We have talked about how much faster you will accomplish your career goals if you put yourself out in the marketplace and meet prospective partners/employers/proteges/vendors.
One of the best ways to get out there is to attend trade shows and seminars. The problem is that the formal aspects of these programs – the speeches and the product presentations – are often superfluous/redundant/unnecessary. But the networking that surrounds them can be invaluable.
I am a reluctant show-goer. Id much rather hide in my office and communicate by e-mail. But every time I force myself to attend a trade show, I am rewarded. A trip several years ago to a health show resulted in a multimillion-dollar deal with a doctor/publisher I literally bumped into on the exhibition floor. A cocktail party in New Orleans led to a relationship that completely revolutionized the way I thought about a certain type of business.
If you have ever attended an industry function, you know what I mean. Unless you wear a paper bag over your head, you cant help but make some useful contacts and get some helpful ideas.
So do something right now.
Take a look at a trade publication for your industry. Check out the calendar of upcoming events. Pick one that offers you the best chance to meet as many people as possible. Book yourself an airline ticket.