Many professionals are getting a jump start on 2014 by starting their planning now, in December. Professional development, income growth, and a renewed sense of purpose are all part of a strong start to what could be one of the most important years in your career. As you are setting your priorities, you may have missed an often overlooked component – how will you get and stay connected?
Here are a couple of goals to incorporate into your “Connecting Plan” – These will lead to priceless opportunities in 2014!
- Why to Connect – Don’t gather a stack of business cards and then start sending them blind LinkedIn requests; you’re definitely missing the mark if you do. You will be much more successful if you send a personal message reminding them where you met and why you have made a requested to connect. Focus on building relationships and being helpful to others according to Arden Clise in “How to overcome your fear of networking”.
- Quality, Not Quantity – Networking isn’t a numbers game. “People don’t want to do business with a card thruster,” says Shel Horowitz, marketing consultant in John Rossheim’s “10 Tips to Improve the Quality of Your Networking.” Set a goal of one or two key people that you want to connect with for each event. Then follow up with an offer of a meeting to explore how you can create a mutually beneficial partnership.
- Leverage – Connecting isn’t necessarily about a new relationship. It could be a relationship that just needs to be strengthened and nurtured. People do business with those they trust and like, why not work with someone that you already know? Go through your current contacts and schedule a lunch meeting to touch base with a client, colleague or mentor and let them know that you’re interested in strengthening your connection.
- Keep in Touch – Consider using tools to remind you to reach out to those you’ve connected with. It can be as simple as setting a quarterly appointment in your calendar. Hand written notes, cards, and telephone calls are more personal than connecting through just social media.
Here is to your success in 2014.
Are we connected on LinkedIn? If not let’s connect!