When it comes to business, networking is an inevitable and integral part of it. Even if you’re a textbook introvert, you’ll need to get out of your comfort zone and start making those connections. Why? Because it’s the best way to gain knowledge from peers or industry leaders. And these connections can actually help you move forward.
Once you’re able to build these connections, you create valuable resources whom you can turn to for help and vice-versa. You might think that you’ll offend top leaders if you talk to them, but it’s actually the other way around. Most leaders are happy to talk to people and help them out by sharing their ideas and knowledge.
In this article, we’ll take a look at 7 ways to build business connections with top leaders. These will help you cultivate meaningful and supportive relationships with people who matter.
Believe it or not, social media is a great way of building business connections with top industry leaders. If you think Twitter is a place only for celebrities, millennials, or Gen Z, I have news for you. Most leaders are pretty active on Twitter because it helps them connect with and influence people.
So start following these leaders on Twitter and actively engage with their posts. Add meaningful comments and retweet their posts. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or even send a direct message to establish a connection. Just make sure not to overstep your boundaries. Be polite and professional.
Of course, you already knew that, didn’t you? But let me ask you, when was the last time you updated your profile on LinkedIn? If you’re really keen on leveraging this platform to build business connections, make sure that your profile is updated.
Join relevant groups and participate meaningfully in discussions. Share useful resources, like and comment on others posts. This is a great way to put yourself out there and show that you mean business.
No matter which industry you’re in, there’s always going to be trade shows or conferences related to it. Start making a list of the relevant ones, including who’s attending and who’s speaking. Then decide which ones you need to attend.
Once you’re there, make the most of your time by attending as many workshops or sessions as you can. Don’t be afraid to ask thoughtful questions. Conferences are a great place to meet top leaders and build connections.
Make sure that you have an elevator pitch ready for whenever you meet someone influential. Make it conversational, meaningful, and even propose to extend the discussion over coffee later.
Don’t forget to share your business card with them. A metal business card looks way more professional than paper and definitely makes an impact on whoever you meet. This is a great way to make them remember you. My Metal Business Card has a variety of options to choose from which will definitely make heads turn.
Join platforms like Meetup, Vistage, or Indie Hackers as these are some great places to build connections.
. Meetup is a platform that allows you to join groups of like-minded people and engage socially with them. People meet and discuss topics of interest at these events which are mostly easygoing and informal.
. Vistage offers you a platform to meet and learn from top leaders across multiple industries. You need to be enthusiastic and participate actively because this is what will make you memorable to these people.
. Indie Hackers is a platform that allows entrepreneurs across diverse industries to share their stories. Not only can these give you valuable insights into running your business efficiently but also build valuable connections.
When you get a chance to meet a top leader, don’t be transactional in your approach. Remember, the idea is to build long-term relationships in a meaningful way. Influential people meet numerous new faces every day. You need to make your meeting count so that they remember you.
Make sure that you have gathered enough information about them which you can use in your conversation. Be humble and don’t focus entirely on yourself. Ask questions, try to gain knowledge, and see how you can help them too.
Once you've met some of the top leaders, make sure to be in touch with them regularly. Know their interests and keep the conversation alive around these.
Send those holiday cards and make them personal. Nothing speaks better than hand-written notes.
Alumni networks are great places to stay connected with people you already might know who can be great business connections. These groups allow you to network easily outside your niche or industry.
They’re likely to include people who have graduated in different majors and top leaders in their respective fields. Not only do these alumni groups give you the opportunity to learn from them but also build valuable connections. And of course, you have the advantage of a shared interest in your alma mater that makes conversations easier.
The most important thing that you need to remember when making these connections is that even top leaders are people. People just like you and me. So look beyond their positions and treat them as you would treat another human being.
Share things that you know will interest them to keep a dialogue open. Follow up organically and show that you care, with personal gestures like a card or something of value. Don’t be myopic in your approach. Instead, be generous and look for ways in which you can help them.
Can you think of any other ways of building business connections with top leaders? Let us know in the comments below.