New Year’s Resolution: Network To Build Relationships!

In 2015, we suggest looking at networking as a way to strengthen existing relationships, as well as build new ones.  Below are some tips to making your 2015 New Year’s Resolution strong throughout the entire year. However, like most resolutions, it does take a commitment!

We engage in the art of networking to develop personal and professional relationships, then share and refer opportunities in the hops for business growth. Some say that we must separate our business from personal lives. However, in networking, passing business cards around without follow-up is as useless as refusing to make a personal connection with a new referral or friend.

Social networkAs a PR Professional, I always say that you don’t need my services until you really need my services and then it’s usually a crisis situation. In saying this, it may be 6 months or it may be 14 months until you get the call for services. In many situations, someone you are networking with may never need your services. However, one of their friends and/or colleagues may at some point in the future. Therefore, you need to be top of mind and memorable when networking to earn that business.  

Let’s face it, you only have a limited time to network or build an acquaintance with someone at a networking event. Whether it’s a windshield repair shop, a locksmith service or a boutique PR shop, keeping your contacts readily available is important.   Your goals should be in building an effective database and always connect with that person on LinkedIn. If you haven’t built a report with that individual within the first few minute, you can always connect in a more meaningful way via following up with an email or following each other on social media (LinkedIn) where you can further spark conversation later.

The following are 8 TIPS to take into consideration when setting out to make networking a priority for 2015…

  • KEEP AN OPEN MIND: When you walk into a room, do so with an open mind. Bring your personality, interact with people, and make meaningful connections.
  • SPARK CONVERSATION: Spending time talking with someone one on one reveals the person behind his or her title. By devoting time speaking with someone one on one, mutual trust and confidence develops, as well as a desire to show empathy and support for each other’s networking goals.
  • DON’T OVERSELL: Stressing conversation versus selling tends to produce more results.
  • GET CONTACT INFORMATION: A lead that produces results is the ultimate goal in networking. Therefore, make sure you have a system to acquire their contact information, store that information for easy reference in the future and provides referrals if possible.
  • SPEND TIME WISELY: Understanding how much time to spend with someone at a potential networking event is tricky. Quality relationships evolve when synergies, personalities, and opportunities align. Therefore, spend more time with someone if those three qualities match up. However, don’t waste your time to meet new people. You can always follow-up with someone after a networking event.
  • SELECT A NETWORKING GROUP THAT WORKS FOR YOU: Yes, we’ve all been to those networking events where the organization forces you to provide referrals.   There are good fits for personalities and bad fits. Make your rounds and see what produces results for you. Try to step outside your comfort zone but insure you qualify your networking leads.
  • COMMIT TO FOLLOW-UP: Follow-up with a purpose is most important because it gives you a reason to contact the person you met. Finding a way to stay in touch is just as important. If I’m prospecting for new clients, I want to stay in front of that person at least once a month. Don’t over-kill by sending out meaningless spam. My goal would be to reach out at least once a month with via email with at least 2 personal contacts per year.
  • TRACK AND LOG INTERACTIONS: Remembering details of conversations or when conversations take place is challenging. Therefore, I suggest you use a CMS (Content Management System) where you can log all your interactions with your contacts.

Networking events are a great way to stay in touch with familiar faces, share successes, ideas and goals, as well as introduce your work identity to become top of mind in creating potential opportunities.

Networking conceptAs someone who has attended many networking events over the years, it is my advice that you have to truly identify and attend many networking events to identify which ones work best for your. Be diverse in the organizations you choose but also be mindful that some networking organizations are a drain, resulting in no business opportunities; just wasted time. Becoming overly involved in one group versus another could also paralyze your identity as tied to one organization over another. And, remember that attending every networking event an organization hosts is not necessary.

I hope the above tips have helped you to make the commitment to Network in 2015! This is a personal goal of mine. So, if you want to connect with me, please do so at!