Everyone these days seems to be focused on adding "friends" and "fans" to their Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn page trying to build an audience for their business or job search. Frankly, the space is getting so crowded with users, it's losing its effectiveness. There's many other ways to build relationships through networking that people often forget about or haven't considered. One of my favorites is block parties!
Block parties are typically organized by your neighborhood association that everyone should be a member of and support. The cost for membership is not expensive yet the benefits are enormous if you get involved. It's a wonderful opportunity to meet people from all walks of life that could be a good networking contact and/or source of information, along with meeting new friends that live close by.
As a member of the Gold Coast Neighbors Association, I attended the annual "Evening on Astor" block party. Grant you this is one of the more affluent groups in the city, yet most block parties have interesting, well-connected and influential people all living in their homes or apartments that you would never had an opportunity to meet if not for a block party!
I've said it many times for those of you that read my column, but I'll say it again, get out and meet people! The best jobs and new business opportunities are found from personal relationships, especially in this sluggish economy. People hire and do business with people they like. And, if you never meet them, how can you get a job from them?
Last night I met some wonderful people, I didn't know lived in my neighborhood. Some are well-known with the likes of John Reardon, former General Manager of WGN-TV and his darling wife, Jann and architect, Marvin Herman and his family, Civility Design founders, Don & James, but most are people all with a "story" that were happy to talk about. It's a friendly place to meet people. The food and wine are a real plus, too.
Don't miss this opportunity. Get out and check to see what your local neighborhood has in store for the fall. Just remember to bring a bottle of Chardonnay!