If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you just moved to a city you’re unfamiliar with and are looking for some advice! I’ve been in a new city for about six months and these are some ways I’ve been able to meet others and expand my network. Enjoy!
- Networking events. Whether it’s an event in your industry or a general gathering of professionals, do some research on what’s going on in your city and get out there! Not only will you improve your networking skills by learning how to strike up conversations with strangers, but you never know how much of a connection you could make with someone. That can lead to a friendship or a professional relationship with someone in your industry who could help you out with a big favor down the road. Don’t forget that it’s okay to show up to events or meetings by yourself–I bet if you look around at any event, you’ll find someone else who also showed up alone.
- Non-profit organizations. There’s a number of non-profits in any city, big and small. Even if you live in a small city that doesn’t seem to have many non-profits, look at foundations that have a national reach, such as Make-A-Wish or The Humane Society. You never know if they’re looking for volunteers in your area. Find one that has meaning in your life and contact the local office about opportunities to volunteer your time. If you’re more of an introvert, this is a great path to take. The people you’d be meeting already have something in common with you–a desire to help others!
- Professional boards. If you’re a young professional, don’t count this option out. You might feel like you don’t have much of a voice or can contribute as a recent college grad, but believe it or not, organizations are looking for people of all ages. I haven’t even been out of school for one full year and I’ve already gained two leadership positions–secretary for the Public Relations Society of America Central New York Chapter (PRSA-CNY) and the Young Professional Advisory Council for Make-A-Wish Central New York, which (as you can clearly read) is for young professionals! Find local organizations that are in your industry, get involved by going to events and ask if they’re looking to fill any leadership roles.
- Local events. Go through online local newspaper/website event listings to see what’s going on in your community. Grab a coworker and attend a few! Events that include alcoholic beverages tend to attract people that are looking to mingle and have a fun time, so get out there and make an effort to talk to others around you.
Honestly, these tips are what you make of it. You’re not going to meet people by just going through your day-to-day routine. You have to make a serious effort and depending on your personality type, they can be easy for some and harder for others. I’m definitely more of an introvert and I’ve had my fair share of moments where I had anxiety before going to certain events/meetings. But at the end of the day it’s worth it and you become proud of the different things you’re doing and the people you’re making connections with.
What do you do to meet new people? I’d love to hear!