EMPOWER Yourself! Rethink Goal Setting

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Recently, I was asked to present educational content to members of a local business networking group.  Of course, they were hoping to hear about social networking tools and how to use them with their businesses.  Suspecting this to be the “cart before the horse” scenario, I asked for a show of hands in response to the following questions: “How many had set networking goals?” and “How many had developed a networking strategy?”  Of the twenty in attendance,  only two had set networking goals… and only one of those two had developed a networking strategy.

Networking is a critical aspect of business.  It should ALWAYS be a part of business.  It often takes a back seat when times are good.  When times are tough and business is slow, suddenly it’s something that seems important… and then it’s done using a “shoot from the hip” approach without much thought or planning.

There’s a direct correlation between successful face-to-face networking and the use of social networking tools.  Goal setting is a must if you want to be a successful “power networker” both offline and online.  Without goals, you have nothing to aim at.  With goals, you will perform better and get better results.

Setting and achieving goals can be very empowering.  You feel a sense of accomplishment when you complete a task or a project.  You feel satisfaction when you’ve succesfully connected people within your network.  So, where do you start?  I’ve chosen to use the word EMPOWER to help define the key elements associated with setting and achieving your goals.

EASY:  Goals need to be within your reach and easily attainable.  Olympic High Jumpers don’t set the bar at the maximum height when they begin.  They ease into it.  The bar is set at an attainable height and is moved a little higher each time they’ve successfully crossed over it.  By setting your goals too high at the beginning, you’ll run the risk of failure.  Failure will demotivate you.  Accomplish your goal and then start including some element of stretch, but don’t set goals that are impossible to achieve.

MEASURABLE:  Goals must include a way of measuring results.  This will typically be some sort of number. Setting a goal such as “I want to add more people to my network” is not a measurable goal.  “I want to add 100 people to my network” IS a measurable goal.  How many people do you want to meet at that conference you’re about to attend?  How many referrals do you want to provide this week?  How many business owners are you going to visit today?  How many times are you going to post content on your Facebook page this month?  How many LinkedIn connections do you want to make this week or month?  You get the idea.

PRECISE:  Be detailed and specific.  Include who, what, when, where and how.  Do you want to connect with a specific person?  Someone in a particular industry?  What specfic thing do you want to accomplish?  When do you want to do this?  Where do you need to be in order to accomplish this?  Is it a Chamber event or a fund-raising dinner?  How will you accomplish this?  With a phone call, an email, or a lunch meeting?   This is your road map.  All you have to do is follow it.

OBJECTIVE:  Your goals must have meaning and be relevant to you.  They must have a purpose.  Will achieving your goal build your network?  Will it increase your monthly revenue?  Will it help you attract more “Likes” on Facebook or “Followers” on Twitter?  Setting goals that mean something to you will keep you inspired and you’ll continue to strive to attain them.

WRITE THEM DOWN!  This is the most important step!  You need something to look at and refer to.  You need a visual road map.  You need something you can put a check mark next to when you’ve completed it.

EXPIRATION:  Your goals must have a deadline or completion date.  Again, this keeps you focused and will give you that motivation you need.  For example, although your goal of wanting to add 100 people to your network is measurable and precise, it’s not going to happen unless you give yourself a deadline.

REVISIT:  You need to review your goals on a regular basis. Have you set a weekly goal?  Look at it at the end of the day to see how you’ve done.  Monthly goal?  Review it at the end of the week to see where you’re at.

By following these guidelines, you’ll be able to set and achieve your goals.  Apply this method to your both your offline and your online networking.  You’ll have direction and purpose.   You’ll experience a sense of accomplishment.  You’ll feel good… and when you feel good, you performance reflects that.  You’ll EMPOWER yourself.  You’ll be surpised at how soon you start realizing success!

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