Another Entrepreneurship Project of the  Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University

Save Time and Make Valuable Connections by Networking Stategically

There’s never enough hours in a day. It’s probably a phrase you’ve heard (and said) many times over the course of your professional career—whether you’re an entrepreneur starting a new business or you’re working for someone else. Regardless of who you are and what you do, networking and making new (and strategic) connections is extremely important.

FriendsLewis Howes is author of LinkedWorking (418 Press, 2009) who shares tips about how to manage to find time to network—no matter how busy you are. His number one key to success? Leverage.

Network with like-minded people: Identify people who share the same goals and who have the same work ethic as you. There’s not enough time to sit down with every single person you meet. Instead, concentrate on asking for recommendations from your current network. You can also branch out to your alumni groups or local networking groups who share your industry interests.

Schedule in time to network: Adding a specific task to your calendar will help you to accomplish it. Be sure to identify networking events that you want to attend, and put them in your schedule. If there are no networking events lined up for that week, add in a ‘networking’ hour into a day during the work week. Use that time to pick up the phone and call a contact you’ve been meaning to check in with, sending out a personal card, or tagging a client/contact in social media about their area of expertise (and how it’s helped you!)

Never eat alone: Borrowing this tip from the title of a popular networking book, it’s no secret that everyone needs to eat. Get away from your desk and invite a contact to lunch. Have a goal in mind when you set the meeting. This will help you choose your lunch partner strategically (and will help you to move towards achieving the goal when you meet up).

Host a Google Hangout: Instead of sending a content-laden e-mail with tips (that could easily be ignored), try hosting a Google Hangout and connect personally with your network. You can connect with individuals no matter where they are, and easily build relationships and answer questions.

Give positive feedback and ideas: Try giving feedback in your area of expertise to a few key contacts. You don’t have to give away the farm, but learning a bit about what they do (and some ideas that you have to help them to reach their goals). Offering a few small tidbits could lead to gaining some valuable (and paying) clients.

How do you find time to network between meetings, family, friends, and your limited schedule? What helps you stay focused?

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Thanks for reading, and until next time… stay WISE!

Photo credit: iStock


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