Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Since this blog is about ways to meet new people, I thought that this 
was an interesting article from Forbes magazine that many of you would like to read!

5 New Ways to Network
By: Patty Seawall
If you want to groan every time you hear the word “networking,” well, 
I don’t exactly blame you. The word conjures images of uncomfortable 
schmooze-fests, where suit-clad business executives work the room, wine 
glass in hand, feigned interest at the ready. Who would enjoy that?
But guess what? Networking doesn’t have to be that bad—in fact, it shouldn’t
 be. The goal is to meet new people and expand your professional network, 
and there’s no reason those activities have to be confined to conferences and 
industry happy hours.  All it takes is a little imagination, and networking 
might even be kind of fun. 
1. Reinvent the Meet-and-Mingle
Is there an activity you’ve been wanting to try, 
or a new skill you’d like to learn? Pick an activity
—like taking up golf, learning to make your own
wine, joining a book club, or anything else that
other stressed-out professionals might do to 
unwind—and try it out! (Groupon is a great place 
to look for new ideas.) People in a relaxed, 
social setting are usually more open to conversation,
 which makes this the perfect opportunity to open
 up, ask questions, and build new relationships.
2. Be In With the In Crowd
In nearly every big city, there are at least a few
 restaurants where the politicos, the PR people, 
or the state workers like to go to mingle with their 
own. Even professional chefs have their favorite 
after-hours haunts. And a little legwork or friendly 
conversation with a knowledgeable bartender will 
give you some ideas of the hot spots in your industry.
 So, pick your place, grab a friend, cozy up to the 
bar, and strike up a conversation with the person next
 to you. Putting yourself (literally) next to other
 people in your field will increase your chances of 
networking success.
3. Take Up a Cause
Consider volunteering your time where your 
heart is. Pick a local church, animal sanctuary, 
or non-profit where you can put in a few hours after 
work or on a weekend alongside other people in your
 area. Or, lend your professional expertise to a neighborhood
 school: Put together a presentation (complete with
 handouts) about your field for career night, when 
parents (read: new contacts) are also in attendance.
4. Work It
Fundraisers usually have no trouble finding people
 who are happy to fork over $200, get dressed up, and 
enjoy the wine and hors d’oeuvres—what they really 
need is extra hands. So call your favorite charity and offer to 
work the registration desk. You’ll get to be there for the entire
 event, you’ll have a built-in chance to meet and talk with the 
(often high-profile) attendees, and you won’t have to pay a dime to do so.
5. Reconnect With Your Past
College and high school reunions or alumni events are the hidden gems of 
the networking world. They offer a room full of people with 
diverse interests and careers who you already know (or at least, who
 you have something to talk about with)! So, after you reminisce with
your former classmates, club-mates, and sorority sisters, strike up a 
conversation about their careers, and talk about yours. Your old friends 
could be (or at least put you in touch with) valuable connections.
Whether you’re looking to leave your dead end job or just want to
 connect with people who may lead you to your next career move,
 face-to-face networking is still one of the best job search tactics 
out there. And if you’re willing to think outside the box, it might
 actually be fun, too.

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