The art of good networking is to cultivate the right mindset. Networking is not so much about how you can use someone to springboard to a better place, but more about getting to know a person, their job role, and industry.
When attending networking events try and meet as many people you can. Keep the dialogue open as best you can and be interested in what the other person is saying. If you exchange business cards at the end of the conversation you should see this as a win.
It could well transpire that you arrange to do lunch or provide information. It is important to keep your promises in that regard and could be the difference between receiving an exciting opportunity or being overlooked.
LinkedIn profiles need to be sharp and written to give both an idea of your value proposition and work experience. The language should be simple, and your skills and competencies should be listed at the bottom of your profile description section.
Your aim is that when a person reads your profile they can quickly grasp what you are about and want to connect.
Leverage LinkedIn groups and utilise the search and filter functions to find contacts that could potentially help you achieve your aims.
Try and join in discussions via LinkedIn groups and network updates. Choose topics that interest you and ones where you can make a valuable contribution. This will show others what you know.
Most executives have personal brands now and writing about your networking experiences as it evolves will make for great reading among your peers. Do it right and you will inspire! Write about setbacks stating how you overcame them as well as your successes. You can share your experiences across your social media networks.
Do not be put off if your early attempts at networking do not go as planned. Like all things, it is just a question of practice.