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If your business calendar looks like there isn’t even room to breathe because of all the networking events on your schedule, take time to be strategic. We are all in PR to some degree and using your skills in planning and your personality can make your networking more successful.

All too often we sign up for what looks like it will be an event we can’t miss and just might be the time we meet the individual who can use us for the next big project.  The fact that you are energized and positive are great attributes to have you be in the right frame of mind. Keep that positive attitude, but also remember that the word “work” is part of networking.

Here are 4 things to consider before you put all those business cards in your pocket and hit the circuit of networking:

  1. Be selective on where you are going to network. If the trade association isn’t even remotely close to your area of expertise, you would be better off catching up on getting ready for April 15.
  2. There is power in numbers. Yet, you really don’t need a wing man or woman to accompany you to the event because you end up in your comfort zone talking to your friend. Go it alone and do power mingling.
  3. Try to set your sites on how many people you want to meet during the event. If it’s 6 or more people, you better develop an exit strategy for when you want to move on to the next person and do it in a way that is smooth and professional.
  4. A good statement for moving on might be: “I don’t want to take up all y our time. Why don’t we try to call each other next week for coffee or a conversation to catch up over the phone.” Put your hand out to shake with the individual and then move on!

Always be professional even if you can’t extract yourself from the person who loves to talk to you. You just never know that it may lead to that next great project. Give the person you are talking to a reason to what to call you to set up a meeting.