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How to Network When You Don't Know Anyone

September 27th, 2016
meetup networking groupsYou know you should be networking. You've read how important it is to your career to build business and social connections. But how do you get started.

It's not easy, especially if you've just moved to a new city where you know no one. Getting started may seem like an impossible task. But it doesn't have to be. One of the simplest ways to begin making connections is through Meetup.com. Even in the smallest of cities, Meetup has groups eager to welcome newcomer. Browse through the offerings to find groups with activities that interest you.

LinkedIn, the business network, has thousands of professional and business groups. While many exist primarily as an information exchange, others are locally focused, and host get-togethers.

It may seem intimidating the first time you attend one of these events, and it can be. Keep in mind, though, that everyone there also had a first time. The easiest way to begin a conversation is to introduce yourself as a first timer. If you've done your homework as you should, you'll know enough about the group and its specific focus to ask questions that will be both  icebreakers and helpful for you to learn more.

All the online groups have moderators and many have active members who post comments or articles. Pick three or four who appear to be well connected. Read what they've had to say, then seek them out at the events. Don't just compliment them on what they've written. Choose one or two that most interested you and ask about a point they made. Showing interest in them and being smart about it is an easy way to make a connection. And these well connected people will open the door to other connections for you.

One more suggestion when you think you know no one: is there an alumni association in your new city? If there is, you have an instant connection. Even if you truly don't know the alums there, you and then have a shared experience simply be attending the same school. And that makes for an easy conversation starter.

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