There’s no time as exciting as a brand new year for your business and career. Organizational changes are going into effect and the holidays are over. Students everywhere are heading back to start a new semester. I love the time off and then I love the chance to start fresh at work or school for a new year.
So are you ready to power up your networking in 7 steps? Let’s go:
- Assess your networking strengths and weaknesses. This first step is the hardest because you need to look at yourself and decide where you can improve. For me, I tend to be an “event” person and will go to everything. I find most of my business opportunities this way and I thrive on it, but perhaps I can be more selective and therefore more effective? That’s one of the things I am thinking about as I plan my upcoming year.
- Individuals you wish to meet. Are there certain people you wish to meet in 2014? I have my own list of people and I will meet each and every one of them. For example, I want to meet the people in a nearby city who run the new Innovation Center. Who’s on your list? If you work for a big company, don’t forget to put the co-workers that form your internal network on your list.
- Targeting markets, groups, industries, or referral channels. Think about the logical groups that you can naturally share business opportunities with. An interior designer will want to connect with realtors. A website designer will want to connect with a social media expert. Then decide if groups such as the Chamber of Commerce or other business networking organizations are worth exploring or joining. I have personally selected groups that are composed of other small businesses.
- Helping. Make a list of how you can help others. This is a very important list to make in the new year. How can you help others? Networking works when you have the attitude of helping others. Approaching it as a one way street always leads to failure. So what’s on your list? Can you write or edit? Everyone needs that assistance at some point. For me, I can help brainstorm a marketing or sales idea, introduce and connect people, or offer social media pointers. Make a list of whatever you can do to help others and be ready to offer your help to new people you may meet.
- Events. Picking the best events is the most fun task for someone like me. Now’s the time to look over the entire year and plan which events you should attend. What about being a sponsor or speaking? Who do you want to meet at each event? Personally, I can’t wait for Social Media week in New York. I will create a list of people that I want to meet with that week. In advance, I will either email or tweet out a coffee invitation. I know I need to prioritize my events to make the most of my time in 2014.
- Social media networking. January is a great month to assess your social media networking. How does this support your overall networking goals? Are you following and liking your friend’s business as well as the companies you want to sell to or work for? If not, it’s time to get started! Are you reaching out on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ to meet new people or help your friend build her business with retweets or likes?
- Activities to supercharge: What can you do to accelerate your networking and personal branding? Maybe it’s guest blogging or speaking. Perhaps you can take a more active role in your business networking groups? You may want to teach a class or make an e-introduction to connect two great contacts.
January is a great time to assess and readjust your overall networking plan. What else do you do this time of year to power up your networking?
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© Copyright 2014. Sandra Long. All rights reserved.