Make Networking Work For You- Create and Execute the Plan.

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You know what you want to do, you know who you are trying to reach and where they can be found. You have also figured out what you want to say and the best way for you to deliver the message. And now that you have all the parts it's time to put it all together. This is it; it's networking time!

Networking is a key ingredient for growing and sustaining your business, so yes it really is a big deal. But most of the hard work has already been done. There are two major components to painting a house- the prep work and the painting. The prep work (at least for me) is the hard part- once it comes time to paint you can actually begin to appreciate what you are doing. Think of creating the plan as putting up the last strips of tape- you're almost ready to begin painting.

In order to create a sound plan you want to match up the components so you can get the most from your efforts. For example, perhaps you decided you will be doing presentations and your target audience is young women between the ages of 25 and 35. If your topic is 'empowerment' you will need a vastly different venue than if your topic is 'breaking the glass ceiling'. Likewise, if your intent is to reach a large audience you will not be well served as a mere visitor at a gathering of 100-200 people. In other words, you have great ideas but they have to work together.

When creating your plan consider these factors:

  • time- how much do you have and how much will you need
  • practicality- does the combination of details make sense
  • experience- if others have been there/done that, learn from them
  • willingness- be willing to try, to change and to grow

… and above all do not be afraid to make mistakes.

Step up and step out. Networking is your creation so design it to work for you. There is no one-size fits all. Just because yours does not look like the other guys doesn't mean a thing. Blend your intent, venue, audience and message into an irresistibly powerful force and then let it be heard.

Next week, "Follow-Up".

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