The best business and career opportunities often come through networking, so it’s important to learn how to network effectively. Begin by thinking about those professionial or personal contacts you have a friendly and respectful relationship with. That’s your core network. You can add to your network by asking those in it who they might know who would be interested in what you’re selling, or who might be able to connect you with the right people if you are job hunting.
Do your background work on potential leads so that you come across as knowledgable and professional. Take your prospect to lunch, take copious notes, exchange business cards, and remember to pick up the tab if you are the one who initiated the contact. Networking is a lifelong process that builds slowly, so be patient and willing to help others along the way to create win-win connections.
For more on learning how to network professionally, be sure to read Four Tips on Effective Networking.