A phrase that typically follows me around is “how do you find time to do everything?” The answer is: I don’t, I just prioritise very well!
But it left me thinking about how to find the time to network when you have no time to network. I have two pre-school age children, I’m the chair of my local CIPD committee, I run two businesses and a have a book to write on business networking. In other words, that doesn’t leave much time for networking.
Here are my 10 ideas on places for business networking when you don’t have time to network:
1. Use social occasions to network – recently I met one of my associates via a friend’s summer barbeque.
2. Remember to update your LinkedIn status a couple of times a week with what you’re up to. (Or if you are really busy, get your PA or VA to update it for you.)
3. If you’re stuck in a queue, strike up a conversation with the person next to you – you never know where it will lead.
4. On a plane or a train” Talk to the person next to you.
5. Instead of attending all the sessions at a conference, aim to meet some people during the sessions you miss.
6. Invite a couple of people you want to meet to lunch, rather than seeing them individually.
7. Regularly host social events for your friends and business contacts.
8. Instead of getting bored at big family events, take the time to find out how your relation’s careers and businesses are going.
9. If you are away from home, go down into the bar or restaurant and look for other lone business travellers to talk to.
10. When travelling away from home, look through your business contacts to see who you could meet up with on your travels.
Heather Townsend, Britain’s queen of networking, is the founder of The Efficiency Coach, a company that helps professionals achieve better business results for less effort. Follow her Joined Up Networking blog for more useful tips and tricks. She has just been commissioned to write the FT Guide to Business Networking.