This past week I celebrated my 33rd birthday by inviting everyone I knew to my house and throwing a big party!
It was a blast to look around the room and to see the smiling faces of old and new friends; people I’ve loved for years and people I’ve only just recently met.
How did I get a band I’d never really met to play in my living room? It’s simple. I asked!
Building a network in Portland has been a goal of mine this last year. I like to hang out with a variety of people–young and old, reserved and quirky, adventurous and reclusive–it doesn’t matter as long as you’re a good, kind and authentic person.
So my advice to anyone looking find their tribe and build a network in Portland is this:
Don’t be shy! Get out there and ask for informational interviews, coffees, lunches, happy hours or random requests of strangers like, “will your seven member band play at my birthday party?”
Get to know your peers, your elders and your mentees. The more time you devote to others in an authentic way, the stronger your relationships become.
Get beyond your fears and share details about yourself with those who earn your trust – this will help to transition your efforts from old fashioned networking towards genuine and lasting relationships.
Forget the schmooze
Schmoozing others isn’t the way to build a network here in Portland. I can tell a schmoozer from across the room – stiff posture, scanning for someone important – there’s nothing that sends me running faster than a networker on the prowl.
Look for opportunities to make more authentic connections. Help the people you meet in your professional life in personal ways. This will make you feel good and it will also help build lasting relationships.
Sometimes the most interesting people I meet are also the oddest, most quirky individuals. I applaud their authenticity because they are honoring their truth.
Nothing lights my fire like a sincere conversation but sometimes, in order to get to that level, you have to suspend judgment, fear or insecurity.