How to be a better networker starts with not making excuses and getting off your butt  I’m an organized blogger. Before I sit down to write, I have my topic, idea, and research completed. I’m prepared to write. For this post, I had my topic—networking, and one note, “Get off your butt.” I’d scratched out a more descriptive word and replaced it with butt.

With all I’ve written about networking, the presentations I’ve given, and the advice I’ve shared, I missed one major prerequisite to becoming a successful networker. And worse yet I’d fallen into the trap of ignoring this urgent part of the networking puzzle. I wasn’t networking often enough. COVID was my excuse but there where plenty of ways to network virtually that I wasn’t taking advantage of. I  needed to get off my butt.

How to Be a Better Networker

How Much Networking is Enough?

It depends. If someone is out of work, needs a position, and has the time, then the sky is the limit. For several years I committed to one networking opportunity per week. For most of us, the challenge is finding the time. Recently. I’ve allowed other things to interfere with my networking time. It was time for me to get up off of my butt, but (no pun intended) how and where would I find the time? Creating time to network may not be as difficult as most of us make it.

How to Find the Time

Most people waste hours of time every week that could be invested more effectively, like networking. Where does one find the time? Take a hard look, and you’ll find time spent unwisely.

  • Cut out binge watching. Not all of it, I mean, I have my shows, but there are times I search for something to binge, don’t you?
  • Work more efficiently. Plan your work and work your plan. Get your work done and find a Zoom  networking event (or an in person networking event if you’re comfortable). I’ve come in early and worked through lunch to get ahead so, I had time to network.
  • Get up early. There are early morning events, and if you can’t find one invite someone to meet up. I’ve had two Google Meeting one-on-ones this week. One with a friend who lives out of state and the other lives in South America. Get a good night’s sleep, set the alarm early, and network before you start your workday.
  • Meet up at lunch. You may have to create this, but why not invite a few business acquaintances to lunch once a month or a virtual coffee?
  • Cut out chores you hate. For example, if you can afford a house cleaning service, or have your groceries delivered, it can save you hours to use more effectively such as time to network.

The bottom line is, if you commit to networking, whether it’s one per week or once a month, you can make the time.

Redefine Networking Opportunity

Networking isn’t limited to organized networking events. Last week I sat in on four networking opportunities the least successful was an actual networking event. I met more people, and made more connections participating in a blogging Twitter chat than I did at the networking event. A networking opportunity can be a one-on-one meet for coffee as well as an event. Don’t limit your networking opportunities with definitions.

Practice Makes Perfect

It’s not only that you never know who you’ll meet or how you may help each other unless you participate, but the more you network, the more chance you have to tune up and improve your networking skills. The bottom line is that if you want to be a better networker you have to network. How often do you network? What’s worked for you?

How Can I Help You?

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.

I like to help people and organizations, but I have three criteria I consider before taking an assignment – I believe in what the organization stands for, I know I can help, and it looks like fun. If you have any questions, Contact Me. 

Does your business have a management training plan? Many organizations, large and small, use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program. Check it out.

Photo by Gabriel Benois on Unsplash