I often walk and take pictures (IG: #walkphotography); however, this past Monday I also picked up a business card when walking my dog, Oliver. We took our normal route and Oliver was very happy trotting along as I enjoyed one of the Claim the Stage, public speaking podcasts by Angela Lussier when Oliver starting wagging his tail and showing interest in speaking to a neighbor who was mowing his lawn.
I usually try to keep him moving along but as we passed him, Oliver turned back showing his enthusiasm for seeing him so the man stopped mowing the lawn to come over to see him.
We started to chat about dogs (of course), where I lived in the development, and then he asked me if I went to a college close by. He recognized me as my sister because she went to the college at which he has been teaching as an adjunct in the accounting department. Small world! Through the conversation, I came to find out that he runs a tax accounting business on the side and, what do you know, I am on the hunt for a business accountant! So I took the opportunity to ask him questions about his business, my business’ needs in terms of taxes and he gave me his card. Additionally, he asked about my sister and told me to tell her that he said hello.
So why do I share this encounter with you? You never know when or where a helpful conversation will unfold. You can connect with someone about something so neutral and, if you are open to what that person has to offer, you could forge a connection. Sometimes this connection pays off in the immediate future (possibly find an accountant you’ve been looking for) and other times in the distant future (my sister could reconnect with him and discover other career options within the accounting profession through his experience and network).
Nevertheless, the joy of networking is in its serendipity. Embrace the people you run into on the subway, at a coffee shop, in your own neighborhood and see how being open to possibilities will bring!
What actions will I have taken post business card retrieval?
- Sent my sister a picture of his business card so she can be in touch with her former professor. Clearly she made a good impression on him in that class and when I spoke to her about my chance encounter with him, she recalled really enjoying his forensic accounting class.
- Emailed him within 24 (ideal) to 48 hours (acceptable) of meeting him (i.e. no later than Wednesday), thanking him for his time and sharing that it was a pleasure to meet him and chat about everything from dogs to business.
- Visited his website and learned more about his background on LinkedIn. Why not, right? It’s a great resource and is not only a way to fact-check but also to build on this in-person connection. Chances are, I will see him again as he walks his dog in the park behind my house and regardless of whether or not we do business together, I’d like to keep him in my network.