How to Connect with Like-minded People — Simple Ways for Big Gains
Do you experience a heart-pounding moment when you think about meeting new people? The very word — networking — creates great anxiety among many of my readers. Especially if you’re an introvert, the thought of attending a networking event, or even reaching out to one person online, can stress you out. If that’s true for you…I invite you to stop… take a deep breath… and embrace the magic of connecting with “like-minded people.”
Who are like-minded people? They’re the ones who have similar opinions and interests to your own. Do you understand how powerful that is? Since you already have something in common (passions, values, hobbies, jobs, interests, etc), you can use that to start a conversation. You get to talk about something you’re excited about with someone who is also excited about it. Automatic connection!
Consider this… for the most part, our connections are often dictated by chance based on the locale where we live and work, aren’t they? Take a moment and reflect – of all your connections, who are the five most influential people in your life right now? Where and how did you meet them?
More than likely they were already inside your comfort zone, or they bumped into your comfort zone and you invited them in.
But what if your present connections aren’t fulfilling all of your needs?
Maybe you’re in business and you need new clients. Or you’re growing as a professional and you need a mentor. Perhaps you just don’t feel understood and supported…
Then it’s time to Step Forward and meet new people. But not just any people. Meet like-minded people.
Admittedly, networking requires that you leave your comfort zone and even travel somewhere new, even if it’s attending a meeting at your local Chamber of Commerce. But here’s how to make it easier…go with the objective of finding one like-minded individual you feel comfortable conversing with. Explore what you have in common. Bounce ideas off of each other. Just let the conversation unfold naturally.
Will this lead you to a new client, mentor or supporter? Maybe not today, but they may refer you to a friend who does become that client, mentor or supporter in the future. At any rate, you’ve broken the ice. That’s a huge confidence builder! You’ve done it once; you can do it again.
Whether you’re connecting in-person or online, here are three principles to keep in mind:
- Remember to be genuinely interested in the person
- Invest time and close attention to learn what really matters to them and how you can help.
- Focus on being of service.
What are some other benefits of networking and connecting with like-minded people?
It builds relationships quicker. Your common interests give you an edge. Of course, you eventually want the relationship to benefit you, however, it’s best to give first and receive afterward. Being of service gets you so much further than having the attitude of “How can they promote me.” You also don’t want to be so proud that you won’t accept help when it’s offered. Your goal is to build a relationship of reciprocity, based on mutual help and benefit.
It raises your profile. Networking in-person or online lets you connect with influential people you admire in your industry. Never before have they been so accessible. However, you won’t want to rush your conversations or feel attached to any particular outcome. Show interest, ask a lot of questions, respectfully share your perspective and see where it leads you.
It shortens your learning curve. If they’ve traveled the path you want to travel, they can help you see what works and what doesn’t. You get the opportunity to discuss common challenges and how they’ve handled them. Simply asking questions and listening opens the door to valuable suggestions and guidance. Learning from someone who’s “been there and done that” saves you a tremendous amount of time and money.
It cuts down on conflict. It feels safer, since they get you, you don’t have to worry about as many misunderstandings or difficult conversations.
When you seek out new people purposefully, it’s like you’re gifting yourself with new life, new spark, new excitement. Introducing someone new into your sphere of influence can really accelerate your personal and business growth. Connecting with like-minded peers who “get you” can encourage you to do your best work.
Recently, I’ve been connecting with more people on LinkedIn and I’m loving it! Are you using LinkedIn? If you are, please reach out and connect with me. I’d love to get acquainted with you. It’s so easy to say “hi” and chat through their messaging system.