This is 18 of 101 Conversations about how to meet more people, develop relationships, and grow your business with a thriving network. Learn how Kerstin’s genuine interest and excitement about other people leads to effortless networking.
Location: Lancaster, Lancashire
Her Business: Fluent Language
How we met: Via the Pioneer Nation Facebook group
One of Kerstin’s favorite phrases is “That’s so awesome!” – a phrase that pretty much sums up her networking skills.
Kerstin is genuinely interested in people. She wants to meet them, she wants to talk to them, and she wants to celebrate how truly awesome they are.
She comes by it honestly – Her parents have a wine making business and her mom remembers every customer. She knows what kind of dog they have and what kind of wine they like. Kerstin is very extroverted, and she loves meeting people. But she says that her mom talks even more than she does.
Before Pioneer Nation, Kerstin started a Twitter group to keep track of everyone. Now that the conference is over, she still keeps in touch with 30 or 40 people. During the conference, it was natural for her to walk around, and talk, and meet a lot of people.
Many people view Twitter, and social media in general, as something they should do for their business, but in talking to Kerstin, it was clear that being involved with other people on social media stems from her innate desire to connect.
Because Kerstin is so excited to meet people, and is genuinely interested in getting to know them, she is a natural networker.
When people tell her, “You can talk to people,” like it’s an unusual thing, it strikes her as strange. Can’t everyone talk to people?
When Kerstin meets new people, she:
- Tries to give compliments
- Gives encouragement to others
- Wants to find out something fantastic about the people she meets
- One she finds that awesome thing, she wants to clap and say, “Oh my god, you’re so awesome!”
She thinks everyone has value, whether it’s as a friend, or a resource to answer the occasional question.
She says that some people see networking as walking around and finding others who can be “useful” to them, and she can feel it when she meets someone who is doing that to her. Instead of self-promoting, she’d rather talk about random things and get to know people.
She is comfortable “looking like a fool,” making small talk, and staying on the surface. She doesn’t meet people with the intention of being vulnerable, and that keeps her from worrying about what people think of her. She’s not sharing her heart and soul with them, so why should she worry what they think?
Her approach is so different from my own, because I want to be vulnerable when I meet people. I have a hard time making small talk – I just want to get down to the core of what makes other people tick. But maybe it’s wiser to be a little choosy about with whom to be vulnerable, and with whom to just joke and talk about sports and the weather.
Kerstin makes a concerted effort to keep track of all of the people she meets, but it can be hard.
At Pioneer Nation, she made a concerted effort to catalog all of the business cards every night, and to remember each person, what they looked like, or where she saw them. What interests her in building her network is the follow-up. How do you stay in touch? How much follow up is too much?
- When you truly believe that other people are awesome, networking becomes natural and easy.
- I still think vulnerability is essential for building meaningful relationships, but starting out with small talk can release the pressure and fear about going out and meeting new people.
- There are many facets to building a network – choosing where to meet people, feeling comfortable talking to others, follow up, and more. Even though extroverts are very comfortable talking to people, they can struggle with other parts of the process, like follow up.
Kerstin wants to meet:
Language learners, language teachers and solopreneurs wanting to change the world with their project, wine lovers, Zumba enthusiasts, great bakers, foreigners, natives, old people, young people, nice people.
Kerstin can help you by:
Giving you a new perspective on your project, and being incredibly good at making things happen.
Do you want to connect with Kerstin? Email her here.
1 step you can take to grow your network today:
The next time you go to a networking event, go with the perspective that everyone there is awesome and valuable. Then make a concerted effort to find out why each person you speak to is truly awesome.
[…] to someone else’s story. When you discover why someone is truly awesome, you will find ways to connect with […]
[…] When you really care about other people and are genuinely interested in them, building a network becomes a pleasure. (I also noticed this in many other conversations, among others, the ones with Carrie Ure and Kerstin Hammes.) […]