This is an imperfect step-by-step guide on how to network effectively, and make friends and acquaintances with all kinds of people. I say imperfect because there is no one way to do it, but here are a few tips from what I've learnt along the way - in no particular order.

I'll be uploading a new tip bi-/weekly, partly because I'm a little lazy to do it all right now (it's nearly 1am, I need to sleep!), also because I realise new tips at any time, so I want to make sure my advice stays fresh and relevant for you, and lastly because reading only one or two tips a week will give you enough time to put them into practise. 

If they're not put into practise, they won't work!

Oh, and it also gives you enough time to give me feedback at any point. I'd really appreciate it!

1. Remember, people like to talk about themselves

The one thing everyone loves to do, is talk about themselves. Even if you don't, you most likely like to talk about your loved ones or what you love doing, and why you love doing it. 

So, ask questions!

Don't be shy - the more you ask, the more the person will tell, and the more they'll like you, because to them, you're actually interested in what they're interested in and that forms a sense of attraction (not romantic) and bonding. 

Ask about their kids, their hobbies, their kids' hobbies, and before you know it, you'll actually understand them and how their minds work.

Sure, you may not have kids and may not resonate with some parts of the conversation, but speaking about it will keep the person you're talking to interested, and eventually you could manipulate the conversation into a business deal (we'll touch on conversation manipulation later on).

Also make sure you listen to understand. This will help you in manipulating the conversation, striking up a new one when next you meet and also just to make a real connection with them. We'll touch on that again later.

Hope this first point helps you to improve your confidence and networking skills. If you have any questions or comments, type them into the comment box below.

2. Smile

Smiling is the best thing you could do without actually opening your mouth. Talk about pouting making you sexier is a myth - unless of course people know know your name without you having to introduce yourself, otherwise, you better get ready to show those 32s! 

People get attracted to people they feel they can be comfortable with, and there's nothing more comforting, opening or warming than a smile. 

It says a lot without saying anything, and sometimes, we may find ourselves in very nerving situations that we forget to smile - but remember that your smile sends a message across, a preview of how the conversation will go. 

So is your plan to invite them (smile)? Or dismiss them (frown)?

3. Make A Real Connection

Remember that who you're talking to is a person, just like you. you're not trying to get a robot's business card, or a monster's email address; but a person.

Laugh, make jokes, speak about life, about ideas, about what's going on in the world.

The worst you could do is go straight to only what you want out of the conversation without at least trying to acknowledging that they are more than their job. 

In one sentence: Speak to them as you would like them to speak to you (if you were in their position).