The best part about networking is that you are constantly doing it, each and every day. Especially in a compact city such as San Francisco, you cannot avoid the social interaction of networking. Whether it’s going out to dinner with friends, running into an old acquaintance from college, seeing a co-worker outside of the office, or being introduced to a new connection, this city is an open arena for social networking.
Many people don’t even realize that we have been networking our entire lives; it is a natural and common occurrence to meet and find new friends and relations. Regardless, it is practically second nature to be meeting new people or reconnecting with old friends. Having said this, it’s important to be prepared. Make sure you are always on the look out, have an open mind and are engaging, outgoing and ready to make new ties. My advice is to not only attend events, but find some fun, exciting and interesting things to do– join clubs, groups, teams–Whatever it may be, get involved with others who share similar interests. Don’t just go home after work and settle in on the couch, figure out what you’re into and get after it. In essence, leverage your passions. In doing so, you directly leverage your networking.
Whether you’re interested in bike riding, bowling, motorcycling or so forth, check it out online, go on Linkedin and Facebook and find the countless groups you can join. If you can’t find one–START ONE! Even so, join a club based on something entirely different and out of the ordinary. Step out of your comfort zone. You’ve spent your entire life building a network of people, and each of those people has access to an entirely different network, so you may as well check it out. You love to play softball? Join a league and find a team and make some friends, you never know who will have valuable and useful information or an opportunity at hand. There is so much to gain by investing time and energy in making connections and maintaining relationships.
Utilize the accessible networking tools like social media sites, leverage what you’ve already built and expand on it. Networking should be fun, not something you have to do. Many people view networking as a mere exchange of a handshake and business cards, but it is so much more, with so much more potential. It’s a very small world, much smaller than we believe it to be and we are all connected in some way. Use your passions to your advantage, engage in your interests, be open-minded and try new things. There are only positive things to gain from connecting and reconnecting with those around you, so be willing to do the work in networking.
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