Networking gets to be a pain and what I am beginning to consider a time waster. Although I know it is essential, I am not getting any traction. How can I get more people to stay "in network"?
There are plenty of books and webinars and consultants from whom you can learn the tricks of effective networking so I won't go into the details of those techniques. Needless to say, there are skills and behaviors to be learned for effective networking. There are very few of us who are "born networkers."
A network is a two part process. You want to remember people so you can provide them with referrals, information, and advice, as well as being remembered by them for the same reasons. With more than 90% of business cards collected at networking events thrown away with 48 hours, there is more to being remembered than passing out a card and engaging in small talk.
Tip: Develop a few (memorable) stories about a time when you shone as a consultant. Stories, ones with a setting, protagonist (you), antagonist (the client's problem) and a resolution, all with some clever twists an turns, will remain for years with one who hears it. I can remember stories and the people who told them from a decade ago. I also clearly remember the person, where I met them, what they look like and what services they provide, and how these services are tied to their stories. Another individual's bland elevator pitch is lost to memory, and the event was only a month ago. Consider having several compelling stories for different audiences.