Last month, I started a mini series on networking. We’ve already covered the do’s and dont’s of networking body language. So this month let’s delve into the places where you can put your new body language knowledge to work, that aren’t always on the forefront of people’s mind when they think “networking”.
Cafes & Coffee Shops
This one is definitely a little more uncomfortable to think about, because most people are either plugged in or with acquaintances when they’re at coffee shops. But, coffee shops can be the key to finding key players in your industry. Different coffee shops have different vibes and different clientele, so find one that seemingly aligns with the field that you’re trying to connect with. Then, become a regular. Strike up small talk in line or with people you’re sitting near. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but you’ll end up with some great new connections that also double as coffee buddies.
Conferences (Of Any Kind)
When people think of networking, they often think they can only really get great networking done at events that specifically cater to the industry that they’re in. But that’s not always true. If you’re attending a conference for anything, business, leisure, or anything in between, use that opportunity to start building connections. The best part about attending a conference is that you are surrounded by people who are just as passionate and excited about a particular topic as you are. That unifier is an easy way to break the ice, and you’ll be able to build a personal connection more quickly than if you were in a space that was strictly business-networking specific.
Classes (College or Otherwise)
Attending a class, whether you’re working towards a degree or just pursuing a new bit of knowledge are a great place to network. If you’re taking an industry related class, you know that you’re surrounded by people who do what you do and (probably) know people that you want to know. Use break periods to strike up a conversation with your classmates. If there aren’t breaks, create a study group or arrange a coffee date. You’ll never know how you and your classmates will be able to help each other if you don’t make the effort to connect!