4 Steps to Growing Your Professional Network

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By Pamela Hernandez, Regional Director BBB-Springfield & Rosie Committee Member 2023-24

One of my favorite sayings is “nothing blooms 365 days a year”. It gives me permission to set aside time to recharge and embrace times that will inevitably be hectic. I appreciate the unofficial holiday break between Christmas and New Year’s Day as a time to plan and set my priorities for the coming year. Knowing which blooms I want to nurture in the coming year allows me to easily weed through all the events that pop up as soon as school is back in session.

If you’re already experiencing the wrong kind of growth in your calendar, follow these four steps to plan and prep your networking efforts for growth in 2024.

  1. Define Your Goal. Before clicking “yes” on a meeting invitation or registering for a happy hour, it’s crucial to measure it against your goal. Ask yourself, “Does this move me closer to what I want?” Whether it’s finding a mentor, exploring job opportunities, or gaining industry insights, using your goal as your compass will help you prevent schedule overload and make the most of your networking time.
  2. Why This Event? Selecting the right networking event is about more than your goals. Making sure the event also plays to your strengths is key to ensuring your time and efforts are well-spent. If you’re a morning person, look for breakfast or coffee events. If you have a love of learning, choose events that have engaging speakers or book discussions. Being intentional about your choices will enhance the likelihood of encountering individuals who share your passion and creating meaningful connections.
  3. Address Gaps in Your Network. Assess your current network and identify any gaps that may exist. Do you need connections in a specific industry or profession? Do you need more people in your circle who will challenge you to think in new ways or get curious about your community? Seek out networking events that can be a platform to bridge your gaps. Engage with individuals who possess the expertise you seek, and don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.
  4. Who Else is Going? Researching the attendees beforehand can provide insights into potential connections and help you tailor your approach. Look for individuals who have achieved success in areas you aspire to, or those who share common interests. Also look for people you already know on the attendee list. They can help make introductions and make a new environment less intimidating.

Networking for growth is a strategic endeavor that requires thoughtfulness and intentionality. Planting the seeds now will help you reach your goals for 2024 and years to come.

Connect with Pamela on LinkedIn or send her an email at [email protected] for more tips to grow your network! Sign up to receive the Rosie newsletter for more professional development resources from Rosie throughout the year.

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