A new year means new opportunities to improve your results. Follow the
tips in this month's newsletter and get better results from your
networking activities this year.
Networking Tips for the New Year
The New Year is well underway and your goals for this year are set. If they include professional development or business development, then networking is likely one of your action items. Here are some tips to help you improve your networking results this year:
1. Determine Your Objectives. Because “networking” is a constant part of our business to-do lists, it’s easy to lose focus on why we really do it. What are your objectives for networking? Better yet, how will you know when you achieve them? Whether you want to expand your contacts in a particular industry or to sell more to your target market, a clear objective will help you focus your time wisely.
2. Create a Plan. Using your objectives as a guide, identify the best strategies to grow your desired network. This is common sense, but not common practice. Many professionals have a plan that consists solely of “attend every event at the Chamber of Commerce” whether or not that helps them reach their targets. Be sure to include in-person meetings, social networking platforms, referral requests, and volunteer service in addition to traditional networking events.
3. Build on Your Strengths. There are always things that you could do better in your networking, but you might get better results if you identify your strengths and build on those. Are you good at connecting people? Do you find it easy to mingle with a group of strangers? Is it easy for you to remember names and faces? Whatever you do well, incorporate it into your networking plan and use those skills to propel you to better results.
4. Find Ways to Give More. In my “Networking for Success” workshop, I tell participants that “Networking is not about getting; it’s about giving.” Spend some time thinking about what you can give this year and to whom. Are there books you can recommend, articles you can share or advice you can give? Can you connect more people and help them network? In addition to asking yourself what you want to gain from networking, always ask yourself, “What can I give?”
5. Increase Your Preparation Time. How much time do you spend preparing before a networking opportunity? Double it. For events, research who has attended in the past and who is likely to attend the current event. Identify people you want to meet and prepare topics you can discuss in an engaging and interesting way. Before meeting with an individual, be clear on what their objectives are and review their personal and professional background so you can have a more fruitful conversation.
Use these tips to get your networking off to a great start. It’s easy to dramatically improve your results if you review your objectives, create a plan, build on your strengths, find ways to give more and spend more time preparing. You’ll find that your “luck” increases exponentially with each bit of preparation. Happy networking!
Twitter Tips on Networking
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© 2011 Chakisse Newton. All Rights Reserved.