Networking Around the World
It’s 3:53 pm in Denver, CO on Tuesday, August 7th, but my body and mind think it’s more like 9:53 am on Wednesday, August 8th...that’s because I’m experiencing a pretty serious case of jet-lag!
Less than 48hrs ago, I returned home to Denver, CO after an incredible two week trip to Australia and New Zealand, where there’s an 18-hour time change. Yes, you read that correctly, an 18-hour time difference! Now, I’m by no means trying to complain about recovering from a two-week trip but I am saying that normal tasks are taking a little longer than usual. :)
While I was traveling, I had the immense fortune of reconnecting (a critical tool for anyone who wants to be a strategic connector) with old friends and, of course, family members. And, I even had the opportunity to meet one of my clients in Sydney Australia face-to-face for the first time, which was awesome!
Traveling has played an integral role in my life since I was a little girl. In fact, my parents will tell you stories of me wandering off in airports and approaching total strangers, asking them pretty intense and personal (not to mention) inappropriate questions and then I’d get upset when my parents would find me (apologize to the strangers for whatever I had asked them) and force me to sit still with them.
I guess I’ve loved connecting, talking, getting to know people, whatever you want to call it, since I was little and in my mind airports have always provided an endless sea of networking opportunities.
Now, as a grown adult I’ve come to realize even more how powerful networking can be while traveling. Here are some of my main takeaways from my most current adventures ‘down-under’.
Face to face connection is always best. (and I don’t care what others say or what technologies are available to us.)
- Seeing someone and being in REAL time with them is invaluable. It is worlds easier to read body language, understand different accents/tones and let the people whom you’re with know that you’re really with them, listening and present.
- Being in the same room with someone also gives you the opportunity to really be in the mindset of, “How can I help you?” and act on it immediately. For example, during a previous trip to Chicago in 2015 my husband and I met a guy from New Zealand and we exchanged contact information. A year later when we traveled to New Zealand for the first time I sent him a short message on LinkedIn reintroducing myself and suggesting we all meet for a coffee/meal if he had time. Not only did this guy make time to see us and take us out to dinner but he also offered us his beach home since he was working and couldn’t use it at the time. Wow! Talk about the power of connecting and the immense generosity that came from a simple conversation on an architecture tour in Chicago!
If you want to connect badly enough, you can always find a way!
If you over hear an interesting conversation while traveling you can always start a conversation with anyone, anywhere regardless of your backgrounds.
Being a tourist is like smoking cigarettes...aka it’s your ‘get into a conversation free card’ and I’ve never had anyone turn down a conversation (at least a short one) once they know that I’m a foreigner in their land or even better, that we’re both travelers looking to learn more about the world and, of course, about others!
Traveling enables me, and ideally you, to have an even more open mind when you’re outside your comfort zone and not everything is right at your fingertips, which means you need to learn to lean on others and sometimes that means strangers. Being vulnerable and asking for help is a brilliant way (even though it usually doesn’t feel that way at the time) to make strong connections with others and feel supported or vice versa!
Traveling is always better if you know someone who lives where you’re going.
I don’t mean to say that you should only go places where you know people or that you should stay with people you know. What I do mean is that if you’ve maintained relationships with friends, family members, old colleagues, former bosses etc. and can meet up with them during your trip it will 9/10 times enhance your overall travel experience.
During my time in Sydney, Australia I had the pleasure of reconnecting with old friends who I hadn’t seen in nearly 9 years. The last time we all saw each other was in NYC in 2008 and seeing them now was such a joy. They invited my husband and I to their home for a lovely, low key dinner, which was so welcomed after eating out for all of our meals. During the dinner we talked about everything from family life, to business and because the setting was so comfortable for everyone it truly felt like no time had passed at all.
I could easily go on and on about the power of travel and the endless connection opportunities that are possible. Instead I’ll end with this, if you’re itching to travel or are looking to start traveling (doesn’t matter how old you are or what budget you have) there is a trip for everyone out there and I promise the money, time and energy you spend traveling will enhance your life and likely your ability to connect as well!
Have a wonderful day and as always stay connected,