Networking can be daunting. Unless you have a few pieces of wisdom to help you get started!
I wrote last week with some tips around networking. For me, it has gone from a burden to one of my most important tasks. With the 2,200+ one-on-one meetings under my belt, I have been in every kind of networking session you can imagine.
First things first – get a warm introduction from someone to the person you want to meet. How? Using LinkedIn to find common connections is the easiest way I know. Outside of that, ask around. When you get a warm intro you ride on the credibility of that person introducing you. It means a lot. Use it if you can.
So, you are going to set up the meet – where are you going to do that?
In the majority of your requests – you really need something from them. So, go to them. In my earliest networking journey, I would do 3 or 4 per day, 4 days per week. Seriously. So, I attempted to coordinate meetings near each one of my targets.
The best place for me – Starbucks or another coffee shop. I have been to literally every coffee shop in the Triangle region.
Here are a few of my favorite meeting places:
• The Starbucks @ NC54. It is a central place for people coming from Cary, Raleigh or Durham. The hop is pretty much right off of I-40. Which means it is accessible with little hassle. It is also big, so there is almost always a seat for two.
• The Starbucks @ Page Road. This is even more central but it is always crowded and a tough place to park if around lunch or dinner. And it is very small unless you can sit outside.
• Beyu Caffé in Durham is a great meeting stop. Large enough to handle you at any time with parking within a block or two. The added benefit for Beyu is that there is always someone else you know so you get the face-time benefits of seeing other people.
• Café Carolina located at either Meadowmont (near Chapel Hill) or Harrison Road (Cary). Both are off of I-40 and both are typical meeting spots.