In networking it's not who you know, it's who knows you. That was the whole point of the popularity game in high school, right? Being "famous" and well-known. It didn't matter if you knew of people, they had to know who you were.
Networking is definitely not a popularity contest, but this is a negative lesson you can turn positive. If you feel like you're at a plateau in your networking, you need to find a way to get "popular" and put yourself up in front of a lot more people. You want to have more people become aware of you, not so much as a means to be popular, but as a way to open up doors and give you a warmer introduction to the people who see you.
A great way to do that? Give a speech. (If the idea makes you cringe, get thee to a Toastmasters Club right now!)
Last week I had the opportunity to give a 3 minute presentation in front of a luncheon crowd of 120+ women. The Fresno Women's Network asked me to give a presentation encouraging the members to get involved and giving them a few networking tips.
It is much, much harder to give a 3 minute speech than a 30 minute one. At least if you want to say something useful! I worked hard at boiling down the vital keys to networking success into a few statements while still having time to list the Network activities.
Did I do a good job at getting to the heart of the networking matter? You can find out by reading the speech (not a big commitment, remember it was three minutes).