As someone who travels for riding most of the year and has a large social media following in the equestrian community, connections are infinitely important. I would not have the opportunities or knowledge I have today without them. With my experience, I have created a guide for how to make connections. This guide isn’t limited to just equestrian related networking but any networking. You never know when you might need it.
1. Say Hello
This is probably the most daunting task of the entire checklist, saying hello. When greeting them, shake their hand and slap a smile on your face. First impressions are everything so being polite and professional is crucial. If you seem rude and childlike, nobody is going to want to work with you or keep in touch (aka the exact OPPOSITE of what you want).
2. Get To Know Them & Let Them Get To Know You
You don’t need to know their social security number but you want to learn enough about who you are talking to, to be able to make it feel like you are friends. There is nothing wrong with actually being friends with them but you want it to seem that way from the get-go. People are more likely to do things for you if they know you and are friends with you. Ask them the typical get to know you questions, like their name, what they do, etc. If you have trouble with that kind of thing, you can google some.
3. Swap Contact Information
Getting someone’s contact information could mean any number of things. Most commonly it is best to share email addresses or friend each other on Facebook if you are both comfortable. By doing this you open the door for further or future communication.
3 1/2. Say Goodbye
Your conversation doesn’t have to end at swapping contact information. But when goodbyes do roll around, you do want to treat them with as much care as you did with the hello. Shake their hand, tell them it was nice to meet, and yet again, slap a smile on your face. Make them feel that you were happy to speak with them.
4. Identify Who Matters To You
Just because you add someone to your network doesn’t mean that they are the most critical and important part of it. By identifying who is most valuable to you will really help your chances with them. Once you have identified those connections, keep in regular contact. Regular contact doesn’t mean every day but at least 3-4 times per year. You can send them a holiday card if you like or send them a message on their birthday, a little gesture can go a long way. But, just because you are holding some close doesn’t mean that you neglect the others, try to speak with them 1-2 times per year so they know they haven’t been forgotten about.
5. When You Want Something
The entire point of making connections is so that you can get help with certain things that you may not be able to do when it is just you. So, when you want something, make sure you have something to offer in return. Here is where the getting to know them comes in handy. By knowing what their concerns and desires are, you can tailor a proposal to fit them like a glove. If you offer them something in return for what you want it is very appealing and will most likely lead to acceptance of said offer/proposal or further conversation about it until a deal is made.
6. Say Thank You
You liked to be thanked when you do something for someone right? So does everyone else. If they do something for you or try to help you do something, thank them. Even if you are doing something in return, still say it. It makes them feel appreciated and that they matter. It will more than likely help you in the future as the person(s) you are working with will hold you in high regard and when asked by another person(s) for help on your expertise, will likely recommend you to them.
If you ever outgrow being able to manage your network and influence, contact Athletux Equine and they can create a custom package for you. I hope y’all enjoyed my guide to making connections & networking.
I hope y’all enjoyed my guide to making connections & networking. If you have any questions or want to connect with me, DM me on instagram @equestrian.syd !
Until next time preps,
Sydney & The Ponies