If you are like me, with horrible networking skills, you might know how intricate it is to grow your professional network. For some, business networking means a lot of overzealous people offering their business cards, intending to sell you something that you don’t really want. And to others, it seems like walking through a room full of people and shaking hands with everyone you come across.

Regardless of what you think about it, networking is irrefutably the best way to meet people who can help you enhance your career or promote your business. After all, people like to work with people they know and trust. Companies don’t make the decisions; people do, so you never know when someone from your network may refer you to a great job.

Here is a guide that may help you grow your professional network while all you may require is some time:

Make a list of people you know

You might be underestimating your ability to connect with others, so make a list of all the people you know professionally. You can start with college; mention everyone you met during your internship or during your first job. Do this for every job that you ever had. You can also add your friends who are currently working in the same field as you.

Attend networking events

“Being out of sight is like being out of mind.” Use events and tradeshows to grow your professional network. You can also attend some events that are organized online – LinkedIn groups and Twitter chats are widely used these days for business networking. You can also find some upcoming events of HR world in our HR EVENTS & CONFERENCES COLUMN.

Hang out with people in your network

You can invite someone from your network to hang out with you after work hours. You should also frequently visit places that people you want to connect with can be found at. By being social and friendly, you can expand your professional network and can get a lot of help in advancing your career or expanding your business.

Don’t be selfish – give as well

It should be give and take; you cannot expect everyone to help you when you are not willing to help them back. By being helpful, you can maintain your connections for long-term and take help from them whenever you require.

At the end of the day, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know!

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