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In observing others and working with my coaching and consulting clients, I often see two extremes: 1) people who believe networking is primarily about bringing in new customers and 2) people who think networking is purely a matter of “getting out there and meeting people” and then seeing what happens.

Neither approach is wrong. However, there are advantages to being more multidimensional and purposeful about it.   Yes, networking is critical to growing our businesses and expanding your career.  But value also comes in forms that transcend dollar signs and stacks of business cards.  Why not be intentional and purposeful as well as open to the possibilities of who you could meet and how you (and they) could benefit from the connection? Why not create the perfect hybrid that is more intentional as well as fulfilling and full of possibilities?

As you set your intentions for networking in this second quarter of 2012 (a quarterly practice I hope you will adopt), take just 5 minutes to come up with a list of categories or objectives that will help you tune your networking radar.

For example, you might be on the lookout for potential:

  1. Customers / clients
  2. Referral sources / potential affiliates
  3. Master-minding or accountability partners
  4. Sources of information about something you’re working on, dealing with or concerned about
  5. Mentors, role models & ad hoc advisors
  6. Navigators (people who’ve experienced a journey you’re just now embarking on)
  7. People who know stuff (and people) you don’t
  8. Cheerleaders and sources of inspiration
  9. Vendors / suppliers / subcontractors
  10. Coaches, consultants & experts you may want to hire
  11. Potential speakers for your next professional meeting
  12. Blogging partners and/ or interview subjects
  13. Workout / running / walking partners
  14. Fellow parents and dog owners
  15. People who simply make you smile, energize you &  bring out your best
  16. Potential assistants and interns
  17. People who like the same stuff you do
  18. People who like different stuff and help you expand your horizons
  19. Someone who can babysit or tutor your kids
  20. [Fill in the blank(s) ________________________________________

What else are you in search of? How could  a connection make your business or life better, easier, or stronger? What kind of connection might that be and where might you find it?

Who else would you be eager to meet and add to your world?

Need some networking advice, but on a Ramen Noodle budget? This is a not-to-be-missed bargain:  I have two 30-minute telecoaching sessions left in April for the bargain basement price of just $59.  What could you and I accomplish together over a notepad and a cup of coffee if we put our heads together?  “What can Patti do for me?” you might be asking.  I just met with a client last week who was so impressed with how we reworked her networking strategy she booked sessions with me for the next several months.  She will save money and time and will no longer feel so lost and frustrated when she networks.  How may I serve you?  Contact me today at 512 418 0527 for details.