Networking works. Or should I say that networking can work. We all know that it is time-consuming, often expensive and, occasionally, not at all productive.
Here are a few things that you should do in order to make your networking efforts more successful:
Have a goal. How many times have you attended a networking event and wandered around the room only to engage in just a few conversations before heading out the door. Or attended an event only to wind up spending the entire time talking to people that you already knew and walking away with nary a new contact or connection.
How can you ensure that this doesn’t happen? Before going to any event or meeting, take the time to investigate the group and the (potential) attendees. Is this the right place for you to go? Will it be worth your time? How many people would you like to meet? Do you expect to meet potential clients or referral sources? The more time you spend checking it out, the more beneficial your experience. If it doesn’t seem like it is the right place for you to network, don’t go. There are many other places to network.
You know this sorry story: You have scads of contacts, cards galore and all sorts of names in Outlook. Now, what to do with them? The truth is that if you don’t stay on the radar screen of your networking contacts, you will soon be “out of sight, out of mind.” Touch-point management is the key to getting a return on your networking time. How to stay on the grid?