Networking can be more streamlined — and far more effective — than you think

How will you find your next job or role? Your next big deal or sale?

Chances are, the opportunity you seek will find its way to you through the agency of someone you know (your network), or someone they know (your expanded network).

That simple realization should open your eyes, and shift your priorities. After all, if the opportunity is only one or two degrees removed from you, the act of finding, targeting and interacting with the key people who can and will help you achieve it should be a critical, career-defining focus.

It isn’t something to be relegated to lead lists, or the “usual suspects” (the people who always come to mind).

Generate new networking ideas with this powerful, downloadable framework

So how do you zero in on the most strategic people without “boiling the ocean”? And how do you optimize your result given limited time?

Here’s a framework I created for just that purpose. The “recipe” rests on a simple algorithm — focused on two parameters, utility and probability. It was shared with me by Frank Ball at Georgetown. The framework builds out that algorithm into practical steps, and illustrates it with real-world examples.

The best part is that you can apply this framework to any goal that depends on influencing others, or getting them on board to help you reach it.

Most executives I coach on networking think they know who the most important people are… until I ask them to do this homework. When they do, they are typically surprised at the helpful things they discover. Try it out and see how well it works for you!

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David Peck is a Senior Executive Coach and Head – Western and Central US Regions for Goodstone Group, LLC, a global executive coaching firm. He’s been published extensively and is author of Beyond Effective. Twitter: @coachdavidpeck

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