You can also go on your own and track down investors with whom you'd like to trade directly, without the involvement of an exchange or its services. Many exchanges maintain a directory of their members—with a listing of their public keys—to accommodate traders who prefer the do-it-yourself method. Some exchanges also offer a trading section in their public forums, where investors can discuss potential transactions.
Once you've decided you'd like to make a trade with a specific fellow investor—and you haven't dealt with them before—usually an introductory email or private message is in order. Express your interest in buying or selling, whichever the case may be, and make sure they're interested in a transaction before discussing the details. You'll save yourself the time and effort of spelling out the specifics of a currency order if you find out in your introductory message they aren't interested in doing trade at that time. After a few trades, you'll get the rhythm down pat—and you'll find trustworthy traders with whom you'll be able to forge a professional relationship. Once you've done, that, of course, you won't need those initial messages; you can just jump right in.
We'd like to note here that making direct trades with other individuals can be cheaper and quicker than going through an exchange in many cases, but you're also working without the built-in “safety net” that's created by the services exchanges provide. We're not implying everyone out there is out to rip you off—most investors are honest and above-board—but do your research. Many exchanges feature trader profiles that show their trading record, and their ranking from other people who have done business with them; take a moment to check these out. Also, keep copies of all correspondence that pertain to all your trades; this is a good idea whether an exchange is involved or not.
Next Exchanges Topic: Assuring Secure and Fair Trades