So, in my post Networking On Purpose, we covered how to network properly and why you need to get out there and network. Hopefully, by now, you started. Maybe you have been researching what the right groups are of you.
This week we are going to talk about where to network, and how to decide which events are right for you. Also, why going to every single event even if it is cheap may not be the right strategy for you.
In Kurt Vonnegut’s 1963 satirical science fiction novel, Cat’s Cradle, he said: “In this world, you get what you pay for.” And it has been said time and time again. And when it comes to networking sometimes cheap is NOT always worth it! Getting stuck at an event that isn’t right for you can be frustrating. You are wasting time, energy and sometimes your money. So, don’t just do cheap events because they are cheap. Make sure they are not only cheap monetarily but fit your needs.
Your time is valuable, right? The last thing you want to do is waste 2 or 3 hours of your time at an event that you are not getting anything out of, or where you aren’t making meaningful contacts.
You probably have tons of networking events around the area. Do research online to find out who attends each event. You can do this by looking at their social media pages. Who is on them? Is your target market there? You want to find high valued events that have good crowds, engaging speakers, great vibes, and provoking discussions. It is about finding the group that resonates with you. A group where you feel that you fit and can develop lasting relationships. Some of your best connections will come from networking events and most of them will be from high valued events.
Here are some tips to help you find the right fit for you.
- Find Your People – In Do You Really Know Who Your Customer Is? Are You Sure? you learned how to identify your target market. Now you need to find them. Use what you know about your target audience to see what networking events they are attending. Check out their social media. Where are they going? What are they liking? Then look at those groups.
- Meaningful Content – Great speakers are another reason to attend an event. Some of the best networking events offer you useful information for your business and networking. This is the best of both worlds. Look for speakers that are covering topics that will be helpful to you in your business. A great speaker and topic give you another great subject to discuss while networking. Learning and networking make a powerful combination and are great reasons to attend an event.
- Repeat Attendance – You want to become a member of a group or organization. Once you have attended as a guest, most groups will let you do this, if it is a good fit, JOIN. As a member, you will feel and be more included. Over time you will be able to develop real connections with other members.
- Have a plan – Having a reason for attendance ensures that you are taking time away from other tasks to actually build your business. Knowing your goals for events ahead of time will help you choose the events that make achieving those goals easier.
- Organization – Who organizes the events? What kind of reputation does the organizer have? What kind of reputation does the event have? Is the event a part of a larger group or national organization?
- Open or exclusive – Is it an open or exclusive group. Meaning will there be other people there that do what you do? Or is it a one person from each industry type of event. There is nothing wrong with either of these types of events but they do require a different plan for each.
- Size – Knowing the size of the group is important. You want the group to be compatible with the goals you are trying to achieve. It also should be a size you can be comfortable in. Plus, it helps you set expectations as to how many contacts you will be able to make.
- Cost How does the cost fit into your budget. But remember that sometimes attending events that are free or very inexpensive may be costly in other ways like time and effort.
Here is a list of places to go to find the right event for you:
Now that you know how to and where to go, deciding isn’t easy. Cheap isn’t better, and going to an event every day isn’t there right thing to do. For this, less is more!
By: Tina Torres, CEO, The Gratitude Specialist for the Blog at AMI LC