Building a robust professional network is crucial for career success. Think about how you got your last job? Or your first job? Or landed your first big account? Networking is an essential skill that can open doors to countless opportunities. Here are four ways and thoughts on ways you can expand your network, create meaningful relationships, and open doors to new opportunities.

1. Attend Industry Events and Conferences

Attending relevant industry events and conferences provides a valuable platform for networking. Take advantage of these gatherings to meet like-minded professionals, industry experts, and potential collaborators. Make sure that you have established your elevator pitch so you can approach people confidently.

2. Utilize Online Networking Platforms:

Online networking platforms offer a convenient way to connect with professionals worldwide. Leverage these platforms to expand your reach, access a diverse network, and establish virtual connections. We live in a digital world so need to use the tools that are present. Not all digital platforms are created equal so find the one that is right for you and your business.

3. Cultivate Meaningful Relationships

Building genuine connections is key. Focus on the quality of the connection and not the quantity. Approach networking with others with a genuine interest in learning about others. It is not only an opportunity for you to share about yourself, but an opportunity to learn about others, so make sure you practice active listening.

4. Look at nontraditional ways to network

Business referral groups are another way you can network. There are more formal referral groups like BNi, but there are others that have been formed with the same framework. In these settings, you build relationships with those in other industries but a lot of times business will come out of these relationships because it is about their network.

Building a network takes time but it is incredibly valuable for many reasons. Take the time to find the places that make sense for you to network, then go do it.

What other networking opportunities have you been a part of that have been beneficial?

I strategically help business owners develop their leadership competencies. We implement ways to be more strategic to increase revenue and develop workflows that affect the bottom line. In the end, we create work-life integration so they live a life they love.

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Stephanie German is a business strategist, adjunct professor, and speaker. She holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership and loves giving back to her community in a variety of ways. When she’s not coaching clients or writing about leadership, Stephanie is usually headed to the mountains or the beach with her family, drinking savory wine, or working on the latest project with her husband. She lives in Fresno, California with her husband Blake and her three spunky daughters, Cara, Kinsey, and Peyton. She is the best-selling author of So Your Boss Can’t Lead?

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