By Lydia Henry
Networking is a priceless ingredient that adds sustainability and growth to your business. Networking is a method of expanding your exposure and increasing your influence. Let’s explore ways to invest in networking with measurable results. A tactical plan is a timeline of activities.
- Create a strategic networking plan.
- Consider your bases: clients, vendors, colleagues, stakeholders and future relationships.
- Establish where you are today in your business and where you want to be.
- Define your goal – make it measurable: “I want to connect with 10 new contacts every week or 500 for the year.” The power in expanding your network by 500 is beyond measure.
Growing Your Network from Attending Conferences: Conferences are great for learning and meeting people who can help you grow your business. The CEO of Likeable Media, Carrie Kerpen. suggests in her Linkedin article, Best Networking at Conferences, the following contact strategies:
- Don’t attend every session – hang out in the lobby/common area during sessions to speak to folks who have stepped out and greet with “Hi, are you enjoying the conference? I’m Carrie.” Exchange cards, or better yet, ask for a cell number and establish a text relationship. It’s also a great time to set up a future meeting;plan to connect at the meet and greet socializer, establish a follow-up email purpose, or drinks at the bar if there is a common interest.
- Look beyond the conference speaker – instead of trying to get “one on one” access to the speaker standing in an endless line, email the speaker afterwards with a personal note about what you loved about their speech and how it was relevant to you (be specific so they know you were there). You can use the conference networking approach at any event with a large gathering. Explore meetups.com for local and regional listings of groups, typically at no cost, regularly meeting to network around common interests.
Goldmines for networking: The National Urban League Annual Conference,conference.iamempowered.com and The Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference cbcfinc.org, both held at the Convention Center in Washington, D.C., and The PowerNetworking Annual Conference – Frasernet, Inc. at the National Harbor, MD. powernetworkingconference.com.
The next article in the Marketing Series Part 3: Making Remarkable First Impressions.
Lydia Henry is the CEO of Vision Coach Dynamics, Coaching and Consulting; member of the US Ghana Chamber of Commerce – Chair of Women’s Initiatives; and a certified professional coach specializing in “leadership and business.” Her background includes successful careers with AT&T and Xerox Corp in corporate marketing and sales, an international business owner, a Philadelphia School District administrator and leadership consultant, a trainer and facilitator for non-profit, corporate and academic institutions, and advocate for women’s rights and advancement. Lydia is available for group coaching, event speaking engagements, and coaching for personal and professional development. www.visioncoachdynamics.com