networking tipsNetworking is an essential part of any business however, for many it can be uncomfortable. So, how can you improve your networking skills and become more comfortable? Minda Zetlin of Inc. suggests you do the following:

1. Think big picture. When you meet someone for the first time, you should be finding ways to help that person.

2. Focus on passions. Look to discuss activities, ideas and subjects that both you and the person you're talking with are interested in.

3. Avoid hot-button topics. Similar to dating, you don't want to bring up divisive topics like politics or religion when networking.

4. Stay in touch. The goal of networking is making connections. Be sure to follow up with those you meet.

5. Be open-minded. Think outside your profession when it comes to networking. Casting a wide net can help you make connections you might not have considered otherwise.

6. Consider creating an event yourself. If you are hosting a networking event, you have a good reason to talk to people - it's your job as host to greet everyone.

7. Be strategic. Realize you won't be able to meet everyone at an event and, instead, try to focus on meeting 10 to 15 people who make the most sense for your business and goals.

8. Eat and drink in moderation. Be polite and professional at all times. Use your manners.

9. Be bold. Networking is most rewarding for those willing to step outside their comfort zones.

To read more networking tips, visit Inc.