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Organic Networking: 5 Ways to Enjoy
Networking & Achieve the Results You Desire

Does networking often feel forced and frustrating? After 5 years of networking in the community, I have found some valuable approaches you can take to make networking natural and achieve the results you desire. Here they are:

1. Having the Right Mindset
When meeting new people, we often ask "What do you do" … that question is informal and can turn many people off. A better approach is asking people "How do you spend your time?" It allows people to speak about what’s most important to them, whether its professional or personal.

2. Create Your Own Support Group
Henry Ford, Roy Firestone, and Thomas Edison are three of the greatest inventors and entrepreneurs in American history. They created a group together to support each other’s ventures, giving each other feedback and sharing ideas.

You should emulate these masterminds. Find others with values and aspirations and create a group based on similar interests.

2 years ago, I started a book club with other young entrepreneurs and it has been incredibly valuable to our company’s success.

3. Ways to Make It Fun
Make networking about your life interests. "Family" and "Health" are often the two things we care about most, make your conversations about shared experiences as opposed to exchanging business cards and discussing business jargon.

Instead of “networking mixers” you can attend:

  • Speakers Series (your local College or University is a great place to start. Look for guest speakers or lecture series going on. Maybe there’s an economic roundtable you can listen to and strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you after the talk.)

  • Book Signings (check out the Barnes and Noble schedule or a local bookstore. Go for some inspiration, and maybe you’ll end up bumping into someone that works at the company you want to work for or with.)
  • Take a UCLA extension class or participate in a sports league.

  • Photography Workshops (why not use your networking/marketing budget to learn something you’ve always wanted to and meet other adventurous people.)

Unlike a hard referral-networking group, you won’t feel forced to do business with people because you have to but because you like to.

4. Stop Meeting Up for Coffee or Lunch!!
Do something different than having lunch when meeting people. Instead, go on a hike, grab a game of bowling, or play a game of pool. Participating in a physical activity will create a greater bond and an experience you will remember.

5. Online Networking
Don't treat social media like a buffet and put more on your plate than you can handle. Choose one platform – LinkedIn, Facebook, or Email are the ones we recommend – and pursue relationship building like you would at an event.

Meet someone, take his or her card and send an email, or connect on LinkedIn. Stay in touch!

These are 5 small simple approaches that with time will help accomplish the greater goals you have.

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