Choose a Networking Group That Works for You
One of the most important ways to get ahead in the world is to make connections with other people. These connections can lead to opportunities and joyful situations for everyone. You might meet someone who can help you boost your business to the next level, or if you’re not married you might meet your future spouse. Here are some tips on how to choose a networking group that's right for you.
Ask Your Contacts
You already have contacts that you work with on a regular basis such as vendors, contractors and colleagues. Simply ask them if they’re part of any formal networking or mastermind groups that you can check out. Be sure to ask them what types of people are in the group, and what the goals of the group are.
Know Your Reason for Joining
Before you join any group, it’s important to figure out why you want to join a networking group. For example, do you want to find customers or do you want to find partners?
When you find a group to join, set some goals. For example, if you want to get new customers you’ll need to ensure that you talk to people who can become customers. Get them on your lists, and market to them via the list. What goals do you need to set to accomplish that?
Do Your Research
Check out the leaders of the group, what the group stands for, and as much as you can about the membership. The members are very important but so is the leadership, so leave no stone unturned.
Find out the Goals of the Group
Each networking group usually has a goal of some kind. Sometimes the goal of the group makes it impossible for you to make a name for yourself, because they don’t allow members to network freely.
Know the Costs and Fees
Many networking groups are free, but others have a cost to join. They may have membership fees up front, and then of course you may need to pay for other expenses such as travel, food, and so forth in order to fully participate in the networking group.
Try Out Some Events
When you’ve done enough research to feel that the networking group is a good one, try out some events. You might have to buy a membership in some cases in order to go to an event, but it will be worth it if you’ve done your research.
Don’t be afraid to ask members and leaders questions about the networking group so that you can be sure it’s the right one for you. Ask members how long they’ve been part of the group. Try to identify the movers and shakers in the group, because you want to become one.
Participate Once You Join
The biggest factor once you’ve picked a networking group or two to join is that you need to participate in the group. Volunteer, host, talk to people, and do all you can to make yourself known within the group.
Networking is a very powerful way to make your world bigger and better. You can meet all sorts of people that will help you and that you can help on your journey in business and life. But, first you must choose the right group for your needs. You might even need more than one group based on your goals.
How Often Should You Attend Networking Events?
Networking events are wonderful ways to learn more about your industry, get to know movers and shakers, and even become a mover and a shaker. There are many reasons to attend networking events that you should consider. But, if any one event doesn’t fulfill at least a couple of these factors, then there is no need to go. Attend as many events as you can afford and that you’ve researched, to fulfill at least a couple of these reasons to attend.
To Increase Visibility
The more events you can afford to attend, the more visible you and your business will become. Visibility helps your business because the more known you are, the more people trust you.
To Be the Expert
As someone who is going to a lot of events, you can be the expert for your niche at the event. Answer questions, be open, honest and transparent, and people will start to see you as the “go to” person for that niche.
To Build Relationships
Knowing people online is great, but meeting them in real life is even better. Getting to really talk to someone in person, see their face, shake their hand or hug their neck builds relationships beyond what you may have thought a business relationship would become.
To Stay on Trend
In-person events are usually a lot more up to date on the trends than other types of events. You’re going to learn so much about what’s happening right now, what’s in the news, what’s hot right now and more.
To Connect with Key Influencers
Most key influencers attend a lot of live events. They do it because it keeps them a key influencer. You can’t be a key influencer and remain unknown or anonymous. You must meet people in person and meet them a lot.
To Learn from Others
Most networking events offer some form of learning opportunity. If you open your mind and listen to everything anyone says, as well as the speeches given, you’re going to learn so much from others about your business.
To Find Partners
One really great way to find joint venture partners is at networking events. Most of the time a person who will spend money going to a networking event isn’t a scammer, is likely pretty honest, and could even be a potential serious partner for your serious business.
To Improve Your Marketing Message
When you go to a networking event you’re forced to work on your “elevator pitch,” know your value proposition, and talk about your business. Talking it out helps you make your message even better.
Attending networking events is a really great way to build your business, learn more about your business, and make the right connections. If the events you’re choosing from fulfill some of the reasons to attend and it’s within your budget to attend, you should do it.