Accidental Networking

If chatting socially with a room full of strangers and casual acquaintances makes you anxious, perhaps accidental networking is for you! ‘Tis the season for holiday mixers, socials, and networking events. My inbox and social media feeds are filling up with invitations. As an extrovert, and very social person, I am loving it. However, not everyone loves traditional networking.

Large in geography, small in community

A friend of mine once commented, “I love it when Newfoundlanders get together. In less than 10 minutes you have your family tree figured out.” He was not originally from this province. It was fascinating to him how much we love to talk about our connections. I have often said Newfoundland and Labrador is large in geography, yet very small in community. Recently three events highlighted this.

At a strategic planning meeting in Cupids, NL, I met a man originally from Burin. As my father’s family is originally from the same area, naturally I was intrigued to learn more. I recognized his surname and he recognized the name of the street for my business (which happens to be my maiden name) as a Burin name. Turns out his brother is married to my grandmother’s cousin.

Going virtual expands networks

Two other examples involve meeting folks virtually. The first was a participant from Prince Edward Island. She was attending a service delivery workshop. When I opened my session with my land acknowledgement and identified my community, she immediately piped in, “I was just in your community on an ATV trip!” She talked about boarding the ferry in North Sydney, NS with her ATV, and driving along the West Coast of the Island. We chatted about a gift shop in town. She knew exactly where I am located.

The second was a participant in a project management workshop. When I saw her surname on the attendance list, I immediately thought of the Port au Port region of my province. Since the participants were all located in the Northwest Territories I did not think much of it. During our second session, she happened to join early and we got to chatting. I was right! She and her husband are from that region of NL. They have been in NWT for 9 years. Like many, they are hoping to move home again soon.

Making the most of connections

While you might not like traditional networking sessions, make the most of accidental networking! These small, random, seemingly inconsequential connections might be just what you need. You just do not know who might be the next person to recommend you for a contract, a job, or sign up for one of your services. If you are looking for some help in making connections, feel free to join one of the free virtual networking sessions I offer.

Happy Holidays!

Be sure to say hello if you see me out on the holiday social networking trail! ~ Carole