Take every opportunity to meet new people. In a grocery store, getting your hair done (or cut), waiting for your son/daughter at school or anyplace.
Focus on how you can help. You don’t need to tell them what you do. Look to give a helping hand. Make the Relationship. If you are good enough they will ask you what you do.
Go alone to an event. This will stop you from “hanging out” with the people that you know. You are going to the event to meet NEW people.
Don’t forget your business cards. I don’t know how many times I went to an event and was interested in speaking to that person and when I asked “can I get one of your cards?” only to have them say “I can’t believe I left my house without my cards!”. I didn’t ask again.
Be sure to meet people in other industries, too. After all you never know where your business will come from.
Make a networking goal and stick to it. Remember I said to make networking a goal? Take your calendar out (electronic or paper), find 2 networking events and GO!
Outline your objectives and target networking audience.
Network with your customers. If you find out that one of your customers is going to an event, find out the information and go. Just think. If your customer is going, then others within the same profession might be there as well.
Plus, you can ask them for introductions to other people. You have a built-in referral!
Listen more than you speak. For some this is difficult. Maybe, just maybe you may learn something about them that you can connect with.
Connect on non-business topics. Remember F-O-R-M? You can use it at an event just the same. Just listen.