If Nothing There, Catch and (Respectfully) Release
As anyone who has ever gone fishing knows, sometimes what you catch is the wrong kind of fish, too small, or otherwise undesirable. In that case, you throw the fish back in the water. . . hopefully without tearing its mouth out with the hook!
Even though we make a point of exploring every possible way to leverage a new connection, sometimes there’s just nothing there—no matter how hard we try to find it. We discussed earlier the importance of knowing the profile of your best prospects and seeking them out, as opposed to those whose role you will not be able to leverage. So what do you do when you apply your brilliant random encounter skills to connect with someone only to determine that person will be of absolutely no benefit to you? Of course you have the choice to continue the conversation if you want to. After all, this might be the beginning of a wonderful friendship—or even your future life partner.
But if you’re random connecting for professional or career purposes, and especially if there are other potential contacts nearby who could represent the opportunity for which you’ve waited a lifetime, you might be best served by bringing the first conversation to a polite conclusion and moving on to the next.
Whatever you’d said up to that point, or whatever your opening question might have been, you can with the same degree of enthusiasm simply let the person know it was a pleasure meeting him or her, that you learned ...