Let’s say, you have joined a formal networking group or decided to network in your company and meet new people. What are the next steps? How can you build viable networks and grow professionally and socially? How can you cultivate great relationships? How can you stay consistent in your networking endeavors?
Listed below are a few methods for achieving momentum and long term stability in your networking pursuits.
See the End Goal
Many times we create goals but do not consider the length of time, resources and energy required to carry out these goals. Being focused, having a plan and staying devoted to tasks are critical in building networks. How do you want your network to look in 6-months? 1yr? or 2yrs? Who are you willing to reach out to and build quality relations? What obstacles could cause for challenges? Take time to forecast and think ahead about how you plan for success.
See the Opportunities
Once you have met someone at a meeting, event or through an introduction, quickly follow up. Show a sincerity in wanting to connect and build relationships. Agree to follow up and keep the momentum going. Take time to brainstorm ways of working together, building each others networks and offering support. Do not drop the ball. Create calendar reminders to check in and reconnect.
See the Obstacles
As mentioned in the article, define obstacles that could hinder your progress. Obstacles include but are not limited to: demands at work, shift in career or professional goals, inability to attend networking events on a regular basis, limited activity with online networking, responsibilities with school, family, etc. Create ways to overcome these obstacles and reach out to friends and colleagues for support, advice and guidance.
See the Benefits
Similar to opportunities, you should list the benefits of having a great network. Benefits include but are not limited to: better communication skills, access to more opportunities, professional or business development, achievement in leadership, more community involvement, etc. Outlining these benefits can be a motivation to stay on course in your endeavors.