Making professsional contacts in a new city
March 24, 2007 4:46 PM   Subscribe

How do I build a network of professional contacts in a new city?

I'm moving to Washington DC from outside the US in the summer. For me to be successful in my job, I'll have to make lots of contacts with influential and informed government officials and think tankers. Only trouble is, I know no-one in DC. What's the best way to approach this?

I'm interested the whole process: how to find prospects, how to make the first move, how to maintain contact, which online networking organisations to use, and systems for managing my contacts when I find them.
posted by TrashyRambo to Work & Money (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Hmm. Read "Never Eat Alone," a book by Keith Ferrazzi. Kind of over-the-top, but nevertheless interesting and probably useful for the socially ambitious (though I've no more than read the book).
posted by shivohum at 5:59 PM on March 24, 2007

I work as a project manager for an industry association representing high tech companies. Networking is basically a core competency of my job. So...

Give yourself six months. Also, I'm assuming you have a job already. Just phone people up that you might be expected to work with, explain you're new to the city, and you're looking to make contacts. Take them out for coffee. Ask lots of questions, making sure to find out what they have planned over the coming year. See if they have a pain that needs addressing. Make sure to inquire about that pain in subsequent conversations. See if you can find a high-quality solution to their pain that is as cheap as possible (in dollars or in social capital).

If these people are too important, meet junior members of their staff.

Ask each person for two new contacts. The most important thing is to stress that, at the end of the day, you want to help people - this networking exercise shouldn't come off as being self-centered. The key to networking is helping other people be successful, and making sure that you ask for favors as infrequently as possible.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:20 PM on March 24, 2007 [2 favorites]

LinkedIn is a useful online networking tool. Also curious to know what field you're in.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:22 PM on March 24, 2007

Thanks KokuRyu.

Also curious to know what field you're in.

Economics. I already have a job (which should guarantee me access) and I'm being sent there for four years.
posted by TrashyRambo at 8:28 PM on March 24, 2007

Join a professional organization. They usually have monthly meetings you can attend. Also, attend training courses, conferences, or seminars in your field.
posted by curie at 9:54 AM on March 26, 2007

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