1 Simple Technique to Getting a Better Handle on Your Professional Goals

By Kevin Hurley in Leadership

It’s incredible at how powerful listening really can be in the business world. And I’m not just referring to in-person conversations. Listening has become more important and valuable in the digital space if you’re able to filter out all of the noise.

Of course, this isn’t easy by any means. The online world is noisier than ever before, Twitter alone hits 347,222 Tweets…per minute! How is any human going to find value in a stream of conversations that are constantly flowing? Are we doomed to become overwhelmed with irrelevant information and lose track of the people who actually matter?

If you’re able to focus on a smaller group of contacts, it’s much easier to listen for opportunities to reach out and start a conversation. Here’s a simple technique that you can start using today to get a better handle on your network.

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Create Lists That Connect Relationships to Specific Goals

This is by far one of the most valuable techniques to help focus your efforts. Every goal or task becomes more manageable when you break it down into smaller chunks – this is no different.

There’s no arguing that building a network of trusted and authentic relationships in business is your key to success. Although making the connection isn’t the hard part, it’s keeping up with and interacting regularly that becomes a challenge.

This applies to nearly every single professional, although varies greatly depending on your line of work. Let me give a few examples of how lists help different people achieve different goals:

  • Sales Professionals – A list of prospects that you need to stay up to date with in order to better understand their business challenges and interests.
  • Marketing Professionals – A list of influencers that you need to build a relationship with to help share and advocate your new product.
  • Public Relation Professionals – A list of media contacts that you need to build relationships with before you pitch.
  • Executive Recruiters – A list of C-Level executives that you need to keep up with in case a relevant opportunity becomes available at the right time.
  • CEO/Founder – A list of the leading Venture Capital firms that you need to learn more about before approaching for potential funding opportunities.
  • Graduating Students – A list of people who can help you land a job at the companies you want to work for from come graduation day.

Creating your lists can as simple as using an excel spreadsheet or using a more comprehensive tool to help you manage your network in one place. One of the biggest challenges with many existing tools that help you manage a contact list is that the organization owns those relationships.

In a world where jobs are constantly changing and our careers transform as quickly as the world around us, it’s critical that you keep track of your own lists, separate from the organization you work in. If you think about all of the relationships that you’ve gained over your career, it’s frightening at how many we simply forget from job to job.

Creating lists that breakdown your network into smaller chunks based on your current goals is an easier way to listen and follow the people who matter most, right now.

Do you currently use lists to filter your network into smaller chunks? Let me know your tips in the comments below!

Kevin Hurley
Director of Marketing