According to the theory of the Six Degrees Of Separation, we all are only a few people away from everyone else.
Embrace your friends' references and contacts to get to know people that can help you in your professional pursuits.
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Knowing what you want and whom you want to connect with matters.
Using social media tools like LinkedIn is a good start to speed up your initial connection with the people aligned with your goals.
If you don't know anyone, a brilliant strategy is to provide free talks and seminars, and in the process build a completely organic list of people who connect with you and know your work.
Creating content to attract the right kind of people towards you is a good and proven technique for getting to know people.
Understand that instead of going to them, you have to attract them to you.
Apart from the networking process, many people who shy away from networking are not trusting the people involved.
The solution is to identify the people you truly respect (maybe by making a list) and build a quality offline network, taking the help of professional networking sites like LinkedIn.
Behind many fears is worry about doing something wrong, looking foolish, or not meeting expectations — in other words, fear of failure. By framing a situation you’re dreading differently before you attempt it, you may be able to avoid some stress and anxiety.
Don't put off a conversation for some ideal future time, when it can be more easily dealt with.
Take some time to cool down and plan the general outline of the outcome you desire. But then have the conversation, and make a plan to move on.