Advice from a Serial Relocator on How to Build Your Network

What’s better after a divorce or breakup than a move? Instead of cutting your hair into a bob, why not try a new city on for size? I’m going to share a few tips on building your network because, let’s face it, the connections make any new place feel like home.

After 18 moves, I understand what it’s like to start from scratch! I’m not going to lie; it’s tough, but don’t worry, we will break it down together into small steps so you aren’t overwhelmed. As Mel Robbins, one of my favorite coaches, says, “brick by brick.”

First, you need to build your foundational base.

Think of looking for new friends like dating. Both take trial and error, time, and a sense of humor.

I believe that if you set the right timing expectation for your ‘hunt,’ you will be patient and understand if first attempts do not yield a complete gaggle of girlfriends. If it does, kudos to you! After all of my moves, it takes about six months to get over the honeymoon phase and a year to make some genuine connections. Don’t be discouraged; time will move faster than you think.

Let’s start with some practical tips. First, brainstorm. What interests you personally and professionally? Where do those intersect? When I recently moved to a new city, I knew that I was interested in learning more about the startup community. I started researching active groups in my town, did some LinkedIn stalking on who was involved with those groups and scheduled my first event. Three years later, I have built incredible connections.

One of my tricks is to identify an organization of interest and attend an event, either in-person (if you can) or virtually, and, if you enjoy it, ask to be a volunteer. Anytime you want to volunteer, first ask the organizers where they need help and highlight the skill set you can share. Don’t be a passive volunteer, be helpful. Consistently show up and talk to people. Sometimes it’s much easier to work the room when you have a “role,” even you’re setting up chairs. You will naturally start recognizing people and have more conversation points in time. Now to the scary part. If you find someone you click with, ask for their contact and invite them to coffee or a Zoom date. Be authentic in your ask.

Here’s an example:

“Hi, I’m Lauren. I just moved into town and started volunteering with this organization. I noticed that you are in marketing, and I admire what you do. I would love to treat you to coffee and get to know you.”

Most people love to help and share their knowledge. Highlight that in your ask. Come to each meeting and event with an innate sense of curiosity about others. Share things about yourself in small chunks, as people get to know you more, but first, focus on them and LISTEN.

It’s time; get out there! Even if you haven’t moved, you can still use these tips to meet a new mentor, friend, or connection. Remember to brainstorm, put your research hat on, schedule your first virtual or in-person event, follow up with the organizers, offer your expertise, and mingle. The worst anyone can say to you is no, and if they do, “thank you, next!” Thanks, Ariana.

Cheers to your new city,