Are you stuck in an unfruitful networking cycle? Attend a networking event. Exchange information with a bunch of people. Gain a bunch of social media followers. Never connect with those followers. Feel like something is missing. Sign up for another networking event… and the cycle starts over. Imagine how different this would look and feel if you set goals before attending the event.
To make the most of networking events and the relationships you form, set goals for your time there. This may seem simple, but creating a few clear goals will ensure you’re spending time and energy in the right conversations and presentations.
Prior to the event, write out three goals you hope to accomplish. You may find it helpful to have the agenda at hand so you can align your goals with specific speakers, workshops, or other attendees.
Make your goals clear and specific. A few ideas for goals to get you started:
- The type of connections you want to make
- Specific people you’d like to speak with and the topic to cover
- Skills or topics you want to learn more about
- Questions you’d like to find the answers to
- How you want to feel during and after the event
A word of caution – be wary of quantifiable goals such as “get business cards from 10 potential customers.” These types of goals may taint the development of authentic relationships and also may create the impression of “collecting leads.” Instead, focus on creating genuine connections with people based on mutually beneficial needs/wants.
Finally, keep the list with you at the event as a reminder of your goals. You can even check them off as you go!
Armed with your list of goals, it’s time to network better. Check out this post for tips to level up your networking skills.