networking opportunities both in person and online that are likely to give me exposure to people I already have something in common with.
Networking can be a part of your everyday life, even when you're not seeking out a connection.
A new restaurant opened up down the street from me. I ate there once and thought it was mediocre. Then I met the owner at a local expo for entrepreneurs. I shared my thoughts about my experience and he gave me coupons for free food. We shared a meaningful interaction. I later met him at a Chamber event and talked to him further. I'm rooting for him now, hoping that his business succeeds. Our relationship was helped by our multiple interactions over time from which we've both benefited. A recent email newsletter from him prompted me to eat there again, and while I was there, he invited me to a networking luncheon he was hosting. I met several local business owners at the luncheon, including some I had met before, and I was able to further my relationships with them.
Another example is what led to the software project I'm working on now. A couple of years ago, I discovered that a fellow church member had been a software tester before. About six months ago, we started talking seriously about what I could do for the company where he is employed. About three weeks ago, he overheard a conversation I was having at church and learned that I was available to take on a new client. I've been doing work for his company for about two weeks now.
You should keep adding new people to your network. But the people whom you've already cultivated relationships with are really gold, as the song goes.