So many business professionals want to be better connected to their business community. They look at the leaders who are well known, respected and successful and envy how they are always top of mind when referrals are tossed about, speaking engagements are coordinated and industry awards are presented.
I think that many people think that networking is some God-given talent or innate presentation of luck. They believe that creating and cultivating powerful business relationships is either hard or rigged.
It is not hard and it is not rigged.
Building an network of contacts who can (and will!!!) refer you opportunities is within the grasp of all professionals who desire to see themselves and others succeed.
The best way to start is to want to see others succeed. Sure, you want to rake in the money, prestige and honors...but begin with taking joy in seeing others thrive.
If you are naturally jealous of the success that others enjoy.... get over it. No matter what you do, unless you are Michael Phelps, someone else will beat you from time to time. (even Michael Phelps will see his records broken someday - think Mark Spitz who has sat out the Olympics watching his decades of gold metal records tumble like a card house).
If your core reaction to others victories is positive, you are well on your way to winning networking gold. Jealousy will not even bring in the bronze.
Help others reach their dreams and they (and others who witness your efforts) will want to assist you in achieving your goals.
When starting to network, ask a lot of questions about what others desire to accomplish. If you do not know what they need, then you will never know how to help them.
Then connect the dots. Introduce people in your network to each other when you see mutually beneficial relationships. Do not make random introductions just for the sake of making connections, save your networking capital for when you see powerful reasons that people should meet. This will help establish your reputation as someone who has networking cache.
When you meet new people, do not sell them on your product or services. Instead learn about them. If you jump into sales mode too fast, you will be seen as the "Pork Chop Man". The "Pork Chop Man" is a guy who acts like a hungry wolf and devours those whom he thinks are pork chops. If you have not pork to give him, he ignores you like you are poison.
Anyone can network, when they realize that networking involves more giving than getting. The good news, the getting does come for those who give. Patience is the key.
Have A Great Day.