It can be so important to be in the right place at the right time. Networking can happen anywhere. It happens in four phases: Mingling, Mating, Meeting, and Matching. Let's explore each phase together!

Phase 1: Mingling ---> Phase 2: Mating ---> Phase 3: Meeting ---> Phase 4: Matching ---> Phase 1: Mingling ---> etc.

Phase #1: Mingling

In the first phase of networking you simply meet people. You're most effective in phase one if you can clearly communicate (1) what you do, (2) what you need, (3) what value you bring to the table. It's like going to the grocery store with a shopping list before arrive. There is a lot to choose from, so having a predetermined outline of what you do, what you need to advance, and what you bring to the table will focus you search. Mingling should not be too in-depth, it is an initial opportunity to establish a connection when there are potential mutually beneficial synergies. After mingling, the goal is to follow-up with your strongest leads, and to maintain contact with other potentials leads as well.

Phase #2: Mating

In the second phase of networking, playfully called mating, you begin somewhat or a courting process with the potential contact. This is done with a follow-up phone call or email to let the potential contact know of your interest in learning more about his or her business. At this time you should be more clear and more detailed in your objectives and your abilities to add value to the other person's profession. The more you can add value, the more interesting you become. Do not focus as much on what you need, but focus more on areas of synergies.

Phase #3: Meeting

In the third phase of networking, meeting, you dedicate time to exploring specific opportunities and desired outcomes. Before going to a meeting, you should use the information you've gathered from the mingling and mating phases to shape your goals and objectives for the face-to-face or one-on-one meeting. It does not matter whether the meeting happens via phone or in person. What is important is that you have a plan for what you would like to see accomplished, along with a specific pitch strategy for yourself, your service, your product, or your company. Don't be afraid to state clearly what you would like to see happen moving forward. That includes listing what you will commit to do, and what you would like to see in return. Always leave a meeting with a clear and concise understanding of the next steps moving forward.

Phase #4: Matching

In the fourth and final phase of networking, matching, you begin to take action steps towards implementation. Based on the game plan established during the meeting phase, you need to have a clear roadmap for how you plan to fulfill your end of the expectation bargain. It is so important to be able to deliver on what you promise. The best ideas and the greatest of intentions mean nothing without follow-thru. You must be timely. You must be accurate. And, you must deliver quality work. By doing so, you gain the confidence and trust of your new contact. Trust is what makes your network work!

Top 5 Networking Nudges -- Things You Should Do

Now that you know the phases of networking, here are few tips to keep in mind as you go through the process. As with anything else in life, the more you practice, the better you become.

Avoid Stuck-up Socializing. Be careful not to talk with only those individuals you think are important and can help you. The truth of the matter is that you never know where the best contacts can come from. Be friendly, open, and engaging with people in general, and you'll find that you increase your network with a diverse array of contacts and key connections.

Value People. Understand that everyone you meet has value and something to offer. The truth of the matter is, most of the people that you meet may not be able to help you. But, you may be able to help them. As a result, you are planting positive seeds that will come to fruition. Quite often I get business referrals from people who are no where in my industry. However, if I've treated a person with respect, kindness, and generosity, then that person becomes more likely to refer you when someone else in their network might be in need of someone like you.

Socialize. Get out of the house. And, get out of your office. You cannot meet people if you are in the middle of the action. You can meet people casually at networking mixers and happy hours. If you carry your professional game face with you everywhere you go, you make professional connections anywhere! I got into the world of professional sports at the airport. I make A LOT of connections on airplanes, and have gotten some great business leads at the hair salon. The key is to be engaging (as I've said before) with others, and to have a clear and compelling picture of what you do, what you need, and what you bring to the table. You can socialize more strategically by joining associations, professional groups, and attending conferences, workshops, and seminars.

KISS ‘EM. Keep It Super Simple, Easy & Manageable. Make it easy for someone to help you. Often times when people meet a new contact, they ask for too much too soon. You do not want to overwhelm someone with your ideas and plans. And, you do not want to ask for too much. You'll scare someone away before you finish your first sentence. I recommend starting small with simple things that establish trust and a solid foundation for a future, more substantial working relationship. A colleague of mine and I went to meet with a large company that was interested in expanding its franchise operations. We had an excellent first meeting with the company. In fact the meeting was almost too good. We discussed maybe a dozen of potential ideas and ways that we could help the company. While that sounds good, a dozen ideas is too many. We decided for focus on our top three strongest service areas (the ones we knew we could ace), and then go back to the company so it could choose its top priority. We wanted them to pick one thing that we could focus on and deliver with excellence. By doing so, we made it easy on ourselves to make a good impression. And, we make it easy on the company to give us a chance.

Be Ready. Always be ready for new opportunities to come your way. Women who expect to succeed also expect to meet the people they need to know in order to make their vision a reality. As such, you should always have you're A-game ready. As I mentioned, you could meet the one person who elevates your career to the next level anywhere. So, always have your business cards. Always have your professional introduction of yourself (your spill) ready to go. And, where ever you go and whatever you do, career yourself with confidence, class, and charisma.

Author's Bio: 

Intent.com
Intent.com is a premier wellness site and supportive social network where like-minded individuals can connect and support each others' intentions. Founded by Deepak Chopra's daughter Mallika Chopra, Intent.com aims to be the most trusted and comprehensive wellness destination featuring a supportive community of members, blogs from top wellness experts and curated online content relating to Personal, Social, Global and Spiritual wellness.