7 Steps To Setting Purposeful Networking Goals

7 Steps To Setting Purposeful Networking Goals
Learn how to set clear and purposeful networking goals that will propel your networking success with this 7-step process.

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Like with everything in life, the direction you go in is more important than the speed you’re going at.

Networking is no different. Many focus on connecting with as many people as possible without having a goal to strive towards.

How will you know who you should connect with without knowing what you want out of your networking efforts?

Is it a new job, investors, employees, mentors? How many? Why do you need these people?

This is why setting networking goals is so important for your success.

In this step-by-step guide, you will learn how to set your own goals for networking.

Let’s get started.

What Are Networking Goals?

Networking goals are specific objectives individuals set for themselves to strategically expand and nurture their professional and personal connections.

You can imagine them as a destination point you aim to achieve through your networking efforts.

Networking goals can be separated into three categories:

  • Short-term – Immediate actions you can take to expand your network in a short period (1-3 months) and accomplish a goal like getting hired, attending an event, or connecting with a certain person.
  • Medium-term – Building strong relationships with your connections and expanding your network in a period of one or more years. Examples may include, creating a long-lasting community, and building a strong LinkedIn presence…
  • Long-term – Focus on establishing a new lifestyle of enduring connections and constant network expansion towards a greater goal like becoming a thought leader, building a diverse and active network, or building a business on top of your network.

All goal types have their place in your goal-setting process and give your purpose for networking at all times.

The key to succeeding in networking is understanding why you are networking in the first place and what is the purpose of setting networking goals.

Why Should You Set Networking Goals

We already mentioned that networking goals give you direction, but there’s much more to setting proper goals.

There are many benefits to having a direction. Here are just a few examples:

  • Build purposeful relationships with people who can actually help you.
  • Prioritize your time and energy on important tasks.
  • Give you a sense of direction and purpose in your career.
  • Keep you focused on what matters most to you at the moment.
  • Boost motivation when you accomplish a small task.
  • Better and long-term relationship building.
  • Increase your productivity with a clear path of progression.

In short, setting networking goals takes your casual networking and transforms it into a purpose-driven strategy for personal growth.

But how do you set goals for yourself?

7 Steps To Setting Purposeful Networking Goals

Let’s get through some effective steps to set networking goals and achieve them more easily.

Keep in mind that you should take your time in setting your goals, especially long-term goals as they are meant to guide you through the world of relationships.

Let’s get started.

1. Self-Reflect on Your Personal Goals

Before even diving into setting goals, take a step back and reflect on your personal and professional ambitions.

Consider why you even want to meet new people.

List out your current career goals, your skills, and what you want to learn.

What are your personal life goals and how does networking fit into them?

In essence, start with your “Why?”, who you are currently, who you want to become, and how networking will help you achieve your goals.

Once you understand your broad goals and how networking can help you achieve them, you will know what you should spend effort on.

2. Define Your Networking Priorities

After understanding what you want to achieve and how networking can help you achieve your broader goals, move your focus.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What do I want from my network?
  • Do I want a new job, new skills, investors…?
  • What do I need to focus on to get to where I want to be?
  • What kind of relationships do I want – casual, professional, mentors?
  • How much time and energy am I willing to put into networking?
  • What do I want to achieve in the short and long term?

These are just some questions that will help you shape what you really want out of networking.

Note: It’s best to write answers on a piece of paper and give the goal forming some time. Sleep on it for a few days if you need to.

Now that you have a list of goals for the year, it’s time to prioritize them. 

  1. Write each goal on a piece of paper.
  2. Put one, two, or three stars beside each goal depending on how important they are to you.
  3. Look at your list again and think about how much of an impact they will have on your overall goals.
  4. Again rate the goals from one to three depending on their impact.

Once you’re done, you’ll have a list of your priority goals and the ones that you should focus on first (the ones with the most stars).

Bonus: You can also rate these goals based on the time you need to put into them.

Framework for growing LinkedIn network and opportunities eBook

3. Review Your Current Network

If you’re like most people, there’s a good chance that you already have an established network of connections.

Be that a sheet, contact book, email list, or LinkedIn, all of us know people.

Before proceeding to network with new people, take some time to review your current list of contacts.

You may find that some of your contacts are more helpful than others, so focus on those individuals.

Use the LeadDelta Dashboard to analyze your current LinkedIn network and proceed with determining what you will do with it.

leaddelta dashboard

Analyze information like where your connections are from, what industry they work in, and their job titles to get a better grasp of your current network.

Once you know your network better you can start off by bulk disconnecting connections that don’t align with your goals.

This will leave you with only relevant people in your network and help you identify the gaps in your connections.

You will be using your networking skills to fill in these gaps and align them with your goals.

4. Identify Target Connections

One of the most important things to do when you’re setting goals for yourself is to plan your network first.

This means that you have to figure out who you want to reach out to and what kind of relationships you want to build.

Depending on your goals imagine 3-5 personas you want in your network.

Which industry are they from? Are they creators? What are their job titles? Personalities?

Write them down and always keep them in mind.

If you get a connection request, refer to these personas and decide if you should accept the request or not.

It’s very beneficial to create a list of people you want to connect with, especially if they are experts in their field.

Use the LeadDelta Sidebar to import 2nd and 3rd-degree connections into your LeadDelta and keep track of them without being connected.

leddelta sidebar

This is great because you might not be ready to connect with some of these people as it’s not the right time, but you want to keep tabs on them.

5. Set Specific Measurable Goals

Having a set goal is great but without a concrete measurement, you won’t know if you are on the path to achieving it.

Each one of your networking goals needs to be a SMART networking goal that you can later track.

