Purpose Driven Networking

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I have been networking for many years.  I also often speak on networking to companies and organizations across the country.

When it comes to purpose driven topics, first there was Rick Warren’s incredibly successful book called Purpose Driven Life which is one of the bestselling books of all time. The book advocates that we are all here for a purpose and there is a reason for our life’s journey.

This fall, purpose-driven marketing was all the rage at the ANA meetings.  Marketers talked about a return to the basics of intensely engaging customers and creating a culture of giving back.

So what is purpose driven networking?

A good networking friend of mine, Andy Berry gave me a book this week called Networking is a Contact Sport by Joe Sweeney.   It outlines how staying connected and serving others will help you grow your business, expand your influence or even land your next job.

Sounds like the pay it forward philosophy of Laguna Niguel Connectors which has been practicing that philosophy since its first meeting about 2 years ago with 23 people.  Now there are over 2000 networkers in that group. Simple starts can lead generate expediential results.

My theme of one of my first CD’s was how to get more by asking for less and doing more for others.

I had a networking meeting at a Starbucks with a master networker this week. New to the game because he recently ran a large division of a multinational company for the last decade but a quick study in his new world.  He talked about networking with a purpose.  For him it was a metrics driven approach focused on his target list of companies.  He would drill down into the organization through his contacts and other networking introductions and qualify if the organization was an opportunity for him.  If they weren’t they were off his list and he moves on to others.  Methodical and purpose driven networking.

Makes great sense to me to have a metrics focused purpose driven approach.  Too often I think people in transition network with somebody just for the sake of networking or the slim hope that it will lead to something when it isn’t a qualified person.  In sales, the individuals who achieve the most focus only on qualified leads and aren’t really into serendipity.

In the coming year I think that more of a purpose driven, metrics and objectives based approach to your networking could generate rewards for many. Most of us have been on Linkedin for years now.  Will connecting with a stranger on the other side of the world really help get you that job or that next gig?  Is Tweeting to twits going to do much?

So what does Purpose Driven Networking mean to me?  I have always said that you need to have objectives for your networking plan.

Don’t go to strangers but mine your past this year. Spend more time this year reconnecting with people you have worked with recently and have known in the past. These don’t have to be recent connections. Besides my current connections, I reconnect with people all the time who I haven’t talked to in years.  Intensify the frequency of connecting with them to rekindle that spark of those relationships.  The ember of your relationships will already be glowing.

Focus on the “Chosen Few” of the top 25 or 50 people who have impacted your career or your life or offer the most opportunity for you in the coming year.  When I work with agencies and firms on New Business Development I always tell them that they must focus their outreach on a target list of companies they would be a great fit for and then pursue those prospects with great vigor and passion.

So who are the people in the past few years who have been the best connectors for you, the best mentors, the best sources of leads, and the optimum source of future New Business?  Focus on them.

So here is to a little bit more purpose in our networking activity in the coming year

To contact Hank to speak to your company or organization send him an e mail at hank@hankblank.com or Tweet @hankblank You can download Hank’s Networking CD’s by visiting his site at www.hankblank.com

 

Why Holiday Time is Great Networking Time.

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I have been networking for many years.  I also speak on networking to companies and organizations across the country.

This week somebody told me that things will be shutting during the Holidays and nothing will get done.  Maybe in their world but not in mine.  I don’t think that most people are looking for things to shut down.

I think that the holidays are a great time for networking, taking steps to find your next opportunity, meet new people and be out there.

I have always felt that the key to a successful 1st Quarter is an aggressive 4th Quarter.  When other people go into Holiday mode I go into work mode. Thinking that the Holiday mode is time for the passive mode is a passé mode especially if you are in transition or own your own business.

The holiday period offers a full networking dance card.  There are lots of events out there. You will find that your calendar can be quickly filled.

Different people come out at Holiday events.  The Holiday season seems to attract people you don’t often see during the year.  Often Senior Level people come out during the Holidays to show the flag so to speak.

Holiday events are also social events so they are more informal and allow for one on one dialogue versus sitting down at a table and listening to a speaker. You can cover more ground, meet more people and make more contacts.

Let’s face it.  Many people aren’t social butterflies and one on one dialogue with strangers is not their strong suite.  As Holiday events are social events, significant others often attend.  Spouses can often provide relationship building touch points and follow up opportunities that you might not be skilled at.  These are the times to be working all the advantages that you can.

Holiday times offer opportunities for special follow up that you might not regularly implement as part of your networking strategy and I’m not talking about send a follow up resume to the CEO that you met.  Maybe it is a Holiday card or a personal note requesting a follow up Starbucks meeting.  Maybe you will find that the Holiday spirit of graciousness may generate different results this time of year.  All tactics are worth a try in these times.

The Holiday Season is also a great time to be grateful and focus on the people and customs that really make life important.  That can be tough in tough times.  If you have good vision you will see the people who need more help.  It’s not only the people holding up the Looking for Work and Need Food signs outside the exits to my Vons and Home Depot stores, it’s deeper than that.

So get out there this Holiday Season and let’s see what the New Year will bring.

To contact Hank to speak to your company or organization send him an e mail at hank@hankblank.com or Tweet @hankblank You can download Hank’s Guide to Holiday Networking CD’s by visiting his site at www.hankblank.com