Networking is a hot buzz word in all sorts of industries today, but rarely do individuals and organizations really bring a sense of purpose to how they network. Instead of networking randomly and haphazardly, why not attempt to create a framework for how your people should be interacting both inside and outside of your company? Start with these five, simple principles for networking, and work your way from there.
1.) Strategize – Your networking should have a sense of purpose, as with everything you do in the business world. Are you making key contacts just randomly as they come to you, or are you initiating connections with your business’ vision in mind? Everything should be done in light of your organization’s values and vision, and yet too often organizations thrash around blindly trying to figure out what should be done.
2.) Be Tactical – You need to be able to adapt. Whether your area of focus is simple project management or online document management, making changes to your networking strategy on a daily basis is key. Being a fluid organization that’s able to change strategies on the fly is paramount.
3.) Modernize – This is one of the most important principles we know. While many people still network using their old contacts notebook, modern collaboration software allows your company to sync up on how they connect with others. Using simple project management software like Basecamp or Microsoft Project to assign networking responsibilities across marketing and sales departments can help too.
4.) Think Long-term – Don’t build contacts just for today: build them for tomorrow. Moreover, build a process for creating and maintaining contacts throughout your company. While this task may be too much for something like Microsoft Project, use whatever software you’re willing to invest in to get everyone in your company on board with your long-term vision.
5.) Evaluate – Constantly reevaluating your processes and networking status is the much-neglected key to success. Businesses that feel their process for today will work five or six years from now will find themselves falling further and further behind their competition as the latter rides on a wave of technological changes to the forefront of the marketplace.
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