How To Choose The Right Networking Events
There's too much choice ...
Posted by Jacky Sherman on 04/10/2023 @ 8:00AM
We Brits love a good moan, it's what we do best. Here's one I hear all the time and have been guilty of thinking myself ...
You have to choose the right networking events for you otherwise you won't get the best from them!
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There are too many networking events and groups; you can network from early morning to late evening. If you went to everything you'd never get any work done.
"Another way to look at it is that it's the sign of
a healthy business community!"
Maybe the reason for the moan is that the vast range of choices means that it gets harder to choose what to attend. It's well known in marketing that too much choice paralyses the buyer. The usual example quoted is an experiment where a stall with a huge range of jams sold less than the stall that just offered a choice of three.
With so much choice how do you break out of the paralysis without running around trying to attend everything? Here are the three questions I use to decide what to go to:
You may want to meet people
They could become clients or can introduce you to potential clients. You may just want to promote your services so that others spread the word about what you've got to offer.
You may want to meet like-minded people to have a support network. Whether you're a sole trader or a business leader, it can be lonely at the top, so having business friends is important. (See this blog post for details on this subject).
You may want to learn something new
This might be as simple as getting up-to-date with what is happening locally or within your own or your customers' industries. It might also be about learning what's new that could improve your business or trends which you need to understand.
At present, Artificial Intelligence and automation are buzz phrases, do you know how this could improve your business or potentially make part of your service obsolete?
You may want to increase your influence
This could be within your local community, nationally or even internationally. This may be within your industry, business, politically or something else.
And this, in turn, may be linked with altruistic motives of giving back or supporting your chosen charitable or other causes or campaigns.
So, know what you want. Will you be mixing with people who can help you with that? A lot of disappointment with networking comes from simply being around the wrong people. I always remember a piece of advice in an article from a women's magazine. It was entitled, "How to marry a millionaire?" The answer is simple: go to the places millionaires hang out!
It's not only about meeting the right people, but meeting people who have come there for a similar purpose. So, if they have come together for social support reasons and you turn up with your sales pitch at the ready, it's not going to work. If that sounds like the blindingly obvious, that's because it is and yet ... this leads me to the last question I ask.
"Does the style of the event match the way you like to operate?"
Here's a lovely quote from someone I am getting to know on LinkedIn, "I prefer the less structured networking events. I attend a lot of business buzz events, and I feel they are good value for money. When there is too much structure or obligations it can hinder the reason why you attend. I do not enjoy giving pitches and prefer a relaxed environment where you can talk to others without any pressure."
Now, that doesn't suit me so well. Despite my job, I am not a natural at working the room. Although I've learnt to do it, my idea of hell is a room full of strangers! A bit of structure that facilitates conversation helps me to join in. However, it can be as simple as sharing food whereas 'speed networking' is a real turn-off.
My last tip for today though is this: every now and then mix it up a little. Whilst it helps you to be yourself, if you're in an atmosphere where you feel comfortable it pays to come out of your comfort zone and go to something new. It may surprise you!
Until next time ...
Would you like to know more?
If anything I've written in this blog post resonates with you and you'd like help choosing the right networking events, it may be a great idea to give me a call on 07970 638857. Let's have an initial chat over a coffee and see how I can help.
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