Unlocking the powers of networking

How setting daily goals can broaden your circles and boost your success

You’re a natural networker. You strike up conversations equally with executives or parents on the sidelines of the soccer field. You attend social and professional events, knowing that each event is filled with promise. Along the way you are thinking about how you can help others. You think about who you know that can help or what strategies they should try. Even if you were born with the gift to connect, you might be surprised there is more you can do when it comes to networking. What you need, though, is a plan.

Those who plan their networking goals find that they can broaden their circles. Yet surprisingly, few businesspeople – even the savvy ones – do this. The best way to get started? Take out a pen and paper and define your goals.

By defining your networking goals, you are taking a critical first step in building an effective association. Before you start identifying your goals, clarify what you need or want. Simply saying “I want more business” will never be enough. This takes research. Determine the industries you want to establish more relationships with. Figure out whom you need to meet. Then set up a realistic plan of what you will do to try to build these relationships – not only by attending various events but by putting in place a plan that will make networking and relationship-building part of your routine.

Setting a goal of daily networking may seem intimidating; it’s not. It all depends on how you view networking and how you approach making new connections. For those people who view networking as having to go to yet another networking function, doing this on a daily basis would be an unattainable goal — and also unpleasant. That’s not what daily networking is all about. What setting a plan for daily networking means is a plan to do something every day that is going to allow you to reach out to just one person with whom you might not have otherwise contacted. Maybe it’s a former co-worker from one of your first jobs who has risen in the ranks and is running their own successful company. 

Or maybe it’s the person at the last networking meeting whom you heard was looking for advice about fundraising and you can help. Whoever it is, and whatever it takes, stick to your daily networking plan, and you’ll see results from making one call, and re-connecting with just one person a day.

Six best tips for setting networking goals

1. Be specific in describing your goals. 

2. Lay out your goals into the short term, which is month-by-month.

3. Make your goals realistically attainable within the designated timeframe.

4. Set up a daily networking plan and set daily goals – making sure to connect with someone each day.

5. Make one of your goals to have fun while networking – treat each event as a fun party with interesting guests, taking the work out of networking. 

6. Review your goals monthly and adjust as necessary. Keep your goal sheet out where it’s visible.

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