Try Out-of-the-Cube Professional Networking

By Shravan Goli

If you think professional networking is a drag, you’re probably doing it wrong. I think of networking as part basic socializing and part insurance: a bench of peers to reach out to when I’m interested in finding a new position, solving a complex problem or just learning about what’s emerging technically.

In other words, if you’re looking at networking as a one-time, transactional event, you’re missing the lifelong benefits it can provide. In fact, networking should be a continual affair aimed at meeting new people and investing in your future.

Good networking is easy networking. The challenge is to find new ways to interact with peers without having to go to yet another (groan) “networking event.” Here are four creative networking ideas that go beyond a standard meet-up:


I think of Twitter as my time saver. You may not have the availability to leave the office and meet directly, but you can always find a few moments to offer a kudo in 140 characters or less. The beauty of Twitter is that you can break through the clutter publicly.

Let’s say you enjoy a new product some company rolled out. Rather than sending an email saying how much you liked it, tweet an engineer at that firm. Employers tell us they find a lot about tech professionals’ passions, interests and skills via their Twitter feed while using Dice’s Open Web.

“Great Minds” Lunch

Chances are that you interact often with smart and talented people. Why not tap into that knowledge and share it with others? Whether this person is in your company, a former colleague or a peer outside of work, invite them to a casual, small roundtable lunch.

The caveat: Have the person you invite ask someone else to come too. Keep the chain going so you’ll eventually have eight folks.

At the lunch, have everyone share one problem they’re trying to solve and then allow the group to weigh in. You’ll learn something new and will hear from bright voices. It’s networking and problem-solving rolled into one.

Office Visits

If a company is doing something new and interesting, it’s likely that they’re going to be open to talking about it. So reach out to a peer, ask if you can visit their office, and spend a few hours learning about their processes, products and philosophy. And bring cookies or fruit with you.


I believe we have an obligation to educate the younger generation about all the doors a career in technology can open. While creating a volunteer event may require a lot of work, it’s a chance to give back to the community, connect with your team, and meet local leaders and peers.

The event could be as simple as hosting kids to help them do an hour of code. The result? You’re helping others and creating your own networking event with like-minded professionals.

Shravan Goli is the president of Dice, a respected career site that brings together in-demand technology professionals and tech-powered companies. An Internet and media veteran, Goli is responsible for executing the growth strategy for, ClearanceJobs and the Slashdot Media brands. Before joining Dice, he served as CEO of, general manager of Yahoo! Video and head of products for Yahoo! Finance.