It's not always easy meeting and knowing the right people, especially in today's fast-paced, busy e-world. That applies whether it's you and your partner moving to a new neighbourhood or city, or your children to a new school, or whether you've just grown apart from old colleagues or friends.
Here's 10 tips to help make the right connections and, hopefully, friends.
1. Know the impact you want to have
Connection starts long before the first interaction. Be the person glowing with passion. Let the people around you feel your fire for the impact you want to have on the world. Prompt others to share what makes them come alive. Share in their excitement. There is no more empowering, genuine way to connect. If you don’t know the impact you dream of making, how will you know who you want in your corner to make it happen?
2. Fire toxic friends
This one’s painful, but an absolute requirement. Identify the people in your day-to-day life who you notice constantly put your ideas down. The ones who don’t support you and leave you drained after an interaction. Make a list. You must start spending less time around them.
3. Find new surroundings
You need to replace old habits with new, more empowering ones. Same with people. If you leave your toxic friends but have no one else to hang out with, you’ll likely go right back to them. This can start as simple as seeing one inspiring friend for an hour every week or so.
Take your passions and start to overlay them with the people in business and in life who see the world the same way. Take inspiration from everywhere: movies, articles, local events, Google searches – anything goes.
4. Create a relationship road map
Write out the people you want in your corner. Be as specific as possible – ideally with actual names, but at least with industries and areas you want to spend more time with. Create a ‘Dream Connections’ list of the industry leaders and game changers you’d love to meet and collaborate with. If you don’t know who you want to meet, it’s going to be pretty tough to meet them.
5. Discover who you already know
The odds are that you or the people close to you already know a handful of people who could change your world. Go through your existing networks including friends, colleagues, past employers, alumni groups, sports teams, friends of friends.
Who’s already connected to you in some way that you’d like to get closer to? Make a list of at least five, but keep going as long as you can list names. Then start setting up coffee meetings to connect. People seldom say ‘no’.
6. Enlist the help of others
This action alone will cause your community to explode with new interesting people. Ask your existing network who they know who fits the criteria of whom you’re hoping to meet. Ask every person you meet for a referral. Never leave a meeting without asking for one person they think would be good for you to meet and who would also benefit from meeting you. Always start with the other person’s interests in mind.
Only ask for one, though. Be specific, so it’s easy to think of someone.
7. Create unique value and learn to help anyone
All of us have things we can offer to others. Nothing feels better and nothing creates faster, more memorable genuine connections. What are your unique strengths, talents and passions? If you design logos, offer someone some free help with the branding for their new venture.
8. Create genuine online connections
I see connecting online as maybe step one of twenty, but it is still an incredibly powerful, high-leverage step. Today there’s a community for every passion imaginable. You just have to do some looking. Join a private club or a forum. Even if it costs $20 or $100 a month, it’s worth checking out. You can always cancel later.
9. Build your in-person community
As soon as you can, take the virtual connections into the real world. No matter how big or small your town is, you have to find people in the flesh and blood with whom you can spend consistent time. Check out meetup.com, Craigslist, Facebook & LinkedIn groups or the classifieds of your local paper. Or better yet, walk into the hot local restaurant or cafe and ask the owner what’s happening in your realm of passions. Start attending events and saying hello. Watch what happens.
10. Show up
Nothing happens if you don’t show up. If you never press send on that email, dial that number, or walk through the door of your local event, you will never find the surroundings you need.
And often times that leads to 99% of the results … showing up. At the end of the day, that’s the only thing that has lead to the connections that have changed my world. And it’s the only thing that ever will.
If you aren’t willing to show up, nothing else matters.