Networking is an art that has baffled countless job seekers and professionals over the years. While universities and websites like LinkedIn are making it easier to find contacts, many are unsure how to approach or even reach out to a complete stranger. Especially when that stranger could put them on a path to personal or financial success. Fortunately, one of St. Louis’ “Top 100 Business People to Know” has been gracious enough to publish a comprehensive guide on what you need to do to develop meaningful and lasting relationships for your business and/or personal needs.

James Canada, President and Managing Partner of Alliance Technologies, understands that networking is a two-way street: you need to give something in order to receive something in return. For example, sharing an article with your introduction that contains insight relevant to the profession or industry of your target audience has a better chance of leading to a conversation than just saying, “Hey, would you like to connect?”

According to Canada, you must first do your homework in order to make a meaningful connection. Find out if you have anything in common. Learn about his or her company and industry. Canada also urges to keep an open mind about who you connect with. Literally anyone within your social circle can open a new door for you. One day, that Cross-Cultural Psychology classmate you provided lecture notes for could be the “in” you needed to land your dream job or business opportunity.

However, you are still two steps away from growing your network: meeting with your new connection in person and following up with that person to ensure a long-term relationship. Yet, before you proceed with anything, you should consult Canada’s “Smart Networking for Personal & Business Success” on the proper course of action to take in those stages. After all, his three-step approach did lead to 75 new clients in Alliance Technologies’ first year of operations.

Become a master in the art of networking, and obtain your copy of Canada’s guide from