I've been networking up a storm this year: a meeting here, a one-on-one there, and two or three evening events per week. I have been caught up in a whirlwind of activity as powerful as a Category 5 hurricane. I'm meeting lots of new people and narrowing those contacts down to the ones which will yield the most reciprocal value. It's networking with purpose and not one iota of aimlessness. I know exactly what my goals are, and, I know how to measure the overall progress of the networking activity.

Now, let me make one thing perfectly clear, there is no such thing as Accidental Networking. Networking is no accident! It’s intentional, purposeful, and activity driven. In networking, there’s no such thing as luck.

Are you networking with hurricane force or just blowing hot air? How can you even tell the difference? Do you come away from a meeting, one on one, or networking event, wondering why you were there? If so, there’s an easy fix. All you need is to define why you're engaging in the chosen activity and note what results you'd like to see.

In order to get what you want from various activities, you must first clarify what you want.

For instance:

Why are you attending the event?

Who are you looking to meet?

Are you prospecting for new clients? (Not advised)

Are you there specifically to sell your product or service? (This is not recommended and often considered a networking no-no.)

Are you looking to make new connections? (Recommended) If so, what do you intend to do with those new connections?

When and why will you be following up with them?

Those who succeed at networking and building their businesses are those who embrace the spirit of giving. They belong to networking groups and attend events to establish trust and build credibility with others. Additionally, it takes time and patience to succeed with networking. Time and patience are likely the most difficult to embrace as we’re conditioned to expect immediate gratification for our efforts – well, in networking, it just doesn’t work that way.

Over the years, I’ve observed some people who are envious of others’ successes. Or, for some reason, believe that luck is involved. Again, luck is not a factor!

It’s all about hard work, comfort zone expansion, and getting out there and doing it that make one "lucky."

Author's Bio: 

Don Talbert, founder of Centurion Business Coach, has a passion for networking and consultative selling. He leverages his passion and experience to help others excel in business.

As the author of The Networking Success Kit, Don applies his experiences and packages it into a practical, real world guide to networking success.