Thursday, March 7, 2013

Business Networking Events -- How to Decide Which Networking Event or Group Works Best for You?

By Sue Clement

Do you sometimes feel like you're networking too much -- bopping from one event to another, hoping to make that "right" connection...or a sale? Well, successful networking is more than attending a dozen events every month. Instead, just pick a few that you can commit to and then invest your time to leverage it fully. The question, of course, is how to pick the right networking groups and events.

Here's the key to picking the kinds of events that will help you with your goals:


Remember that networking is about building relationships. You need to be visible and make connections to get the best result from your time. If you join a networking group, you need to be able to attend their meetings consistently enough to build quality relationships. Attending just once or twice a year won't work!

And that means that you have to be very selective in the networking groups you get involved with. You want to be able to be a regular in a few select groups, not someone who's hardly even remembered in a lot of different groups.

So how do you go about selecting the right networking group to join or the right event to attend?

Here are some key criteria to consider:

A) The Mix of Attendees
The most important question you should ask yourself is whether the people who attend the meetings are a good fit for you. Specifically, ask yourself the following questions:
-- Are they people you connect with?
-- Do they share or service your target market?
-- Can you comfortably pass referrals to them?
-- Do you have anything in common with enough of the other members?
 -- Does the group fit your style - professional, casual, educational, fun, etc.?

B) Convenience
The second most important criterion is whether the meeting times and locations are convenient -- because if they aren't, you're unlikely to attend regularly enough to reap the benefits. Consider these questions:
-- Is the location is easy to get to?
-- Is the day or time one that allows you to attend consistently?

If you come up with answers you like, consider joining. If it seems that a group is a poor fit, don't waste your time. You'll be better off spending it networking with a group of people who you can truly connect with.

And to make the most of your meetings, make a personal commitment to follow up with everyone you have a conversation with and then pick one person to have coffee with. It's a great way to expand your network and grow referrals. You'll gain increased visibility, have stronger connections, leverage your time AND get more business.

If you would like to boost your business results even more in the new year, join Sue Clement at her FREE webinar with powerful strategies to get a headstart on your competition and take your business to the next level. To sign up, click here.

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