What you want, out of which events you go to, needs to be specific to “your desires.”
Do you just go out and collect business cards?
Do you just ‘shake hands’ and say hello?
Do you just need a social environment to mingle?
OR, do you go out with the intent to meet certain people in certain professions that can assist you/your business to grow and help them as well?
When I make an effort to attend a networking event, local or out of town, I review the “attendance list” (typically on line through the event’s site) and see ‘who’ I ‘want’ to meet. I make my list on a 3×5 card of name, occupation, and desired business opportunity, and head out. I literally go up to the person in charge of attendance, and ask if anyone on my list has arrived, if so, I ask to point them out, and I go and introduce myself.
Mostly everyone is there for the same thing; advancing career and business, and if you set out with a mission to discus ‘their’ business, for sure, they will listen.
Meeting ‘your’ business professionals, local and out-of-town, can be a real win-win (IF you have a plan):
1. It connects you locally (do you know ?)—ask for other sources that would be of interest to you.
2. It offers you professional relationships that can grow (for both parties) into future business development and sales, professional alliances, associates, freelancers/employees, friendships, referrals and an Advisory Committee too!—make that happen.
3. It gives an opportunity to meet people, ask questions, and get different perspectives based on their professional history—take along your Q&A 3×5 cards, and take notes.
I have attended all sorts of networking events and organizations; some were a total waste of my time and money, and others I am drawn to continue to connect to. What you want out of which events you go to needs to be specific to your desires up front, or, ‘test’ out some events to see what you like, are comfortable with, and feel that you would benefit the most from.
Here is my experience simply outlined by the kind of groups I attended and what I did or didn’t get out of the experience(s).
• Organization memberships –Annual fee based groups
– Time availability is key to a commitment of monthly meetings and additional involvement activity: as my free time was limited, I could not get involved as much as would have been helpful. I did though attend several events through the year, and did in-turn meet some of the professional consultants on the JNP Team, and in turn they introduced me to other professionals that I bought into the organization
• Organization membership events (one-time)
– If the event’s focus is of interest, I always try to attend. I find that when people travel for a specific event, they are focused on obtaining positive outcomes from all interactions
• Groups that meet weekly and have requirements for attendance and referrals, and only allowing one person of each profession into the group
– This style of networking was for generating new business and did not relate to JNP’ start-up needs
• No fee or requirements–just show up and meet local professionals
– This has been a very positive experience. You have one minute to address a group (from 10-35 professionals) and practice focusing on your delivery of your ‘elevator speech!’ Did you catch their attention? Who wants to interact with you after all have presented their pitch? This is an excellent way to become familiar with your brand, and face-to-fact marketing and response.
As my time is extremely limited, I am not doing much in the way of networking presently, but as we launch, be sure to see my out and about!
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Note: This Blog is a chronological diary of a start-up-company–The JNP Project’s Journey—reading it from the start, will broaden your understanding of the path we are on, together, and hopefully, positively influence you in some way!
FYI Tip: Research the website for requirements and successes – see if your business desires aligns with their mission – do your homework up front so you don’t waste time and energy. Here are some of the organizations I have experienced:
“Women 2.0” <firstname.lastname@example.org>