I love it when I hear one person perk themself up in conversations or in debates and say “You have an agenda.” It’s like a gotcha moment, caught red-handed in committing something devious.
This is funny because everyone has an agenda, including the person calling out the other. There is nothing wrong with having an agenda. What is at the core is whether you agree with his or her agenda and if not, whether you find common ground.
Now, why is this important to networking? Because this principle also applies to your business development. Create your agenda and find a common link to build a relationship.
Why are Agendas Important?
Plenty of research and proven strategy has shown that when you have an agenda, the more likely to are to experience success in the outcome.
Creating your agenda
In my previous post, I had suggested sitting down with management or the business owner to help develop a strategy and a metric. You should apply the same suggestion to creating your plan.
In your agenda outline you should:
- Define your objectives.
- Identify the outcome you want to produce
- Establish who, either persons or professions, you are trying to target
- The expectations you want to set out at that networking event
- The actions and next steps to be reached at the event
Keep the agenda in your head
Remember, you’re going to a networking event; it would be silly to present an agenda to every person you encounter. The point of this exercise is to get you into the habit of generating that plan that will get your foot in the door and start building the foundation for the relationships you are trying to build.
Level Up your agenda at the follow-up
The networking event agenda is the icebreaker. When you meet them on a one and one basis, you can build that relationship further. So, at the follow-up, you need a different agenda. The structure is the same, except for the removal of who you are targeting.
What has changed are your expectations and the next step of actions. In your first agenda, it was all about getting this private meeting. Now depending on how you presented this possibility, you may either decide to share your agenda or if the relationship has not yet arrived at that stage, you might prefer to keep it in your head.
You aim to continue to add value and to build a deeper connection. How you are going to this is the question, and this starts with the bond you had made and what value you presented when they agreed to meet with you.
Your agenda creation doesn’t stop there. Depending on how long it will take to develop this relationship, you will need to maintain, refine or expand your agenda until they have ripened for a business opportunity.
The agenda is the roadmap which will guide you. It is also the measuring stick to your success. There isn’t enough emphasis on using an agenda and I hope from this post you will see the value and the need in using one regularly.
Need help in making your networking more successful? Book a consultation with me and learn how I can help with your business development, click on the link below.