6 Tips 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. Without a plan, we all get busy, and suddenly, when we need it most, our network is outdated or scattered. 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 binge-watching your fave show, and meet people who want to help you propel your career. People want to help you and see you succeed.

Think about how you feel when you help others, whether it’s recommending a favorite restaurant or referring someone to your preferred service provider, like a financial advisor, lawyer, career coach, or other service.

2. Schedule 10 minutes each day to use social media. I say 10 minutes or you’ll end up down the internet rabbit hole. Determine what actions you’ll take online. Here are a few to try: 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 notifications and a friend has landed a new position or received an award, 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. Click here for ideas on which groups to join.

4. Set networking goals for yourself. For example, when attending a new group, set a goal to meet three new people. Three people who need to know about you based on your career or business goals. 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.

You’ve got to fuel your network to fire it up! Scheduling networking activities makes your network thrive. And regular contact with those in your network will help you achieve your career goals much faster.

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

Copyright 1998-2019 Wendy Terwelp | All rights reserved.

Wendy Terwelp, author of Rock Your Network®, writes, speaks, and coaches on career management, networking, social media, and personal branding. Need a speaker for your association, company or private coaching to rock your career? Let’s talk!

What’s that thing you do? ONE thing.

You’re at a networking event… meeting… conference… cocktail party… and it happens.

“So, what do you do?” the networker asks you.

“Um, well I’m a consultant / L&D pro / social media expert…” you say.

Slash happens. And I get it. You have a lot to offer and a lot of interests. When you’re at an event, all those slash titles can be hard for one person to take in. A more effective approach, decide how you wish to be known and communicate that one thing – not everything. It’s confusing to the listener.

What’s the one thing you wish to be known for and and your best, most relevant story, that demonstrates your expertise to the audience who needs to know about you?

When I coach my clients on effective networking, we work hard on creating a dynamic brand-driven sound bite that gets attention, without overwhelming the listener.

Picking one thing can be tough, but it’s important. As one of my client’s said, working through the exercise, “It’s like my whole career – skills, experience, knowledge is summed up in this one project. It just doesn’t feel right.”

That may be true, however, in networking, and asking your friends, etc. “who do they know, who…” it is important to be clear and focused. Sharing ONE story helps people get an idea of what you can do for someone. It also helps them easily share your story with their connections. And your network becomes your personal sales force.

Challenge: Create your sound bite. Be focused. Share a benefit-driven story that demonstrates your expertise. Tell how your network can help you best.

Want step-by-step help to network like a rock star? Check out my book, Rock Your Network® and rebuild your network in 5 minutes a day online or off.

© 2018 Wendy Terwelp | Wendy Terwelp speaks about social networking, F2F networking, personal branding, and career development. Want raving fans, referrals, and even happier, more engaged employees? Book her here: https://www.knocks.com/speaking/

 

Received referrals? Act fast!

George_Blomgren_med - picGuest Expert, George Blomgren,
MRA, The Management Association

When you are networking and receive additional names from your networking connections, treat those referrals like gold.

Here’s why: Let’s say I shared the names of a couple of trusted colleagues with you after meeting you for the first time. It’s important you follow up with those referrals quickly. Chances are good, I’ll reach out and let that person know you will be in touch.

If you wait to contact them, you lose the advantage and make yourself look bad. Plus, if you don’t follow up, and I reach out and find you haven’t acted, you dropped the ball. I invested some of my reputation in you by handing over a friend’s contact info, and now I regret it. Nothing good can come from that!

Should you reach out quickly and professionally the opposite happens: you look responsible and professional, plus everybody is impressed.

One more reason to act fast: A great salesman once told me that there’s always a temptation, after closing a big sale, to go home early and celebrate. He advised me to do the opposite. That’s the perfect time to keep making phone calls. You’re on top of the world and everyone can hear it in your voice. The same applies here. You just had a good networking meeting and landed a couple of fresh leads – strike while you’re feeling good!

George Blomgren is the  Director of Recruiting Solutions for MRA – The Management Association. George has 20+ years of talent acquisition (aka recruiting),  and operations experience. Prior to joining MRA, George ran the advertising and marketing department for a fast-growing network of local employment websites.

Networking 101 – Starting Conversations

“I know networking is really important, but how do I get the conversation started?” said an attendee at one of my presentations. In the words of Dale Carnegie, author of “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years trying to get people interested in you.”

Translation: Ask the new people you meet about themselves. When in a group or at a party, listen carefully to the conversation. See where you might be able to jump in. It may be something as simple as an exclamation, “You’re kidding me!” that gets the ball rolling.

I recommend preparing in advance of the event by setting networking goals and having 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 [event, conference, barbeque…]?
2) What one or two things would you like to take away from this event [conference, meeting, party…]?
3) What’s the coolest thing that’s happened to you all week?

NEVER ask: “Do you know anyone who’s hiring?” Or “Do you know anyone interested in buying [insert your product here]?”

If you’re at a business event, get a business card from the new contact and jot down some notes from the conversation. It can be as simple as, “Big Elvis fan.” That way, the next time you see the person or call the person, you can start the conversation with, “Hey, did you see the new 2-CD set that came out on Elvis? Has all the songs, plus a 32-page book. Cool.” Then, once they’ve exhausted their excitement of the big event, you can jump into the “real” conversation, “So, what’s going on at the office? Did they create that position we talked about at Bernadine’s Memorial Day party?”

Your goal is to create real and helpful connections, NOT close the deal on a job offer, nail the sale of your product or service or collect the most business cards in the room.

©2005 – 2012 | Wendy J. Terwelp | All rights reserved.

Wendy Terwelp advises and coaches clients in the art of networking, turning networking pain to career gain. What to fine-tune your networking efforts and have more confidence in any networking situation? Let’s talk! 

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.