The success of your networking endeavors depends on where and how you’re networking. The term networking is used to describe many different events, which can make it hard to figure out which ones will help you accomplish your business goals. So how do you find good business networking events that will help you succeed in your professional life? First, you need to know your purpose for networking. Then, you have to start looking.
There are a number of reasons you might be looking for networking events. Figuring out exactly what you’re hoping to get from your networking endeavors can help you actually achieve it. Without knowing why you’re networking, it’s easy to become frustrated with the process and it’ll be harder to establish connections with other professionals who are likely looking to achieve their own goals.
Creating a professional network is at the heart of networking. Having an established network can lead to referrals for your business or leads on job opportunities in your field. But building that network in a new area or for the first time means knowing what to expect from networking groups and what you’re hoping to get out of it. If you’re looking for referrals for your business and your networking buddy keeps sending you job postings, you’re not in alignment. Knowing what you’re looking for in networking connections can save you time and hassle in the long run.
When looking for networking events, the internet will likely be your best source of information and options. While off-line searching can wield results (ask your local library, friends, family, or colleagues), searching online is how most people find networking events in their area.
Meetup is a popular resource for finding free or low-cost networking events by location. It is a great option if your networking budget is low or you’re looking for industry-specific events. The downside of utilizing Meetup to find and attend business networking events is that they can be irregular in both frequency and attendance.
In order to establish lasting professional connections, you’ll likely need to interact with the same people multiple times. Friendships aren’t built overnight, and neither are professional relationships. With Meetup events, the members of a specific networking group can vary widely. Some people will attend a single networking event, get discouraged, and never go back. Other people will be regulars at events hosted by the group. When using Meetup for your networking needs, attend events with regularity and build connections with the people who also attend events often.
It’s hard to beat a simple Google search in finding what you’re looking for. Using a search engine with a few key phrases (your location, your industry, and ‘networking events’) can show you results that may be listed outside of Meetup, Eventbrite, or other event listing pages. A web search may also lead to other online resources that can help like a library website or your local business bureau.
An internet search may also reveal established networking groups in your area. Professional networking groups are often closed groups, meaning that there are requirements for joining, which means that each member is dedicated to the networking time and purpose of that group. 4BR has many professional networking groups where members can focus on building their business referral networks while continuing their professional development. Checkout 4BR groups in your area.