Networking is about building relationships, earning trust and cultivating individual connections. As you build your personal network, focus on quality. Quantity will follow naturally. When you think about networking, forget about short-term rewards. Focus your time and energy on the long-run.
“Networking is something you should continually be doing”
The first rule of networking is simple: Don't discount anyone, every individual you meet has the potential to find you a job.
When going to a networking event, review the topic and if possible the list of attendees. Identify whom you would like to meet and why.
Build outward, not inward
Start by remembering that the point of collaborative networking is to connect people who wouldn't ordinarily work together. Don't waste your time deepening connections with people you already know. Balance these connections by staying in touch with people on other teams or in other business units.
Go for diversity, not size. Rather than aiming for a massive network, focus on building an efficient one. This requires knowing people with different skills and viewpoints. They should be different from you, of course, but also different from one another.
Give and you shall receive
Ask first not what your contact can do for you, but what you can do for your contact.
Before you ask anything of anyone, make it a point to help that person first. Influencers and higher-ups are constantly being asked for favors and advice. As a result, your first impression will be stellar if you’re actually providing value. Find out what the person needs and genuinely try to help him or her.
Always try to develop a relationship with the organizers or influencers at different events. They’re the ones who run the show and know the inner workings, and they probably have many valuable connections. It’s very easy to find a way to help them out and get on their radar. Making these connections at events could lead to VIP party invitations, speaking engagements, and many more opportunities.
Start with a Strength
Some people have a natural talent for connecting. Others struggle in social situations. The good news is that networking is a skill that can be learned. Tap your strengths thirst for knowledge, desire to help, interest in sharing best practices to help anchor your approach.