Vincy Workplace
November 25, 2005

Meeting the right people

At some point in your career you were probably told you have to “meet the right people.” How do you know who are the right people and how do you get them to notice you? As much as you want to know the right people, it is more important for them to know you. How?{{more}}

Who are the right people?

We often think that the right people are the rich and powerful because we are fascinated and intrigued by them. To some extent that is true. It couldn’t hurt to get to know someone or even a few individuals who fit that description, but they are not always the right people.

The right people are those who are willing to help you achieve your goals, teach you something new, share their experiences, open doors for you or just support you, and cheer you in your endeavors.

Too often we find people who we think are right because they possess the skills and information we need and they have a very high profile in society. But this is no use if they are not willing to help you.

How do you meet the right people?: There is a theory that says we are all six degrees away from the person we want to meet. Basically that means that it will take approximately six connections or six persons to help you get to your target. The best way to meet anyone is through a referral. When friends and respected colleagues recommend someone we all tend to be a little nicer and go the extra mile for that person because we trust the judgment of our colleagues. If you do not have someone to refer you it is critical that you do your homework and learn as much about a person and his business before approaching him.

When you approach a person with whom you want to get acquainted, speak with confidence and be very clear, concise, and sincere. People decide within a few seconds how to respond to you. Don’t fall into the trap of trying extra hard to impress and flatter the person. Getting acquainted is a process; it may take some time or it can happen instantly when you least expect it. But be prepared. Once you have decided whom you want to meet, you will be amazed at the opportunities that will present themselves if you are persistent.

How do you keep the connection alive?: Once you’ve met the right people, it is imperative to keep the connection alive, and that is your responsibility. Invite the person to a short meeting over coffee or tea or even a lunch. Ask the person’s opinion on projects or goals you are working on. If this is an important relationship stay in touch in some form every 30 days. Send an e-mail, call just to check in, send an article that may interest the person and consider birthday or holiday cards.

Although it may seem like a lot of work, you are the one who must keep the relationship going since you stand to gain more from the affiliation initially.

What do you do if it doesn’t seem to work?: Sometimes you meet the right person. You have a great initial conversation and you are excited about the possibilities. But for some reason the relationship seems to dissipate fast after that first meeting. The person may not return your calls or e-mails, and no matter what you do, you get no response.

Don’t be a pest; if you tried three times to contact someone over a period of time, let it rest. It could be that the person is tied up with a project or going through a difficult time personally or professionally. If you were referred to this person by a colleague or friend, go back and explain the situation; your friend may be able to speak on your behalf and open the door again.

If you were not referred, then keep your eyes open so you can be reintroduced by a colleague; you may have better results the second time around with a referral.