I'm now hanging out in my third UK city in two weeks: Manchester.
Two hours northwest of London, this swaggy city is Britain's second largest tech hub and--as such--obviously deserves my attention. It's also where Oasis is from.
I'm here for about a week and a half, and I don't really know anybody in the city. But y'all know me -- I'm nosy AF and will happily invite myself over -- so I set out a mission of exploring the Manchester tech scene and getting connected.
'Getting connected' can be a tricky game when you feel like you have no specific reason to do so. If you're 'considering' a move to a city, or if you already have a job but are quietly starting to eye a career move, or if you just want to make some more smart friends and business contacts in your town.
Side note: I'm not actively looking for a full-time job in Manchester. Now, I would happily take on some new UX contracts (...and I see some companies here who need my help...), but I'm not interested in full-time here at this minute.
But if I WAS looking for a full-time job in Manchester, I would be shouting it proudly. Why not? I repeat again: There is no shame, ever, in looking for a job.
I've never self-identified as a hyper-organized person, but when it comes to tasks like this -- getting connected in a new city -- I turn my inbox into a total command center.
This is a screenshot of my 'tagged' inbox from this morning, People To Meet Up With In UK. I started filing all introductions in here at least 4-5 months ago, to come back to at this exact time.
No need to go digging around for the name of that person I forgot that I promised I would call once I got to town. It's all here.
Meaning that, on Monday afternoon, when I got into Manchester and had an hour to kill before checking into my Airbnb, I was able to fire off emails like a champ.
Bam, bam, bam.
I must have sent at least 8 of these during that first hour. I gave everyone 2-3 timeslots that I hoped/estimated would work best for them and the length of conversation we were going to have.
'Lunch' for longer chats, or closer contacts. 'Stop by the office for a tour and to say hello' for more formal connections.
I staggered all these different time slot suggestions in the hopes it would magically all fall into place, and it pretty much did. I've got at least six meetings of various shapes and sizes lined up over the next week.
Networking doesn't have to be hard -- it simply requires a great plan.
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