The Reluctant Networker: Preparing for networking in the new year
Photo by Daniela Sanchez
- What is your target market? What specific group of people are you trying to help? Which ones give you the most satisfaction? Which are the most profitable? You should give careful consideration before you decide to switch your target, but sometimes it just becomes apparent when you've discovered a new niche.
- What groups are you in? Make a list of the different networking groups you attend on a regular basis. For each, record why you wanted to be a part of it in the first place. Does that reason still hold? Will they help you connect with your target market? Be sure, though, that you aren't walking away from a group just because it hasn't paid off yet. Depending on your line of work, it can take months to years before a networking group will achieve the results you want.
- How do your materials look? Do you need to order more business cards? Is the information on them still correct? Is your brochure/website/Facebook page starting to look a little dated? Is it time for a new design?
- What events will you be attending this year? Most groups will have a calendar with at least their regularly scheduled events planned in advance. You should have those marked out on your personal calendar. Are there any blank spots you need to fill?
- How well has your level of networking met your goals? This is one reason that tracking your behavior is so vital. Now you can decide whether you need to ramp up or even slow things down a little.
- Are there any new skills you would like to acquire? Maybe you've heard about this Twitter thing and would like to see if it can help augment your existing networking behavior. Are there any classes in your area or online?
- What other networking behaviors should you add to your repertoire? Have you done any speaking lately? Presented any seminars? Written articles? Started a blog or newsletter? Have you created a board of advisors?
This is only a partial list of the various aspects of networking you can examine. Remember, keeping track of what you are doing only helps you if you use that information to make improvements.
So, what behaviors will you be changing in the upcoming year?