This morning I met “@Coach_Colette” from New York City in person in Brussels while she was giving a talk for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s project Global Library grantees.
I met Colette on Twitter through Leo “@srleosalazar” I also met Leo on Twitter and after a couple of Tweets, Leo offered me a fantastic virtual experience: A “live” Twitter interview.
I have not met Leo directly, but we use Skype and I can hear his voice and see Leo has an extraordinary presence when asking questions. We may or may not be business partners, but that doesn’t matter. What’s really interesting and amazing is how Twitter helps make “statistically impossible connections” with people you don’t know. I have several virtual Twitter friends that I meet directly and several others I follow on Facebook or Linkedin.
Building a strong network of friends, relatives, or colleagues is one of the most powerful tools you can develop to be tough, especially for expatriate “married couples”. Expatriation is a great experience for most people, but it is usually not easy for “trailing couples”, most of whom are women.
Here are some tips on effective networking for developing professional connections and making new friends
Tip # 1: Attract People.
You can’t control what people think, but you can create energy that attracts people to you by being authentic, building credibility, conveying confidence, telling personal stories, anecdotes, and your passions.
Tip # 2 Asking
for Help Usually people are very happy to share what they know especially with newcomers, but don’t abuse, for example don’t ask for work directly to someone you don’t know. Don’t hesitate to ask experts about using Twitter tools or other LinkedIn tips, don’t be embarrassed if you don’t ask that you just slow down your learning curve.
Tip # 3 Don’t Sell:
One of the worst behaviors that disgust people rather than attract them is trying to over-sell your service or product and promote yourself excessively. You can share the resources you make and when necessary tell about your company and your services, but be gentle.
Tip # 4: Focus on the Interests of Others
The best way to build strong relationships is to be sincere and try to understand the perspectives of others. Listen actively with all your senses by concentrating fully on what is being said, body language and by asking powerful questions. I hate the “elevator speech” technique to tell everything about yourself in 120 seconds. I think it’s better to try to understand that person first before being understood.
Tip # 5: Learn How to Optimize LinkedIn and Other Social Media
For people who have to quit their jobs or want to take the opportunity as strangers to start a new career or learn new skills such as learning a new language, I recommend starting with linkedin. Participate in groups, Q&A, create your own LinkedIn group, create a blog or newsletter with content that is focused on your desires and interests. Use Slideshare to import PowerPoint presentations, see the events your connection will attend, read recommendations, etc. Search for suggestions and webinars about using LinkedIn or Twitter, there are many of them available for free.
Attending many networking events and using social networking is hard work, but it will pay off.
It is important to meet people in person when possible or use Skype. Use online tools carefully because you cannot see people’s reactions, emotions, and feelings.
What you say live on a networking event is usually not recorded unless you are a rock star or a politician. On social media everything you post: words, pictures, comments, questions, links, etc. There is always so clever use of these tools to build your personal brand so as not to damage your reputation!