how to brand yourselfAs a young professional, I know the challenges of networking and finding the right places to be to leverage your personal brand in such a busy city like Toronto. Having lived here my whole life, I have the upper hand knowledge of knowing what works and what doesn’t. Toronto, like any other city, is full of opportunities for everyone and it’s sadly safe to say that these opportunities are being overlooked and missed everyday. In a world that is always changing, how is it possible for someone to keep up with the times and meet those looking to do the same? Well if you have yet to hear and explore the magic that is Meetup for personal branding, now would be a great time.

Meetup

http://www.meetup.com/find/

Whether you’re in accounting or IT, enjoy trying new cuisine or being active, Meetup has the people you are looking for. It’s an online social portal for people to find others with similar interests around the world. You simply enter your postal code and it show you the closest Meetups available that may be of interest to you and your specific interests and needs. I’ve known about Meetup for some time now and it still surprises me to hear about others unknowing of its existence. So here’s my treat to you.

Here are my three favourite Meetup Groups:

1- Social Media Cafe – Toronto

http://www.meetup.com/Social-Media-Cafe-Toronto/
This event is great for meeting other professionals heavily involved with social media. The last event I attended with this Meetup, they had a social media professor from the University of Toronto do a fun short talk for everyone which was hilarious. The events are casual and the perfect opportunity to simply chat with people with similar interests.

2- Spanglish Toronto Meetup – Toronto

http://www.meetup.com/SpanglishToronto/
I enjoy this Meetup because it’s a great way for me to practice my Spanish without feeling embarrassed. Everyone is there to practice and learn more words and it’s surprisingly such a great and supportive community. After attending only two Meetups, I already feel better and more comfortable with my Spanish. I definitely recommend trying it out.

3- #1 Beach Volleyball and Social Group – Scarborough

http://www.meetup.com/beach-vball/
If you’re an active person, you will really enjoy some of the more sporty Meetups that go on during the year. Since my friends and I love beach volleyball, we went out to find other opportunities where we would play and meet new people at the same time. This Meetup takes place at Ashbridges Bay and fills up for the most part. There are 5 levels you can play – all depending on what you are most comfortable with. Beyond joining a league, this is a great alternative to play sports in a community like atmosphere.

Obviously these groups may not be for everyone, but like I mentioned earlier, there are Meetup groups out there for everyone.

Being at these events and knowing these individuals in Toronto will introduce you to many new exciting opportunities and people.

As a business professional, attending these events becomes important because it enhances your personal brand. It’s your chance to put away the suit and tie for a bit to mingle with those in the same industry. Become friends before you become business partners – it’s the social thing to do.

So get out there and join some Meetups – You can thank me later!

If you are still unclear about your personal brand, download this free worksheet I’ve created to help you think of 5 words that represent your personal branding as a business professional. If you can’t pick 5 words from this matrix to describe yourself in less than 5 minutes, you have some work to do!

Thank you for reading and as always, we welcome your comments below.