Any successful person will tell you that they can attribute much of that success to networking. Making professional, lasting relationships with people in your field as well as outside of it is essential to your growth. Surely you’ve scrolled the internet looking for articles on how to make professional contacts, and you might have even found a few tips that have been somewhat lucrative. Everyone has different experiences and strategies that have worked for them, and there’s really no one right way to do it. There is one wrong way to do it, though. Choosing to avoid networking or not taking the opportunities when they present themselves is a huge mistake, as is only making connects with overt benefits. If a networking opportunity arises that presents a possibility for an immediate advantage, it would make sense to take it. However, if that opportunity doesn’t present an apparent benefit, you should still consider making the connection. While it may seem like an inconsequential relationship now, it might prove to be invaluable later on. So lesson one on how to make professional contacts is all about taking any networking opportunity you can get, especially if you’re just starting out. Lesson two is finding out where the best places are to begin creating professional relationships. Before the digital age, networking largely rested on attending events and functions with other professionals. Today, that isn’t the sole method but is still a crucial function in learning how to make professional contacts. You can now use the various online platforms at your disposal to create contacts and network, and the internet has now made it easier than ever to find people to connect with. Your professional website is your number one online networking tool. A poorly designed website or one without any information about you or your company will make your online networking efforts extremely difficult. An astounding 94% of people will reject your website (and you) if your website has a poor design. So be sure to have a nice website that people will find intriguing and engaging. You can also use social media to network, which has become an increasingly popular method with the widespread growth of sites such as LinkedIn. Be sure to have professional profiles across all platforms, though. If a potential connection sees two contradictory profiles about you or your business, they will be less inclined to reach out. However popular digital media might be in the world of networking, getting up and going to meet people in person is still a great tactic. Ask to meet them for coffee or lunch just to connect and set the foundation for the relationship.