In Network & Connect to Succeed we discussed getting people’s cards and “working a room.” But how do you get access to the kinds of people whose cards you’d want to get?
Go to social gatherings where you can meet influential people. You don’t have to be out of school to start cultivating relationships. In fact, if you start attending meetings for service clubs, chambers of commerce or even networking organizations (yes, they do exist), people will be impressed by your determination at such a young age and probably come talk to you. Consider what kind of people you’d like to meet. Business leaders? Political leaders? Educators? Artists? Find out where they go and then try to go there yourself. There are all kinds of conferences, political rallies, social gatherings – and often you don’t need to be an official member of an organization to attend their meetings. Sometimes people in a certain field will congregate in settings that have nothing to do with their occupation. In fact, here in Los Angeles on the weekends you can find biker groups – all leathered out as they cruise up the Pacific Coast Highway in loud, screaming packs. During the week, they’re lawyers! I once played in a softball league composed mostly of executives from the film and television industry. Get involved in stuff. It goes without saying you should limit your trips to places that are healthy, legal and appropriate. Great places you can meet new people include:
■ Church or synagogue functions
■ Political fundraisers
■ Charity events
■ Community groups
■ Literature readings
■ Any conference or convention
Don’t be shy about networking and aligning yourself with influential people. What makes these people influential are the relationships they’ve made.
You may also want to read: Network & Connect to Succeed, Help Yourself by Helping Others, Building Rapport with People or check out the Jump Start Leadership Workbooks.