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Informal Networking: My Walk With Sanjay

networking, informal, job search, career, strategy, friendship, ideas, sanjay, execunet, marketingOn a brisk April morning this past week, I met a new friend.  We don’t know each other that well yet.  After all, we just met.

But the way we met is the theme of this post.  So it matters. 

We met on the way to my presentation in Newport Beach, CA.  A little informal networking.  It was either “park in the $18 lot” or park across the street.  And I took the road less traveled by.  I parked across the street and walked through the construction, across a busy road and got lost.

Luckily I met Sanjay.

He was lost too.  But together we quickly figured out which building we needed to find. And had a nice walk to get to know each other.  And now we will schedule a coffee.

And – “Shazam” – a new friendship is in the making.  Simple, right?

But who is this Sanjay anyway?

Sanjay Choudhuri is a global marketing leader and brand builder.  And, as it turns out, he was heading to the ExecuNet meeting to hear me speak that morning. If you’d like, you can also follow him on Twitter. I do. And because I decided to “hoof it” instead of park in the structure, I made a new friend.  And so did Sanjay. A small win for us both.  We also share a background in marketing for consumer goods.

So what did Sanjay and I do differently that morning?  Well, first, we both decided to walk.  Second we allowed our meeting to happen by making eye contact and openly admitting we were lost (hard for men to do, right?) and then we decided to walk the rest of the way together.

The other option? Avoid contact and move along sheepishly. No thanks.

So now Sanjay and I have created some inertia toward a friendship.  One that never would have been enabled had we not each done our part.

Are you doing your part?

Here are my recommendations for you:

1.  Look to meet new people – even when it’s not intuitive

2. Start new conversations with strangers simply by saying “Hi” or “Do you know where the library is?”

3. Become an opportunistic extrovert – try it today – instead of avoiding someone, look to interact with them

And when serendipity leads you to a small win, come share it on the LinkedIn group (look for the discussion on small wins).

Share your informal networking stories here in the comments, on the LinkedIn group, on Twitter or on my Facebook page.

Look forward to hearing from you!

Thanks timsackton for the great photo via Flickr

Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
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Categories: Career Networking

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