All I hear about these days (still) is social networking. So what about the good old-fashioned stuff – the face to face networking.
Are you still doing it?
Personally, I usually try and do a minimum of one event a month. I participate in a number of free local organisations and groups. Some companies will also pay for membership fees of relevant organisations and sometimes there can be good local groups that are worth paying for membership yourself.
However, it is important to evaluate your networking experiences and make sure that they are a good use of your time. If not, move on and find something new.
Evaluate each networking event:
When evaluating your networking experiences consider:
- How many people did you meet? How many you had a good conversation with and how many you got business cards from?
- Were any of the people you met potential clients? Were there any potential clients in attendance?
- Did you have the opportunity to meet anyone you were specifically interested in meeting?
I try to do this at the end of each event I attend.
Evaluate whether you are participating in good events:
When I find a good event I also find it useful to consider whether I could or should be doing more for an organisation if it runs events that I do find worthwhile. You should consider whether there any worthwhile “doing” opportunities to help you raise your profile and meet new people.
Are you simply along for the ride… observing… or are you being proactive and doing?
Re-evaluate your regular networking events:
Finally, the other thing I consider and reconsider every once in a while is whether an event that had value still has value:
- Are there too many people I already know? Am I building up a relationship?
- Am I meeting anyone new?
- Any worthwhile connections or follow-ups come out of that particular event?
This way I continue to spend my time wisely.