OK, so you’ve finally seen the light. You realize that you’ve been so busy with your job that you’ve let your network fade away. Your social capital among fellow professionals has dwindled to near-bankruptcy. Now you’re resolved to reinvest.
So where do you begin? These days there are endless networking events. You could spend 24/7 cruising them all.
To answer that question, I turned to networking guru Patti DeNucci’s book, The Intentional Networker: Attracting Powerful Relationships, Referrals & Results in Business. Believe me, Patti feels your pain. And here is what she counsels:
“Be strategic and purposeful, but also be prepared to experiment. Be open to possibilities, try out several organizations and events and perhaps attend some events several times. You’ll eventually discover which events and organizations feel like the best fit for you.”
She goes even further, providing a useful series of questions that will help you map your networking strategy. Here’s an excerpt. Consult The Intentional Networker for the complete questionnaire:
Purpose: Does this group/event interest you? Is it a good fit for your purpose?
Attendees: Will this event be attended by the type and caliber of people you want to meet?
Organizer: Is the event hosted by a reputable person, team, or organization known for putting on high-quality, well-regarded, and well-attended events?
Program: Is the speaker/presenter someone you want to meet? Is the topic an area where you wish to broaden your knowledge or improve your skills?
Time/date/location: Does the event work with your schedule and routine? How will the time/date/location affect the type and caliber of attendees?
Time commitment: How many events can you realistically and sustainably attend per week/month? Which events and organizations are on your top priority list, and why?
Financial commitment: If the fee for the event is high, is it worth it? Is it truly an investment, not just a cost? If the event is free, how will that affect the type and caliber of attendees?
Volunteer commitment: If you volunteer for this organization, will you learn something you want to learn? Will you be able to work with people you want to befriend? Will you gain the kind of visibility you want to establish?