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Tip 4: Open Your Eyes—Networking Is All Around

Research tells us that there are at least 200 people who are already a part of your network. Get reacquainted with them. Networking is about creating and developing opportunities through meeting people and “connecting the dots” among them. The following categories of people can be the beginning of a great networking success story:

  • Customers and clients—They are the lifeblood of your business. Build trustworthy and positive relationships with them.
  • Suppliers and external partners—Refer them and stay on their radar screen.
  • Colleagues and co-workers—Office pals are a powerful resource when networking. Invite a co-worker to lunch or coffee and get to know him or her better. Build your internal alliances consistently.
  • People in your profession—Helping your competition can actually lead to greater opportunities to grow your business.
  • Alumni and former classmates—Seize the opportunity to link up with people with whom you might want to reconnect. Linked In and Facebook are perfect for this.
  • Like-minded people—Expand your horizons. Extracurricular activities introduce you to people with common interest and ambitions, or who share similar life experiences.
  • Neighbors—Turn a friendly wave into an invaluable conversation. Get to know your neighbors. You can open up the door for a new opportunity.
  • Friends—Take time to nurture and cultivate your friends. Network with them in a positive way, never with expectations.
  • Family—Family members can be a great resource for networking opportunities. Think of how you can be helpful to those in your family.
  • People you meet serendipitously—Be kind to unfamiliar people. Airports, grocery store lines, and waiting rooms are filled with a world of networking opportunities. Keep your ears and eyes open. I learn daily by paying attention to the universe.

Think of people you know who fit in each of these categories. The possibilities for networking are endless. Over time, as you build rapport and trust, these relationships lead to other contacts, partnerships, and opportunities.

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