One great thing about networking is that it takes you all over the world if you do it right. Traveling and having the ability to make your own hours and work from wherever is one big reason I chose to become a professional networker. Places I never thought I would visit suddenly are some of my favorite places to visit.
A couple of months ago, for instance, I spent my time at an Airbnb in Des Moines. Now, you wouldn’t normally think Iowa would be the place to build connections, but Des Moines has a strong community with a lot of influential people, and connections everywhere are everything in successful networking.
Visiting the Des Moines Art Center
One of my buddies from college actually works at the Des Moines Art Center and told me about an event they were having one Saturday night and asked if I wanted to fly in for it. I can never resist the opportunity to network, so I hopped on the next flight to Des Moines International Airport.
The center itself is pretty interesting; they have a lot of exhibits and fascinating pieces of art you can chat about. I honestly think networking at the art center was great because you can start up a conversation with literally anyone in the room just by making a statement about the piece: “Wow, look at the brush work here.” or “The symmetry of this piece is amazing.” are great ways to open up a dialogue and introduce yourself.
During this trip in particular, I was able to build connections with a Des Moines workers comp attorney, a couple of congressional leaders, two large business owners, and a corporate executive at Sony Music Entertainment.
I want to keep this post short and sweet this week, as I’m off on a trip to Southern California tonight, but a couple of things from this Des Moines trip I think could be really useful to you if you’re looking to grow as a networker:
- Never be afraid to spark-up a conversation about even the smallest detail. As long as you have the courage to go up to a stranger, you can find anything around you to break the ice.
- Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone. I know that’s easy to say since I live in New York, but if you are willing to take a chance and explore other areas outside of where you live, you’ll build far more connections than you would if you stayed put.