Here’s an example:

  • Specific – I will connect with 10 industry leaders in my niche by the end of the month.
  • Measurable – I can measure how many people I connect with daily and determine how many of them are industry leaders.
  • Achievable – I can use many tools and techniques to reach industry leaders.
  • Relevant – Expanding my network with industry leaders will help me get further in my career.
  • Time-Bound – I have one month to achieve this goal.

Having specific measurable goals will help you see where you’re lacking and what needs to be changed to achieve the goal.

After defining your SMART goals, you will need to break them down into smaller more achievable steps.

6. Strategize Your Approach

Now that you have goals to work towards it’s time to break them up and create a strategy on how you will achieve them.

Focus on creating annual, quarterly, monthly, and weekly benchmarks that lead to the overall goal.

After this, you can proceed to create daily/weekly habits that will help you achieve them.

For example:

  • Connect with 10 people every day.
  • Message 15 people every day.
  • Attend one networking event every month.
  • Review my network once a month.
  • Catch up with important people once a week.

You also need to ask yourself how will you achieve your goals.

If you want in-person relationships, focus on attending networking events.

If you want more LinkedIn professionals in your network, focus on connecting with people on LinkedIn.

Here are some strategies to help you achieve your goal:

  • Offer value and help without asking for anything in return.
  • Ask your network and colleagues for help and introductions.
  • Engage your online connections daily.
  • Take the conversation offline and meet people in real life.
  • Learn one new networking trick each day/week and use it.
  • Become a part of niche communities that will help your goals.
  • Leverage your network’s data in establishing new relationships.

No set strategy will take you to your goal, it’s on you to try different things and see what works.

To do so, you will need to track each step and optimize.

7. Act and Track 

Now that everything is set, you have all the right tools and know what you need to do, it’s time to act.

Start small, task by task, and turn those little tasks into habits.

Every day or week, sit down and reflect on how the day/week went and which tasks you accomplished.

When you do this, focus on what can be done better and you will start seeing better and better results.

There’s no magic formula to this part and it can take time until you accomplish your networking goal.

You just have to keep going and focus on what’s important to you.

Bonus – Use Networking Tools

Achieving your networking goals isn’t an easy task, it takes time, dedication, and a lot of hard work.

However, it shouldn’t be like this and some tools can make it easier for you to achieve them.

LeadDelta is your dedicated networking tool designed to help you get on top of your network.

With features like Tags and Notes, you can easily keep track of everyone in your network by categorizing them. 

This gives your network much more structure and a better overview of who is who in your network which allows you to see if you’re working on your goals.

leaddelta tags

Filters are an ideal way for you to locate the exact person you’re looking for in your network.

Looking for a new job at a company? 

Search through your network and find out if you’re connected with someone working at the company and ask for a referral.

leaddelta filters

Easily create networking habits with Tasks & Reminders that allow you to connect tasks to specific connections.

Remember to reach out to important people with repeating tasks, or remind yourself to connect with someone after a few months.

leaddelta tasks and reminders

If you’re working as a team and have team-wide goals, LeadDelta Workspaces makes it easy for you to work together on achieving huge business goals through the power of your combined networks.

leaddelta workspaces

Networking Goal Examples

Let’s take a look at some networking goals examples to give you a better idea and inspiration on what you can strive towards.

Build an online presence

Objective: Establish myself as a thought leader and expert in my field by building a broad audience.

Measure of Success: Gain 5,000 LinkedIn followers, and have an average engagement rate of 7% per post.

Action Plan:

  • Create a content strategy – Define my niche industry and type of content, create content calendars monthly, and post content daily.
  • Optimize my LinkedIn profile – Update my headline, summary, and featured sections in line with my new persona and value proposition.
  • Connect with influencers –  Connect with 5 relevant influencers in my niche weekly and develop relationships with them.
  • Collaborate on projects – Work together with at least one creator monthly on a joint project (webinar, ebook, community…)

Expand my professional circle

Objective: Increase the size and diversity of my professional network.

Measure of Success: Gain 3,000 new relevant connections, and gain connections from the Sales, Marketing, and B2B industries.

Action Plan: 

  • Define the personas – Define my criteria on who I will connect with and accept connection requests from.
  • Connect with people – Connect with at least 15 new target personas weekly.
  • Track network diversity – Use tools like LeadDelta to analyze which industries I’m lacking in.

Get hired at my dream job

Objective: Secure a position at X company.

Measure of Success: Got hired at desired position in one year.

Action Plan: 

  • Research the company – Find out everything about the position I’m interested in from other websites and people who worked for the company. Develop skills to get hired.
  • Connect with employees – Connect with at least one employee weekly and start casual conversations.
  • Develop relationships with hiring managers – Get close to hiring managers and decision-makers and get on their radar.
  • Apply through referrals – Utilize my network to get exclusive opportunities in the company.

Build a board of advisors

Objective: Form a board of advisors to provide guidance and support throughout my career.

Measure of Success: Build student-mentor relationships with five experts in Sales, Marketing, and B2B fields.

Action Plan: 

  • Identify potential advisors – Seek professionals in chosen fields and create lists of potential advisors (at least 10 a week).
  • Connect with advisors – Connect with at least two well-researched advisors monthly.
  • Build relationships with advisors – Start conversations with advisors expressing interest in their guidance and narrow the list.
  • Nourish relationships – Regularly reach out to advisors with interesting questions and proposals to further relationships with them.

Conclusion

Now that you know how to set your networking goals it’s back to you, there’s work to be done.

Keep in mind that networking is a skill that takes time to learn and become an expert at.

This is exactly why setting networking goals will keep you accountable and more willing to improve yourself.

Consider using a tool like LeadDelta to help you better manage and utilize your network for even more success.

Take the first step towards unlocking your network's full potential. Try LeadDelta for free.