“The key question to keep asking is are you spending your time on the right things? Because time is all you have.”
Remember how eight months ago we talked about creating a 2015 Networking Strategy? It’s okay, you can get back up off the floor. I feel the same. Just quietly, what happened to 2015??
And then at the end of financial year we gave you tips on how to do an EOFY Networking Audit?
Well, now it’s time for a spring clean of your networking strategy. The days are getting warmer and nature is buzzing back to life which means that summer is around the corner.
It also means that the last few months of the year are here culminating in the Everest of networking - the round of Christmas and end of year get-togethers.
Spring is a fantastic time to sit down as an individual or with your team and step through the networking plan you put together at the beginning of the year (and hopefully audited at the end of the financial year).
Set quiet time aside with yourself to step through it. Or call a meeting with the team, asking them to bring their networking plans with them. Tell them the objectives of the meeting and be clear that they are not to be interrupted. Give the networking plan meeting the same respect you would give a budget meeting or sales forecast.
Keep working on making sure networking is spoken of at the same level of importance that other parts of the business are.
Once everyone is in strategic mode, focused and without distractions, do this. Throw these ten questions up and see where they land.
What is working in my current strategy?
How can I build on that and do more of it?
What hasn’t been overly effective?
Is it time to cut my losses with what isn’t working or reconfigure my approach?
How am I tracking against the networking budget?
How can I maximise the last three months of the year?
Which individuals and businesses should I focus my immediate attention on?
Which events have I attended that have added huge value to my networking plan?
How can I get more involved in these events as a presenter, volunteer or organiser?
How is my networking strategy impacting my professional effectiveness, output and KPIs?
Start with those ten questions and be brutally honest with yourself. Consider how your strategy has been tracking since the beginning of the year and make any changes in direction you need to make before you blink and 2015 is over.
Or ask the team to chat through their own plans using these ten questions as a basis for discussion. Then ask them to present their revised networking strategies based on their findings.
Make it part of your business strategy activity the same way you would with financial reports, sales results and operational audits. The sooner individuals and organisations get proactive about networking at a strategic level, the faster they’ll see results.
Don’t get left behind.
If you would like some extra tips and a networking strategy to make the rest of 2015 even more successful, check out our 1 Day Networking Skills Workshop here.