6 Ways I Expand My Network

I'm sure you've heard the term
"It's not what you know, but who you know". 

Well I'm a big believer in it. 

Since I started university I've gone to explore so many meetups I felt like Edward Norton in Fight Club sometimes. 

But whether it was meeting new people to study with, students from other universities, future colleagues for a new job or even other hip hop style dance enthusiasts all those encounters inspired me to keep doing what matters

I can't count the number of times that networking has landed me some great opportunities but I can also appreciate it isn't easy to do. Especially if you are part introvert like me.  

I've touched on some networking tips before but today I'm going to share the resources I use to meet new people and keep the inspiration going. 

(Seriously there are evenings I leave these events feeling so energized and excited to try new things that I can't recommend enough fitting at least a few into your schedule.)  

Here are six ways I meet new and interesting people: 

1. Meetup.com (link)
I start with meetup.com because it sounds like the most obvious even though it isn't the one I use most often. 

I find it's good for seeing a variety of interests in your area, everything from kettlebell classes to photography walks and exploring interests you didn't know there was a meetup for (acroyoga for couples anyone?). 

I'd use it more often if it wasn't for two things: the need to create an account for event details (and the spam that comes with) and that some groups are misleading and there isn't actually much going on in them. 

That being said it's a good place to start, even if you go to a few "practice" events to dip your toe in. 

2. Eventbrite (link)
I'd say Eventbrite has been my most used event search platform for Canada and the UK. Its got a (mostly) good selection of quality events and ticketing is really easy. 

I simply search in my area, browse events coming up in the next couple weeks and plan a schedule according to that. It has most of the big events/festivals as well as some hidden gems. 

For something similar check out Picatic. I've also explored that website for similar events. The catalogue isn't as large but you sometimes get exclusives on here. (No doubt somewhere there is a start up working on the next events site right now.)

3. Facebook Events
Good Facebook events can be almost the most elusive of the bunch but their algorithm has been getting better. Some of the really good one off (hipster) events don't bother with advertising on a bigger site and keep most of their guest list low key so it can pay off to look on here too. 

Try starting with clicking the Events icon under Explore on your Facebook profile and finding some within your area (Dino Farm next week? Score!).

TIP: search around for professional Facebook groups who often post their events or share others on their page to cast that net wider. 

4. Word of Mouth
Speaking of who you know, use your inner circle to your advantage to find out what they are going to. 

That's how I wound up at my first Start Up Weekend event in Toronto and from there I met a ton of amazing people who suggested even more events to attend that I was not aware of. 

As a conversation booster, ask people what have been the best events they've gone to and better yet, if you can come along to the next one.  

5. Volunteering, Groupon and other weird options
You're missing out on some great encounters if you just stick to "professional" or "classic" meetup opportunities. 

Try out events that are more in line with your values and interests. The bonus of events with an activity or project base to it is that you have something in common to talk about right away and they are usually populated by individuals who like to go out and try new things rather than feeling like they "should" do it. 

You can look up some local charity marathons/5k/10k's  in your area or even book into a cooking class with a Groupon deal. 

I even went to an HVAC (see: engineering heating and cooling systems) trade show once. Turns out it wasn't the most thrilling thing I've been too but again was great practice for approaching strangers and doing something random. 

6. Make Your Own (Luck)! 
I'm serious. After moving to the UK one of the first things I did to build a network in a new city was attend events that interested me. 

After finding out there wasn't anything exactly what I was looking for I found two other amazing people to go on a crazy journey with and we created our own meetup!

We've met a ton of interesting people and did some very memorable things in the process and goes to show that you that you don't have to just sit around waiting for things to happen! 

Now get out there and make those connections!