Schedule Backwards to Increase Networking Opportunities

Schedule Forward to Make Time for Networking

In the fast-paced world of sales and marketing, networking isn’t just important—it’s essential. Yet, too often, networking becomes a when I have time activity rather than a strategic priority. For professionals aiming to excel, intentional and consistent networking should be a cornerstone of their strategy. Here’s why.

 The Power of Connections

The adage It’s not what you know, but who you know is true now more than ever. Networking isn’t just about meeting people; it’s about creating opportunities through those connections. In 2023, according to LinkedIn, 85% of jobs were filled through networking, underscoring its critical role in career advancement. Even in roles that might seem solitary, such as programming or writing, networking is invaluable. Through online forums, industry conferences, or casual meetups, connections can provide the support and insights needed to solve problems and stay ahead of industry trends.

 Face-to-Face Interaction: The Gold Standard

While digital communication is convenient, face-to-face interactions remain unparalleled in building genuine relationships. According to a 2024 Forbes study, in-person meetings are 34 times more effective than email exchanges. People prefer to do business with those they have met personally, fostering trust and rapport that can’t be replicated through screens. Body language, eye contact, and personal nuances play significant roles in these interactions, making them more memorable and impactful.

 Scheduling Backwards: A Strategic Approach

One way to prioritize networking is to schedule backward. Here’s how it works:

  1. Look ahead to identify critical industry events, conferences, and networking opportunities. Mark these on your calendar three months, six months, or even a year in advance, and commit yourself to attending them.
  2. Once these events are in your schedule, arrange other work and personal commitments around them. This approach helps maintain a balance between networking and other responsibilities.

 The Ripple Effect of Networking

Networking doesn’t just open doors to new opportunities; it also broadens your horizons by introducing you to different perspectives and ideas. Everyone you meet is a gateway to their network, exponentially increasing your reach. For instance, a single connection at a networking event can lead to introductions to potential clients, partners, or mentors. Research shows professionals who actively network are 70% more likely to secure promotions and new business deals.

 Making the Most of Your Networking Efforts

Focus on genuine relationship-building to maximize your networking efforts rather than just exchanging business cards (however, this is important). Engage in meaningful conversations, show interest in others’ work, and follow up after initial meetings. Remember, the goal is to establish a network of trusted connections who can support and vouch for you in various professional scenarios.

“I attend a function for Community Leaders to strengthen their personal and professional relationships. I always bring business cards to meet and exchange business cards minimally with the person on my right and the person on my left at the table where I am sitting.

“Sitting at the table, I engaged the people to my right and left early. We introduced ourselves and explained very briefly what type of business we each were involved in.

“Once, I started to explain to the one person sitting to my left how my company, SACS Consulting and Investigative Services, provides Security and Human Resource Services. His eyes lit up, and our discussion got deeper with questions. Very quickly, this person was delighted to find a professional who could potentially assist his company with several Human Resource issues.

“The rest is history, and we end up with a great NEW client who we have been providing not only Human Resource services to but has also engaged us for training and Security issues…all because I took the time to be physically present and utilize that unique Human Touch In Person advantage!” shared Tim Dimoff.

 Enhance Your Networking Skills with Timothy Dimoff

Mastering the art of face-to-face networking can significantly boost your career. Tim offers workshops like The Lost Art of Human Interaction designed to enhance your interpersonal skills and ensure you maximize your networking opportunities. You can also delve deeper into effective networking strategies in his book, The YOU in Business, which provides insights on building a robust professional network.

Networking is an indispensable tool for career growth and business success. By making it a strategic priority through scheduling backward, you ensure that it becomes an integral part of your professional routine. Embrace the power of face-to-face interactions and watch your career soar to new heights.