Networking is the process of developing and using your contacts for information, advice, moral support and sales leads.
"Effective networking involves a strong combination of skill and luck; a willingness to take the occasional risk to forge good contacts; energy; openness to other people and their needs; and constant awareness of the opportunity for give and take in every setting," according to Ruth Thaler carter, author of "Networking for Success."
The most common reservation about networking is "Why should I waste my time standing around talking to people when I could be doing something more constructive to build business." If done effectively, networking can be your second best method of making money second only to direct cash sales.
Even if you think you don't need help with your business, networking can make you feel more comfortable and be more effective where you are. It can change your whole way of thinking about what it takes to succeed in business, according to Mary Scott Welch, author of Networking. You can expect to leave with rewards of information, referrals and feedback.
"Because the information you receive from networking is offered free and is shared, you must be prepared to do something free in exchange for it. The key is not to let networks get cold. Stay in touch. Stay active. Stay visible," Thaler Carter said.