Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How Human Networking Works

        Money | Work Life

Your Networking Plan

The more specific you are about what you want to do, the easier it becomes to develop a strategy to accomplish it. Part of that strategy, of course, will be establishing relationships with the people in your universe who can help you get where you're going. So, first, do some deep introspection to find your Blue Flame, the thing in life that really lights your fire. Write, pray, whatever you need to do to clear your head and figure this stuff out. I enjoy great results from Vipassana meditation.

Once you've found your Blue Flame, it's time to have a RAP, or a Relationship Action Plan. Here's a simple way to get started. Write down your goals and the names and types of people who can help you achieve them. Then, note how you can reach those people and how you can contribute to their success, also. The more specific a plan you have and the more you put your goals out to others, the more everyone will conspire to help you achieve your dreams. On the other hand, if you don't know what you want or you don't tell anyone, no one can help you. They can't read your mind.

I can't tell you how many times a friend has called me and said, "Keith, I just became unemployed. I need to start networking; will you teach me how?" My answer: "No. No. No. You need to start job-hunting! You should have been building relationships for the past five or 10 years, so now that you need a job, you could make 20 calls and have five job offers waiting for you in a week."

The lesson: Start building those relationships today!