Six alternative ways to meet new people if you hate networking
Posted February 21st, 17:00
2 min read
A friend recently told me, “I’d rather shave my legs with a rusty nail than go to a networking event”, and that just about sums up how I feel about networking too.
If you’re not a natural networker, the idea of walking into a room full of strangers with just your business cards and the ever-decreasing hope of getting some new clients is enough to send you running for your sofa and into the arms of Netflix.
But networking equals clients, which equals money, which equals more sofa and Netflix time. So…
If you really do hate networking – and I really, really do – here are some alternatives to hiding behind your phone in a terrible bar.
Rather than spending money on a naff breakfast, get out into the world and do some volunteering. You could help in your local area, or offer your skills to a charity that you believe in.
Giving your time for free – whether it’s related to your business or not – is a great way to meet new people and make connections.
Whether it’s doing one day of free work a month or a few hours every now and again, volunteering can expand your skills and open you up to clients you previously couldn’t have gotten.
Make sure you don’t use volunteering to get work. Whatever you do, ensure you’re doing it because the cause would benefit from your services – not because it’ll be good for business.
This might seem extreme, but getting a side gig could help you make business connections.
Find an industry that’s tangentially relevant to what you do or will put you in touch with potential clients, pick up a few shifts and see who you meet. It could lead to some business cards being exchanged, and worst case scenario you’ll get some extra cash in your pocket.
Instead of throwing yourself to the dogs and facing a whole room of people, find some key contacts on social media and message them directly.
Most people are happy to offer their time in exchange for a coffee, and talking to someone one-to-one is a far more effective way to build relationships.
Join online communities
Some people like networking because it gives them the chance to meet people in person, but meeting people online can be an equally effective way to network. Identify groups to become a member of – either local ones or industry ones – and start contributing and joining in with conversation.
Attend other events
Conferences, meet-ups and talks all offer the opportunity to network without as much of a fear factor. Tag along to something industry-related or interesting to you and you’re sure to meet like-minded people, including potential clients.
Join a shared space
It’s difficult to meet other people when you’re sat in your home office all day. Joining a coworking space or sharing an office with other businesses could open up a whole new world of collaborations and connections.
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