Gearing Up

Networking Goal for 2018: 272 people

Current number of people in my network: 137

Up from last post: +1

Two weeks ago, I sat down and figured out that I had 136 people in my current network. These were people I already had enough of a relationship with that they would answer my call or return my e-mail. I want another 136 of those.

Just like you, building relationships is not my full-time job. I have a business to run and a family that was felled by the fairly nasty cold that’s been going around (although not, mercifully, the flu. We all had our shots this year.) The big difference this challenge offered me is that it’s made me say “Yes” to events I might otherwise have bagged. It’s made me show up.

And that alone is already making a difference. So here’s my take-away from this week: show up for something. Anything. Party, group lunch, seminar at a local community college, networking event, happy hour. Keep expectations low: have one good conversation with someone you don’t know well. Break the seal. 

Here’s my update on the last two weeks:

What did I do right?

– I went to five networking events (a combination of classes, volunteering, and, yes, one cocktail party)

– I reached out to 10 people already in my network to help them, touch base, or have coffee with an eye to seeing how we can work together.

What has come out of it so far?

– One new connection. (Remember, my definition is that the person would now take my call.)

– I’ve been approached (at the cocktail party!) about a new paying gig. It’s not real yet, but we’re looking at what’s possible.

– A colleague and I came up with a fun project to do together that will help others and lift both our profiles.

What do I need to do better?

Communication. I’ve started going through my e-mails and cleaning up my communication. Inbox zero isn’t just productive, it’s good for your relationships. When you’re not overwhelmed by a full inbox, you can reply quickly and fully as things come in. I am still way behind on this, but I am committed to getting to inbox zero, personally and professionally, this week.

In the spirit of communication, my goal for the next two weeks is to contact every single person currently in my network, find out what they’re up to, tell them about one of my projects, and see where it might be possible for us to do something together this year. Engage with possibility; that is the mindset.

And get to inbox zero; I know from experience that will make a big difference for me. 

Happy networking!

— Laura