If one of your New Year’s Resolutions was to revitalize your networking strategy, let’s get started!
(If one of your New Year’s Resolutions did not address your networking strategy, it’s not too late to add one!)
To develop your networking strategy, let’s focus on the five W’s…
- The Who. As with most things, it’s important to know your audience. Are you networking with potential clients, referral partners, contractors, or looking for a new job? Knowing who you’re in front of will help to guide your “pitch” and get you in the right frame of mind.
- The What. Now that you know who you are talking to, the next step is to clearly define what you are talking about. Let’s say you’ve decided to focus on developing referral partners. To do so effectively you’ll need to know what holes you are looking to fill in your own business. For example, you may manage marketing projects, but need to bring in another company when your client is in need of website design.
- The Where. Consider where you are most comfortable networking and what makes sense in regards to getting in front of your “who” to discuss your “what.” There are many options for networking, including online forums or social or industry-specific events. I would suggest incorporating a variety of opportunities into your networking strategy.
- The When. Partially dictated by the “where,” the when is an important factor in your networking strategy. Arguably, there is a different feel to a breakfast time, industry-specific event, as opposed to an after work happy hour open to the public. In relation to your “what” defined above, consider what type of event makes the most sense for the feel, flow, and appropriateness of conversation.
- (and) The Why. Don’t forget your why!! Remember, your “what” is a step along the way of achieving your “why.” This could be found in your mission statement, a quarterly or annual business goal, or in a personal New Year’s resolution. In the midst of your daily tasks, don’t lose sight of the bigger picture.
For more information on networking and tips for best practices, check out some of my past blogs: