What is the single most effective networking strategy you have ever used? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by James Altucher, author, entrepreneur, podcaster, wall street investor, on Quora:

Four of my most effective networking strategies are:

PHONE

TC wrote a comment on the very first article I wrote in 2003.

I looked him up, found his phone number, and called him.

"Whoah," he said, "Nobody ever called me before just because I left a comment."

We got to be good friends. I visited him and his family in Dallas. His boss and his boss's friend invested some money in a business I was doing.

This was one technique.

I respond to a lot of emails. Not every one because I'd rather write here than write one on one. But often if someone reaches out to me, even if I respond years later, it's another node in my network.

THE YEARS LATER TECHNIQUE

I take an email someone sent to me over five years ago that I never responded to.

I respond as if I got the email yesterday, "Sure I'll meet you for coffee."

This always surprises people and even if they were mad at me at first, they stop being mad at me.

PERMISSION NETWORKING

This is the most important.

Your network is not worth the number of people it has. Meaning: the list of people in your rolodex.

What does this mean?

I will Google the math on this.

Let's say you have one hundred people in your rolodex. If none of them knew each other, then I would say your network is worthless.

The "network density" is the number of possible connections between these one hundred people.

There are 4,950 possible connections between the one hundred people (math).

This is the value of your network.

You introduce people to each other.

But, very important! Don't just introduce any two people to each other. Then you are giving them homework. Nobody wants homework. Nobody is asking you to give them more obligations.

This is the fastest way to ruin your network.

Instead, go to person A and say, "Here's why I think you should meet Person B." Then go to "Person B" and say "This is why I think you should meet Person A."

If both people say "Yes" then make the introduction and stay out of the way.

You don't need to be in the middle right then. Just let value be created.

Then your network density increases.

Then the value of your network increases.

Then the chances for your success in life increases.

THE IMPRESSION TECHNIQUE

One time I was obsessed with investing in the stock market. I read every book. I wrote software. I studied all of my heroes.

Now I wanted to meet them.

So I wrote to forty of my heroes and said, "Can I meet you? I'll buy you coffee and it will only be thirty minutes."

Zero people responded. Zero.

Less than zero. Because I probably made a fool of myself.

So I tried something new. I exercised my idea muscle.

Every day I wrote down ten ways to help X's business. Where X was one of the people I wanted to meet.

I'd write, "Ten ideas for articles you should write" to a writer.

I'd write "Ten software programs for trading strategies that I do that work" and I'd just give the software for free to a hedge fund manager.

I did that for all forty.

Three people responded.

One person said, "These ideas for articles are great! Why don't you write them?" And that started me off on my career as a writer.

Another person said, "These software ideas are great. I'll allocate money to you to trade." And that started me off as a hedge fund manger.

A third person wrote back and, to my great shame, I did not write him back immediately as he was the most valuable.

But twelve years later I wrote him back and said, "Ok, let's get together!' And we did. It was the one podcast he did in 2014 (and maybe ever since). Nassim Taleb, who I am very grateful for.

All of these networking techniques are effective. Surprise, delight, give value, and don't give people homework.

Do this every day and your network density will grow exponentially. Because that's math.

And that's the key to success

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Published on: Mar 6, 2017