Business is about relationships – getting the job, the promotion or the next big sale may all boil down to “who you know.”

In our age of digital media, the value of networking has dwindled, but the power of networking has never been stronger. It’s the oldest trick in the book – and it still works.

1. Be INTERESTED Don’t just talk about yourself. Listen to the other person and ask insightful questions.

2. Be INTERESTING Build your knowledge base so you can talk to people on virtually any topic. If you don’t know anything about a topic, be prepared to ask questions.

3. Be FOCUSED There is nothing worse than asking a question with your mouth while your eyes are focused on something else across the room.

4. ASK for a business card (and bring yours) – You should make sure you have current information on the people with whom you network. You now have the opportunity to write them a personal, handwritten (yes, handwritten) note thanking them for chatting with you. 

5. Be AWARE Don’t dominate a person’s time. Thank them for spending time talking and suggest the possibility to meet again, at which time you’d like to learn more about what they do.

6. PRACTICE handshakes – Before you go make sure you focus on the right type of handshake for the situation…firm and not too long.

7. REMEMBER their name, if nothing else – People really appreciate it when you can recall their name at the end of a conversation, as well as within the conversation.

8. FOLLOW UP If you want to build a strong network, displaying effort goes a long way.

9. GIVE and you will get something in return – Everyone you meet gives value to your life, so be thankful that you met someone new.  If you and that person gain something else from the interaction, then you are even better off.

Utilizing these tips will leave a positive impression.

Remember, not every connection you make will yield measurable results … but building a network of strong relationships and positive emotional ties are just as important for your career and your personal life.