Network With A Strategic Plan

Looks like some business organizations are returning to in-person meetings and networking events this year. Be ready for that change by committing to a thorough networking Plan for 2022. Network on purpose and for a purpose every time.

With businesses, failing to plan is planning to fail. It’s the same simple paradigm for networking like a pro instead of an amateur. And it all starts with the reason(s) why you’re networking. Whether you want to learn things to help you do your job better, look for a better job or grow your business, network with a Strategic Plan. Here’s how:

  • Define your specific networking objective(s). As a result of accomplishing them, what outcome(s) will result? A good objective is SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. Better to have three different very focused objectives than one all-purpose, vague or generic one.
  • The ‘what’ determines the ‘who’. Who do you need to meet and learn from to achieve each specific outcome? If you don’t know their names, what kinds of people – by function, position or industry – do you need to meet?

  •  The ‘who’ determines the ‘where’. For those people you already know, begin the information-gathering process by phone, e-mail or in person. For those you don’t know, where can you find them? What Platforms for networking exist where large numbers of these kinds of people are in the same place for a short period of time where networking is both encouraged and supported?
  •  Pick your Platforms wisely. You only have so much time to invest in networking, so make every event and every hour count. Professional Association and Chamber meetings, events or seminars can be time-efficient Platforms for networking. But, don’t choose such an event based only on your interest in the topic or organization. Choose it based on your interest in the people who are interested in the topic or organization.
  • If you already know some of the people you want to talk to, networking by phone can be very successful. It’s easier, faster and less fattening.
  •  Maximize your ROI and networking potential. Get there early and stay late. Most networking happens before or after the program anyway. Make it the most important thing you’ll do that day. You can make up the lost work time the day before or day after.

Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? That’s probably why they call it ‘net-WORK’. But, a Strategic Plan will significantly increase your chances of accomplishing your networking outcomes. The choice is up to you. So, best wishes for managing your 2022 Strategic Networking Plan.