SELECTING A PROFESSIONAL NETWORKING EVENT
1. Choose A Group That Benefits Your Objectives
Are you looking for new clients? Financial Support, Business Tips & How-tos? Either way, most networking groups are created with goals in mind and usually guests/members are invited to help reach these specific goals.
2. People Are Key
Many networking groups use online event registrations for tracking their invites, this is a great benefit for you as you can view who is attending. If you are looking for a job, you might want to attend Chamber of Commerce or Human Resources event so you can meet HR reps who are always looking for team members. Try to know as much as you can about the companies and attendees before you go.
3. Knowledge or Lack Thereof is Key
All networking session aim to escalate your base of business acquaintances. Learn who the guest speaker is for the session you are attending and be prepared to share. If you are an expert on a subject you can share, reach out to the host and see if you can be on the presentation schedule. If selected as a presenter, you will be the key person in attendance so you’ll need to come prepared. This will make a great impression on the entire group.
4. Your Personality and Career Goals Should Help Make Your Selection
Networking events are a time where you can sparkle, but if you attend the wrong session you will be uncomfortable, and you may shy away from everyone. If you wake up early each day, try a morning meeting; if you are uncomfortable in big crowds, look for events that will have limited attendance (the host location should be able to provide this detail).
5. So Many Groups, So Little Time
At times, your calendar can become cluttered by networking events if you are attending a variety. There are a vast number of options, so I recommend you attend three or four different ones and then settle in to the one you are most comfortable. If you get to know the regulators you can become a key contributing member which will encourage other key members to refer you to others. That is what your goal should be, no matter your objective when you started.
6. Bring Your A-Game
Forget the world when you walk in and be focused on your networking. Put on a smile so you are more approachable, have business cards easily accessible and mingle with everyone. This is the time to show other attendees why they should work with you or hire you.