How to network in 20 minutes or less

Here's how to build your dream network in 2017
Here's how to build your dream network in 2017

When you think of networking, you may envision a large corporate conference room filled with people wearing name tags.

But not all networking has to be a big production. In fact, all you need is 45 seconds, according to networking expert, writer and investor J. Kelly Hoey.

"Start thinking of networking as muscle," Hoey tells CNBC. "Use it regularly in a variety of ways to achieve your goals."

In her forthcoming book "Build your dream network," Hoey shares a number of ways you can find new mentors, investors, or business opportunities without spending hours.

J. Kelly Hoey, investor and writer

If you have 45 seconds:

Take the stairs, the networking expert suggests. You could bump into a colleague or walk with your boss.

Plus, you can burn a few extra calories along the way.

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If you have two minutes:

Post a LinkedIn update or refresh your profile. Share an article you found insightful or make sure it's up to date. Your online presence matters and maintaining it could pay off, Hoey writes.

An added benefit? That article you post on LinkedIn could be a great conversation starter down the line.

"Consistency is key," Hoey tells CNBC.

Oliver Byunggyu Woo / EyeEm Creative / Getty Images

If you have five minutes:

Write an email to a professional contact. Hoey says you could reconnect with a client, colleague or a sales prospect.

Another quick networking strategy in under five minutes? Pick a different seat in the co-working space tomorrow. "See what happens," she writes.

Aly Song | Reuters

If you have 15 minutes:

Ride the subway. You buy yourself more time with chat with a prospective investor or colleague after work or a meeting, Hoey writes.

"Using the stairs or public transport might take you slightly out of your way, but what if you see that detour not as a decision about transportation, but as an opportunity for a valuable interaction?" Hoey writes.

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If you have 20 minutes:

Grab a quick coffee with someone you want to connect with, the expert suggests. If you plan ahead, you could land an informational job interview or valuable mentoring session along with your afternoon caffeine boost.

"We can all make time for a little networking in our hyper-focused lives," Hoey writes. "All it takes is some thought about who we're connecting with, combined with some strategy."

Video by Richard Washington.

For more great ways to network, check out these creative tips.

Here's where you should put your nametag -- and 14 other secrets for networking
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