Networking When You Least Expect It

“Always be prepared” is the famous motto of the Boy Scouts, but it also applies to networking.  You’ll be able to seize an opportunity no matter when or where it presents itself, if you’re prepared.

I recently co-hosted a birthday party for my youngest child at a local indoor play center.  My wife was asked to wear a name tag for security purposes so one of us would be immediately recognizable to staff and parents.  While watching the kids enjoy the various inflatables, a parent from another birthday party recognized our last name and asked her if she was related to me.  When my wife confirmed it, this person shared that she’s seen my posts and activity in many locations, especially on LinkedIn.

She then brought her over to introduce her to me and we were able to chat for a few minutes while our kids were engrossed in a climbing maze.  It turns out we had many common connections in our networks.  She’s the president of a recruiting company in Rochester, NY and I continue to run social media for The August Group which facilitates networking opportunities for those looking for work.  It was a great professional connection to make when I was least expecting it!  We both had business cards with us and each of us listened (above the joyful screams of playing children) to how we could help the other.

Most people can prepare in advance of a scheduled networking event by bringing business cards, rehearsing an elevator speech and/or identifying key attendees he/she would like to meet.  But are you prepared for that chance encounter that can happen anytime, anywhere?  If not, it could be a golden opportunity that slips through your fingers.

Looking back on your professional networking, what were the most unusual circumstances surrounding a connection you made when you were least expecting it?

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4 thoughts on “Networking When You Least Expect It

  1. Nice article, Arthur. I once met a man at a local town leaf mulch drop who was standing ankle deep in the stinky stuff gathering mulch for his wife’s garden. Turns out he was the CFO of a local company and our conversation led to an interview in the sales department. So, ‘networking’ is everywhere, ‘even if it stinks’.

  2. Great article, Arthur. I was at a car dealership, shopping for a car and the salesperson asked me what I do. I told her I was in transition and what work I was looking for and some target companies. She had a contact in one of the companies and paved the way for me to contact that person.
    I also did some networking at a wake for a friend’s mother. The conversation just came up about job searching.
    You never know. Every opportunity you have to meet people is a networking opportunity.

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