Quantifying a network’s value is difficult.
If you are networking actively and connecting people with a problem to a solution, you are creating value. But measuring it? That’s tough.
However, there is a way to determine if your efforts are working. And it’s not the traditional way.
The Wrong Way to Measure Your Network
A list of contacts. This represents the old way to measure a network. People would simply write down a list and measure:
- The number of contacts, by counting them.
- The quality of contacts, by assigning an arbitrary score from 1-5.
This made people chase quantity over quality. Just adding more contacts to your contact book felt like progress. The quick endorphin hit would keep people on this treadmill. Problem is, a treadmill doesn’t go anywhere.
The alignment between your connections and your goals is important. Adding contacts with no relevance to your career simply doesn’t work.
How to Actually Measure Your Networking Results
As you look at your network over time you should be noticing it growing in quantity and quality. Sure. This is the byproduct of networking, not the results. There’s no way around it, but it’s not a good measure.
To measure your network you need to track results. Here are the three questions you need to ask yourself to measure your results:
- Are more people starting to reach out to you directly?
- Are they bringing you opportunities?
- Do the people and opportunities match your goals?
If so, then your network is working. If not, then you have work to do.
The reason this is a good measure is simple, it’s the whole point of having a network in the first place. Why else network if not to get access to opportunities you wouldn’t have heard about otherwise?
Think of it this way:
- When was the last time someone reached out with a job opportunity?
- When was the last time someone brought you a new sales opportunity?
- When was the last time someone asked you for advice?
It’s a good measure because the reverse can’t be true. You can’t have a high-quality, functioning network if you are not getting contacted by people with requests, ideas, information and opportunities.
How to Track Your Results
Create a simple worksheet (in Excel or Google Sheets) and call it “Network Log” or “Networking Wins”, whichever takes your fancy. Then in four columns simply track: the event (like an introduction to a job or sales opportunity), the contact who created the event, the date and the rating of the event (the quality of the event from 1-5).
Keep this up to date and look for trends over time. Have long periods gone by between events? Is the frequency of events increasing or decreasing? Is the quality of events increasing or decreasing? What person or category of people are making the most introductions? Who’s making the highest-quality introductions? What should you do more, based on the patterns?
I promise that in time this will become one of your most valuable spreadsheets.
The quality of your network at first determines the quality of the introductions you can get, the connections you can make and the relationships you can build. But don’t be dismayed, no matter where you start this will snowball as you build your network, from any start.
You just have to start. Do this and your career status, wealth and power will grow alongside your network.
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