Column: Setting networking behavior goals should involve a look at the big picture
Photo by Flickr user laffy4k
We've talked about setting networking goals for attending events. You know, the ones where you decide beforehand that you are going to meet three new people and get their business cards or connect two other people with each other.
There are a few other networking goals you might want to consider.
- Daily/weekly behavior. Especially if you are using a scorecard, you might set yourself a goal for a certain number of points. If you aren't using a scorecard, maybe it's the number of emails or phone calls.
- Reconnections. We've all let people slip out of our professional lives. How much stronger could your network be if you set the goal to reconnect with one of these folks each week?
- Reading. There are tons of books, articles and blogs about networking out there. How much better would you be at the practice if you took even 15 minutes a day to read something in the area?
- Overall. Why are you networking? Are you growing your business? Making sales? Looking for a job? Looking for employees? Seeking contributions? These goals will inform where and when you will do your active networking.
No matter what goals you set remember one thing: When it comes time to do the actual networking, you will have to set aside your goals temporarily.
Until you bring value to others' lives, they aren't going to care what your goals are, nor are they going to go out of their way to help you. Even afterward, they still might not be willing or able to help. Ideally, that shouldn't matter as you are giving to give, not giving to gain. The latter process is "transactional networkingl" and will only lead to a weak network.
Take a few minutes now to decide on some networking goals for tomorrow. The relationships you build and the results you see will be so much the better for it.