I always recommend that if you are joining a large organization, to find a way to be a part of a smaller group within the organization. If you attend an event be sure to chat with and thank the organizers. If you are invited to a charity gala, do more than attend, volunteer.
Now, these are all great things to do in general, but they all have a specific networking goal in common. They all bring you into proximity with people who are centers of influence. The small groups within the organization? The members usually know a significant number of the other members. The event organizers? They probably know the faces and names of pretty much everyone at the event. Volunteering at a charity gala? That gets you close to the organizers, but also brings you into contact with most of the attendees as well.
Now, of course, you should still be willing to connect with just about anyone who shares your networking values. You really gain nothing by being a snob. By connecting with centers of influence, though, you magnify the power of your own network significantly. That gives you even more ability to find ways to serve those whom you meet every day.
Remember, though, that the folks who are centers of influence are still people and you are going to have to prove to them that you have their best interests at heart (and not just that you want to sell your product to their network). You still have to develop the relationship. You still can’t ask for anything which exceeds the level of relationship that you’ve achieved with that person.
Still, if you treat them as you would any other valued member of your network, if you help them meet their goals, overcome their challenges, and make their dreams a reality (with no expectation of anything in return), soon you’ll find them willing to help you succeed in business and in life.
And you’ll be surprised how fast you’ll become a center of influence yourself.
Photo credit: barunpatro