7 ways to network that have nothing to do with coffee.

Whether you're just starting a business or have been doing it for decades, chances are good (okay, better than good) that you've received at least one email with a request to "grab coffee" and talk.

And while there's nothing inherently wrong with asking someone to get coffee, it's not exactly going to make you stand out amongst the crowd.

Below are a few of the ways that we shake things up and break the coffee shop mold.

Kate:

Some of my favorites ways to connect with people are:

  • Having a walking meeting. I always find ideas start to flow when I’m moving, and when the surroundings change it can really help guide conversations. 
  • Making something together. I recently had a friend reach out who wanted to get together. I was planning on entering a pie baking contest that weekend, and invited her to come over and help me bake. It ended up being super fun and we chatted the whole time. It’s very satisfying creating something together. 
  • Schedule a phone call. Sometimes my week gets so full with meetings that there is not enough time for me to complete projects. I’m a big fan of phone calls, and find I am much more conscious of the time. In-person is obviously ideal, but I really appreciate the efficiency of the phone.

Emily:

As someone who doesn't actually drink coffee, I always appreciate being able to go or do something outside of the coffee shop norm. Some of my recent favorites are:

  • Hitting up the local botanical gardens. It's no secret that Phipps Conservatory is one of my favorite spots in Pittsburgh. There is something so magical about the flowers for me; I am always delighted at the colors and textures, and find that my brain is primed for creative thinking as a result. It also helps that there is a very structured path, so you can talk and meander as long as you want.
  • Scheduling a play date! Because I have a limited number of child-free hours in the week, I always appreciate being able to schedule a play date with another mom-preneur. It gets me out of the house and connecting with like-minded women.
  • Crafty get-together's. I seriously had the best time when our Rock It! Community took over Paint Monkey (a BYO painting studio). Conversation was easy and everyone had a blast. Same thing happened at out last Happy Hour at The Ace Hotel. Every one we spoke with said how much fun they had and how easy it was to make connections.
  • Dinner parties and/or brunch. I'm a big believer in coming together over food. There's something magical about inviting people into your home and serving them food. Whether it's a formal dinner party or an impromptu brunch, breaking bread together is a powerful connector.

What about you? What are your favorite spots to meet people that won't leave you a jittery mess?