In the field of communication, we’re in the business of the human touch. From adding an approachable feel to a brand’s social platforms to connecting clients with the media, we recognize the value of building authentic relationships. So what happens when you move to an entirely new city with zero authentic relationships? You network your heart out.
One month ago, I packed up my tiny Hyundai Tiburon and trekked nearly 1,000 miles from Miami to Houston. Driving through the Texas state line, I started to worry about how lonely the Lone Star State would feel.
The idea of making friends in adulthood can seem daunting, but necessary. I knew I needed to make a gigantic effort to make Texas feel like home, so I began to do what only felt natural — connect. During the last month, I’ve realized that at no matter what stage you are at in your career and life, networking is invaluable to growth.
Do Your Research
You’ll need to do some digging to find the organizations, meet-ups and people who fit best for you. By digging, I don’t mean purchasing a copy of “How to Win Friends and Influence People” — research to see what interesting opportunities you can find in your city. Start on Google by searching your interests and see if anything strikes your fancy.
Get Up and Go
You can’t be the Gatsby of the party by watching Leonardo DiCaprio on Netflix. Whether it’s leaving the office on time to make Network After Work or getting off the couch for a great local event, the only way to build relationships is by actively seeking them.
Take Your Quest Online
I’ve often compared social media networking to online dating. The benefits of online dating are surprising similar to the perks of online networking. 1) There’s no pressure in a direct message. You don’t have to worry about the awkward in-person icebreaker. 2) You can get a sense of someone’s interests, work and goals before even meeting them. 3) If the conversation goes nowhere, you don’t have to fake a trip to the bathroom to leave.
When I moved, I began to connect with Houston bloggers who I felt would be relatable. You’d be surprised at how thankful and flattered others can be when you take the time to reach out and get to know them.
Say “Let’s Do Lunch” and Actually Do It
Getting out of your comfort zone and setting dates with others is an important part of networking. You can’t get a sense of who someone is in a 140-character tweet.
Don’t typecast your peers and shape yourself to their liking in an effort to fit in. No matter what social engagement you’re attending, strive to be genuine.
From the wide-eyed girl with packed suitcase to the business owner looking to be involved in the community, what I’ve learned in my beginning can apply to anyone looking to grow.
Written By Jillian Goltzmen