This strategy is about sowing seeds, so you can reap the rewards later.
Okay, here it is:
First, I want you to make a list of any organizations that might interest and/or attract peers and leaders in your space.
This means: industry associations, professional associations, unions, regulatory bodies, even journals or magazines.
Do some homework. Ask around. You might be surprised.
That's step one.
Visit their websites and take note of any events that may be of interest to your organization.
Look for summits, workshops, seminars, networking events, etc. Basically, anything that brings people who work in your space together.
Pick one or two that are: (a) coming up soon; (b) relatively inexpensive; and preferably, (c) over the weekend. Then, approach your manager and ask for his or her blessing for you to attend representing your organization. (If you currently aren't working, you can represent your own consulting company.)
Here's the magic of this strategy:
At events like these, it's practically impossible to not meet interesting and influential people who can bring opportunities your way and open doors for you later on.
All it takes is for you to sit down next to someone you don't know, smile, say "Hii" and introduce yourself, and then ask:
"So... what led you to attend this event?"
Then wrap up the conversation by asking for a business card.
Because you're representing your organization, you'll be perceived by others as a professional, rather than a self-serving schmoozer.
When you return back on Monday with a black book full of new relationships (and valuable "straight-from-the-frontline" knowledge that can help your colleagues), you'll earn goodwill and respect. When the next event comes around, your organization might even pay for you to attend.
Over time, with just a bit of follow-up (which I'll talk about another day) you'll build a powerful network. You'll learn things about your industry or profession or space that many of your peers don't know, and you'll be the more attractive candidate for promotion.
This is one of the most powerful ways to make yourself valuable.