What’s in a Handshake? Creative Networking Ideas!


​​Researchers believe that handshakes started as early as the second century B.C. to prove your peaceful intent—since you weren’t holding weapons.[1]

Nowadays, we don’t use handshakes in quite the same way, but they’re still extremely important in our society. Often, they’re used in a business context, so we’re using National Handshake Day on June 29 as an excuse to celebrate the value of networking!

Experts agree[2] that networking can lead to more professional opportunities, valuable connections, and business insight—but only if you do it properly! That means setting intentions and following up.

Not a fan of networking? No worries! At HIP, we see networking with a much broader definition than the traditional wine-and-cheese gathering where you’re expected to give your well-rehearsed elevator pitch and hand out your business card. Here are some creative networking suggestions.

  • Attend trade shows in your industry. For me, since I often write about health and wellness, I do my best to attend local natural health- and food-related trade shows. It’s a fun, low-stress way to learn about industry trends, sample some free products, chat with likeminded individuals, and yes—hand out your business card. If you haven’t attended trade shows before, you might be surprised by how many exist in the Lower Mainland.

  • Take continuing education courses. There’s always something new to learn, no matter your job or industry. While these may not seem like networking events, they certainly can be—and often turn out to be by simply chatting with your classmates and instructor. Courses don’t need to be lengthy investments either. Some university continuing education departments offer fabulous one-day bootcamps.

  • Go on informational interviews. A favourite of college students, informational interviews should not be overlooked by the rest of us! Basically, these involve chatting with someone (often over coffee or lunch) about their career or industry. Nope, it doesn’t have to mean you’re looking for a job. It’s simply a great chance to get a new perspective and gain new insight.

  • Participate in HIP’s programs, groups, and events. Since they’re founded on organic conversations and true connections, HIP’s programs don’t feel like networking, but deliver tangible, long-term results.

What networking tips or suggestions do you swear by? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

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Leah Payne is a writer, editor, blogger, and the owner of Cedar Hill Creative. She believes in the power of networking—and handshakes!

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[1] https://www.punchbowl.com/holidays/national-handshake-day

[2] http://fortune.com/2015/07/07/tom-farley-networking-tips/

http://www.businessinsider.com/the-importance-of-networking-2011-5

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maria-rodale/the-importance-of-network_b_9039062.html

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