Not Your Father’s Networking Events: Cool Ways to Meet New People


Wednesday, 14 Sep 2016


Who says that networking can’t be fun? Forget all of those beige-walled, boring, business card-swapping networking events and try something new. Check out some of the best networking outings, events and activities that make making connections fun; these are not your father’s networking events. Ready to get out there? Good.

Speed Networking

According to the Harvard Business Review, 95 percent of people who were surveyed said that in-person meetings are the No. 1 factor when it comes to successfully building and maintaining any long-term relationship. If you want to meet new people face-to-face but don’t know where to start, try your hand at speed networking. Like its cousin, speed dating, speed networking can be a great way to meet new people, and fast. These events can be held anywhere, including bars and restaurants, and provide you just enough time to make a first impression, chat briefly and leave a business card with your “connection.” Here you will meet people from different types of professions but it’s likely that you’ll have something in common.

Travel for Tech Talks

Part conference part festival, Austin’s tech-centric yearly event South by Southwest, or SXSW, spotlights up-and-comers in the startup world, whether they’re inventors, small business owners, or simply people with creative ideas. There are dozens of conferences where you can hear keynote speakers talk about a range of things from Google’s self-driving car to social justice issues. You’ll also find a variety of exhibitions happening during the multi-day event, but it’s not all business. The city of Austin, especially its lively downtown center, comes alive with music performances by local and popular artists. Take this opportunity to meet like-minded professionals during the day and then discuss things unrelated to the office, like new tech trends, for instance, over cocktails at a hip Austin bar. SXSW even provides you with a guide as to where you can find all the parties and other networking happenings going on during the event. SXSW is all about social, too. Be sure to use their hashtags on all of your party selfies and photos from the event. And be on top of your tech game. The iPhone 6s has a high-quality camera with True Tone flash and optical image stabilization, making it a must-have for a fast-paced event like this.

Socialize for a Cause

Robel Samuels, networking expert and Boston community advocate, who’s also the focus of a recent Fast Company article, wanted a better way to bring together his city’s advocacy community. So he swapped out meetings and dull networking events for a get-together concerning all things social justice on the website Meetup, called “SoJust.” Twice a month, the group would meet for a purely social event like bowling, cocktails and even knitting. In just six short weeks, 150 people from the community were coming to the events. Now, that humble group has more than 2,600 members. If you want to be a difference-maker in your community and meet new people, hop on the Meetup website and create a group. Whatever it is that you’re passionate about, there’s likely a large number of like-minded individuals out there looking to network.