Tips for meeting people in a new city (SF edition) by Pauliina Meskanen

Tips for meeting people in a new city (SF edition) by Pauliina Meskanen

When I arrived in SF Bay Area at the beginning of this March, I only knew a handful of people there.

Luckily, I found meeting amazing people in the SF Bay Area relatively easy. Firstly, the area is full of incredibly optimistic, driven, and open-minded people. Secondly, SF’s event culture is buzzing. There’s a wide range of events to choose from every day.

Here are my top tips for meeting new people in SF Bay Area and, in general, in a new city that one moves to.

1. Engage in communities and Slack groups

For me, the best way to meet relevant people was to engage in relevant communities and their local chapters.

I build in climate tech, so I was part of the following climate communities and Slack groups when I went to SF Bay Area:

The very first day I landed in SF, I joined local groups in these communities and introduced myself. Many amazing people reached out.

I used this strategy also when visiting Los Angeles and scheduling meetings there. And it worked incredibly well!

Young Professional in Energy (YPE) hike on the Angel island.

2. Ask for introductions from your existing network

I highly recommend reaching out to your existing network and asking for introductions to people in SF Bay Area. Having a warm intro is always great. It creates an initial trust between you and the person allowing the conversation to start smoother.

When asking for these introductions, be specific about who you are looking to connect with. In this way, the other person can suggest to you the most relevant people in their network.

3. Use Eventbrite, Twitter etc.

There are numerous events listed on Eventbrite. Also, following relevant people in your industry on Twitter helps in finding the best events to join.

There are also industry-specific sources to find out about ongoing events. For example, the SF Bay Climate Tech -newsletter by Alec Turnbull & Sonam Velani lists the week’s events in climate tech.

The amazing "Women in Climate Finance and Investing"- event in SF, which I found via Eventbrite.

4. Build an audience

If you are interested in building an online presence, it can greatly help connect you to some exciting people. Write Twitter threads or a newsletter or launch a podcast.

Writing my newsletter on deep tech climate solutions and startups was definitely helpful in meeting people. For example, I would several times cold email people who I wanted to meet. They replied that they read my newsletter and were happy to meet up!

5. Do sports, go out, date  

Doing sports, going to parties, and dating are also great ways to meet new people and build a network outside your industry.  

Quite often, these connections may turn out to be helpful also professionally. 99% of the people in SF Bay Area work in tech, so you never know who you run into at a climbing gym or bar.

Ultimately, meeting new people in a new city is all about effort. Nobody holds your hand and takes you to the events to meet people. One has to make a deliberate effort and be active.

Read more about my time in SF Bay Area here in my newsletter.