When we seek to build influential rapport in any community we must know the players of that community. A relationship with those that hold power and esteem in the community need to be developed.
Know the players and you can structure your interaction with them accordingly for the best possible outcome.
Knowing the influential people in your community is the key to positioning yourself as a “shaker and a mover” (i.e. someone that can be trusted, with insight and integrity to get a job done) within that community.
Knowing the people in your community works both ways. They get to know you as you get to know them. This can be a tremendous benefit since your visibility may encourage them to reach out you for certain community projects or input. This is your goal. Position yourself as a community leader – or at least as a community “wise man”.
Simply by knowing people is not often enough to maintain contact and interaction with them. You
have to build a community data base. A community data base is simply a written list of influential community people with an area to include certain informational data to assist you in building a more intimate rapport with them.
The journal should include their name, where they work, their position, and any personal information that will assist you in developing a deeper relationship.
This journal should also include the time and date of each meeting and what was discussed. This will help you develop a time line whereby you can measure the depth and continuity of your rapport. Most importantly you should notate your impressions as to their religious and philosophical worldview. Once you know how they think you can craft a plan to educate them in the principles of God’s Law and how to apply them to the culture.
Most community leaders have had their pictures taken for the local newspaper, or for social media. When you build your journal may want to post their picture next to their name so that when you see them in the market place or during a community even you can recognize them and address them by name.
You can also do this with non- community leaders. These photos can usually be accessed through their Face Book Page or some form of social media.
So often I am approached by someone in the grocery store that is familiar by face but I cannot place from where I know them. There is no context, which puts me at a disadvantage and I have to “fake it”. There’re familiar to me and I know I know them since they obviously know me, but I am at a loss since I have no reliable data to draw from. This is especially important with those in the communities who are influential but are less visible. Sometimes they are the ones who get things done – i.e. the town and county secretaries, court clerks, bank managers, store managers, town managers, city and town city workers, and of course the clergy.
Start building your data base. For those of you who like to write things down, go out and purchase a note book or journal. Buy something ascetically pleasing. If you purchase an ugly notebook you may hesitate to use it. Get something you like and will use. Keep it in your car or in your briefcase, backpack, or glove box. This will keep it handy after making an important contact that you’d like to add to your data sheet. For those of you who are more “Techy” keep you smart phone ready to add your notes so that when you are at your laptop or PC you can log the info there.
This makes posting pictures in the log easier since it is only a matter of cut and paste and you do not have to print and glue the photo into your journal.
Purchase personal business cards.
This can simply be a card with your name, contact info and a title if it is applicable. Make it a habit to liberally give away your card. By offering your contact info you are telling people that you are open to a call. It says I am offering myself to be involving in the community. By giving others your card you also encourage others to give you their card. This is the beginning of a relationship. As superficial as it may seem you never know how it may develop. That is how you begin your intelligence gathering.
Now go and make some acquaintances. Build some influential relationships.