The gatherings and events put on by the different organizations you belong to are the bread and butter of the networking process. Going to the Chamber lunch or the local Business Leader after hours is a great way to make the initial contacts that will eventually lead to a stronger network. So, how many did you attend last month?
More importantly, how many will you attend next month?
This is where that calendar thing comes in. Personally, I like my Google Calendar for its flexibility and the fact that it ties in directly with my cell phone. You choose whatever works best for you, whether it be your day planner, PDA, or wall calendar that you received from your insurance agent. Go pull that out right now. You’ll also want to grab the event schedules for all of the groups to which you belong.
Now, transfer all of the event information from the schedules over to the calendar. This is where the electronic ones tend to shine. It’s a lot easier to add a repeated event to Google calendar than to anything on paper.
After you’ve transferred the events, try to look at the next month as a whole. Start asking questions. Do I have enough events? Too many? Are there gaps that will need to be filled or is it OK to have gaps? How many one-to-one’s with new people do I want to have each week? Will I be able to meet enough new people? If I do want to fill the gaps, what sort of groups should I consider? Where does my target market congregate?
The answers to these questions will be different for each person. For some, they need to attend four events a week and meet enough new people to generate ten new one-to-ones for the same time period. For others, one or two events per month is more than sufficient to get the two new contacts they need in their network. Keeping track of your behavior and its results will be the information you need the next time you sit down to plan with calendar in hand.