Networking is a big part of business. It lets you find people who can further your company, and lets you spot the smartest investors, workers and consumers of your business. Whenever you’re speaking to a new soul, you’re essentially marketing your company. Every soul you meet is someone who can help you promote your activities.

It’s also great experience to meet new people. Occasionally conversations will open up your mind to new ideas or time-saving advice, and other times you just make new friends. Some folks have even met their spouses while attending networking events for business.

Whatever happens, networking can be daunting. Walking into a room full of bodies that you’ve never met before might be an adventure for extroverts, but for the majority of us, it’s a fear we must face. Whenever you attend your next event, try these steps to help you become that networking Jedi.

Know where to go.
Several industries have organized gatherings specifically for networking. Pull up a Google page and search for any upcoming events, happy hours or symposiums in your playing field. Talk to people who are widely recognized in your field to find out where to meet important people. Most of the time the best events are the ones usually found through word of mouth.

Be ready.
The most important thing about networking is to always be yourself. Keep it cool, calm and collected. Still, there are some tricks you can work to your advantage before a networking shindig. Make sure you have your best business cards and memorable pen at the ready. Always wear appropriate attire. If you’re going to show up at a planned event, try to get a hold of a guest list and see who you would approach. Talk to the people who will help you run your business. Look into their personal and business backgrounds so that you have an Ace up your sleeve. And memorize a list of unique things you want to say about your company. What makes you so special? Why should people take the time to learn about your business? What kind of help do you need?

Rock the boat.
Before you even step foot in the main room, remind yourself why you’re there. You are the CEO of your eccentric company. You are smooth, motivating and important, and people love you. Then when you push the doors open never give in. Everyone and I mean everyone, finds these gatherings a bit rough, so you have to be that guy or gal who makes it livelier for the rest – talk to people who are alone, approach a group of people who are in the middle of a conversation, chat up the folks next to you when you get a drink at the bar. And always get as many business cards as possible. The more folks you meet, the greater chance you have at meeting that one person who will move you past your boundaries.

Stay in touch.
While everything is still fresh in your mind, put together a list of people you talked to and what you talked about, you will see that these notes are a lifesaver down the road. Then send a thoughtful email letting them know you appreciated their time. Schedule meetings with the folks you’d like to be a part of your business and let the rest know you want to see them again at the next event. It’s delightful to be to the point in the email so they remember who you are and what they felt about you.

Make it routine.
Give yourself a goal by going to three networking events every for weeks. Before you head out the door, email the folks you met before to know if they’ll be there. Meeting with people all the time is a great way to build long-term relationships. And constant interaction is the only way to truly know who you want to include in your company.