“Arise! Awake! and stop not until the goal is reached.”
~ Swami Vivekananda

As I’m writing this, the girls are experiencing their first week of school for the new year. While driving Abby to her first day of middle school (I know, where did the time go?), I asked her if she had everything. She said she did and she had even brought a book so she didn’t have to socialize during lunch.


Abby isn’t big on meeting new people, but I wanted to encourage her, so I said, “How about this? Can you meet one new person and learn their name?” She decided she could do that. At the end of the day, she proudly told me that she had met, not just one, but two new people! In fact, one of those she met was because of the book that she brought. I think for her “meet new people” is a bit too open-ended, but “Meet one person” is something she can wrap her head around.

Many people run into the same problem when they go to a networking event. It feels too big and open-ended. What helps is setting very specific goals. Then you know when you are done. So, what are some reasonable goals, easy or challenging?

  • Meet one person and learn their name. Hey, don’t mess with perfection.
  • Meet two people and learn their names. OK, you see the progression there. It’s only limited by the time available.
  • Meet x people, learn their name and what they do. Again, start with 1 and move up as you would like a more challenging goal.
  • Meet x people, learn their name, what they do, and some challenge they are facing in the near future. When you understand the difficulties they might be facing, you may be able to connect them to resources that will make you immediately part of their inner circle. It could also lead to the next goal…
  • Introduce two people. When you are to the point where you are asking about their challenges, why not connect them with someone else you know who might be able to help with them?
  • Check out this new event. With this last one, know exactly what you are looking for. Do you want to make sure a particular group is attending? Are you seeing how many new attendees are there? Are you checking to see if there is enough time to interact with your fellow attendees?

Having a specific goal to achieve will make your networking efforts more productive. You will know whether you were successful or not and can adjust your expectations accordingly.

Best of all, you don’t have to feel like it’s your first day of middle school.

What is your next networking opportunity and what goal are you going to set?

Image credit: Santeri Viinamäki, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons