Networking gapI just sent out my bi-weekly e-newsletter.  This is the first one I’ve sent out in about five months.  Things kind of lapsed about the end of September last year.  Between travel with my family and my business getting completely out of control, I just let an issue or two slip.  OK, maybe it was more like ten issues.

This underscores a challenge with networking.  The best networkers have made networking a consistent and regular practice.  Every day they take time out to make their connections.  Networking is no longer just something they do.  It has become a part of their life.

In trying to emulate this behavior, though, we discover that every once in a while life throws us a curve.  Maybe we catch a cold.  Maybe we go on vacation.  Maybe our networking pays off to such a degree that we temporarily don’t have time to network.

I’m here to tell you that this is the most dangerous time for your success as a networker.  These gaps break up your consistent behavior and before you know it, you’ve allowed your networking practice to lapse for weeks, then months, then years.  The challenge is that networking has a certain momentum to it.  If you miss a day, or maybe even a week, you won’t see any immediate downturn in your results.  Just like eating one cheeseburger isn’t going to destroy your health.

The long-term results of skipping longer and longer periods of time, though, are that you will eventually see your network begin to evaporate.

If you would like to avoid that, then I have one bit of advice.

Never miss your networking.

Even if you just make a single call or send one email.  If you just post an update on Facebook or read the updates message from LinkedIn.  Do something.  Record it in your networking log (you do maintain a log, don’t you?).  Never miss a day.  Make the practice not just something that you do, but an integral part of who you are.

That’s the way to become a truly great networker.  One day at a time.