There are 19 Networking Nuggets that I share in the 4 ½ Networking Mistakes.
This week’s blog explores one of those nuggets…
Good luck as you work towards becoming a master networker.
Networking Nugget #1: Pick the Right Networking Event
Networking events are like ice cream: they all are made up of the same basic ingredients and have the same texture, even though each group and event has its own flavor. Before you begin networking, you need to determine where you will find events that are the right events for you.
You can network anytime, anywhere: at expos or trade shows, community happenings, get-togethers initiated at MeetUp.com, or the most popular forum — events arranged by organizations.
A number of different organizations offer mixers, meetings, or lunches for their members. Some of the most popular are:
- Chambers of Commerce. The Chamber of Commerce is one of the largest service groups, literally spanning the world. Within in the United States, each county or city may have its own Chamber of Commerce. The focus of each varies, from the community to business or the economy, as do the events each chamber hosts. These might range from a meal with a guest speaker to after-hour mixers and even ribbon cuttings.
- BNI is the largest strong-contact networking organization in the world. Strong-contact networking groups allow only one person per profession as a member to their weekly meetings, where the focus is on members passing referrals. BNI offers a structured, professional word-of-mouth program to help develop long-term, meaningful relationships. Find the chapter nearest you at www.BNI.com.
- Community Service Clubs. There are amazing service clubs, like Rotary, Kiwanis, or Lions, that focus on helping advance the community. These groups can be a great place to meet the local movers and shakers.
Because these clubs focus on giving back and the community, be careful not to overly load a conversation with business.
- Women’s Associations. Women’s groups were created for the purpose of networking with like-minded women in a response, of sorts, to good ole boys clubs. Like the Chambers of Commerce, different groups have a different focus. Do note the majority of women’s groups welcome men.
- Professional Associations. As expected, these are associations built around a particular profession. Depending on your industry, with care you may be able to turn competition into collaboration and create referrals from this group. Additionally, you may want to inquire into professional organizations based around your target market or contact sphere.
Where you network is essential for your success or failure when networking. Before attending an event, do establish whether people in your target market or contact sphere are likely to attend. If not, perhaps you should find another event.