Networking is all about building positive, supportive and useful professional relationships. If you want to expand your client base and grow great business partnerships, it’s the perfect solution. Most people acknowledge its power but few of us are naturals. Here are twelve tips for making the most of your networking opportunities in 2017.
1 – Setting good, solid, sensible goals
Why are you bothering with networking? Is it because you just thought it’d be a good idea to turn up and see what happens? That’s all very well, but it makes a lot more sense to actually think things through and make a plan. There’s no way to measure success if you haven’t set any goals. So ask yourself what your goals are. Then take things a step further and formalise them in writing. Once you’ve formalised your goals, you can plan how to achieve them – something that can’t happen unless you pin them down in the first place.
Make a document called ‘networking goals’. Make sure the goals you come up with are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. And when you get home from your networking event, sit down while everything is still fresh in your mind and figure out whether you’ve achieved any of them. Goals might include learning about sectors or businesses you think might dovetail with your own, making contacts with the aim of converting them to customers, focus on getting new leads from a few key businesses or simply meeting five new people.