Careers

A simple networking strategy that makes you memorable (for the right reasons)

Traditional Buehnendinner 2017 at Bayerische Staatsoper.
Getty Images
Traditional Buehnendinner 2017 at Bayerische Staatsoper.

You know that networking can connect you with the next big opportunity in your career. And that's exactly why you leave your comfort zone to do it.

But all your efforts are a little pointless if you never follow up in a meaningful way. If you want to grow that initial meeting into something more, you have to impress the other person, and lay the foundation for an ongoing relationship.

More from The Muse:
3 things you can't control in your job search (and 3 things you can!)
4 truths about working with recruiters (that they'll never tell you)
How one "I lost my job" LinkedIn status led to 20 interviews in 15 days

Fortunately, it's not as daunting as it sounds.

There's a simple strategy you can use to stand out and impress anyone you meet (even if they've met 100 other people that day). I call it the Super-Connector strategy.

It's not a substitute for the basics like confident body language and a concise elevator pitch when you introduce yourself. Rather, it builds on them to help you stand out.

Here's how it works: Every time you meet someone new, think of one person in your network who they'd benefit from knowing, and then do your best to make the introduction within a week.

In order to do this well, you should be asking questions to learn about your new contact's background and recent work. For example, Muse writer Andrew Horn suggests the following alternatives to "What do you do?":

What are you most excited about at the moment?

Any big challenges coming down the line for you?

What's the next big thing you have coming up?

If you didn't do what you're doing now — what kind of job would you have?

What this sounds like

"You know, I actually have a colleague who made the transition from nonprofit to tech. I'll ask about connecting the two of you this week so you can share ideas."

Why this works

Clearly, you're offering to connect them so they can gain valuable insights and new connection. But, it isn't just generous, there are a lot of ways this will benefit you too:

  • It encourages you to listen more than you talk because you're so focused on what they're doing. And that helps you look genuinely interested.
  • It makes you stand out because you're offering something rather than asking for help or advice. You're giving, not taking.
  • It's a seamless transition into getting their contact info.
  • It gives you an angle to follow-up later that week. Meeting somebody one time doesn't make them an asset in your network. It takes multiple conversations — and this starts that discussion.
  • It shows how thoughtful you are. By saying you'll check with the other person first, they know you're thinking about how you can add value, but not simply assuming; and that you'll treat them with the same respect. (P.S. Asking that other contact is called a "double opt-in intro" and we have a template for it here.)

As with anything else, the more you practice it, the easier it'll become — and the more people you'll add to your network. So, stand out by taking yourself out of the equation. Trust me: By thinking about the most valuable contact for the other person, you'll make yourself even more memorable.

Like this story? Like CNBC Make It on Facebook.

Don't Miss: How 2 young guys went from the brink of bankruptcy to selling their 'Shark Tank' business for $300 million

This article originally appeared on TheMuse.