The Art and Science of Networking (Infographic) Thanks to technology, networking has drastically changed over the years.

By Rose Leadem

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Networking isn't about shaking hands and exchanging business cards. It also isn't just about trying to find a dream job or new opportunity. A solid network is helpful for a variety of reasons, whether you're looking to launch a business, showcase a project or meet new people. If you really want to grow your network, you've got to focus on building valuable relationships.

Related: 10 Powerful Business Networking Skills to Build Rapport

The best part about networking is that there are no downsides to it. Of course, it might sound daunting at first, but people with strong social networks also are typically more confident, happier and healthier. According to research by Network Wise, strong and healthy networks can lead to a decrease in dementia, breast cancer and other health issues.

Related: 7 Tips to Networking as an Introvert

The three most important types of networks that you should develop are operational, personal and strategic. Operational means gaining contacts and connections with people important to business, while personal refers to those people you socialize with and who are more likely to become your friends. Strategic are the people you strategically connect with to share ideas and whom you look up to.

Related: How to Encourage Networking That Boosts Company Culture

While that might sound like a lot of work, with the help of technology, networking is easier and more achievable than ever. Sites including LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram are all great places to connect with people and begin building your own networks.

To learn more, check out Network Wise's infographic below.

Rose Leadem is a freelance writer for Entrepreneur.com. 

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