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ome people's strategy is limited to two points – come to the event and give out as many business cards as possible. In reality, this process is much more complicated, time-consuming, and requires constant attention. If you don't have a plan for nurturing your contacts, you're unlikely to have much success. Today, let's talk about what is involved in the networking strategy and what points should never be forgotten.
Why is it so crucial to have a strategy?
There is such a concept as Dunbar's number. British anthropologist Robin Dunbar initially proposed this definition, who used this number to determine the «human herd» size.
The scientist made his conclusion based on studies of almost 40 genera of primates. And it turned out that there is a mathematical relationship between the size of the herd and the neocortex (the central part of the cerebral cortex). It turned out that humans can qualitatively maintain contacts with 150 human beings.
You simply don't have the energy, time, or desire to communicate with more people. That's why it's crucial to prioritize the quality of each new contact and nurture it, create a plan, and make sure the bonds doesn't break down. For this reason, you must know what is involved in the networking strategy and follow a clear plan.
What is involved in the networking strategy: 5 crucial stages
Stage #1 Who should be your contacts
The main problem for many people is that they can't keep a balance and pick their network members correctly. More often than not, people focus either on personal social connections or professional ones. Because of this, a particular person's social circle is reduced solely to socializing with those who do not make their life whole.
Acquaintances, friends, and people of interest cannot contribute to career growth or professional development. At the same time, exclusively business connections do not always close our need for soulful communication. The professional network often consists of those who help in career building, mentor, and not cross personal boundaries.
So, what is involved in the networking strategy in this case? There is nothing complicated here. It would be best to be clear about who is part of your network and who is not. When you know which contacts to organize, the chaos disappears, and it's easier to set boundaries based on the type of contact.
Stage #2 Divide your contacts into groups in advance
This point is a further step in the instruction on what is involved in the networking strategy. To keep a balance, not mess up your networks, it is vital to divide people into groups. This way, you can use different relationship management techniques, for one thing. And for the second thing, you can focus on the quality of your connections.
In all cases, without exception, 10 people with whom you maintain a close connection will bring in more than 150 potentially profitable relationships. Weak contacts only waste your energy and don't provide the same opportunities as quality ones.
Sort all contacts into groups and subgroups first, making sure to mark the one with weak bonds. If you don't contact a person in that subgroup for more than 6-12 months, it's best to review their importance. When you forget about contact for such a long time, you can likely get rid of it for good.
Thanks to innovative technologies, you can keep in touch with more than 150 people. The main thing is to manage your connections properly.
Stage #3 Exchange contact information wisely
When your earnings don't depend directly on how many business cards you give out, you don't have to hand out contacts to everyone. It is one more important rule of what is involved in the networking strategy. For you, it will be easier to remember where you ran into the person, what they talked about, and under what circumstances the conversation took place. If you have to communicate with many people in business, managers, and other professionals, organize your communications properly.
Right now, the best tool for this purpose is a personal CRM. In it, you could organize a list of business contacts and interact with it appropriately. For example, you can set reminders for birthdays, reminders from time to time, congratulations on promotions, or other important events.
Stage #4 Don't forget to follow up
One should be reminded of follow-up actions to continue the theme of what is involved in the networking strategy. Everyone, without exception, likes to be remembered and worth their time. Even a simple message or comment will be a good follow-up move.
If you have no idea what to talk about with a new member of your network, read our blog article with 5 scripts for online and offline communication.
Stage #5 Always ask if there is anything you can do to help
Some people think it's hypocritical to offer help, give small gifts, or share information. In fact, it's not. When you do all of these things from your heart and with good intentions, it is not perceived as wrong by others. Most importantly, don't force yourself to do something you prefer not to do. Choose those people whom you truly want to help or to give some positive emotions.
What is involved in the networking strategy too? It is a sincere desire to share without any ulterior motives. Positive networking gives much more results than negative. That's why never hesitate to ask how you can help, and don't forget any of the above tips. Your personal and professional networking will show skyrocketing results.