Don’t Just Embrace Serendipity in Your Career — Engineer It

Photo by Cynthia Magana on Unsplash

TAKING SERENDIPITY INTO OUR OWN HANDS

Before the global pandemic, your professional networking may have looked like a calendar filled with in-person events like conferences, happy hour gatherings, meet-ups, or workshops. Below are ideas for how we can we work within our new normal to continue to engineer serendipity.

ORGANIZE A VIRTUAL GATHERING FOCUSED ON NEW CONNECTIONS

What if you hosted an event people couldn’t stop talking about? Ask three of the most connected people you know if they would be up for attending a 60-minute virtual gathering you organize. The catch? Each of them must also invite one of their connections. You’ll end up with seven people in a virtual space who have all agreed to an hour of fostering new connections. Don’t forget to have a clear topic for the gathering so all attendees come in knowing there’s a clear purpose. Having a clear intention at the start of the gathering also increases the chances that attendees walk away from the event feeling like it was unique and unforgettable. An example topic could be “Highlight and Lowlight,” an activity in which everyone on the call is given three minutes to share a highlight of the year and a lowlight of the year with the group. Then, the group is given five minutes to provide feedback and thoughts on what they just heard.

RECONNECT WITH OLD CONTACTS WHO HAVE GONE COLD

Make a list of five contacts that you have fallen out of touch with. One way to help jog your memory about these once meaningful connections is to look at your 2019 calendar. Did you attend any conferences? Did you meet anyone interesting there that you haven’t talked to in a while? How about the organizer of a meet-up you used to attend before the pandemic? Have you checked in on them to see how things are going in their life? Catching up with someone you don’t know well can be just as fruitful in the serendipity sense as meeting a new connection.

SUPPORT AN EVENT ORGANIZER YOU ADMIRE

Do you know someone who organized amazing events pre-pandemic? Or did you experience their work as an attendee but never connected with them post-event? Now is the time to support talented event organizers who could use a hand in continuing their work in what may be a totally new way! Reach out to an event organizer you admire — even if you have never met them before — to see what they are working on in their community during the pandemic and offer your help as a volunteer. Volunteering to help plan an unforgettable event is just as valuable as organizing one yourself.

ENTER LUNCHCLUB

Lunchclub is a startup that makes professional introductions to new connections for its users. These one-to-one professional connections happen over video. It may just be the future of professional networking in the age of COVID-19 and even beyond the pandemic.

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Jacqueline

Jacqueline

Jacqueline Jensen is a COO, former venture-backed startup founder, TEDx speaker, author, and Royal Society of Arts Fellow.