For many young professionals, attending a networking event sounds about as fun as going to the dentist. Necessary? Yes. Enjoyable? Not so much. Attitudes like this are understandable—the pressure is high, you’re not sure who to approach first, and conversations can range from awkward to downright embarrassing—but they’re also shortsighted.

Networking tops the list as the most effective way to find a new job, and 84 percent of professionals agree that face-to-face interactions are the best way to cultivate better business relations. Anecdotally speaking, connecting with others via networking events has been integral to building my business. I’ve formed partnerships, gained affiliates and won clients all directly because of networking.

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