Tuesday, June 19, 2012

360° Networking

As a result of the Professionally Yours 90 Days ofNetworking, this post was born. Enjoy ©
360° Networking is a method of networking where the networker makes a point to connect and network with people from various parts of your network. The objective is to stay connected with new and old professional (and social!) circles.

Benefits of 360°Networking
360° Networking widens your reach by diversifying your contact base. This means:

·         More opportunities
·         More visibility, and a
·         More sustainable network

By breaking down your networking as will be described in this post, you can more easily customize your approach to each circle and contact type.

When to Start
The best time to implement a 360° Networking plan is at the beginning of your career. For entrepreneurs, your career starts before incorporation — it begins with the idea. If you know your vision and have your goals set, start networking. The next best time to implement a 360° Networking plan is NOW.  

Where to Begin
Deciding where to begin can be a challenge, whether you have many circles or think you only have a few. Start by compiling a list of people from your different circles. Understand that the names you write down need not all be people you see regularly. After all, part of networking is about meeting new people. Think about people from:

High school, college, local networking groups, your current job, your old job, sports (or other) teams, etc..
The above are your different circles. You may have more or less; it all depends on your life choices. Be smart when pulling names; first start with class officers, team captains, management, and other achievers.

Once you have your list of names sort them into close, associate, and rare contacts. A close contact is someone you communicate with on a weekly basis. An associate contact is someone you communicate with a few times a year. A rare contact is someone you communicate with one or fewer times a year.

A sample Excel layout to keep you organized!

Facebook is a powerful tool for finding old connections and covertly catching up with them before deciding whether or not you will move forward in trying to make a connection. The goal when initiating contact is to learn more about what said contact is doing, but more importantly, what they’re working towards. Determine if you share any common goals. Common goals are catalysts for opportunity.

Revisit your list often and keep it updated (with contact info if possible). Your goals for your networking plan will vary depending on your needs and point in your career, but a good standard is to make a minimum of one valuable connection every three months.

One last thing…
Remember that networking is a two way street. If you expect support, be prepared to give it!

What’s your networking approach? Leave us a comment below and share this article!

#ShesaBoss and #theGB blog

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