How often do we go to an event for business networking and have absolutely no plan for what we want to accomplish? Or, how often do we go to an event without any knowledge of why we are going or who's going to be there? If we network smarter and prepared, our businesses will be much better off this year than it was last year. So what's the plan?
Step 1. Take an inventory on who you already know. Next to each person list what he or she does. Circle the ones that will be beneficial to get better acquainted with this year. In a separate column, write down who you need to know. This can be by profession or if you have a certain person in mind that may be able to help you, write their name down.
Step 2. Put together an action plan on when and how you are going to approach these people. You must do this right away. Do it all at once. Don't try and do it as you get to it. Create the time and space today to make this happen.
Step 3. If you need to get out and meet some of the professionals that you need, start thinking about where to go. Professional orgranization are always a good place to go, chambers of commerce, connect groups, local professional clubs etc etc. It doesn't have to be a professional club. There are great networking opportunities within your alma mater, fraternity or sorority and religious organizations just to name a few. Don't limit yourself here. Do you know a great connector or networking? Call them if you are having trouble. Again, with this step schedule 2-3 months out and have a plan of action at each event. Make calls to figure out who will be there and what they are doing and then figure that into where you see synergy with your networking plan. The point is to be prepared.
With a specific game plan in mind every time you are networking, you will see an increase in results and business as you surround yourself with like-minded individuals. Put your networking plan together today. Any other great networking tips out there, I would love to hear them.