If you’re an entrepreneur or a self-made success, you know how important networking is. Networking while travelling is especially clever because you’ll be meeting professionals from other parts of the world who have a different perspective, different connections and will offer valuable insight for the big picture. If you’re up-and-coming, networking is essential to your personal brand’s growth, and the best thing you can do is grab every opportunity to form a new connection with someone who might help your business out down the road. Here are 6 tips for networking on a trip:
1. Book a food tour or a group walking tour to meet people
A food tour or a walking tour allows you to get to know a small group of people who you’ll be with for several hours. Walks of Italy, for example, is a tour company in Italy that organizes intimate food tours and walking tours of cities in Italy, usually no more than 10 – 15 people in a group. Because I spent hours with these people, I got to know them, especially when I was tasting food and wine at different restaurants with them. Plenty of these fellow travellers were young professionals and the end of the tour, we exchanged information. I was happy that I had brought my newly designed business cards with me on the tour!
2. Find out if any influencers live in the area
If you can meet with a big influencer while you’re abroad, that’s genius. There are several influencers who can help your business if you need exposure, or a voice, or someone to collaborate with who has a loyal following. Perhaps one of your favourite influencers lives in the city you’re travelling to, and I’m sure they could be convinced to join you for lunch (your treat, of course) to talk about possible partnership opportunities. Once that in person connection is made with said influencer (they like you, you like them, and everything jives) it’ll be easy to get them on board with future projects that will help your business. Any given influencer who is in demand is much more likely to work with someone they’ve met, because you’re no longer a faceless name pitching them ideas. Now, you’re sort of a friend they recently connected with.
3. Give yourself a ‘3 person minimum’ rule each day
Give yourself a rule that requires you to talk to a minimum of 3 new people each day (hotel staff don’t count!) and you’ll find that one of those people will coincidentally know someone who could help you. One of those people might be on a similar path, offer you valuable advice, or refer you to one of their connections.
4. Tell your friends that you’re going and ask for introductions
Don’t be afraid to make a Facebook status letting everyone know where you’re going, and ask if anyone knows someone who lives in the area who they’d be open to connecting you with. I’m a writer, interested in writing for TV, and I recently traveled to Los Angeles and asked around for potential connections. My sister connected me with her friend who lives in Los Angeles and writes for TV! Her and I met, and she gave me advice and insight into her industry.
5. Spend some time in your hotel’s lobby bar
The lobby bar of a hotel is a great place to meet fellow travelers who are travelling for business. It’s the young professionals travelling for business who tend to be travelling solo and therefore spending more time at the hotel. You’ll tend to see the same people in the lobby bar night after night, and it won’t take long to build a connection with someone.
6. Check online for nearby networking events
If the city you’re travelling to has a networking event going on while you’re there, you should definitely check it out. Networking events might even go more smoothly for you abroad, especially if you stand out with that accent of yours. You’ll be extra memorable!