Beginner’s Guide to Making Initial Contact

Originally published on 23rd February, 2016.

4 minute read

It’s only natural to feel a little overwhelmed when meeting new people, especially if you are just starting to prospect and build connections in your area of interest. Having gone through similar experiences myself, I feel that sharing some things that worked (and also those that didn’t) will help you learn quicker. Of course, reading just my blogs won’t be of much help unless you actually go out and do it. Nevertheless, it’s always an added advantage to learn from the experiences of others.

Introducing yourself..

A trembling voice that says “Sagar” when shaking the new hand will probably not help you much in standing out instantly.

Instead, how about trying this approach: “Hi, my name is SAGAR SATYAL and I help middle school students smarten up beyond textbooks.” By stating who you are and what you do (or what you’re interested in doing if you aren’t actually doing it), the latter is more likely to arouse interest in the other person and he/she is most likely to follow up with “How/why do you do that?”

Off you go, a conversation will follow!

Point to be noted here is to make sure that the other person is not distracted when you’re saying your name for the first time. Since this is the initial point of contact, you must ace this. It’s better to wait for the distraction to cease in any case.

Oh boy! What do I say? I’m just a novice..

You may be tempted to just listen thinking that your network joint and the ‘expert’ you’ve just met know more than you do. So what do you do if you feel like there isn’t much value you can add? How about trying asking probing questions to depict you’re curious and genuinely interested? Also, don’t hesitate to add your opinion once the ‘experts’ are done with a topic. You may say “that was a great deliberation from you but here’s what I think and why”. Even if you don’t have your own opinion, you can still summarize whatever was just discussed.

Not only did you respect them enough to listen first, you also made your contribution and respected yourself.

What’s in a name?

As the great Dale Carnegie puts it, the most beautiful sound a person can hear you say is his/her name. Once you’re introduced to the person, it’s a great tactic to try to remember their name immediately. If you’re confused, try asking them how they spell it. Once you’ve remembered, try encompassing their names in the middle of conversations to make it sound more personal. “What do you like to do, Satyal?” “What is success to you, Satyal?” makes Satyal feel much more valued and appreciated (however unlike Satyal, others would perhaps like to be called by their first names!).

Follow up is crucial..

So you’ve had a good chat, known each other’s names and came out all smiling. Great! But you’ll still need to follow up on whatever you’ve built with a quick email the next day or a text or exchanging profiles on LinkedIn.

It’s a good idea to take up the initiative yourself rather than wait for the other person to write to you.Instead of writing a generic email, you’ll come across as a genuine person if you can mention any striking aspect of the conversation you held earlier.

Your new contact will definitely appreciate you for making the effort and you never know what this new connection could mean to you.

What other important pointers can you think of? Do let me know in the comments section below this blog.

But more importantly, it’s time to close the screen and reach out to a new contact you’ve always wanted to reach out to.

Lets go!

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