I first met Ciara Pressler about a year ago when we were introduced by a mutual friend who described her as one of his "favorite creative sector strategists and uber nerds". She didn't disappoint when we met over coffee and shared our long and winding stories. Turns out that Ciara is not just a great conversationalist and storyteller: She's internet-famous and maintains a blog, writes for theHuffington Post, and hosts her own web series.
With that sort of background, I was very excited when she suggested that we do some cross-blog posting.
So, this is the first of four quick-hit posts where Ciara and I will both answer a question.
Q: HOW DO YOU MEET AND BUILD RELATIONSHIPS WITH YOUR BEST PARTNERS?
Definitely through my other best partners. Not all audience is created equal; every professional or business should identify its MVPs: the people who go out of their way to connect you, to promote you, to sell for you. These are the people who get personal updates from me, event invites, holiday gifts. Good people run in the same circles as other good people. Then we go out of our way to reciprocate favors like intros or cross-promotion.
Given that you can't partner with someone who does exactly what you do, it's important to find opportunities to meet people who are different than you. One way to do this is to attend networking events outside of your industry. It's great for an insurance broker to know all the other insurance brokers in her neighborhood; it's even better for her to know all the realtors in her neighborhood.
Once you've met someone, building a relationship will be about developing sincere and long-term connections. Here's how I do it: I ask questions when I meet people, I pay close attention to their answers, and I make notes about the people I meet. Taking notes is the key step in developing continuity in relationships when weeks or months go by between contact.
[One final note: My recollection of the first meeting with Ciara is 100% the result of reading notes I took right afterwards. Point being, the system works.]