Since the beginning when I started this blog and my business, I have always been communicating one core idea – building meaningful relationships with passionate, likeminded people. It’s the single most important thing you can do for your career.
In this blog post, I will show you 13 ways how you can meet these passionate, likeminded individuals in Switzerland to take your career to the next level. Pick the ones you like the most and get out there to talk to people.
1. Co-Working Spaces
I recently started going to co-working spaces to work on my most creative work and to meet new, interesting people with great ideas and a passion for what they do.
Co-Working spaces are awesome. You will mostly meet creative freelancers and small business owners.
I recently went to a co-working space while being in Wroclaw, Poland. I went to CO12, close to the center, and met some cool people the first time I went there. I went for lunch with two tech guys. One of them is a graphic designer and the other one is an app developer who lives off his income from one, pretty simple iPhone app he developed a few years ago.
I also met an architect there who has his own company with a few employees. He recently designed some very interested apartments in Poland and they have been featured in local magazines for their great work. So, if I ever have a question about architecture, he is certainly the guy I will call.
One great co-working space I know in Switzerland is the Hub in Zurich.
Last week, I talked to one of Innopark’s Directors from the French speaking part of Switzerland. I was able to do so because of an introduction from one of my coaching clients who thought it would be a great idea to talk together since we have a very similar idea of connecting people with each other.
Innopark offers job seekers in Switzerland some amazing benefits. They get access to work space, workshops and seminars, exclusive events and aperos. Innopark also focuses on bringing job seekers and innovative organizations together to work on projects to see if there is a potential match. The success rate of connecting job seekers and organizations is very high using this approach (which to me is obvious since they focus on bring people together with people).
If you are registered with the unemployment department in Switzerland, you can get access to Innopark’s infrastructure and all their offerings.
This is probably the greatest meetup platform I have seen and used by now. If you search for groups in Switzerland, there is almost nothing you can’t find. If you are interested in Financial Engineering, there is a group for central Switzerland. Even better, if you are an outdoor enthusiast who loves hiking, there is a group in Zurich with over 3000 members.
You can find anything on meetup.com, from social drinks events, to sports groups, to highly specialized business meetups. I am a big fan of meetup.com and have attended some great events myself.
A while ago, I even got invited to speak in front of 50 people at the Career Excellence Network in Zurich since one of my readers organized the event.
This is the place to go for social events in Switzerland. There are over 80’000 expats and locals who meet on a regular basis throughout Switzerland to go for drinks, do crazy sports activities or dance salsa together.
If you are new to Switzerland, I highly recommend to join glocals.com and attend some events to get to know people and start building meaningful relationships.
5. Chambers of Commerce
The chambers of commerce in Switzerland are fantastic places to meet with people from a similar cultural background. They are usually more business driven and many of them host local events on a regular basis. Some examples are the British-Swiss Chamber of Commerce, the American-Swiss Chamber of Commerce, the Joint Chamber of Switzerland and Russia as well as the Swiss-Indian Chamber of Commerce.
6. Industry Events
You should definitely consider attending some industry conferences in Switzerland since you can meet people from a very similar professional background there.
Many of my coaching clients have met some very interesting people at such events. Some of these connections lead to interviews and job offers and others to great new friendships.
7. Join the TEDx in Your Town in Switzerland
I have been fascinated by TED since a few years now and it’s astonishing to see what they have created. Since connecting and inspiring passionate individuals completely aligns with my vision, I highly recommend you check out your local TEDx event. The TEDxZurich will be held on 2nd October 2013.
8. Attend a Workshop or Seminar
Alumni circles are usually a very interesting place to meet likeminded and passionate people. However, you can’t get into these circles unless you finished university or business school there.
The alternative is attending a workshop or seminar. Maybe there is no official alumni organization but you could launch one yourself. Also, you have the chance to meet great people who have very likely similar interests since the topic of the workshop or seminar is very specific.
Usually, you will find time during breaks and after the official agenda of the event to get to meet the others.
An example of such a workshop is the Startup Weekend Switzerland. You’re almost guaranteed to meet passionate startup founders, investors and many others involved in startups in Switzerland there.
9. Your Network of 90 People
This is a place that most people simply forget about or ignore when building their network in Switzerland. It’s a fact that many of my coaching clients received job offers in Switzerland as some sort of a results of talking to their existing network.
In most cases, your immediate network won’t have a job for you. The magic happens in your 2nd and 3rd level network. This is where all the opportunities lie. You will only be able to know about these opportunities if you talk to your immediate network of people.
This is why one of the first things I do with my coaching clients is putting together the so-called list of 90 people to tap into these hidden opportunities.
10. Go to Local Bars & Restaurants
If you are British, I don’t think I have to tell you much about this way of meeting new people. There are plenty of Irish pubs and English bars in almost every city in Switzerland where you can meet people from a similar cultural background and easily expand your network.
However, there are plenty of other places than just these pubs.
You can find Spanish bars, Indian and Italian restaurants all over the place in almost every city in Switzerland. Don’t underestimate how many people the owner of the restaurant or bar knows. They usually know about as many or even more people than your hairdresser or taxi driver.
Pick a few places in your city and start going there on a regular basis. Talk to the owner and get a better understanding of the local community. Ask the owner if there are events happening at his restaurant or bar from time to time.
Volunteering is a great way to get to know new people. There are plenty of organizations in Switzerland where you can volunteer and they are always looking for a helping hand. This could be your local non-profit organization like BaselConnect or it could be your chamber of commerce who could need a helping hand in organizing the next event.
Get out there and start asking people if they need help with anything and how you can help out. This way, you get in front of new people almost automatically.
12. Join the Gym
Besides staying healthy, you can also meet great people at the gym. Once you have selected your gym where you go on a weekly basis, don’t just go there to work out. Calculate some more time to chat with others. Get to know the people who work out there.
13. Join Toastmasters
In case you intend to improve your communication and speaking skills (which I think everybody should always do), I highly recommend Toastmasters. You can find local organizations in many cities in Switzerland, either in English or in the local language of the city.
For a low yearly fee, you can go to every event they have, meet interesting people there and at the same time improve your communication skills.