The Importance Of Planning And Goal Setting In Networking

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The Importance Of Planning And Goal Setting In Networking

It’s January, which means it’s the time of new beginnings, resolutions and generally planning for a better 2018. But as well as deciding what you want in your personal life, and maybe even in your business life, have you looked at your networking strategy? Looking back on 2017, could you have got more out of your networking groups, or given more back in return? Many people who find networking ineffective for them only do so because they don’t have a goal, or a plan for achieving it, when they walk into a meeting. But networking is just like any other business activity – if you don’t have a plan  for it, you won’t get anywhere. In this month’s blog, we want to talk about goal setting and planning in networking

How Do You Plan For Networking?

Before you get into the detailed planning of the day. You need to set yourself a wider strategy. This involves looking at your business plan and your target market, and choosing the right events to go along to. What networks will be right for your business over the next year? Will they help you achieve your business goals, or will they just eat up your time? It may sound harsh, but time is precious, and if your networking isn’t bringing in results, then it might be time to move on. Look back over the previous year and see which groups delivered a good return on your time and monetary investment, and which didn’t. Of the ones that didn’t, did they fail because the room wasn’t right, or because you didn’t work hard enough with it? Did you neglect your follow up’s from referrals and one to ones, or maybe not send hot seaters when you were absent?

Another big part of the planning is in the preparation for each event. The day before your networking meeting, make sure you have everything you’re going to need. That’s business cards, flyers, any props or samples you might want to use or give out. Most groups will ask you to do a short presentation – around 40 seconds to a minute long. Rather than winging it on the day, prepare what you want to say in advance and write it down – even if it’s just bullet points. Also prepare a series of questions you can ask – things to break the ice and help you learn about the other people in the room. We’ve got a list of great ways to break the ice at networking events here, along with our top networking tips here. On the day, make sure you are clean, dressed properly and well groomed, so that you can make the best possible impression on the people there.

So What Are Your Goals?

Of course, it’s easy enough to say, but how do you decide on your goals for networking, and follow through on them? Our resident business coach and member of the Reading group, Jana Green, has this advice:

You cannot reach goals you don’t have. Success = having a goal.

The very first step towards any success, whether business, personal or networking, is to have a goal. People who master the art of goal setting become very successful because then they apply it continuously throughout their lives towards any activity. When you know your goal, you can work out back all the steps you need to take to achieve it. In business goal setting, focus on how much you want to make, what you want your business to look like and work out what you need to improve. There is a very good chance you need to improve your marketing, sales and money beliefs to do that.

In networking, remember that apart from the socialising, meeting new people and listening to other people’s experiences, your main goal is to find more business. Whether that is through people introducing you to connections who could help you achieve that or finding an actual client. So set yourself a goal of never leaving a networking meeting without making a step forward in your business.

You can find out more about what Jana has to say on her website

So take January as a time to look back over the last years networking and reflect. For some people, the success of networking isn’t just measured in revenue, but in partnerships built up or even in friendships. All of these outcomes are good, but only if they align with your business strategy. At 10-12, we are dedicated to bringing our members not only a chance to connect and network, but to learn and grow in a supportive, all female environment. To find out more about how we can help you grow your business in 2018, get in touch with us or book in as a visitor to one of our meetings.