Networking is work, make no mistake about it. But it is not complicated at all. People network all the time when they ask "who do you know that..." In the business world it is called getting a referral or a favorable introduction to someone you don't know right now but should and need to know, the sooner the better.
So where do you start? Right where you are at. Family, friends, current and former business associates, people you went to school with or hang out with, you get the idea. Use social media such as LinkedIn or Facebook to connect or reconnect. What do you say? What would they say? "I need your help."
People for the most part like to help especially if they know, care and like you. What do you need help with? It all depends upon your situation. Let's assume you are looking to make a career change or want to explore an industry, company or job. "I am looking to speak with someone who is in this industry, or works for this company, or has this type of job. I would like to find out more and see if this is something that would make sense for me to pursue. Can you assist me in some way? Do you happen to know of someone who works in this industry or for this company or does this type of work?" Will everyone have the answer? No, but they may know someone who does. Maybe they can arrange for you to speak with them over the phone or over coffee.
In my position, even after 36 years, do I know the answers to every question? Of course not, but I do know who to contact to get the answer to every question. I have established "strategic alliances" with those in the company I work for, associates I use to work with, and other professionals I can call on when and if needed. So when are you going to get to work and start networking?
There are several excellent books, podcasts and websites to check out on this subject. One of my favorites is Michael Goldberg's Knockout Networking. It is full of great ideas. Here is a link to one of his TED Talks. I hope this has helped in some way to get you connected and headed in the right direction. Have a great day!
If you have comments or feedback about any article, please email your thoughts to email@example.com.