The Importance of Meeting New People Now

Published on April 22, 2020

Meeting new people is one of the most important and basic human needs. People inspire us, they make us feel wanted and valued. Meeting someone new who made you laugh, think differently, or just feel good, is often the highlight of a day.

Right now, we are all sheltering from the pandemic at home, unable for the time being to go out and meet new people. However, we can, and we should, continue to meet new people during this time through the available channels. The reason being, your resources and potential are limited to your network and there are plenty of ways to expand your circle and reach new possibilities. Cultivating a virtual community can translate to better societal outcomes.

Jeff Weiner recently stepped down as CEO of LinkedIn to become executive chairman for the purpose of creating “economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce,” according to LinkedIn. Additionally, he will aid in growing the next generation of leadership to ensure future users will continue to build strong and diverse relationships.

We know that diversity enhances creativity; it encourages us to search for new information and perspectives. This leads to improved and more comprehensive problem-solving and better decision making. Being exposed to a diverse group of people often changes the way we think. Dr. Rosina Racioppi, CEO of professional development program provider Women Unlimited, recommends networking with people from different professional backgrounds than your own.

Carlo Levi, an Italian political activist during Mussolini’s dictatorship said, “The future has an ancient heart.” The true catalyst of innovation is the web of relationships between people who do not think alike. Being surrounded by unlike-minded people within your network allows you to expand past traditional barriers.

Your network provides a person or group for exchanging ideas, helps you and your business become more visible, and make the introductions that lead to new opportunities. Support from a network of successful individuals is an important resource.

Now is the time to meet new people to expand your network. In order to do so, first make a list of the things you want to accomplish at work and personally. Whatever you are trying to achieve, there’s someone who has tried it, or who has helpful knowledge or connections. You need to meet new people to succeed.

Second, stay organized. Trello is a simple, free software for organizing your thoughts by creating “boards,” similar to sticky notes on a whiteboard. List all your ideas, the consider the kinds of people who could help you.

For example, a young app developer has an idea for a new app that helps people find the ideal vacation spots based on their interests. As they start looking at this, they will need to have the best ideas and decide how the app should work. What features should be in the app? Who is the target audience? Now is a great time to find people who have created apps before, both successful and unsuccessful, as there are things to learn in both cases. This app developer will also benefit from local people with expertise, investor knowledge and app development experience. Not all of the people who can assist them will be in their existing network. This is why branching out to new people and giving them an introduction to yourself, your idea and letting them know why you think they can help you will help form a connection. When entrepreneurs receive helpful feedback related to their work, there is a higher chance of them strengthening their diverse connections and creating that path to success.

In most experiences, people want to help other people. In fact, a new contact I made this week is helping me with something on my company Pod. I was about to ask him how I could repay him, and he beat me to it. He said, “I always believe there is a karma with this – I will help you and it will come back to me.” I didn’t say anything but he’s right. If he is able to help me, I will make sure that karma comes back to him in a very big way.

Dr. Jo Webber is a columnist for Grit Daily. After earning her PhD in quantum physics from Nottingham Trent University in Nottingham, England in 1988, when women made up only 14% of the STEM workforce (source), Dr. Webber attended a quantum physics conference at Oxford University where she was just one of two women in attendance – the other woman was the secretary of a man also in attendance. Refusing to allow statistics to define her, Dr. Webber held the title of CEO at 4 successful businesses including: InnaPhase Corpration, a software solution provider to pharmaceutical and biotechnology markets, Energy Solutions International, a software technology for the energy sector, Virtual Piggy, a fintech company coined the “PayPal for kids” by Forbes in 2012, and Spirion, a cybersecurity company. Her latest venture is Pod, a networking app designed to introduce people online but connect them in-person.

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