Millions of people resist the idea of networking because it often feels forced … contrived … not genuine. Most networking events have us roaming around a room with a bunch of people we don’t know while we’re wearing our “Hello my name is awesome” sticker on our breast pocket.

I suggest you reframe “networking” in your mind …
View networking is NOT an event—it’s an ongoing, “organic” scene that allows you to form relationships with people you might actually enjoy the company of. You want to make “networking” a life practice of meeting new people … and developing new & exciting relationships that you can contribute to.

Here are 8 simple networking tips to be a networking rockstar.

1) Focus on “giving” NOT “getting”
Here’s one suggestion:

What if you have a great book recommendation? … or you learn through conversation that you know someone the person across from you would like to meet. What you have to contribute may have nothing to do with your business, but that’s okay. Make “give, give, give” a focus and I will assure you it’s a proven recipe for success.

2) Be present
When you are at a networking event, concentrate solely on the person you’re speaking with. Don’t be looking all around the room scanning the people for someone else. It’s rude! I guarantee you wouldn’t want someone to do that to you.

3) Listen more than you talk

We have 2 ears and one mouth for a reason. It’s been said by experts that “we should listen twice as much as we talk.” The most interesting people we want to meet “want to know about us.”

4) Think “long term” versus “short term”
Real relationships build gradually over time. For example: Who goes on a first date and proposes marriage? So don’t rush into a conversation or push your agenda when you first meet another person. Ask questions that genuinely open up or move along your dialogue.

5) Be honest
Don’t agree to do anything just to “be nice” … or do something because you’re trying to push your agenda. If someone suggests “Hey, let’s do lunch” … please don’t agree just to “be nice.” Instead, say something like “I really appreciate your offer, but my business life is so full that I don’t want to make a promise that I can’t keep. I’d feel just awful if our meeting never happens.”
Then either be quiet … or … you can creatively move the conversation forward.

6) Don’t over commit or feel guilty
It’s okay to NOT to stay in touch with everyone you meet at an event. Of course it’s fine to meet new people of all backgrounds, but don’t feel have to followup with everyone you came in contact with. You just don’t have time and energy, and it’s definitely not genuine if you have no intention of contacting them.

7) Take immediate action
If you agree to “do something” … take action and “get ’er done” right away. If you say “you’ll send an email” … whip out your smartphone and send it “right, then & there” … versus waiting until you return to your office. It’s a terrific habit to build—plus you have less on your “to do list” when you get back to headquarters.

Lastly …
8) Only go to networking events that interest you!
Only say “yes” to the events you want to do. The best kind of connections are those where you meet a kindred spirit and make friends. Don’t go solely to an event just to get the word out about “what you do” … I suggest you go to “bond” and “connect” with “like-minded” people. it just might be the best blessing of the day for you! Your number one goal should be to connect and make friends … otherwise you WILL most certainly come off as “fake” and “insincere.”

Now get out there … make friends and find a means to loving the concept of networking!