Over the past few months I’ve made an effort to attend quite a few Networking Meetings – I’m not only having a great time, I’m meeting lots of people, learning a lot, getting great feedback, and expanding my horizons!!
In this economy, especially, it is so important to continue to network and communicate with people. What’s particularly important to remember is…it’s not who you know, it’s who they (people you know and/or meet) know…!
Many of us are uncomfortable in a ‘networking’ situation – it’s hard to develop that ‘elevator pitch’ or 30-second intro that explains who you are, what you do, why you do it, and what you’re looking for. However, it could be the most important thing you do for yourself and/or your business.
People buy from who they know, like and trust.
That said, JUST DO IT! Get out of your comfort zone! Practice your ‘intro’ or ‘elevator pitch’ or whatever you want to call it.
Then ask your friends and colleagues if they can recommend any Networking Meetings or opportunities. And when you get invited to one…GO!
There are many styles of meetings and groups – you MUST go to at least three (3) different meetings before you decide which type of meeting you like and if these meetings are ‘for you’ or not.
- Some meetings are purely ‘pass out your card/sell your stuff/meet other business owners’ – which for some is what you want. City Chamber of Commerce Meetings is one of many options. Get out and meet other business owners in your area!
- Some meetings have a goal or purpose – for example, Women’s Business Connections (I attended a meeting this morning) is all about Referrals – it’s supporting each others businesses by providing high quality and mass quantity of referrals to each other, and building relationships. WBC is a really great group of women entrepreneurs.
- Some meetings are meant to expose you to new ideas or increase your knowledge – for instance, SMMOC (Social Media Mastermind Orange County) meets to share knowledge, tips and ‘new stuff’ about Social Media Marketing (I went to the meeting last Saturday – very interesting! Learned a lot!). This group actually discourages traditional ‘networking’ during the meeting to preserve it’s true goal of sharing information. (Of course, you can hang around afterwards and exchange cards.)
There are numerous websites that can help you find Networking Meetings in your area and/or groups who share your interests. One example is MeetUp. You can search by topic, by locale, or by name. You can even start your own group!
Do yourself a favor – as with social media marketing, get involved! These days the one-on-one relationships and getting to know people you can refer and who will refer you is very important for success…in any area!
This applies to those of you who do not own a business…if you are a Student, if you have a Hobby or Craft, if you’d like to know what’s going on in your area, if you’d like to find other social outlets…lots of great things to do in a Networking Meeting or Group!
Do you have a Networking Meeting/Group you’d like to recommend to the rest of us? We’d love to hear about it!