Are there contacts or types of people you would like to know but haven’t had the opportunity? Make of list of those people and do a bit of homework. Research what events, industry groups, or publications they are aligned with. Find out where they might be appearing or possibly garner their contact info from an industry article. Being involved and reaching out takes initiative but you will be amazed at the doors it might open.
Know Yourself and Be YourselfHave a define plan of what you want to get out of your actions. Create a brief elevator speech about who you are and where you are hoping to go. This is useful for any introduction situation whether at a networking event, a business meetings, or other life events. Remember to be yourself. Be prepared with conversation starters such as "what brought you to today's event". Relax and let the conversation flow naturally.
Follow UpDo what you say you will and follow through on your word. If you said you would email someone that recent article or send their contact info along to one of your contacts, have the integrity to do what you say. This builds your credibility and respect within your network.
Build RelationshipsNow that you added these contacts to your network, connected via LinkedIn, or signed up for their blog, be sure to stay in contact. Check in occasionally and ask how they are doing or what projects they are working on. These are relationships where you should invest time to strengthen the connection.
Building a strong professional network can help you achieve your career goals. You will have resources to bounce ideas off of or our offer solutions when challenges arise. Take time to invest in cultivating these relationships and reap the rewards!