Taking the initiative to connect with those outside my circle has provided me with benefits that have surpassed my expectations. I love stories and therefore I crave opportunities to connect with those I can learn from. As my career evolved, I have amassed a diverse group of former colleagues and professionals even outside my industry who have become friends and even family. They differ in age, race, gender, ethnicity and geographic backgrounds. These connections over the years have created an amazing support system for the natural ups and downs that comes with a career and life in general. They have served as recommendations, mentors, psychologists, workout partners, accountability partners etc.
So how do you go about getting a great support system like this? There are a few great ways to begin.
Attend company events Company events are a great way to meet people you wouldn’t necessarily come across in your day to day. Go alone and sit next to someone you don’t know or begin talking to someone you don’t know. Some great questions are what is your name, what department do you work in and what specifically do you do for the company.
Join a business resource group at your company I’m a big fan of these as I started one at a company I worked for. As a member, you not only get the opportunity to work with new people from all areas of the company but you also get to learn from them as well.
Attend industry events Be proactive and attend industry events alone. Conferences and workshops are a great way to meet new people since you already have something in common which is the industry you work in.
Proactively ask to connect over coffee After you initially meet someone new, make sure to connect on LinkedIn or get their contact information and follow up. Invite them for a chat over coffee. This allows you to continue the conversation and find ways to learn more from each other.
I challenge you to go outside of your comfort zone. If you have a question or are interested in learning more, connect with me.