Want to make great contacts while you’re on the road? Here’s how to keep your networking game strong while still enjoying your travels.
Visit local co-working spaces
The work-hard, play-hard atmosphere of most co-working spaces make them wonderful places for meeting people in your industry. Most people there are more than eager for you to strike up a conversation (after all, they choose to work in a community space), and most are excited to meet new people. You never know who you’ll come across!
Hang out in your hotel lobby
If you need to get some work done at your hotel, take the project downstairs to the hotel restaurant, bar, or lobby. Pay attention to the buzz of conversation around you, and don’t be afraid to chat with fellow guests. If you can manage it, do your work on your phone rather than your laptop so you communicate that you’re more approachable to conversation. Even if you don’t meet someone new, being around the conversations happening here can clue you into a whole lot about what’s going on in your new city, and which locales are hotspots for your industry.
Send some emails before you arrive
Author and time management expert Laura Vanderkam suggests putting your networking game on autopilot by simply sending one email each day to someone whose work you admire. In the days or weeks leading up to your trip, try this routine, but focus solely on emailing people based in your upcoming destination. You might just have a friendly chat online - or you might end up meeting one of your professional heroes while you’re on your trip. You never know unless you reach out!
If you already have drinks or a meeting set up with someone in your destination, or if you’ll be working with a team that’s local, ask if they know anyone else you might hit it off with. (Of course, only do this if it you’ve read the room and it seems like an okay ask for the situation.) If you make this request, ask from a place of genuinely wanting to meet new people so as not to make your current contact feel like you’re mining them for connections. Yes, making a new business contact would be great, but it’s even better when you make a friendly connection who also happens to jive with you on professional goals. When you’re traveling, any new friend is a gift, professional or not.
Leave room for a little magic
As any frequent traveler will tell you, the best parts of most trips are events you never could have planned for. When you’re open-minded, friendly, and unafraid to strike up conversations with people around you, all kinds of adventures are on the table. The same goes for networking on the road. When you say “yes” to the adventure in front of you, you never know what opportunities you’ll discover - as long as you leave room for a little magic to happen.