Have you attended networking events with little or no plan? I have. Showing up at a networking event without a purpose isn’t much different than going into work with little or no idea what you’re going to do, is it? So, what is single purpose networking? I’m getting there, but let’s discuss what’s not working.

Too Much of a Good Thing isn’t Always Good

I’ve attended networking events with no plan and on the extreme other end with too many intentions. I wanted to meet so and so, promote my business, talk to vendors, look for potential clients, and more. So, how do you think that worked out? At least for me, it usually didn’t. Not being focused, my efforts were diluted and ineffective. I needed to concentrate on what was most important to me – not throw darts at a board and see what stuck.

Single Purpose Networking

So, here’s the idea. Rather than attempt to network without a plan or focus on mutiple needs, pick one. Focus on one reason for being at the event, with one purpose in mind.

Know Your Need

It begins by knowing your most critical need. What would be the best outcome for you at the networking event? Where do you and your business need the most help? What problems do you need to resolve?

Choose Who Can Help

Next, look at the attendee list and chose the person who is most likely to be able to help you. Choose one or two back-ups in case your first choice isn’t available.

Plan What to Say

Think about what you want to ask and how you will approach the person who might help. Write out your questions and role play what you want to ask. Also, consider what collateral material you might bring – brochures, business cards, one-pagers, or?

Understand How You Might Help Each Other

Not only think about what you need but also how you might help each other. How could you help them? What do you have to offer in return?

What’s Next?

The next step, follow-up, is easier than when you’ve attended events and gathered a dozen cards, half of which you have no idea who they’re from. You can focus on following up with one person.

Is it Time for Single Purpose Networking?

So, what do you think? Yes, I know there are holes in the plan and believe me if you’re like me and are attracted to the next shiny thing it’s hard to focus on one goal. However, I’ve successfully focused single-mindedly at an event, and you can too. Why not give it a try at your next networking get together? It might be time to be more single-minded.

I’d always considered myself an effective networker. I’m friendly, easy to talk to, and I’ve never met a stranger. However, none of that makes me a good networker – it makes me outgoing. If I wanted to be the most effective networker I could be, I needed a plan. That’s how my networking workbook, Help Networking started.

Photo by Club KLM on Trend Hype / CC BY-NC