It’s here, the day everyone makes resolutions.
Whether they make them public or not, nearly everyone at least thinks about things they could be doing better in the coming year. Why should networking be any different? Surely you would like to make more connections in 2020. Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Make sure you are prepared
Do you have business cards and a nametag? Is your elevator pitch current? I keep extra cards and a nametag in my car so I’m always ready.
2. Set a goal to visit at least one group a week
Try several different ones if you are new to networking or getting back into networking. In addition to having different times and locations, you’ll find that each group has its own culture and may be more or less beneficial to different industries. Set an achievable schedule for yourself to attend a variety of groups.
If you have already visited several and have decided what works best for you, make plans to attend regularly. That doesn’t mean you have to be there every time they meet, but whatever you CAN do, just make it consistent for you.
3. Up your followup
Maybe getting to networking is something you are already doing consistently. Great! What are you doing to make it worth your time? Set a goal to schedule a number of one-on-one meetings from each networking event. Schedule time to sit down and write emails to those with whom you’d like to further connect.
4. Be patient
Networking is a skill, and it takes time to master any craft. It definitely takes time to build trust and relationships, so don’t expect overnight results.
The key to keeping your networking goals, as with any resolution, is to set realistic expectations for yourself. Good luck, and we hope to see you out networking this year!
Rachel is a graphic and web designer who helps small businesses and non-profits improve their marketing efforts. She owes a major part of the success of her design business to local networking, both through the people she has met and the principles she has learned.