Volume 8 • Issue 3
Savvy business people know that technical expertise and a great work ethic alone cannot guarantee success in today’s complex global environment. It also requires knowing whom in your work community you need to tap into in order to extract important information, and which colleague or professional contact can enhance your understanding of a project or task. In short, developing great networking skills has become a critical component of your success.
Networking is about relationships and people, and creating meaningful connections that impact your life and your career. What does networking entail, and how can you personally prepare to be great at it? In my book, “Work Your Network, Making Impactful Business Connections”, I take a practical approach to building networking skills. By introducing the Five Steps of Networking and defining a Networking Style that works for you, my booklet guides you to create a workable action-oriented plan that helps you achieve your networking objectives.
Is your Networking Plan working for you? These days strengthening your personal brand should be a priority, and there’s no better way to do that than by making the right connections.
I hope the business networking tip in this newsletter helps your personal branding efforts as you journey through your career.
- What is Your Networking Plan These Days?
- Characteristics of an Effective Networking Plan
- How Can You Develop Your Networking Plan?
- Networking Secrets of Success
- About AIM Strategies®
With so many companies in transition, a networking plan is a necessity. Although your own professional situation may be stable, individuals with whom you had valuable work place relationships may have moved on. It’s time to work on the plan that you meant to do all year with this business networking tip.
A Networking plan can be defined as a list of networking activities (connecting with people and information) to lead to your goal.
What makes a networking plan effective? It’s . . .
• Systematic: Networking activities are listed and planned for – not just jotted down as vague ideas, so that you have a clear path you can follow.
• A balance of quantity and quality: An effective strategy enables you to meet large numbers of people and develop quality relationships.
• Fits your personal style: An effective strategy does not require you to spend a great deal of time with activities that make you uncomfortable; it takes advantage of your strengths.
• Aligns with your goals: You need to know that the steps you’re taking to reach your goals are the ones that will actually get you there! Eliminate what doesn’t “feel” right.
• Based on thorough preparation: Do your homework – by researching a career field or business idea before talking to people about it.
• Time sensitive: Give yourself specific timelines to accomplish certain activities.
To begin, consider the types of networks you already have, the specific networks within each type, and how you can make them even more effective. One business networking tip is if you belong to a professional association in Finance, consider volunteering on a committee to give yourself greater visibility. In addition, think of the types of networks you do not have now, but believe would be beneficial in the future.
Your Networking Plan Part A
|Networking Activities||Network Type||Priority|
|(Related to personal/professional growth)||(Personal/ Organizational/ Professional/Strategic)||(High/Medium/ Low)|
|Be more open to something I have never done, such as_____________________|
|Develop my ________________________________|
|Develop a more positive/ more confident outlook|
|Learn about ______________________________|
|Ask a friend / acquaintance for a contact in a field which interests me|
|Phone someone whose name was given to me|
|Contact someone I met at an in-house seminar|
|Contact _______________ from my last position|
|Have lunch with___________________|
|Talk with a manager in my new division|
|Find a role model / mentor outside the organization|
|Find a role model / mentor within the organization|
|Find someone to mentor|
|Find a confidant|
|Ask someone in my new division for the name of someone who taught them something,|
Your Networking Plan Part B
|Network Type||Necessary Steps||By When|
|(Personal/Organizational/Professional/ Strategic)||(Describe Networking Actions)|
By now, you understand how creating an appropriate networking strategy works to your professional advantage. After you develop an action plan to put into practice the concepts we have explored in this newsletter, be sure to hold yourself accountable for seeing each step through. With the business networking tips and techniques introduced here, you will become a power networker within your organization. Before long you will generate mutually productive work place relationships for you and your networking partners. The networks you create are an ongoing resource – or a web of support – that you will tap into, depending on the specific issue. Think of your network(s) as a continuous road to be traveled throughout your life.
I end this newsletter with letting you in one last business networking tip – the right attitude creates opportunities where you least expect them. By keeping your ‘people antenna’ up in all situations, professional and otherwise, you’ll increase your chances of impactful connections. The popular saying, ‘the most important thing you bring to your job is your attitude’ is true, and from my point of view could be extended: the most important thing you bring to your life is your attitude. Good luck with your networking plan, and I would love to hear your success stories. I look forward to your emails.
Enjoy the process!
AIM Strategies® Applied Innovative Management® is a results-driven Human Capital Consulting firm specializing in the areas of: Global Leadership Development, Co-located and Virtual Team Facilitation, Cross Cultural Communications, and Change Integration Services. To request information about AIM’s experiential learning methods (5D’s™ Consulting/Proprietary Training Methodology and ACT™ Coaching Process), please email firstname.lastname@example.org. In upcoming issues of this newsletter, we’ll update you on tips and techniques related to raising your innovative management IQ. We are confident that the solutions we develop fit your needs and culture. Please forward this newsletter to your colleagues and visit www.aim-strategies.com to learn more about how our services unlock the people potential of your organization!