Strategise your networking for 2016

Feel your need to become more strategic in your networking efforts? Relationship management system Contactually argues you should make networking strategy one of your New Year’s resolutions. In a recent webinar, CEO Zvi Band presented a powerful roadmap to strategise your relationships in 2016. This action plan is composed of three steps, each one driven by a question you want to ask yourself.   1) What are my goals? What is it you wish to achieve through networking this year? You probably have several goals, in different areas of your life. Write them all down, and then look at them: which ones have priority? Make sure you don’t choose more than two or three goals, as each one of them will involve a whole project. I recommend two: one in your career, one in your private life. Lastly, make sure the goals you set follow the SMART criteria.   2) What kind of people can get me there? Serendipity is extremely powerful in networking, but when it comes to achieving specific goals we need targeted measures. So let’s get analytical: what kind of people can help you attain that goal? Say you wish to double your business as a graphic designer for small-sized enterprises. The categories of people that will benefit you will be for instance your existing customers (who can refer you), other marketing and communications professionals (who can ask you to take care of design in multidisciplinary projects) and entrepreneurs (your potential clients).   3) Who do I already know from this category? Now, for every group you have identified list ten to twenty people you already know....

The high art of the follow up

So you’ve met an amazing person at a networking event, or even just at the tram stop. You connected with them on a deep level in just a few minutes, and you even exchanged business cards. Yet it will all be wasted time if you don’t follow up. But it will also be a missed opportunity if you don’t keep in touch the right way. So let’s discover the high art of the follow up through three simple techniques.   Add value Don’t just reach out for the sake of it – by just writing, for instance, “Hey, how’s it going?”. This way, you are basically saying “I’m here: entertain me”. We don’t want to sound needy, nor do we want to be needy in the first place! We are people who can add value to other people’s lives. So send your new contact an article or a book they could be interested in, invite them to an event you’re attending, or, my favourite, introduce them to your network. For details about these techniques, see our article “4 ways to add value to your network”.   Meet up Staying in touch virtually is inevitable nowadays, but it’s not enough. I would even argue that remote communication should be banned as the only connection means if you and your contact live in the same town! Would you dare to even try to compare reading a plain three-line email to exploring someone’s facial expression, body language and use of space, while sipping on your cappuccino on a sunny square? And, networking wise, interacting offline is not only more enjoyable, but also more effective, as...

3 time management ideas for offline networking

Little time, but don’t want to miss out on the amazing opportunities that offline networking offers? Here are three techniques for you to apply.   Combine gatherings Have three coffee invitations and just one hour to invest? Gather your three contacts around the same table. They don’t know each other? Even better! If they are as good networkers as you are, they will appreciate. Another scenario is you being invited to an event and your contact having time only that very evening. Bring them to the event with you! Just don’t forget to inform the host   Exploit known environments No time to attend networking events? Network in environments you frequent anyway: the supermarket, the tram stop, the gym, the café. These are places pretty much everyone goes to, so you’ll be able to find any kind of people there – including the ones you might share synergies with. And if you’re a good networker, you won’t be after too many commonalities anyway, as you find everyone interesting, and, as we stated in commandment 3, networking is simply your lifestyle.   Video call That one-hour live meeting would be decisive for your career, but it takes you thirty minutes to get into town and thirty to go back, and you only have one hour? Propose a video call. It’s not proper offline networking, I know, but it’s something between online and offline. Video and sound combined have an amazing power. And you can persuade your contact to have a further meeting by saying “Next time I’ll make it up for this last-minute change of plans, and coffee will be on me”.   Now get out (or on...