By: Shea Harris
After graduation I moved to Durham, NC to further my career in Clinical Research. Being a young professional in Durham wasn’t the ideal situation I thought I’d be in. I’m the type of person that enjoys networking with people and unfortunately meeting individuals wasn’t easy. The closest National Urban League Young Professionals was in Charlotte (ughh). The only way for me to meet people was to step outside of my comfort zone and get out of my apartment.
I joined a gym near my job and started going to group classes in order to meet people. One of the classes I attended was the cycling class. One morning I saw a young lady with beautiful Marley twists and I began wondering to myself: “I wonder who did her twist? I should probably ask her after class. I wonder if she’ll be my friend?” All of these thoughts were going through my head as I was sweating my whole life away.
After the class was over, I approached her and of course asked who did her hair. I had just done my big chop and was getting sick and tired of the same “wash & go”. I didn’t know any hairstylists who could help me out, but she took time out to give me information about the hairstylist, the cost and the distance to the woman’s salon. As the conversation continued, we began speaking about our personal life (what brought us to Durham, where we worked, where we were from, etc.). At the end of our talk we exchanged numbers and kept in touch.
With just that one connection in Durham, she introduced me to a group of friends named The Edge Snatchers. Throughout the spring and summer of 2015 we linked up for drinks, cookouts, concerts, you name it! With my old soul, you wouldn’t even be able to tell I was the youngest out of the group. These young ladies were able to teach me so much about life, Durham and ultimately encouraged me.
When I moved to Miami, I knew a few people but not as many as I’d like to. I was texting, tweeting, on Instagram and Facebook trying to make connections. All it takes is one person to introduce to you a networking pool, I promise. I reconnected with a friend from middle school and she introduced me to a group: We Don’t Want That Gelato. From that group, I was able to meet #boujieLITuation. I’ll say it again; all it takes is one person!
If you’re able to make a great connection with one person, they will add you in those group chats with multiple people. Once you’re added into those group chats, make sure you actually “chat”. If you’re ultimate goal is to make connections and meet people, you can’t just be a ‘Peeping Tom’ and expect for folks to acknowledge you. Throw out a crazy meme/gif every now and again if anything. Group chats not working? Create a “Living Social” account and go to a few social events.
You can’t expect to meet people if you’re a home body. Get out there, have a good time and network!