After living and working in four states in less than a decade, you could say that I’m a bit of a network-building expert. It’s why I’ve written before about re-establishing yourself in a new place, and why I’m passionate about helping people build a business network.
This summer, I moved back West, this time as far as I could go, and am currently living in the gorgeous town of Corona del Mar in Newport Beach, California. As I begin the process of once again re-building my professional network, this time in Orange County, I thought I would share the steps I’m taking as I dive in, all over again:
- Start with what (or who) you know. Start digital – it’s a slightly less terrifying prospect than meeting new people in person. Conduct a LinkedIn search for connections in your new area. Chances are, you’ll find a few. Set up coffees and lunches, and be sure to follow-up. Remember: you’re the one needing something here, so be accommodating and meet them where and when is convenient for them.
- Discover local groups. An easy place to start is the national websites of your industry’s associations, which for me include AMA, AAF, PRSA and IABC. Find their local chapters and reach out to the organization president or secretary to get connected. They’re always recruiting new members, and can easily set you up with some locals to learn about the group.
- Get out there. It can be super intimidating to go to an event where you don’t know anyone, or worse, to navigate there (I still don’t know what I did before Google Maps on my phone). Force yourself. Find your way there, play the “I’m new” card for all it’s worth, and then follow up with the people you meet for further connection building.
This process is intense. That’s why it’s so important to track your efforts. Start a simple spreadsheet, or use a tool like Evernote to remind yourself where you’ve been and who you’ve met. If nothing else, it’ll serve as a reminder of the steps you’ve successfully climbed in the path to a new network.
If you’re a mover and a shaker, leave a comment below with suggestions on network building. And please, if you know anyone in Orange County, feel free to point them my way.