While Denver might be known for a lot of things—being a physically fit city with 300 days of sunshine—the friendly nature of its inhabitants is an oft overlooked perk of living in the Mile High City. For those coming from more harried locales, the friendliness of Denverites can be off-putting at first. Especially in more competitive environments, like business.
Navigating the business world of Denver isn’t that different from other major cities, but Denverites may seem a little more relaxed, often choosing their Northface fleece over a sport jacket, or their sneakers over dress shoes. Here’s our quick guide to networking in the Mile High—it’s not so different from anywhere else, but you might want a few tips before someone surprises you with a hug instead of a handshake.
Hugs Not Handshakes
This doesn’t apply to all industries or people, but a lot of folks in Denver will be prone to hugging instead of shaking your hand. Consider this a warning that within your first year of living in Denver, you will be hugged more than you have anywhere else.
Where to Go
Denver is a city that actually sleeps, and weekends here are basically for the mountains, but there is plenty of opportunity to network in the Mile High. First, consider your industry. If you’re a creative, check out Creative Mornings for a great lecture series as well as a community. Have an entrepreneurial spirit? Participate in Denver Startup Week and get your name out there.
Networking in Denver doesn’t always have to be about work, though. One of the most magical things about living here is that nearly everyone has a side hustle or engaging hobby outside of work. Talk to people at the dog park. Join a running club at a local bar. Go to a Reddit meetup. There are so many opportunities to meet other human beings that you’re missing out if you just stay home and search LinkedIn or Facebook.
Be Ready To Actually Talk
There are a lot of cities where your money does the talking for you. There are places where your job title means more than your words. But in Denver, you’ll meet people of all walks that don’t ask about those things. They’ll question you about your dog, or your favorite mountain to hike, or where you like to ski. You’ll probably get asked about your favorite brewery at least a dozen times. It’s okay here to talk about it. In fact, it’s encouraged.
Don’t Burn Bridges
Denver is still a small town at its heart. Despite the thousands of people moving here, there’s still a sense of community, which can be both good and bad. Work with this community, not against it. Chances are that someone you know, knows someone else you know, and so on. Word gets around, and great creative or business opportunities can be lost over small problems.