How to Create a Networking Plan that Works

Would you like to get more results when you network? Here’s how to create a networking plan that works:

1. Schedule a regular time each week to network. We all get busy, even when unemployed. (Those “honey-do” lists seem to grow.) By scheduling regular time in your calendar to network, it not only gets done, but you’ll feel more confident and comfortable in networking situations, avoid the hermit syndrome, and meet people who want to help you. Know that people want to help you and see you succeed.

2. Schedule 10 minutes each day to use social media, including providing status updates, relevant links that demonstrate your thought leadership, and quick emails to those who’ve updated their statuses with wins. For example, if you read your LinkedIn updates and a friend has landed a new position, send her a brief congratulatory note.

3. Determine which offline, in-person groups you will join and how often they meet. Take an active role in the organization, such serving as the chapter ambassador. This helps you meet more people and overcome some of the jitters of being in a new group.

4. Set networking goals for yourself. For example, when attending a new group, set a goal to meet three new people. Write this goal in your calendar where you’ve scheduled the meeting.

5. Prepare and rehearse your sound bite. Networking can take place any time, any where. Be prepared.

6. Update your network regularly with the action steps you’ve taken. If a friend referred you to a contact and you set up an informational interview, let your friend know that you made the connection and got results.

Make your job search your new full-time job. Scheduling networking activities will not only help you feel more productive, but help you land your next job much, much faster.

Want more networking tips? Check out Rock Your Network®, the book.

What to Say at Networking Events

Tongue-tied at networking events? Here are some tips to start a conversation.

Have at least three open-ended questions you can ask any person at the networking event.

Here are open-ended questions that encourage conversation:
1) What brings you to today’s meeting?
2) What one or two things would you like to take away from this event?
3) What’s the coolest thing that’s happened to you all week?

NEVER ask: “Do you know anyone who’s hiring?”

Your goal is to create real and helpful connections, NOT close the deal on a job offer or try to collect the most business cards in the room.

Want more networking tips? Read, “Rock Your Network®”