1. Cultivate
Do your homework, then meet people and make sure you follow up. If you’ve done your homework you will know exactly who you want to meet and will therefore be more productive in your networking events. Anybody can go to an event and pass their business card around, hoping for the best. Start cultivating your relationships with these people. Follow up with them after meetings and conferences to avoid wasting time and money in half-hearted networking.

2. Know What You Can Offer
When you network, you need to clearly express who you are, what you represent and what value you can bring to the group. Mingling with dozens, even hundreds of other business professionals can be fun, but it can also get rather dull without real engagement. Make yourself memorable, tell people who you are, what your interests include and how your expertise can help them. Don’t pitch yourself, just create a narrative that engages others – include examples to make this even more effective.

3. Know What You Want
Define the type of networking you want to do. It is not even worth turning up to a networking event until you know exactly what you want to get out of it. Think about what your objective may be and what success means to you. You could be looking to find a mentor, get new business, to learn or to keep an eye on the competition – it could be a great number of things – but ensure that you identify with it first.

4. Match Your Online Presence To Your Real Self
Connect your online presence with your real self. Don’t be afraid to personalise your profiles, you don’t want to sound like a corporate robot. Always keep it professional, but don’t be afraid to change things up a little. Networking is much more effective if you are likeable as a human and not just as a social media profile. It is always advisable to write a personal note when you connect with someone – again to make sure that you are memorable. Ensure your LinkedIn profile and your blog/website all align.