Getting to Know Each Other by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

Running any business requires connections. It’s critical that you are proficient at meeting people and making an impression. Learning to build rapport with others will help you tremendously when it comes to finding staff, attracting business and building a name in your community.

There really is no magic to getting along with others. It takes practice and a willingness to simply walk up to someone and introduce yourself. If this seems scary to you, there are ways to become more comfortable. 

Start by attending networking events. These events, often sponsored by your local business council, are designed to allow business people in the same community to meet. This type of event is specifically intended for people to introduce themselves to each other and learn a little about each business. It’s a bit less intimidating since the sole purpose is meeting each other. You can use events like this to become more comfortable with the process. In addition, you’ll meet some great contacts. Make it a point to follow up with the people you meet. Have coffee or lunch to get to know each other better. Even if you don’t gain a customer or a best friend, you’ve gotten to know another business person in your community. You can each refer prospects to the other for business.

Learn to find common ground. Meeting people while you’re doing things you already like to do is another simple step toward becoming a pro at building rapport. If you belong to a club, for example, make it a goal to get to know everyone in the club on a first name basis. You know you have something in common with those people, so you have an instant conversation starter.

Look for ways to meet others. If you don’t already belong to some sort of organization; join one. Choose something you really like and will enjoy. This provides a great personal outlet, as well as helping you hone your interpersonal skills.

Over time, you’ll find that you are much more comfortable meeting people in any setting. These skills will be invaluable as you search for clients, resources, and employees. It will also help your business build a reputation in your community, further helping grow your company. In addition, you’ll probably find that you’ve met some really great people along the way.