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Posted on Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 6 a.m.

To avoid frustration, set networking goals that you have control over

By Greg Peters


Why should they try to jump over the bar you set?

Photo by Kriss Szkurlatowski

I'm a strong proponent of setting goals in your networking practice. Starting with simple goals for attending events, to larger ones about the levels you will reach on your networking scorecard, goals help us achieve the levels of networking activity that we need to accomplish what we desire in life.

There's one thing I am careful about with regard to these useful tools: I try to make sure that any goals I set are almost completely dependent on my actions, not the actions of others. Any time we try to break that guideline, we are setting ourselves up for a lot of frustration.

For example, setting the goal to receive four referrals each week is probably not the best way to go. How can you control whether someone has a referral for you? Maybe a better option would be a goal to ask for a referral once or twice a week.

A limiting goal might be to have five people call you for coffee over the next month. A better one would be for you to call five people to arrange a coffee.

Setting a goal to sign $100,000 in contracts might not lead you to happiness and contentment. Setting the goal to record your networking scorecard each night to make sure you are maintaining the networking levels that should lead to those contracts would probably be a more achievable one.

In general, to avoid frustration and the resulting abandonment of goal-setting, stay away from setting goals that depend on someone else's behavior. Really, the only one you can take responsibility for is yourself. Any improvements in your networking practice, therefore, have to come from setting the bar on your behavior.

Greg Peters, founder of The Reluctant Networker LLC, writes, speaks and coaches about good networking practice. For more tips that can help your connections count, go to



Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 5:07 p.m.

There are the usual hurdles to jump prior to finish line, so practice jumping the hurdles and soon you will reach the finish line. Causing self made stress is a defeating goal, and ending up with a real stressful achievement. Remember to practice jumping the hurdles.

Greg Peters

Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 3:33 a.m.

Hi, Joe I agree with your idea to practice jumping the hurdles. After all, as with any skill, networking improves with proper practice. In this article, though, I'm trying to focus on the idea of creating goals which are dependent on your actions for success and not someone else's. In the analogy you gave, this would be like my success in the race being dependent on how well someone *else* cleared the hurdles. Thanks for reading!