Keith Fowler

Looking to grow your network? Start talking to strangers

It’s almost impossible to overstate the importance of networking. Whether you’re looking to advance your career or search for a new job, it’s vital that you start talking to new people. However, you’re probably envisioning your networking attempts occurring in pretty typical locations and scenarios, such as conferences, industry events, and online seminars. But what opportunities are you missing?

You need to start talking to strangers. Yes, it’s true, this habit doesn’t come easily for those in London or other big cities, but discovering your inner ‘village barkeep” can really pay off. Can master the art of random connection, you can access golden opportunities and meet individuals who can make a significant impact on your career.

This is something that David Topus, a self-proclaimed ‘master-connector,’ espouses in his book Talk to Total Strangers: How Everyday, Random Encounters Can Expand Your Business, Career, Income, and Life. He proclaims the benefits of “random connecting.” That is, speaking with people that you encounter in all aspects of your life. This includes online encounters with strangers in social media groups and during seminars.  

Topus’s main point is that anyone you meet could have the answers to questions you’re seeking in life. By chatting with people in virtual and real-world spaces, you’ll meet people who work for companies you’re interested in learning more about. You’re sure to strike up a conversation with experts in your field and professionals who have skills you’re looking to employ. Mentorships, potential business partners, and clients – they’re all out there, just waiting to chat.

How to Connect with People Successfully

If you’re not practised in the art of small talk with strangers, connecting successfully might not come naturally. Follow these tips to network with strangers in a laid-back, friendly, and effective way.

Would you consider trying “random connecting?” Does it come naturally to you, or does it go against your personality? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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