The key is to make it fun and to make it an adventure. Here are some tips to get you started, and to look at networking in a new, more entertaining way.
1. Choose Fun Events!
Go to events the pique your interest. Don’t just go to any old event; you want to find like-minded people where conversation starters will be easy. Check out places like Meetup.com for listings. From film viewing parties to dog park meet ups, social gathering sites offer something for everyone.
2. Host Your Own Gathering.
Invite a handful of friends over for dinner or to go out. Then tell all of your friends to bring one person who’s new to the immediate circle of friends and see who shows up. You never know whom you’ll meet!
Do more than just attend an event. Get out there to give back to your community. This is one of the best ways to have a good time while living through meaning. Volunteering is also one of the best ways to attract quality people who value authentic connections.
4. Think Outside the Networking Event
Don’t just search for “Networking Events” online. Look for conferences, tech meet ups, or even an art class. Collaborative and creative environments will allow for more organic conversations and will help people to open in a different way.
5. Social Dinning Clubs
Fancy yourself a foodie? Join a social dining site to meet new people who share your love for food.
6. Pick a Goal
Set a goal for how many people you’d like to meet at your networking event. It could be five to ten people. Once you hit your number, your work is done and you’re free to go!
7. Bring a Friend.
If you get the social networking jitters, try taking a friend. Moving in pairs usually makes it easier to network – especially if you choose your networking buddy wisely.
8. Show Up With Fashion Flair!
Forget the jeans and T-Shirt. Show up in style with a cute dress, a quirky tie, or your newest pair of leopard print socks. People love interesting fashion and use it as an easy conversation starter.
9. To The Bar!
Getting a drink isn’t a bad idea. You can practice your warm-up conversation with the bartender, and it’s a chance to make small talk at the bar with others as you wait.
10. Ask Different Questions
I love to ask questions like, “What inspires you?” or “What makes you tick?” instead of “What do you do for work?” and “Where are you from?” People get tired of the usual questions and perk up when they hear something different. Give it a try, and watch how conversations unfold with more depth and connection.