Think back. As you’ve engaged in projects and initiatives and various efforts throughout your life, can you identify any similarities in your approach? Do you have standard operating procedures that you have employed either knowingly or instinctively because they just work for you? What common traits have your successes had?
According to Creative Think’s Roger von Oech, much of what we consider “intelligence” is our innate ability to recognize patterns. He says we see sequences, cycles, processes, tendencies, shapes, and probabilities based on previous experiences. Given that we can decipher the order in which we do things, when that goes well for us, no sense in reinventing the wheel, right? We might as well repeat our ways when we can expect positive outcomes as a result.
The same is true of relationship building. When things don’t work for us, we must find different ways of doing them so that we can learn from our mistakes and improve our processes. Conversely, once we land on SOPs that prove fruitful, it’s a good idea to capitalize on them and build on the positive habits of networking. Consider these situations… what patterns do you see?
- Identifying who to connect with in a networking capacity. Do you keep a list of people already in your relationship base who you want to reconnect with? How about a list of people you would like to get to know? How do you manage those lists?
- Reaching out to ask for a networking meeting. What approach do you take to extending an invitation? Text message? Email? Phone call? What’s your script? How do you make the ask? Are you getting more “yes” responses than “no’s?”
- Sitting in the meeting. What do you talk about? Do you have a standard set of questions at the ready to generate conversation?
- Following up. Do you have note cards, a pen, and stamps readily available so you can quickly send a note of appreciation after the meeting? Do you document the ways in which you promised to follow up with referrals or information? What types of responses are you getting?
Pay attention to patterns. The good ones are worth repeating.