OK, now you know that you have to take action and begin. The question is where do you start? Consider organizational events. They can be the ideal places to begin making contacts because virtually everyone who attends these events is there to network and make connections. Frequently, these events have been structured to facilitate networking. Specific times have been set-aside for attendees to meet one another, interact, and make connect.
The fact that these events are networking oriented can take the pressure off shy, uncomfortable newcomers. Since everybody has the same agenda, to connect with others, strangers will frequently approach you, introduce themselves, and engage you in conversations. When you talk with others, it breaks the tension, and makes it less frightening. You find that taking to the next person is easier and that you’re more comfortable.
A dizzying number of organizations hold networking events, so the trick is to attend those that could be most productive for you. Choosing the best events can take a little investigation and although every group is a potential source of referrals, some are clearly better than others. Therefore, it’s usually worth the time and effort to learn which can be the most opportune for you. Or start your own group.
Jill Lublin is an internationally acclaimed speaker and best selling author of the books, Guerrilla Publicity and Networking Magic. She is the CEO of the strategic consulting firm Promising Promotion and founder of GoodNews Media, Inc. Jill hosts the nationally syndicated radio show Do the Dream, has a TV show called The Connecting Minute, and is working on her third book to be published by McGraw-Hill in 2008. She can be reached by phone at 415-883-5455 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.