I am fortunate to live 50 miles outside of New York City in a vibrant Connecticut town on Long Island Sound. My commute to NYC is a Metro North train ride, so it’s relatively easy to get there. I take advantage of my geography for strategic networking. No matter where you live or work or travel, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities to meet interesting people and discover groups. Consider these tips to take advantage of your geography.
7 Ways to Use Geography to Your Networking Advantage
Know Your Local Industries
Identify the primary industries in your city or region. These represent your first level opportunity for networking. Many cities have a high concentration of companies from a particular industry and you will find local industry groups. Think finance and fashion for New York. Think government and nonprofit for Washington, DC.
Every major city has opportunities to learn and network through local colleges and universities. Look for classes, lectures, special speakers and other short term programs.
Check out the organizations in your city that are connected to your interests and passions. This may be a national association with a local chapter or a local nonprofit organization. You will have opportunities to join or volunteer. I belong to the ASTD of Southern Connecticut. ( American Society of Training and Development) I attend a monthly meeting with a speaker and have terrific networking opportunities with other professionals interested in training.
Identify the major events and conferences that are coming to your city this year. Check out the agendas and speakers. I like to see who might be visiting NYC and determine ahead of time who I would like to get to know. Connect to speakers through email, LinkedIn in-mail or Twitter about a month ahead of the conference. Invite the speaker or special contact for coffee or lunch.
Connect the Dots
I always have a list of people I would like to meet. Take your list and find out who might have business or personal connections in your city. Perhaps your contact has a cousin in your town. Perhaps your contact is on the board of a company in your area. If you take a good look at a bio or LinkedIn profile, you can often determine if there are any possible connections to your area. Try to remember to ask your long distance colleagues or partners about their travel plans to your area.
Many entrepreneurs and corporate road warriors are using co-working spaces or innovation centers as collaborative meeting spots. Expect to meet some local like minded business people in these spaces.
Go Online and check out any interesting groups on MeetUp.com. You will find every kind of interest or group all across the country.
Your geography can be a key element in your successful networking strategy. How do you leverage your geography?