I recently watched an interview with Robert Cialdini on his newest book Pre-suasion. If you’ve not picked up a copy I highly encourage you to do so. Not only will you learn how to set the stage (pre-suade) to make persuasion easier, you’ll learn about a 7th principle of influence he calls unity.
As I watched the interview I recalled something from chapter 14 in Pre-suasion – the concept of post-suasion. Not only are people unaware of how to pre-suade, they’re also unaware of post-suasion. What do I mean by that? It’s about doing things after the fact that will set the stage for potential future interactions.
One example of post-suasion would be how you respond to, “Thank you.” For more on that take a look at my post How to Respond to Thanks.
Another post-suasion approach has to do with networking and making connections. Let me share a story to help you see what I mean.
I recently attended Elliot Maise’s Learning 2016 conference in Orlando, Fla. It was an outstanding event where I met lots of people in the learning and development field from around the world.
With each event I attended I made it a point to reach out to presenters and people I sat near and interacted with. I made sure I gave them a business card and mentioned what I do.
What stood out was how few people either sent a follow-up email or reached out to connect on LinkedIn. Unfortunately this form of post-suasion is overlooked far too often. I’ve seen it with young and old, male and female, successful and unsuccessful. I would say the vast majority of the people I meet are very smart and career-oriented but for some reason this extra step eludes most of them.
So why do people overlook it? I think a big reason is because they don’t understand the power of networking. Let me be very clear about networking – I’m not talking about connecting and immediately after that trying to sell your services or set up a meeting to sell your services. People are turned off by that approach and I will usually break the LinkedIn connection right away if that happens.
Networking is about mutually learning from and helping each other. I connected with people during and after the learning conference because I’d like to learn from them, I think I can teach them some things and you never know how we might benefit each other down the line.
When I post-suade I make sure I send a personal message, not standard, “I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn.” When I personalize my invite, I drop in one sentence about how I enjoyed talking with them, meeting them or attending their presentation. Another sentence is a little more personal, like wishing them good luck with an initiative they may have mentioned. My last sentence talks about staying in touch with them via LinkedIn and encouraging them to contact me if they think I can help them in any way.
When someone accepts my connection request I put a note on their LinkedIn profile to remind me when I met them, where I met them and a brief comment about our interaction. Then I respond with another brief, personalized message thanking them for accepting the connection. Touch points like what I’ve described are the social part of social media. When I do these things I feel much more at ease sending messages in the future.
Something else I do is regularly reach out to people I’ve interacted with in the past. For example, in September 2015, I was in Toronto to host the Principles of Persuasion Workshop for Sun Life Financial. I sent a personal note to each attendee in September 2016 to see how they were doing and to remind them I’m always available to help.
You never know where people will be in two, five or ten years. If you want them to think of you then take the bull by the horns and be the one to stay in touch. Earlier this year I wrote a post titled A Networking Story which detailed a chain of connections that led to friendship and ultimately business. I encourage you to read that post to get better a picture of how I view networking.
Let me end with this encouragement – when you meet interesting people don’t just exchange business cards. Think about post-suasion and take a more effective step by connecting on LinkedIn. It’s your opportunity to learn more about them, for them to learn more about you and to easily stay in touch.