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Instant Networking: 3 Ways to Build Better Relationships Today

Building a network of business contacts can seem like an unsavory business to the uninitiated, calling up images of forced, fake conversation and unpleasant strangers waving business cards. But as best-selling author Keith Ferrazzi often reminds readers on his blog -- business relationships obey all the rules of normal human interaction and benefit from generosity, authenticity and simple kindness.

Recently, Ferrazzi penned a post reminding readers that relationship building shouldn't be saved for cocktail hours and conferences, and that there are small things you can do to strengthen your relationships with your contacts right now. To illustrate he offers five specific networking actions you can take today, most without leaving the comfort of your cubicle. Here are three of the best:

The Good Samaritan: Scroll through your Facebook or LinkedIn wall and find two people you can help. Remember, it doesn't have to be something big. Even a cheerful "hello" can be helpful some days. But you might be surprised how easy it is to find more specific opportunities to help when you go looking.

The Resume Builder: Go to LinkedIn and write a recommendation for someone whose work you admire.

The Conversation Starter: Leave a comment â€" or better yet, a question â€" on a blog post or status update that doesn't yet have any comments.

Check out the complete post for all Ferrazzi's ideas. Of course, digital communication is not a substitute for face-to-face interaction and getting to know people eventually does demand getting out from behind your computer. But you can't go wrong with the central point that career starters should constantly be looking for ways to build their networks through genuine helpfulness.

It's Friday today -- could you do one of these small actions before leaving the office and get your weekend off on the right foot? Or, if you're looking to read more excellent networking advice, check out this crash course in the subject for Gen Y offered by blogger Lindsey Pollak.

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(Image courtesy of Flickr user Sahaja Meditation, CC 2.0)
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