So, you go to networking functions here and there, but do you know why you’re doing it beyond to meet new contacts?

A plan is important!

Perhaps your conscience told you it would be a smart career move to begin attending networking events, but did you just jump in without thinking it through and developing a plan? If you answered, “yes,” it’s not too late to take a step back and focus your goals.

The Self-Interview

Ask yourself some of the below questions and, before you know it, your plan may just come into focus…

  • Where am I willing to travel?
  • What kind of networking events am I comfortable attending?
  • Who am I looking to meet?
  • How often do I want to commit to functions?
  • What information do I want to gain from my new connections?
  • What can I give back to those I meet?

Be Honest with Yourself

When asking yourself the above questions, if you’re honest, you’ll be making the most of your plan and you will be more likely to execute it. Don’t say you plan on attending weekly events if you know your schedule is tight and monthly meetings are more realistic. Don’t sign up for evening socials if your nights are busy at home and a lunchtime appointment suits your lifestyle a bit better.

As you block off time for networking when building your schedule, you’ll want to not only budget for events, but for follow-ups with new contacts, too.

Consider Others

Remember that networking is a two-way street: you should go in with a goal, and part of that goal should be to become a resource for others. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. You’ll need to be able to follow through on promises you make to your new contacts, so starting small and working your way up to adding more events as you go is a smart approach.

Once you’ve developed a strong network, know that there will be others you will meet that will just be beginning their networking journey. Be kind and share the knowledge you’ve gained and consider mentoring newcomers, too!

Happy Networking!