Are you expecting instant results from your networking? If so, you may be disappointed. Networking is not a one time activity. The most successful networkers are consistent and network for life.
As a business and career coach I ask my clients about their networking plan. Some clients tell me they tried networking once and it did not work. I spend a good portion of each day talking with people. I talk to all kinds of people including corporate professionals, small business owners, strategic partners and other regular people. It is very rare for these discussions to immediately produce sales or new clients.
What does happen is that I develop on going relationships with people. I look for ways I can add value to their career and personal life. I follow up after the initial contact with an interesting article, a referral or note just to say hello.
There are times when I meet a person several times before I even talk about my career. It is not unusual for me to get a call from someone I met 6 or 12 months earlier with a coaching referral or public speaking request. Everyone knows other people. You never know when one of your contacts will connect you to the perfect job opportunity, strategic partnership or new client.
If you are looking for networking to drive huge changes over night, it is time to reset your expectations. Slow and steady is the way to develop and nurture networking relationships which are mutually beneficial to both parties.