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. If you use Contactually, you can create a bucket per category and add the respective contacts. These are the people you want to start networking from. Nurture your relationship with them, and soon they will naturally introduce you to their peers, which will grow your network in that area. As your web gets larger and larger, make sure you maintain an overview. Contactually keeps track of your every interaction, even across different platforms, and reminds you to follow up at a frequency you can determine per bucket or contact.
Easy, right? To make the process even simple, Zvi created a worksheet, which you can download here. Print it out, get a pen and a cup of coffee and enjoy strategising your networking 2016!