The secret to successful networking is stop networking. I've always hated the general essence of networking. It feels so superficial. Instead, go make friends and find yourself some really trustworthy mentors. "Networking" is like dating and making friends, so treat it like that. Don't go fishing for business cards. Not everyone is going to become your best friend, but remember you're building relationships with people, not business cards. I've met people who come across like it's a game for them to see how many business cards they can collect by the end of the night, and by the end of the night they know nothing about the names on those cards. Life is too short to be building a bunch of superficial, meaningless relationships. Make 'em count!
At first I felt a little silly writing a post about networking tips, when I feel I've barely begun my career, but someone made a good point to me and asked me to write this, so I thought, why not? I have been very blessed in my still green career to have established incredible relationships and friendships with colleagues and mentors, and quite a broad network, and I'm always happy to share my story and opinion when asked ;).
The way I've built my network is by being active in organizations within and without my industry, attending all kinds of events, and having lots of lunches. Sometimes I'll meet someone, and h/she will think of someone else I should meet, and that person will think of someone else I should meet. As people get to know me and my interests, I'll get random phone calls and introductions to other folks with similar interests and passions. Networking is really just about being active in life, and putting your best self out there.
So, here are a few of my tips to being a master networker:
Hopefully you find these tips helpful. Basically, don't be afraid to put yourself out there and be yourself.
BIG LOVE & HUGS