I participate in networking groups (alumni associations, Young Entrepreneur Council, Startup Grind, TiE Global and LinkedIn groups). I try meeting people when I am at conferences or via social media for long-distance connections. I am director of the Fremont, California chapter of Startup Grind, and since I started the chapter last year, I have personally met and interacted with 200-plus entrepreneurs in my region.
—Shilpi Sharma, CEO, Kvantum Inc.
Going to industry conferences is a powerful way to connect with others with the same interests. Once those connections form, I make a sustained effort to nurture those relationships. To do so, I follow them on social media. I have a business connections list on Twitter, which I watch so I can engage and interact with the connections that I’m nurturing.
—Marcela De Vivo, chief marketing officer, Brilliance
I genuinely love people. I’m fascinated by them, and each person’s unique story excites me. I try to connect with people in a real way, recognizing that whether they can help me now is only part of the puzzle. The time will come when we will help each other or I can connect them to someone else in my circles who can help them.
—Cooper Harris, founder and CEO, Klickly
Conferences and introductions consistently drive the highest quality connections. However, when time is in short supply, I prefer to cycle through contacts and try to identify the most valuable introductions. Each introduction, when made thoughtfully and carefully, helps all three parties (the introducer and the two people being introduced).
—Blake Marggraff, CEO, Epharmix Inc.
I usually email people directly if I am able to find their email online, or I connect with people via LinkedIn. After adding a person on LinkedIn, I usually send them a message to introduce myself as well as the reason as to why I reached out to connect with them. I also try to go to different networking events when I can. Sometimes, it can be hard to go to events or to keep in touch with people since we are all so busy, but I do try to go or try to reach out to people when I can. To really take time to connect with people more, I developed a trick: I remind myself to follow up with a person by scheduling to do so in my calendar at the moment that I think about it. That really helps a lot!
—Ashley M. Williams, founder and CEO of RIZZARR
Related: Networking 101
This article originally appeared in the September 2016 issue of SUCCESS magazine.