OK you want to network so where do you go, what do you do? In the previous post I wrote about your networking intention. Establishing your networking intention is a vital first step to effective networking. Your intent provides the foundation for answering the next big question. Where do I network and what do I do when I get there?
Living in a virtual world as we do, there is a lot more to networking today than your Daddy knew. Here’s a glimpse of the networking venues out there. We are just barely scratching the surface but each of these is a place to "meet" your customers and sell your business:
Public/private events (e.g., Chambers of Commerce, K of C)
Social media sites (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn)
Networking programs (e.g., BNI, SBA)
The list goes on and within each group are scores of options. The key to success here is selecting those venues that work for you (and in which you can do your best work). When deciding what works for you this personal inventory can tell you a lot:
Are you a speaker, writer, talker or listener? Each of these can help in selling your business. Which do you excel at? Which do you enjoy the most?
Big or small- the size of the group matters. What is your preference?
Distance too- are you a traveller or do you prefer to stay closer to home?
Eye to eye or virtual- some like to be with people, some find it a bit difficult, even terrifying. With all the options available today, there is something for everyone.
Finally, consider the following guidelines:
Quality not Quantity- if you cannot devote the necessary time and attention, do not pursue it. Be selective.
Go where your' customers go. A little research will ensure that you are where your' customers want to be. If they are not there, why are you?
Learn the ropes- when in Rome… when you choose a venue, learn the rules and customs. If you don't fit in you won't be welcome and you will not be seen or heard.