Being a CEO, a business owner, or a busy executive, you really don’t have time to take an extra breath — let alone invest your time in networking activities.
You know you need to be doing it, but you just can’t seem to generate enough effort to go out and hit it — and hit it well.
However, there are ways you can network for just two hours a week; and get a great result. I like to refer to it as Strategic Connecting … ‘networking’ per se is too one-dimensional and lacks a strategic approach in the decision-making process.
Yes, you can spend just two hours per week to strategically connect and achieve what could take someone months to achieve if they are just ‘networking’.
- Your objectives. This is the most important part of connecting. You must spend the first week or two planning who you want to meet, what industry you want to build a profile in and the outcomes you want. Then create a list of events you need to attend and people you need to meet.
- Plan ahead. Step 2 is to allocate each week to an activity based on your list. First, hit the events you need to attend (aim for 2 per month) then follow that with coffee catch ups (30mins each x 4) and finally online connecting via social media and emails.
- Events. When attending an event, don’t waste your time. Get there early, know who is in the room (either by finding out previously or looking at the registration desk). Learn about other people (don’t spend the whole time talking about yourself). Don’t drink too much. Try not to eat, as a simple crumb on your lip could ruin your night. Leave early (in other words don’t hang around at the end).
- Meetings. When wanting to reach out to people for meetings, make sure you respect their time and let them know what you need/want from them and what you can give in return. This is business and everything is transactional, so be honest and upfront. Keep meetings between 10mins to 30mins (unless of course it is a very important lunch or dinner meeting).
- Online connecting. On the weeks you aren’t at functions or at meetings, take the opportunity to connect online. This includes email follow-ups, connecting on LinkedIn and Twitter, and engaging with people without having to see them in person.
If you follow the above formula you could be coming across up to 100 targeted people per month. Multiply that by 12 months a years and … Well, you can do the math.