Importance of Networking with Strangers
Black Enterprise Magazine January-March 2019 Issue

(Image: Thinkstock)

When it comes to networking, it’s often a rule of thumb to be strategic and ultimately start within your industry or circle. But some prime opportunities can come about by connecting with a total stranger.

You may not want to take that leap of approaching a stranger, with the fear that either you’ll be seen as some threatening weirdo or you’ll be met with a spray of Mace. But, Brazen Careerist gives key tips on why it’s important to consider the value of breaking the ice with a stranger and how you can successfully do so:

1. Be aware of the other person’s openness (or lack thereof). If someone has their headphones on as they hunch over their laptop, chances are they’re not open to a sudden chat-up. If, however, you catch someone’s glance and she gives you a friendly smile, she’s probably okay with being approached.

2. Use contextual topics for your introduction. Did the person in front of you just order your favorite sandwich from this café? Is the line for the plane you’re boarding taking longer than usual? People are more likely to strike up a conversation with a stranger if that stranger mentions something they’re both experiencing in the moment. It feels a lot less threatening than “Hi! My name is Tom!!! What’s your name?”


Read more at Brazen Careerist

Janell Hazelwood

Janell Hazelwood is associate managing editor at Black Enterprise, managing content across core areas of Money, Career, Small Business and Technology. She is also a featured blogger with My Two Cents, providing insights on branding, millennial career development, employment trends and leadership. She was previously a content producer and copy editor for Black Enterprise magazine, working across several editorial sections. The Hampton University graduate got her start in the newspaper industry, having worked for companies including The New York Times and Scripps Howard News Service. Her works and insights have appeared on The Huffington Post, MadameNoire, E!Online, Brazen Careerist, CBS News, and Arise TV.