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Network Intention

by Randall Craig on December 1, 2008

Filed in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Networking

Tagged as: , ,

Each holiday season, there is no end to the number of parties, receptions, get-togethers, and other opportunities to spread the good cheer. Some people enjoy this opportunity, and others loathe it. Even for those interested in networking, the “fake smiles” that seemingly must be worn at these events can become tiring. So what to do?

Before attending any event – at any time of the year – you can be far more productive if you consider what you are hoping to get from the event – and what you are going to add to it. If you don’t set goals for yourself, then what you achieve through your attendance will either be opportunistic, or just plain lucky. Without goals, you shouldn’t be surprised if you begin resenting the time you spend networking.

Some examples of networking goals:

  • To meet three new people, and arrange for follow-up meetings.
  • To meet a specific person to talk about a business issue in a more casual atmosphere.
  • To learn about two specific contacts’ current issues.
  • To invite specific attendees to your own event.
  • To introduce your invitee to 3-4 of the “regulars”.
  • To refresh your relationship with a former colleague.
  • To bring gifts to several of your contacts.
  • To determine the key issues that a specific contact is facing in the market.
  • To make a speech or presentation to the group.

While get-togethers can be fun, networking-oriented get-togethers are really designed to help you professionally. Having your goals clearly in mind means that your time can be put to valuable use. And when you are done, you can determine whether the event was “successful” using the yardstick of your initial intentions.

This week’s action item: Identify all of the social or networking events that you have been invited to over the next month. Then set goals for each, and add them directly to your calendar. Networking with intention lets you both enjoy yourself and achieve your goals.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)



Randall has been advising on Web and Social Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of seven books, including the recently released "Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business", and speaks across North America on Social Media and Web Strategy. More at and

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