"Networking." For some, hearing that term gets them excited, but for others, it triggers sweaty palms and lots of stress. Networking isn't everyone's forte. However, meeting new people doesn't have to be scary. Here are some great ways to meet new people (AND have fun doing it!).
It can be hard to meet new people. You might not think you have the time, patience, or social confidence to go out and build your network on a whim. Who does? Don't let negative self-talk bring you down and stop making excuses for not going out and meeting new friends and/or professional contacts. You can do it (and have fun doing it, too)!
7 Ways To Meet New PeopleSo, where can you meet new people? Here are some ideas for ways to meet new people:
1. While You're Practicing Your Presenting SkillsToastmasters is a great program, especially if you want to meet others. The group brings together a diverse group of individuals with the same goal: to improve their speaking skills. Although it may sound intimidating to practice your public speaking skills to a room of random people, the groups are typically very understanding friendly. Remember, even the best speakers probably had a shaky start, otherwise they wouldn't have joined. Make an effort to go to the meetings and learn about the people in the group - you never know who will be a valuable contact in the future!
2. While You're CompetingIf you love competition, join a sports club or league! It's easier for some people to connect with others while in a team setting. This is a fun way to meet new people, play new sports, and learn how to work on a team.
3. While You're Sipping A BrewWhether you enjoy a fancy cocktail or you're content with a beer, there are plenty of opportunities for networking. Events that surround drinking are fun because people are typically laid-back and more willing to socialize. Here are some ideas for events to look out for:
- Local beer tours
- Booze cruises
- Bar crawls
- Beer and wine tastings
- Cocktail parties
4. While You're Breaking A SweatOkay, I never really understood why people tried to meet others at the gym. Honestly, the last thing I want to do is talk to someone when I'm on the treadmill, jamming out to Katy Perry, and sweating like it's my job! …But that's just me. Instead, join a fitness class. It's more of a social setting and the classes are usually pretty fun and diverse. Here are a few ideas:
5. While You're Helping OutVolunteering in your community is a great way to meet new friends and professional contacts. You could do anything from event planning to building houses. Check out what volunteer opportunities are available in your area by going online or scouting out the bulletin boards around town!
6. While You're LearningWhat are you interested in? What do you want to learn more about? Whether it's on social media or pottery, try taking a class. Check out what classes and workshops are being offered in your area. This is a great way to meet new people with similar interests as you! (Cool idea: paint along classes. These classes are gaining popularity - you learn to paint while sipping an alcoholic beverage!)
7. While You're ExploringWhat's happening in your area? Is there a chili cook-off this weekend? Is a local band playing at your favorite bar? Is there an art show? Does your local park have picnics, festivals, or outdoor plays? Find out what's going on in your town and go check it out. Then, talk to people working, volunteering, or attending the event to learn more about it!
How To Find Events And GroupsSo, now you know where to meet people, but how do you find out where to find these groups, events? Well, in addition to talking with your existing network about the local happenings, try these ideas:
Meetup.ComMeetup.com is a huge network that helps local groups come together, face-to-face. It's a great tool for anyone looking to meet new people or try new things. Here are just a few of the many types of groups that you can find on Meetup:
- Professional groups
- Recreational sports
- Hobby clubs
- Social outings
Local Bulletin BoardsWhile you're at the supermarket or post office, be sure to take five minutes to check out the bulletin board. You'll find things like brochures, business cards, and flyers from local groups, businesses, and events. There's probably something you'd be interested in doing and/or learning more about!
Twitter & FacebookLike or follow local social media accounts to see what's happening in your area. This is a great way to get information on local happenings. Here are some types of accounts to start following:
- The local paper
- The chamber of commerce
- Local organizations, groups, and businesses