2016: Resolve to Grow Your Network

Each year, roughly one in three Americans resolve to better themselves in some way. A much smaller percentage of people actually make good on those resolutions. While about 75% of people stick to their goals for at least a week, less than half (46%) are still on target six months later, a 2002 study found.

It’s hard to keep up the enthusiasm months after you’ve popped the cork, but it is possible. This year, just follow these simple steps to help build a great network for you and your organization.  Before you know it, you will be celebrating your successes for 2016.

1. Kindle your current network.

Reach out to the people you already know. Send emails or handwritten cards to everyone in your network. Wish them a happy New Year. Make your notes personal, and setup coffee dates to just say hi.  This is a great way to reinforce the relationships you’ve already built.

2. Use social media.

Social media is a great way to build your network, and while I am always blown away when people say they are not on XYZ network, it happens all of the time.  Even if you don’t want to share all of your personal details online, you can use social media networks to research companies and form relationships with other professionals.  Make it a point to post relevant messages about your organization, and comment on people’s pages that you want to meet or build a business relationship with.  Social media is a great way to reinforce face to face meetings, and to meet new people.

3. Attend a networking event.

Leave your comfort zone.  Find your local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, or other networking organization and get out there.  I recommend that you select a specific networking event/group, and try to attend it monthly. I have found that when you attend the same type of meeting regularly it will help you get over the awkward first encounter.  You will also very rapidly begin to learn about those who also attend that event, and you will likely end up doing business with them.  Networking really does work if you work it.

4. Always say thank you.

I am a big fan of the thank you.  I recommend that you thank anybody and everybody with whom you interact. It sounds unnecessary but it really does makes a difference. It will set you apart from those that do not take the time to show appreciation. You never know when that tiny little thank you note will be the tip of the iceberg that landed you the big deal, got you that new job, or just made someone feel really great that day.

Take away: No matter what, “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” Abraham Lincoln.