I think most people like the idea of a network of contacts that go out of their way to help them succeed. This is evident by the sheer amount of people who write books, blogs and articles on the subject. Additionally there many, many professional business speakers (myself included) whose presentations cover sales, marketing, business development, self-improvement, and a variety of other corporate functions that also cover the importance of networking.
A strong network is an invaluable tool for individuals and companies who strive to uncover more opportunities (hello, this should be everyone!).
Solid business relationships do not happen by accident. An effort must be made to cultivate the connection and develop a mutually beneficial friendship. But it does not end there. The people in your network, even when they love and respect you, cannot assist your success unless they know what it is you want.
People, do not be shy. Tell others about your goals for the future. If they know what you want to accomplish they will have a better chance to send you opportunities. If you assume they know what you want, they might be off base in their assumptions or think you do not need their help.
The problem is that most of us want lots of things that are not clearly defined. When we try to express these desires they come off as squishy pipe dreams or loose ideas. Find the clarity of just a few goals and tell everyone the same story.
I suggest you define three goals in each of the following areas of your life: professional goals, personal goals, and soul goals.
While you might have more than three things that you want to achieve in each area, if your list is too long, the power will be lost. People are going to focus on helping you if the project is too large. Make it manageable for them and they will surprise you with their efforts to make a difference in your life. Most other people want to help others, they just don't know how.
Tell the people in your network how they can assist you!
Make sure that each goal is definable. In my role at vcfo if said I want to get us "more" appointments with "good" companies.... that would mean nothing to someone who might otherwise want to help me.
However if I said: "I want three new meetings each week in the month of November with CEOs or CFOs of businesses from any industry that have not ever used a part-time outsourced resource for operational accounting / finance, HR or recruiting. The reason for this is that many business leaders do not understand the benefits of our services, and meeting with these people can create win-win solutions that can help their business be more productive in this crazy economy. vcfo provides a team of dedicated and experienced professionals to ensure businesses perform optimally. As an essential member of the team, vcfo's highly skilled staff of virtual CFOs, Controllers, Staff Accountants, HR professionals and recruiters allow a company to achieve more of their goals" it would be more understandable. This is clear and it makes it easy for someone to identify whom they could introduce to me and for what purpose. It allows them to understand what assisting me can do for the person they connect with me.
A mistake that is made regularly is that people only consider goals around the new year. They tie them to making new year's resolutions (or they avoid such things). But you should always be fine tuning your goals and sharing them with others. Your goals will morph and change with time and as you achieve them. And you need not wait until the first of the year.
Create some goals now and tell others. Here I will do it:
1. (see above)
2. As I strive to expand my professional speaking career I am always looking for opportunities to speak at company meetings and conferences. My most popular presentation "Some Assembly Required: How to Make, Grow and Keep Your Business Relationships" goes beyond just networking and encourages and inspires people to embrace the power of business relationships. I would welcome introductions to sales managers, CEOs and law firm managers who want to make sure that their team has the right plan for getting involved in their business community.
I am currently booking presentations for the first quarter of 2009, and need to be introduced to meeting planners and others who hire speakers for corporate events. I speak regularly across the United States, but my goal for 2009 is to have the chance to speak internationally, specifically in Ireland.
People interested in finding our more about my speaking can contact me directly or talk with my agent. Word of mouth is the most important marketing tool for a speaker, so I appreciate the positive words of those who know me and whom have seen me speak. I would like to schedule six presentations in the first quarter of 2009, so now is the time to begin the discussions.
I gave over 30 professional presentations in 2008 and would like to grow that number to 50 in 2009.
3. One of my professional goals is always to find ways to assist others to achieve their goals. I want to connect people in my network when it is appropriate for both parties. Please tell me what you are trying to accomplish so that I can see if I can be that catalyst that creates an opportunity for others. Sometimes I can help, sometimes I cannot, but if you do not tell me what you want to achieve, I will have no idea where to begin. For me to succeed, I need to find ways to make others succeed. I know that not everyone who helps me with my goals will have a need where I hold the answer. Thus it is "karma" or "Pay It Forward". If we all reach out to make a difference for someone else, then what goes around comes around. I love to connect people and enjoy when I make a difference. Tell me about your biggest challenge that you face and what you need to beat that challenge.
I also have personal goals and soul goals, but those are not for blog publication. However, I will gladly share them with those who are interested.
Take the time to leave your goals on the comments section. One never know when someone might be able to help you. Share them somewhere!!!
Have A Great Day.