If you are going to spend your valuable time attending networking events, you will want to make sure that it is worth it. Taking time to evaluate each networking opportunity will help.
Here are some tips to ensure your time is well spent.
One of the best ways to get business leads is through word of mouth. Your colleagues may be able to inform you of the typical tone and selection of participants at regularly scheduled networking events in your area.
Meetup.com is an online database that lists all types of public meetings. If you input your location and select which categories interest you, Meetup will suggest opportunities near you that fit your personal and professional needs. You can join groups that host the events and view all of their members. Scanning member information will give you a feel for whether or not a group would be a good fit for you.
If you are a member of professional membership organizations, there are likely some events that would allow you to network with other professionals in your field. If you are targeting a certain industry, check out their professional membership organizations. Many times they offer open events where you could meet important contacts in a casual setting.
Linked In Groups
Members of Linked In groups typically have similar personal and/or professional interests. Groups with a local focus usually host events where the members can get to know each other better. Once you are a member, you can scan the membership list and see if the companies and job titles represented are within your target market. You can also begin to build relationships within the group prior to meeting in person. This can be a great way to warm up to a potential client in an unobtrusive way.
While you may not find many clients at your neighborhood barbeque, you will find many opportunities to form lasting relationships with people who are genuinely interested in you and your family. Telling your friends and neighbors about a successful project you’ve been working on can be the first step in cultivating a strong referral network.
Particularly during the holiday season many organizations hold special occasion gatherings. These events provide great opportunities to meet potential clients. And, because the mood is one of celebration and fun, it is much easier to become friendly with people who may otherwise be unwilling to engage, especially important contacts who would not normally attend networking events.