Have a conversation around a topic as a researcher or solution provider
Do you need to connect with people in an area where you have experience, perhaps to generate business or look for a job? Have you considered initiating some kind of research project to provide a credible reason to contact people and give them some benefit in return?
When starting their job search, most people underestimate the importance of networking, As a headhunter, I suggest that candidates build multiple identities, for example, as a researcher, a solution provider or an expert on a specific topic. This allows a candidate to have a conversation around a topic, not around a job search.
For entrepreneurs, writing a white paper is a way to reach out to decision makers on a specific topic. Contacting someone for research provides an opportunity to establish yourself as an expert and build common ground on a topic of mutual interest. When the white paper is ready, you can give back something of value to your interviewee. You have made a start in building a connection.
Recently, a friend described a situation when his team was evaluating software solutions for tracking projects. Instead of reviewing the software specs, they contacted 12 companies and asked about their experience with different vendors. They received 8 positive responses and were invited for a few nice lunches to exchange information. The information gathered gave practical insights that helped to make a better decision. In addition, the connections are more likely to remain alive on both sides for a future helping opportunity.
So what is your challenge for meeting new people? Is there a project you can initiate to gather more information and gain deeper insights? Doing project research will give you the opportunity to learn new things and meet new people. And it just might be fun.
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