The acclaimed musical Hamilton just ended a long run here in Oklahoma City. In my favorite tune from this entertaining show, Aaron Burr laments his lack of access to the decision makers and proclaims that he wants to be in “The Room Where It Happens.”
The song reminds me of another quote from my favorite fictional president, and an associated truth. The West Wing’s President Bartlet was right when he said “decisions are made by those who show up,” but not everyone who shows up gets a seat at the table.
So, how do you make sure you get in “The Room Where It Happens?”
The key to successful networking is right on the page in front of us – it’s first and foremost - work. Bouncing around from room to room or event to event is not likely to render fruitful connections or a seat at the right tables.
The best connections come not only from showing up, but spending your time in the right places.
Just a few simple steps can help you work your way into the room where it happens:
Establish your priorities - What do you want to accomplish? Are you looking for potential new clients, community influencers, potential investors, volunteer opportunities, etc.?
Identify your audience – After you know where you want to go, it’s time to identify the folks who can help you get there.
Be where they are – Networking opportunities are abundant, but not all are appropriate for what you want to accomplish. There’s only so much time in the day, so be sure to spend your networking time wisely.
Build a plan – Once your research is done, commit to a step-by-step plan to guide you on your journey.
Stick with it – Stay on task every single day, and hold yourself accountable to building your network.
Help others – Networking is not a one-way street. People will help you along your way, and it’s important to step up for others as well.
The room where it happens is the place to be. Identify the right room; find someone to help you crack open the door, and then walk on through. Great things await on the other side.