Do you know anyone who seems to know everyone and immediately fits right in the minute they enter a room?  Making connections with people is a talent which some people innately have. Others cultivate it. 

Building relationships is an integral part of leadership success.  It is imperative if you are to effectively conduct business, make quicker decisions, satisfy your clients, build a customer base, and find a new job.

What does it take to be effective at networking?

An elevator speech in your back pocket. When you meet someone and he or she asks what you do, you should have an elevator speech handy, a one-liner about what you do. It shouldn’t take five minutes to explain it.  No one has the time or interest to what you do for other people?

Examples:   What does the estate planner say?  “I help people solve their estate problems and save them money.”  If you are a financial analyst what is going to be interesting to other people?  “I help my business clients understand what they need to do to grow business and protect their bottom line.”   

If you don’t have your one-liner in your back pocket, get to it.  And, always carry a business card with you.  Don’t be afraid to be the first to offer one to a new contact.

Being genuinely interested in other people. People like people who make them feel good about themselves.  Be interested in other people.  Ask questions about their work, their challenges, and their families.  Get them to talk about themselves and they will feel more connected to you.

 Follow Up. Find a way to reconnect.  Send a quick email expressing interest, or appreciation after you connect with someone.  Forward an article, quote, recommendation for a book. Look for opportunities that provide value to the person. It is a sure way to improve the chance you will be remembered.

 Just Do It! Act your way into a new way of thinking, rather than think your way into a new way of acting.”  Set aside your fears and get started.