Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Dating & Networking: All About Connections

Whether you are looking for potential clients, a new job or even potential investors, your professional and social networks can deliver help when you need it.

Each of us have "liked" a company page at the urging of a friend to support his start-up. We have all flashed the "six degrees" card when trying to score an interview or even a meeting with a company manager.

However, reaching out, even out of the blue, can feel a bit awkward at best. If its been awhile, or not at all, it can be a bit like fishing. You toss out the bait and hope it hooks them.

Well, like networking, dating is about trying to make that stellar first impression with a stranger on the other side of the screen, phone or friendship circle. It is our intention to make one that stands out above the others without coming across as sketchy or stalker like.

The secret in standing out, whether it is in the dating and job hunting pool, is to provide a peek into what makes you unique and offer value. So, how do you do that? Well, here are a few simple tips:

1) Ask Genuine Questions
Instead of skimming the person's profile, getting the gist of what they are saying during appetizers, ask questions that not only express your interest in their interests but which go beyond "yes" or "no" response. Thing of it as you "biting on the line" they threw out there. Showing genuine interest in someone, as we learned last week, is the easiest way for the other person to develop an interest in you.

2) Follow Up with Value
Whether it is after a first date or a coffee date with a CEO executive, make sure you follow up with a piece of value. This can be a link to an article you discussed, the YouTube video that was mentioned or perhaps just a snippet of a story you read that reminded you of them. Remember, authentic is the key. Don't flood their emails boxes with every article you can find about knitting -- find things that are like subway tokens which will gain you a bit more access to them.

3) It's All About Connections
So, the date wasn't ideal. There may not have been chemistry. However, the world is small and it is better to make a friend than an enemy. The reason for this is simple, while the two of you aren't destined to be -- the other person could be the link that reveals a new dating opportunity. Maybe your failed date's best friend is also looking for that special someone which could result in a referral for you. Just as in networking, we're "linked in" to one another and it is through our connections that we meet new people.

4) Know the Bigger Picture
Often times, people are dating or seeing many people. The dating pool is large and there are many people testing the waters. If you don't get an answer right away, don't be discouraged. The truth of it is, it may be a hectic week at work or they may be studying for an exam. People have lives and you should too. Send an email but don't release a send storm on their in-box. Give it time.

Good luck!