As a newcomer, networking can be something new for you, and for some of us, extremely daunting. We are not necessarily accustomed to it in Europe, and it can feel quite awkward at first. Despite all of the CONNECTWorking, you may attend and the tips you may have been given, the truth is that networking does not always come easily or naturally to everyone. Building connections to help advance your career can be uncomfortable. True networking takes time as building strong relationships does not happen overnight.
This article will introduce you to ways to build your network that do not require attending business events and help you combine entertaining and enjoyable activities while expanding your network. How can you take advantage of networking opportunities in a casual surrounding? The article goes over a few suggestions to engage in informal networking.
Vancouver is renowned for its cultural diversity
It seems that in Vancouver, culture has always taken a back seat to nature's beauty. You might often hear people say that it is challenging to find exciting cultural events in the city and that Vancouver does not have the artsy scene that Montreal, Toronto, or Paris. However, the city attracts people from around the world and is grounded in the deep cultural roots of the Coast Salish people, making the city a distinct assemblage of cuisines, heritage, belief systems, and artwork. Vancouver's rich cultural background has produced a spectrum of artistic expression and a thriving creative community. The vibe of Vancouver is unique, and casual networking will give you access to a lot of underground activities and aspects of the city. This will only come by building relationships with local people! Vancouver is full of art spaces highlighting regional, national, and international artists.
Start with activities you are familiar with and share your passion
For those who find professional networking overwhelming, a good place to start is to look for things to do in the city outside of work. Events where building professional contacts is not the primary objective. Go to places that interest you, talk about what you love to do, and things you are passionate about. Casual networking can be a lot more fun and go-with-the-flow than a regular networking meeting. You can talk to people about things other than their careers, and enjoy a good time, which helps build strong relationships.
These activities are a chance to connect with people in a much more natural setting. It will be not only more pleasant to talk to but easier to build an authentic connection in a more casual environment. You might end up actually getting to connect with several people that become valuable professional contacts or/and even friends. Chances are that someone will have a valuable connection or advice to help you out. It is what Canadians call being in the Right Place at the Right Time.
Follow what is happening
By searching online, registering to newsletters and/or getting a membership, you will have regular information about your favorite institutions. Several online resources can you keep you updated on activities to do in the city. The websites Vancouver is Awesome, Bored in Vancouver, Daily Hive Vancouver, and the famous Georgia Straight are great resources to dig into to plan your weekend.
If you are an art enthusiast, the weekly list ic-vancouver INSTANT COFEE provides details about openings, lectures, open calls, employment, and even more existing staff around the visual arts scene in Vancouver. If you want to connect with the Francophone community, the Alliance Française de Vancouver, and the Centre Culturel Francophone de Vancouver offer monthly cultural events around gastronomy, cinema, exhibitions, performing arts, and lectures.
Get an art club membership
If you are a culture-loving person, know that several theatres and companies offer membership/subscriptions that allow you to attend cultural events all year long and to get the most out of your visits. The Arts Club Theatre Company is the largest theatre company in Western Canada. By subscribing, you can attend 5 shows a year, including plays and musicals. Alongside this, Vancouver's dance scene is one of Canada's best with regular performances by Ballet BC and more than 25 other local professional dance troupes. Finally, Vancouver Art Gallery, the biggest art gallery in Western Canada, has several membership options and organized event that will allow you to connect with people involved in the art scene.
Sweat in groups
If Vancouver natural beauty has inspired you to get outside and get back into shape, the city is full of running clubs. If it is your first time, you can attend a clinic. The Running Room store and Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) organize running clinics all year long. From May to September, the Centre Culturel Francophone de Vancouver settles on Kitsilano beach every Thursday at 6:00 pm. This summer meeting is an opportunity to practice a sport in French, free of charge, and features a welcoming and fun atmosphere. If you are more interested in watching sport, you can get a ticket to support the famous Vancouver soccer team, the Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
Last but not least. Yoga is a big part of the fitness lifestyle in Vancouver. The store Lululemon offers free classes in stores, workshops, and yoga events. You can relax and stretch to an awesome view of Downtown Vancouver at Rooftop Yoga, a donation-based yoga studio. Moreover, during the summer, you can attend free outdoor yoga classes each week. Classes run from June through the end of August and are offered by Mat Collective’s.
Casual networking before work
One Friday morning a month you can attend a Creative Mornings in Vancouver and share breakfast and small talks. Attendees gather to enjoy fresh coffee, friendly people, and an international array of breakfast foods. On the same idea, Linkemind is a type of gathering that is looking forward to connecting with old friends, making new ones, and enjoying the coffee and conversation. The motto of the meeting is "Skip what you do and tell us about what you love". The group French Alumni is also an interesting opportunity to start and enrich relationships with some French-speaking fellows. This association allows a meeting with persons who have studied in France and are now living in Vancouver, once a month in a casual and pleasant atmosphere. The meetings happen once a month alternately on the 3rd Friday morning of the month for breakfast in Faubourg Paris Boulangerie-Patisserie or on the 3rd Thursday evening of the month in a bar or a restaurant. Finally, Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking all over the world. Join the group in Vancouver if you want to improve your speaking skills and meet people at the same time.
The potential to network with people while carrying out these activities is always possible. Volunteering can also be an excellent way of integrating into the Canadian society, and it can be a valuable step towards starting your career. All in all, go to your daily activities looking and acting your best, because you may not know who you’ll be running into. Once the foundation is made through a chat about your interests, continue the momentum and ease into business topics. People may ask for your information at the end of the discussion and bring you one step closer to employment.