Networking is an important part of our professional growth. Sometimes we don’t take advantage of all of the opportunities we have to network, and sometimes we don’t realize that they are opportunities. But really, there are opportunities for networking everywhere. People are learning that you don’t have to wait for an official networking event to make new connections.
For example, our clients have secured job interviews through their child’s daycare provider who knows other parents, and at their cousin-in-law’s wedding. Other clients have attended social events like Boston Red Sox baseball viewing parties at a local bar in Atlanta and met strong networking connections because of the out-of-town connection.
Taking these opportunities to network helps us build stronger personal connections. While you don’t want to be nice to someone just to gain a business connection, in order to network with someone in your family or where you volunteer, you have to take a personal interest in them. That helps you both to have a stronger personal connection and can open the door for career opportunities.
Hallie was honored to be recently interviewed for a Monster article about networking in surprising places you wouldn’t normally think of. Here are some additional tips when networking in unexpected places.
- If you network with people that you will see regularly, you don’t want to come off too strong. Start by taking an interest in them as a person, not just a business connection.
- You will want to avoid putting them on the spot in front of everyone in your workout class and give them an out in case they don’t feel comfortable. Start the conversation using a shared topic and then after it’s finished, you could say something like, “I would love to keep in touch outside of workout class” and give them your business card. Then ask if they would mind sharing their contact details.
- Look for a way that you could be helpful to them. For example, you could share your favorite spot for coffee or an article based on a conversation you had.