It’s important to identify what your objective is before you start to network. This will make you more effective. Perhaps you want to further your career, create sales opportunities, make more friends or take a hobby to new level.

Networking requires patience; when you feel you’re not getting anywhere, this is often when you strike gold with a contact who is a door-opener to a new opportunity.

Much networking can be done online via social media platforms and forums, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Set your profile description as bait for those you might want to attract and research the hashtags that will reach out to them, or to find the influencers you seek. Send personalised messages explaining why you want to network with them Be thick-skinned if not everyone responds to your requests to connect.

Never underestimate the power of face-to-face networking. Think about which national or local networks, clubs or societies you might join and what they have to offer. Attend events they hold; arrive early to talk to others attending before the main item begins, stay around afterwards to maximise opportunities to meet new contacts or talk to speakers and organisers. Be brave and bold about this; after all, what do you have to lose?

Don’t forget to come with business cards, with your contact details and memorable message or strapline included – something that will stand out about what you do long after your initial meeting.

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