Networking is a great way to meet new people, make connections, expand your circle, and ultimately be successful as a result. That being said, networking the right way is important. Networking, in my opinion, is not about quantity but quality. It is more important to gain a selected few solid, beneficial individuals to your networking circle versus hundreds of people with little knowledge of each one and no real connections. Keep these following points in mind when it comes to networking:
-give more than you take (and give first)
-pick 1-3 individuals at each event you attend and make a real connection vs collecting tons of business cards
-follow up/stay in touch
-connect people (part of giving back)
Also, keep in mind, networking is about building relationships with people who can bring new insights into your career/life, offer advice, and at the same someone you can give back to and offer advice in return. Networking is not about looking for someone to help you achieve something, it is about creating meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships which often result in life long friendships, career success, and, sometimes, business ventures. Do not approach a person to ask for something; approach them because you are genuinely interested in the work they have done or you can help them with something or you are interested in the same field, etc. Networking is more about giving than taking. The more you give, the more you receive. It is very simple how this idea works. I am a huge believer of giving back to the community and those around you. Ultimately, you gain and learn more when you give, because when you do good, good comes back to you.
What are your experiences or thoughts on networking?
Below you can see an article from Forbes which offers some additional great advice on networking and slightly a different approach from mine: http://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2014/07/28/how-to-network-the-right-way-eight-tips/