This article originally appeared on AllBusiness.
Shaking hands at a networking event doesn’t always give you the outcome you’re after. But doing something fun and out of the box is guaranteed to make a lasting impression.
That’s why we asked six entrepreneurs from FounderSociety the following question:
Q. What’s an unconventional networking tip entrepreneurs haven’t already tried before?
1. Send a Handwritten Note
It’s so rare to receive a handwritten letter in the mail. I’ve found it makes a huge impact to send a thank-you note to important people who have taken the time to meet with me. —Lisa Curtis, Kuli Kuli
2. Write a Blog Post
Since my company works with predominantly food companies, we often feature [in a blog post] a handful of food companies from the attended event. While at the event, we interview the founder or director of marketing, exchange business cards, and follow up with an email. By making their company look good in the post, it builds positive rapport for when you pitch for business. —Ariel Sultan, Food Guru
3. Create Interactions in Everyday Places
Going to a networking event is sometimes a bit overwhelming and overflowing with people who have an objective for the evening. So, I try to work out of a coffee shop, hotel bar, bookstore, etc. for a day or two a week. This way, I’m more likely to meet individuals in a relaxed mindset where we can learn and help one another, have a more genuine conversation, and get work done at the same time! —Jessica Baker, Aligned Signs
4. Aim to Be Friends
I see a lot of entrepreneurs approach networking as some sort of objective-based thing. But it doesn’t need to be. There’s no reason you can’t treat especially valuable business relationships as friendships. Send people an article you know they’ll be interested in, congratulate them on a milestone or anniversary—pursue something beyond a by-the-the-books partnership. —Steven Buchwald, The E2 Visa Lawyer
5. Send a Birthday Gift
One of the top unconventional tips I abide by is sending birthday gifts. When I meet a new person who I’d like to remain in contact with, I typically ask them when their birthday is. Then I send them a gift so they’ll keep me in mind. —Ajmal Saleem, Suprex Learning
6. Show Your True Colors
When you attempt to build your network in a meaningful way, you want people to see you for who you really are. Cut to the chase and throw a party for yourself. Be professional; don’t hide your objective in invitations. Invite your targets (and seat fillers), pay for drinks, and make it a point to get up and give a speech. —Chuck Pettid, RainmakeMe
FounderSociety is an invitation-only organization comprised of ambitious startup founders and business owners.