I recently took a four-week break from networking to evaluate my experiences and to come up with a new strategy. Being new to the game and trying to get my feet off the ground, meant I spent the first 90 days going to any and every event. In retrospect, this was not the most effective approach because I found myself burned out and reluctant to continue in that way. Although I was meeting great people, those individuals weren’t always open to the services I provide. I quickly discovered that networking without a defined strategy is draining.
After a few weeks of rest and relaxation, I was able to redefine my networking target and niche. My intention is to focus on partnering with companies that are interested in providing mindfulness in the workplace options for their employees. I decided to take it a level further by creating a list of three specific professions to focus my efforts on including human resource, accounting, and health care professionals.
Human Resource professionals from a health and wellness standpoint are the gate keepers to benefits programs offered to employees. Beyond that every year human resource departments gear up for annual enrollment. Annual enrollment is when employees are added to the insurance plan for the upcoming year, the process usually starts in the fall and ends after the new year. This timeframe is very intense for benefits department which means a mindfulness practice can decrease burnout and improve overall mood.
Accountants on the other hand gear up for year end followed by audit and tax season. For accountants, December through April tends to be a highly stressful time of the year t since all three activities tend to overlap and have competing deadlines. This is also the time when most accountants work late nights and weekends, a mindfulness practice can increase clarity, concentration, and alleviate tension.
Last but not least I want to focus on health care professionals who are constantly on the front line helping to ensure the well being of others. Health care professionals are tasked with making difficult decisions quickly. A mindfulness practice would be a great way to manage everyday challenges, increase resilience and improve coping skills associated with the health profession.
By deciding to use my knowledge of corporate departments and also tapping into the expertise of close friends who work in these environments I was able to create a better strategy. If you are currently seeking a networking strategy here are ten steps to consider in your plan.
- Evaluate your target market and niche
- Choose 3-5 areas to focus on
- Define what successful networking means for you
- Create a metrics to measure your progress
- Every quarter evaluate your strategy and adjust it as needed
- Get involved in the community by joining causes and associations you believe in
- Volunteer at events that tie into your interest and business
- Attend a lot of events to increase your confidence, practice your approach and study the crowd
- Have fun and be fun to be around
- Drop expectations and trust the process
These steps should get you off to a great start. As you find your footing, more opportunities that are in alignment with your higher goals will appear. Stay positive and stay the course.
Peace and Blessings