Networking Rituals

Networking rituals don’t have to be this complex.

According to the online Mirriam-Webster dictionary, one of the definitions of the word “ritual” is “an act or series of acts regularly repeated in a set precise manner”. Could employing some networking rituals make us more effective at developing good relationships?

Maybe.

People employ rituals in all aspects of their lives. Some have a practical intent: Pilots have a ritual preparation before each flight. The practical application is to make sure that the aircraft is safe and will successfully arrive at the chosen destination. Others are primarily to prepare a person psychologically for some upcoming event. Think of the athletes who turn their socks inside out before the big game. It probably doesn’t change their physical ability to play, but it may play a big role in how they approach the game mentally.

The best networking rituals will do a little of both. For example, the night before an event you could select and lay out the clothes that you’ll wear to the Chamber lunch. Mentally, it can help get you focusing on what you hope to achieve and how you will behave to accomplish those goals. It also has the practical application of letting you know if you need to do a quick load of laundry.

What materials will you need for an event? Your business cards? A name tag? Perhaps a pen and notebook. How about your calendar? It’s hard to schedule a later telephone call or coffee if you don’t have your calendar handy. When you have it all assembled, perhaps you could lay it out in a particular pattern or put it in your briefcase in a particular configuration. If you always use the same pattern, it will become much more apparent when you might be missing something.

Rituals don’t have to be limited to preparing for a networking event. You could also use them when you return to your office. What if you had a set ritual to follow with the cards you received at the event. Wouldn’t it be far less likely that you would forget to make the connection later? How about a ritual to prepare for your calls and emails for the day? You could review yesterday’s efforts, total your networking scorecard, and consult your tickler file to select your contacts for the day. Until you actually complete that ritual, you aren’t ready to start making any calls, emails, coffees, or events.

If you think about it, for networking, a ritual is just a system of doing things in a consistent and precise manner. The more you adhere to such systems, the easier is to improve them and thereby improve your results: — creating a powerful and empowering network of contacts and friends who want to help you succeed in business and in your personal life.

Photo credit: Flickr user jimg944

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About Greg Peters

Greg Peters, president and founder of The Reluctant Networker, LLC, is a business networking specialist. He works with trade associations on both the local and national level to create a culture of better connections and greater opportunity. Find out more at www.TheReluctantNetworker.com or gpeters@thereluctantnetworker.com.

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