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Networking Strategy: Five Ways To Use Who, When and Where You Speak To Say Something

A networking strategy is a systematic approach to accelerating your credibility and influence in your first 100 days. It is an essential but often overlooked preboarding activity. In this article we explore why you need a networking strategy and how to create one.

Leadership requires a network. Establishing your network is the foundation of your effectiveness as a leader, so it deserves special attention. Different connections can help you gain access to valuable information, skills, and resources and open up opportunities to advance your career. But networking is not just about what you can get but also about what you can give—the choices of when, where, and whom you meet are the basis of your networking strategy.

How you prioritise your introductions speaks volumes about your professional objectives, with implications for your reputation and influence. This is particularly true for executive women who are tasked with navigating the enhanced scrutiny and hypervisibility that comes with their role.

As with all your choices in your first 100 days, you can be sure they will be the subject of widespread scrutiny and analysis. Therefore, you must ensure that each decision is well thought out and informed. Here's how.

Set Your Goals

Outline your networking objectives. Whether it's gaining visibility of the culture, securing allies, or simply expanding your knowledge, be specific and establish short-term and mid-term milestones.

Map Your Connections

Identify influencers, decision-makers, and potential allies within and outside your organisation. Broaden your horizons and include customers, suppliers, investors, ERGs (Employee Resource Groups), and even competitors.

Set Your Stage

You might invite people to your office. If so, how you set that stage will impact their perception of the meeting. One-on-one chats can help people feel valued, or a less formal environment can create a sense of camaraderie, openness and trust.

Leverage Digital Tools

Plan how to use digital tools and