to make business connections is by attending cultural events. Every year in my area there is a giant art fair where people from all over the world attend.
What’s interesting is many of the attendees aren’t even in the art world. To my surprise, many of them are in tech or other industries and just so happen to appreciate art. One year I was even invited to a panel about tech where I met a few business connections.
While making business connections online isn’t really unusual anymore, some people still don’t understand how that’s possible. For this reason, I’m adding it to the list.
To put this into perspective, most of my longest standing business connections were made online. More specifically, I met them on Twitter chats.
It actually wasn’t until relatively recently when I actually started making more business connections locally by attending events in person.
By showing up for other people
I often go to events to support my fellow business owners, even if they aren’t in my industry. I have attended everything from wine tastings to campaign launches to show my support for my friends. What ends up happening is I create business connections with other attendees.
The secret to making business connections anywhere
The secret to making business connections anywhere is what I like to call quiet confidence. I don’t show up to events around the city assuming I’m going to make money from them. I’m also rarely the loudest person in the room. I just show up and be myself.
I also know when it’s appropriate to talk shop and when it’s not. Knowing these social cues has helped me tremendously in expanding my network even when I’m out having a good time or supporting someone else.
In other words, most of the time I’m just trying to make friends. About half the time, these friends lead to business connections of some sort.