Schedule Your Networking
Yes, I said it. Schedule your networking for the ENTIRE year. The only way for you get results from the organizations that you are a member of is to actually show and participate in their events. Paying the membership fees and not showing up is loco.
If you’re a member of your local chamber of commerce and they meet every third Thursday of the month, go ahead and block that time on your calendar now. Otherwise, you’ll think, oh I should go but I have a ton of things on my to do list or maybe someone is trying to schedule a meeting with you and if it’s not on your calendar, you’ll take a meeting at that time and will no longer even be available.
If you’re paying membership fees, the meetings are important. The meetings are what produce results, not the membership itself. It’s the time that you get to reconnect with other members. It’s a time when you can layer the relationship with them. If you’re lucky, you’ll even meet some cool new people. Either way, you don’t simply go if you have nothing else to do, going is your something to do!
Don’t overlook the non-traditional forms of networking. I love the holiday season because there lots of holiday parties. I love playing dress up and going to fancy parties. I just happen to be a girly girl like that. Even if I don’t get to dress up, I still like going to the parties.
There is a party for everything! Every organization I’m a member of has a holiday party. My book club had a holiday party. My running club had a holiday party. My gym had a holiday party. The non-profit that I’m a board member of had a holiday party. Do you see where I’m going with this? That’s a lot of sequins and champagne toasts. That’s also a lot of opportunities to layer relationships with some people that you may only know in passing. I mean, if you have time for a full conversation with folks at the gym, you aren’t working out hard enough. Holiday parties are a great time to get to know people on a much deeper level and find areas to actually connect.
As soon as the holiday party invitation is received – RSVP and put the event on your calendar.
The other reason I love holiday parties so much is that you get to meet the ‘real’ person. Everyone is a little more relaxed and you’re more likely to sit and talk about things that interest you instead of the usual corporate talk you find at traditional networking events. This is the time to really get to know the person behind the title. The most valuable connections in life and business are when you can do business with someone you really do like, trust and admire. Get to know the person behind the business.
You are much more likely to keep an appointment that is blocked on your calendar than not. Make it a priority. Block that time now and make that commitment to yourself and your business.
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