How to Connect with New People

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By Jeff Rust, partner, Truss

Relationships are one of the most prized possessions but many struggle with the first steps of how to meaningfully connect with new people. Here are a few small things that have helped me:

1. Preparation

  • Get comfortable in your own skin. Relax and remember why your friends like you.
  •  Practice gratitude as this increases your positivity and calms your nerves.
  • Push yourself slightly outside of your comfort zone and then recharge. (Set a goal of how many new connections and how many reconnections you’d like to make a week/month. Most of the best conversations and opportunities come from reconnections, but you have to have new connections to have increasing reconnections.)

2. Interaction

  • Smile
  • Compliment sincerely. (But in a non-creepy way such as shoes, watches, bags, etc.)
  • Discover what is important to the person you’re talking to you.
  • Be genuinely curious. This leads to better, more authentic questions and active listening.
  • Find things you have in common and build on them.
  • Be two parts interested and one part interesting. People love a great listener but they love an even better conversation. Keep the ratio in proper proportion.
  • Keep perspective of why you’re meeting new people and try to enjoy the process.

3. Follow up

  • Follow up appropriately. Based on the conversation/connection, invite them to connect on social media. Consider texting or sending a thank you card that will build on the momentum of the connection.
  • Explore and share how you can be a resource to help them.

Some of the best books on this topic are “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie and “Give and Take” by Adam Grant.

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