Each holiday season, there is no end to the number of parties, receptions, get-togethers, and other opportunities to spread the good cheer. Some people enjoy this opportunity, and others loathe it. Even for those interested in networking, the "fake smiles" that seemingly must be worn at these events can become tiring. So what to do?
Before attending any event - at any time of the year - you can be far more productive if you consider what you are hoping to get from the event - and what you are going to add to it. If you don't set goals for yourself, then what you achieve through your attendance will either be opportunistic, or just plain lucky. Without goals, you shouldn't be surprised if you begin resenting the time you spend networking.
Some examples of networking goals:
- To meet three new people, and arrange for follow-up meetings.
- To meet a specific person to talk about a business issue in a more casual atmosphere.
- To learn about two specific contacts' current issues.
- To invite specific attendees to your own event.
- To introduce your invitee to 3-4 of the "regulars".
- To refresh your relationship with a former colleague.
- To bring gifts to several of your contacts.
- To determine the key issues that a specific contact is facing in the market.
- To make a speech or presentation to the group.
While get-togethers can be fun, networking-oriented get-togethers are really designed to help you professionally. Having your goals clearly in mind means that your time can be put to valuable use. And when you are done, you can determine whether the event was "successful" using the yardstick of your initial intentions.
This week's action item: Identify all of the social or networking events that you have been invited to over the next month. Then set goals for each, and add them directly to your calendar. Networking with intention lets you both enjoy yourself and achieve your goals.
Randall Craig is an expert on Career Development, Work-Life Balance, and Networking; to find out how his workshops, webinars, and keynotes can help your team or add to your event, contact him through www.PersonalBalanceSheet.com, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make It Happen Tipsheet
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Copyright © 2008 Knowledge to Action Press and Randall Craig. All rights reserved.
Publication Date: Dec 2, 2008
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