In the business world, the best and fastest way to meet new people is through networking. Networking is all about meeting people and finding potential connections and contacts. Understanding the ins and outs of building new relationships through networking is essential to anyone that hopes to push their business forward. However, to make the most of your networking experiences you should thoroughly understand the differences between making a connection and making a contact
For those of us that are outgoing individuals, making new friends and socializing with strangers can be easy. While this is very much a part of networking, the networking process is a lot more strategic and intentional than starting conversations. Networking starts with picking the right events to attend, seeking out future contacts, and hopefully, potential connections.
A contact is someone that you might just have, have conversations with and exchange business cards or contact information. A contact is essentially an “acquaintance” that you meet at a business event that you may contact at some point in the future.
A connection is someone that you know personally and have built a relationship with over time. Connections act as powerful tools when it comes to the business world. Connections are people that you have established relationships with know you personally and well enough to say that they believe in, trust, and support you.
In the professional world, true connections count for everything. Your next business deal may just come from a connection that started as a contact just years ago.
How to Turn a Contact Into a Connection
It goes without saying that everyone you meet will not always turn into a connection. However, recognizing when you have a chance to make a connection can be a game changer when it comes to your business relationships.
Powerful networking comes from strong relationships. When you are meeting new contacts, see if you both have common goals, interests and mutual friends. Often times, people that make new contacts find that they have been running around the same social circles with each other, but have never met before.
If you see someone repeatedly at other events, this will help you build a stronger relationship each time you see them. Additionally, consider initiating business lunches or dinners with each other, to talk about your common interests and goals outside of the work place. Having quality time and conversations with each other will lead to deeper levels of trust between both of you.
Keep in mind these differences as you go on your next networking venture—your new contact may just turn into the connection of a lifetime.