As all freelance trainers will tell you most work comes through other people. Networking – both on and off line is crucial to the success of your training business. But before you rush headlong into attending every event you can get your hands on stop and think about why you are doing it and what you hope to gain from it.

Have a 6 month plan.Think about your target market. Where do they hang out? Do some research. Search the internet for quality events. Ask other freelance trainers for recommendations. Ask existing clients or people working in corporate where they are likely to go if they have a day or evening out of the office.

Think about cost and return on investment. I would argue that it’s better go to an event costing £200 where you are going to meet 20 people in your target market than going to 3 at £25 each where you don’t meet anyone! And set yourself a budget for 2010. It can be very easy to waste money on networking so be realistic about your expenses before you start.

Having a networking plan, knowing where you are going, what you want to achieve and how much it is all going to cost is a good discipline to get into, helping to ensure that you are networking effectively and with purpose. And the great thing about having a plan is that it can be reviewed at the end of the 6 month period. You will be able to look back at your networking, assess the cost agains the benefit and change your approach if you need to.

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