When was the last time you put together an effective networking plan, you know meeting with someone once a week, or maybe even once a month? Oh you haven’t? Well that’s expected because many of us, non-sales folk aren’t very good at the whole networking game. I’m here today to make you better at it.
First, check out all of your LinkedIn connections, what are they currently doing, in what space, with who. Make a list of all of those people that you are 1st degree connections with and set up meetings with them over the next month. Prior to each meeting, peruse their connections to find out if they have any connections that would be beneficial for you to meet. Make it a point to move the conversation in that direction and ask for the intro.
Don’t just ask to network, network with a plan. Head into each meeting with a game plan. Are you just catching up? Looking for business? A future business partner? Football teams don’t just show up to the stadium and put the pads on, they take an entire week game planning for their opponent. While this isn’t football, nor an opponent, nor should you take the entire week to game plan for a 60 minute meeting (maybe that was just a bad analogy all around), you should at least take 30 minutes to prep yourself for the networking meeting.
Are you looking to meet people who you don’t know? Join a local Chamber of Commerce, Young Professionals, or any other local group that you can leverage to increase your network. You might have met Johnny Cupcakes in 1979 at a local WWII Club, but a business opportunity never presented itself until 2012…keep in touch with your entire network!
Next time you’re looking to network, remember this article and take it out before you head out to your local diner to meet Frank.