9 Networking Tips to Meet People Outside Your Industry
How has networking outside of your industry or discipline benefited you professionally? What is your best tip for making those connections and finding common ground?
To help entrepreneurs network with individuals outside of their industry, we asked small business owners and business leaders this question for their best insights. From finding similar values to actively listening to others, there are several pieces of advice that may help your networking ventures and grow your business.
Here are nine recommendations for networking outside of your industry:
- Seek Those With Aligned Values
- Reach Out to Similar Businesses
- Show Your Business’ Credibility
- Actively Listen to Others
- Seize Every Opportunity Possible
- Adapt to Other Abilities
- Partner With Charitable Organizations
- Build Relationships First
- Remember Personal Contacts
Seek Those With Aligned Values
Finding people outside of the dental industry that mesh well for both groups involved is not always easy. However, the benefits of networking are worth it, especially when it's analyzed from the perspective of boosting your credibility. Partnering with other health-related industries or looking into graduate schools and other educational avenues are viable options. Here at Stomadent, we understand that oral health is connected to mental health and that we must stay up-to-date on the latest technologies and practices to ensure we are providing the best quality. It's always a good idea to make sure your values align before diving into any partnership or network to ensure the longevity of the relationship.
Henry Babichenko, Stomadent
Reach Out to Similar Businesses
Networking outside of your direct business helps you find new places to put your name. Growing your professional network is also a great way to shake up your pattern and find fresh ideas. We're in the beauty industry, so reaching out to other businesses like waxing, sugaring, and other forms of cosmetology can help because it's just familiar enough that one could expand beyond that. Finding common ground to establish these sorts of professional contacts has been made easy thanks to social media. Check hashtags on platforms like Instagram to find virtual events for meetups. Also, customers might know more than you think, given that they do a lot of research before trying products or services. You can look to them for help, too.
Vanessa Molica, The Lash Professional
Show Your Business’ Credibility
Networking outside of our industry shows that we are trustworthy to potential partners and potential customers. It’s also helped us help our customers, having referrals and partners so that we can save people time and effort to make sure we always put clients first. The best tip I have for making those connections and finding common ground is forefronting the ways in which the client base is best served by both of us. We also make sure anyone we network with keeps their customers at the center helps immensely in that process.
Vicky Franko, Insura
Actively Listen to Others
When you meet anyone new, your intention should be to spark a true connection, not to hand over your business card. Enter conversations with empathy, compassion, and a present mind. Actively listening in this way naturally leads to common ground, respect, and genuine curiosity about your background and industry. We have found that connecting emotionally with our clients leads to trust so we can work together toward the results they hope to achieve.
Court Will, Will & Will
Seize Every Opportunity Possible
My career before starting Kegelbell was as a philosophy Ph.D. and professor. I then decided to pursue building a business. Had I not embraced every opportunity to meet new people outside of my industry and grow my community, I never would have gotten to where I am today. It can be a little intimidating to put yourself out there, especially if you’re new to the scene. But, the best thing to do is embrace the discomfort and just be your authentic self. If you have a question about something, ask! If you want to meet someone new, introduce yourself! Don’t be afraid to speak up and take chances because you never know who you might meet.
Stephanie Schull, Kegelbell
Adapt to Other Abilities
As a predictive typing software that offers AI-powered text predictions for the mainstream, we designed Lightkey to work for the average typist. However, after reaching out to key opinion leaders outside of our network, as well as seeking feedback from industry-specific users, we discovered that with some adaptations, Lightkey can be optimized for people with disabilities. Today, we are humbled and excited to help people with a wide range of disabilities communicate more effectively with confidence. Without networking with other industries, this realization and resulting feature wouldn’t have been possible.
Guy Katabi, Lightkey
Partner With Charitable Organizations
Meeting people outside of your industry expands your knowledge and gives you connections that can benefit you and your business down the line. To build these new relationships, consider partnering with charitable organizations in the community. Professionals from all industries are drawn to nonprofits that make a difference. Whether you join the board of directors, sponsor an event, or volunteer your time, you’ll meet others eager to make a difference in the community. Having the common ground of the organization’s mission gives you the foundation you need to begin building your connections in the community.
Claire Routh, Markitors
Build Relationships First
Remember that building a business network isn’t a sprint. It’s a marathon. To succeed at networking over the long term, you’ll need to improve your networking abilities. The best way to start working on this skill is to change how you perceive networking opportunities. Think of them not only as “what can I get out of this situation?” but “how can I relate to this person?” Use this as your starting point. Don't worry about the small talk. Just look for the place to introduce a couple of open questions and let the other person have the floor. Be a good listener and encourage them to open up. That’s the foundation of building relationships, which is what networking is really all about.
Cody Crawford, Low Offset
Remember Personal Contacts
My best tip is to network with your personal contacts. This includes the people you have had a good working relationship with in recent years. Family members who know your work ethic and experiences and can speak well of you on your behalf can also be helpful. People just starting out can misjudge expectations when communicating with their contacts. Your network cannot secure you the job, and sometimes cannot get you an interview, but this personal contact can be a reference to your character when asking to pass your resumé into a hiring professional's hands.
Shaun Price, MitoQ