Understand that networking is simply a process of meeting people and having conversations.
Know that networking is not just about pushing cards and chatting your way through with small talk. Instead approach with open ears and look for common grounds where you can be beneficial to them as well.
Understand the dynamics of the networking group you would want to affiliate yourself with.
Be clear on the “Why?” Networking in the wrong group is not just a waste of your time but it also brings down the morale of the group. Join the group of people with whom you share information and services to your mutual benefit.
Understand the significance of your communication’s content.
Context involves nonverbal communication such as gestures, body language, facial expressions, and elements such as tone of voice. You must must present your intentions clearly and with enough detail so that the receiver shares meaning.
Understand that networking is a long term two way relationship, look for opportunities to reconnect on an occasional-but-ongoing basis in the months and years that follow.
Keep in mind that just because you’ve met someone doesn’t make them part of your network, you have to build on the meeting to earn their trust.
Understand the importance of sincerity especially after the networking event.
If you make a promise, stick to it. Follow up and follow through. Don’t make the conversation all about you. Reciprocate attention and interest even when it isn’t going to help you just yet.
Networking is nothing but communicating, branding and being sincere with the professionals you meet. If you strategize in advance and play your cards right, then your brand of distinction will make you a standout in any networking forum. It is the most easily available tool to work your way up.