I still remember the very first business networking lunch I attended. It was the Tuesday on the week before Thanksgiving in 2008 at a local Italian restaurant just down the street from my home. It turned out the lunch was free that day if you joined the group for a year. So I did. I did not know a soul in the room, and very little about how to network but I decided to make the commitment. After all, the price to join for a year was the cost the lunch would have been anyway. For the prior 6 years I had been locked away in a cubical where you needed to have clearance to even get on the floor of the building where I spent way too many hours. Now suddenly I was in a world where I had to interact with people and my very survival as a business owner depended on it. To say the least is was scared to death and I am sure it showed. However, I was determined to make it work and over time I developed a system that helped me not only survive but thrive.