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Expand Your Circle Through Local Business Networking Events

By: Yvonne A Jones Category: Uncategorized

There are many schools of thought regarding offline networking. Some think it’s a waste of time, others think it’s a chore to attend events where you may know just one or two persons. How do you personally feel?

I enjoy attending networking events because I usually get to meet new people. I enjoy finding out what makes people ‘tick’ – their hot button, and the only way to do this is by taking time to converse with them. It’s easy to become overwhelmed at the thought of a room full of 20-50 people or more depending on the event but let’s focus on just ONE area that may help to make attending networking events more fun than chore.

You may be a Solo Professional, Entrepreneur, Small Business Owner, or you may be an Independent Contractor for a Corporation and are responsible for finding your own Leads. New connections are essential to your business.

Your Goal:

1) Before the event, decide how many people you’d like to connect with. There usually is not enough time to have meaningful conversations with more that a handful of people so a realistic goal is probably to develop a relationship with two or three people. You may be thinking, “Two or three people? That’s a waste of time and (perhaps) money!” Would it really be a waste of time? Remember that your goal is to build relationships with the two or three. To build something takes time and effort. At most networking events I’ve attended there’s a small time-frame to socialize before the presentation, and again after the main event. Your aim should be to use these time periods to connect with people.

2) You start building a relationship by showing interest in the other person, what they do, how long they have been doing it, and do they like what they do; what are their challenges?  And never forget to ask how YOU can help them. At this point if they also understand the concept of true networking, they should now ask you what do you do and you have an opportunity to give a brief but meaningful presentation. Regardless of how many people are in that room, your focus is on the person or persons to whom you’re speaking.

3)  So you attended the event, you connected with two or three people and you found you might be able to be of assistance to them in some way. Now what? Your goal is to keep that line of communication open. Within a day or two send them a “Nice to Meet You” card without a sales pitch or any of your promotional materials. You can decide to follow-up with a phone call and take it from there. Perhaps these tips can help you to look forward to your next networking event with pleasure instead of a chore.

15 Comments to “Expand Your Circle Through Local Business Networking Events”


  1. Sally Liddicoat says:

    Great way to break down an often daunting task… Another great tip is to go with another person. This can help you feel more comfortable -especially when you are just getting started. Plus you can introduce your friend and they can introduce you – each giving the other more credibility.

    I personally love networking! Thanks for the great tips to help others learn to love it too!

    Sally

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  2. Yes, we are thinking along the same lines today. Sometimes I get so busy that I forget about how important promotional materials are and how critical networking is.

    This blog challenge has been a great opportunity to network with lots of great people. I’m looking forward to continued relationships.

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  3. That’s a great suggestion, Sally. Just knowing that you know at least one other person at the event makes it less daunting, and for people who are more reserved or even very shy this would help quite a bit. I’ll include that tip when I write about networking in the future 🙂
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the topic. Yvonne

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  4. I really enjoyed your post on the value of business cards to promote our online business, and you’re right. We get busy and forget to take time away from our online business to meet new people. As I edited the post I realized that a year ago I attended at least one business networking event each week and that has fallen drastically.

    Besides the more formal ones like BNI, The Chamber, Rotary and so on there are some pretty good Meet-Ups that are usually held in the evenings that allow for some flexibility. But before I attend my next one, I need to get my cards done 🙂

    Thanks, Kathy.

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  5. Great topic.I enjoy netowrking events because, like you said, you have to meet people to get to know them. Walking through a room throwing your business cards at people is not networking. Stopping to find out who they are, what they do and HOW I CAN HELP THEM, is the key.
    Thanks again
    Mike

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  6. Hi Mike,

    As you mentioned about just walking up to people… that’s definitely not the way to draw people to us at events. In fact, when someone does that to me I feel as if they have no interest in me personally and that they see me just as a potential customer or client to whom they can sell their products or service. No relationship building.

    From reading your posts, I know you love people and networking is just another way to get to know people and find out what you can do for them. Thanks for your comments, Mike. I appreciate you! Yvonne

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  7. Phyllis Misevich says:

    Hi Yvonne,
    Good points and nicely spelled out. I too enjoy networking and now that I’m learning how to follow-up online, or invite people to connect with me online, it makes it even better.

    My favorite networking group is a meetup group in my town. Thanks all for the mini networking less — biz cards (done properly), networking know-how, a friend to partner up with, and follow-up materials to carry on the relationship.

    Great conversation.
    Phyllis

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  8. Yvonne, thanks for the reminder. 2 people can go to the same event, but only one may leave with some good new networking relationships. It’s a matter of focus and preplanning.
    Mynders

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  9. Hi Phyllis and Mynders,
    Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I apologize for the delay in responding but I was on vacation for a week and had limited internet access.

    Phyllis: I enjoyed reading your networking methods and how you’ve incorporated online contacts as well. One of the things I like about Meetups is that you can usually decide beforehand if this group will be a good fit for you, and if not, you move on.

    Mynders: You are right on point. It does take planning beforehand in order to get the most out of attending networking events, and focus will allow us to be more selective in order to meet the desired objective. Thank you for sharing valuable pointers.

    Yvonne

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  10. Hi Yvonne,

    These are some great tips, especially if you’re just getting started with your business. The goal is to build relationship since this is a people business. The fact that trying to set a go to meet 2 or more people at your events may help with your offline marketing as well. Thanks for sharing!

    Sherman

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  11. Thanks for your comments, Sherman. It’s easy for us to forget that we are in the people business, so it’s so important to develop relationships first then other things will fall into place more easily. I appreciate your observations.

    Yvonne

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  12. I wish I could write like you as Margaret Laurence once said “When I say “work” I only mean writing. Everything else is just odd jobs.”

    Sent from my Android phoneI wish I could write like you as Margaret Laurence once said “When I say “work” I only mean writing. Everything else is just odd jobs.”

    Sent from my Android phone

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  13. It’s refreshing to see someone so clear about the basics of networking. Sometimes we focus too much on the “media” and not so much on the “social”. You’ve restored an essential balance!

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  14. Thank you, Linda, for stopping by and your keen observations. Definitely agree that the “social” represents people and that’s where our focus should be 🙂
    Yvonne

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  15. Thank you. That’s such a nice compliment, and I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed reading my posts. I love writing and it really doesn’t feel like work. Please keep coming back for more updates.

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