As they always say "It's not what you know, it's who you know."
Of course just knowing people does not needlessly get you the job, or the promotion, or the contract you wanted, but it certainly can help; so long as people do not think you are using them.
It's true that networking is extremely important, so finding new contacts is the key to your continuing success; you need to learn out about networking meetings or events in your area.
Before you go to an event you should think about what you want to achieve. Who will be there? Decide who you would like to meet and what information you would like to take away. This will ensure that you remain focused and have a successful meeting.
Use your Capsule Profile from the 'Presentation Statements' that we discussed in the self-marketing section of the website. http://www.your-career-change.com/personal-marketing.html
You have about thirty seconds to get a person's interest or you lose your chance. Planning this beforehand is absolutely essential. You need to sell yourself before you can ask for the information or contacts you want.
Consider the impression you're making and do not repel people by your (bad) jokes or (bad) manners or the way you smell (tobacco, garlic or aftershave / perfume).
It is not always easy to talk to people, but if you do not at least try you may lose out on an opportunity. Keeping a positive attitude and keeping smiling will increase the positive results. People enjoy networking with interesting, purposeful individuals.
Dress for Success ( http://www.your-career-change.com/Dress-for-success.html ) at a business networking meeting as you would if you were going to an interview or a meeting with your most important client.
If you spend all your time with contacts you've already made, you limit the value of the event; so the majority of your time should be sent meeting new people. Networking meetings enable you to expand your contact list if you use your time well.
Do your best to remember the new contacts' names; we only tend to hear our own name when introductions are made so repeating their name will help you to remember it. And they like to hear their own names. Tomorrowmore people will be most impressed when you remember their name the next time that you meet.
Only collect a lot of business cards if you have good reason for each one and they allow you a follow-up action. Make notes on the back so you know where they came from and what follow up you intend to take.
Although it's crucial to talk about yourself, you do not want to spend all of your time explaining what you do. Find out what the other person does. People love to talk about themselves and it will give you time to understand them and how you may be able to help them. If you can help them, they will be more likely to help you.