Chances are you have networked at least a few times in your life, but networking is often thought of as an unnatural event for which you need a well executed plan. People get so caught up in their daily routine that they overlook simple networking opportunities available at their disposal. Each work day you are surrounded by professionals not just in your field, but across all industries which can turn into perfect networking opportunities!
The dreaded morning commute. If you’re anything like me, you have probably complained once or twice about how packed the train is every morning. However, you can use this opportunity to see who the train is packed with; which are most likely other working professionals trying to make it to the office on time. Whether it is while you’re waiting for the train for what seems like forever, or when you’re en route, look around and pick out someone that looks approachable. You can strike up a quick conversation with a compliment, something like you love their shoes or tie, and then just let the conversation flow!
How many times a day do you take the elevator? I know that I can count a solid six elevator rides throughout my day. Hopefully you’ve practiced your elevator pitch! Try not to sound too robotic while reciting your 15 second spiel and you will be able to add value here. Remember to smile and introduce yourself as there’s no pressure to have a long conversation because an elevator ride is so short. Use this time to quickly say hello, ask which office they work in, and exchange business cards if possible.
In the working culture, it’s common to get lunch around noon, give or take an hour. While not everyone abides by this unwritten rule, many still do, so working professionals will be flooding local restaurants at this time. With all these people usually come lines, but instead of getting wrapped up in your Smartphone during the wait, use this time to converse! Make a comment about a news headline to the person standing next to you or mention that they should try your favorite item on the menu.
Don’t Forget Your Co-Workers
As you try to talk to people throughout your work day, be sure to also utilize the network in your own office. You and your co-workers are at the same place now, but everyone has unique backgrounds and a variety of connections. You can learn a thing or two from people internally that can help you not only at your current position, but also in future endeavors.
After Work Events
After a long work day, it’s not unusual to head out with friends or co-workers. Whether you’re going to a sporting event, happy hour, or a MeetUp event, you’re going to be surrounded by other working professionals. Step out of your comfort zone and befriend the group next to yours. It is much easier to have an informal conversation in a casual environment where you can bond over the long week or how much you enjoy coming to this spot.
As creatures of habit, many people overlook the opportunities they pass by each day. There are regularly so many chances to meet someone new and expand your network. Your work routine is one of the only times you are surrounded by so many career professionals across a number of industries. Start a conversation with someone by mentioning a recent headline, offering a compliment, or suggesting they try a restaurant’s best food item. Not only will you spice up your own daily routine, but you never know who you may meet!