Networking Tips for Non-BD People

Building a strong network is a practiced art and something that all successful business people do. Leaders are connectors, they help broker relationships and make time to help others, even when their is no personal benefit.

While the value is obvious, getting started is often the hardest part, especially if schmoozing and networking do not come naturally. There is a saying that it takes 30 days to develop a new habit so here are some practical things you can do to develop a habit of growing your network. Anyone can do these and it takes some effort and the payoff is substantial.

  • Make a list of twenty people you can meet in person. It has to be twenty. More than that is too many and less than that is not going to create momentum. If helpful, scroll through your inbox, calendar or LinkedIn for people you have lost touch with.

  • Email five of these people per week, let them know you were thinking about them and wanted to catch up and offer to meet them at a location convenient for them (their office, coffee shop near their house etc.).

  • Over 30 days you want to meet at least 6 – 8 people and have another 2 – 4 meetings in the works. Set a goal to have 10 meetings, or more.

  • Identify 10 people in your network outside the area. People you cannot meet in person because of location. Email them to say hello, see how they are doing and tell them, briefly, what you are up to now. A great way to reconnect is to forward an article or blog post they may find interesting or useful. Find an excuse to reconnect.

  • Find two local industry events – get them on the calendar and go. If it helps, find someone to go with you. Meet at least 3 people. Three people. Each event. Three.

  • Go through your calendar for the next two months. If you have any plans to be in another city or some distance from your office, email someone you know in that city and arrange to meet them. Reach out to a former colleague or client, friend of a friend, someone a friend can introduce you to or even a prospect you want to meet even though they do not have any ner term work for you.

  • Orangize a coffee or happy hour to take place after the first 30 days and invite at least 15 people. Send an electronic invite to give it a more official but still casual feel.

At the end of the 30 days, you will develop some good habits and feel momentum. Making time to meet new people for coffee, emailing an old contact or hosting a small get together every few months are all useful and great ways to keep your network fresh and growing.

This is a practiced art and requires time but it pays to have it as a habit.

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