If you struggle with networking and putting yourself out there, don’t worry.
A networking plan can help with this.
And you’re not alone.
Networking can be uncomfortable in spaces where people are different from you.
But I’d be lying to you if I said networking wasn’t important.
A 2016 survey says that 85% of all jobs are found through networking.
Having a networking plan is the first step to mastering networking.
Let’s talk about networking plans and how you can create one.
What is a Networking Plan?
A networking plan is a series of strategic steps you take to grow your professional network.
The goal of a networking plan is to offer clear step-by-step actions to help you achieve your career goals.
A networking plan typically includes — networking goals, an assessment of your current professional contacts, and a list of those you wish to add to your network.
5 Steps To Create a Networking Plan
Now that you know what a networking plan is, let’s talk about how to create one.
Follow these five steps to create your networking action plan.
Step 1. Understand who’s in your network
Think about the most important people in your current network.
This can be friends, family, co-workers, mentors, or sponsors.
Now think of the quality of each of these relationships.
If you reached out after not speaking to this person in a year, would it be
Or would you quickly pick up from where you left off?
Quality is more important than quantity when it comes to your network.
Step 2. Assess your Network
Now you should have a clear idea of who’s in your network.
The next step is to take a closer look at your connections.
You can learn a lot from evaluating your network.
You can find out who’s missing from your connections.
And where your community needs improvement.
For example, if you’re job searching outside your company.
Everyone in your contacts shouldn’t be a co-worker at your current job.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
What are my career goals?
How can the people listed in my network help me achieve them?
What value can I bring to the people listed in my network?
What value can my network offer me?
Is my network well-rounded?
Is there anyone missing from my network that can stand in the way of my goals?
Step 3. Create your network wish list
You may realize you have work to do after reviewing your network.
Make a list of people you’d like to get to know.
Don’t be afraid to think big.
This can be people already in your network that you want to
get to know better.
Or someone you don’t know well but admire — like an influencer in your industry.
The key here is to think win-win.
How can you add value to those on your wish list?
And what value can they bring to you?
Step 4. Set networking goals
Now it’s time to hold yourself accountable.
Creating networking goals will help you track your progress.
Set detailed goals for each relationship you want to build.
What are some networking goals?
Networking goals can include becoming more confident with putting yourself out there.
Growing your number of connections, or building rapport with others.
Networking goals are unique to you and your professional goals.
Use this formula to create your networking goals
1) Within the next month, I will… (Describe what you will accomplish)
So that… (Describe the benefit of this to your career goals)
Signs of my progress will include… (What evidence will prove you’re heading in the right direction)
2) The networking activities I will take to meet my goals include… (Describe what you’ll do to grow your network)
There are many steps you can take to grow your network.
Creating business cards, going to networking events, attending conferences are things you can do to get started.
Your networking goals should help you reach your career development goals.
Step 5. Take Action
Now let’s recap.
By now, you understand who’s in your network.
You’ve accessed your network. And know what’s working and what’s not.
You’ve created a wish list of people you want to get to know.
And you’ve set detailed networking goals.
The final step is to take action.
None of these steps will matter unless you’re willing to put yourself out there.
Here’s what you can do to get started with networking
1. Reach out to those on your networking wish list
2. Follow up if you don’t get a response
3. Commit to attending one networking event per month
4. Be consistent and persistent
You’ve got this!
A networking plan can help you level up your community and contacts.
Hopefully, this gives you confidence and steps to network like a pro.
If you’re serious about upgrading your professional network, consider enrolling in our Master Networking course.
It coaches you step-by-step through the process of networking with confidence.
You’ll learn simple yet powerful strategies and mindset exercises.
You’ll put yourself, your brand or business, out there like never before. Learn more here!
Now it’s your turn
Which step are you applying today to level up your network?
Head over to our comments section on social @netwerkmovement and let us know!
And share this with someone who needs it.