A few months ago I attended a networking event here in my area. I wasn't sure who the speaker would be because it was a last minute decision to attend. Shortly after arriving, I discovered the speaker was the same speaker from another networking event. Honestly, I thought about leaving because I already knew what her presentation would be. Instead, I stayed in the hope that the presenter was present something different. Guess what? It was the same presentation. More noise. I felt like I wasted a good two hours of my day. Don't get me wrong, I did network a bit while I was at the event, and yes I left with a handful of business cards that would join the other stake of business cards I already had.
Networking With Intention
I decided that I had to change the way I network. I had to cut out all the noise in networking and start networking with intention. If I was going to invest hours of my time to network, then I'm going to have to make some changes. I no longer attend monthly networking events and spent time sitting listening to another presentation. Instead I other attend lunch and learns that have a topic that peaks my interest or referral connections that have been introduced to me. It’s been about two months since I adapted to intentional networking. I’ve had a couple of coffee chats. No selling, no I can do this or that. Nope. Instead, we talked about life as a business owner, mistakes we've made along the way, our strengths, our weaknesses, and the work, life, balance. Wow, I discovered that not alone in this quest for more intentional networking.
Keeping It All Together
I created a spreadsheet to document details about each coffee chat. I do this because from time to time I’m asked if I know anyone that can do this or that. My notes come in handy. Just document the detail in whatever way it works for you.
One Step at a Time
Building a networking relationship takes time, and I have found that intentional networking works best for me. I ’m going to keep working on it. I’d like to know how you network. Share it in the comments.
Note: Thank you to Virpi Oinonen who has created the custom cartoons use in this article! You can connect with Virpi at BusinessIllustrator.com. Her work is AMAZING!