NOT ALL BUSINESS NETWORKING EVENTS ARE CREATED EQUAL.
OK, FIRST ASK YOURSELF “WHAT ARE YOU REALLY WANTING TO ACHIEVE WHEN YOU ATTEND A BUSINESS NETWORKING EVENT?”
We all know there are many, many options when looking for business networking events.
- First let’s start out by considering your time.
- Driving over to the event, spending a certain amount of time there and then driving back. So, what is your time worth? $100 an hour, $500 an hour $1,000 an hour? We’ve all heard it before that “TIME IS MONEY!”
- Are you going just to go or are you going because you want to be seen?
- Are you going to build relationships first or just wanting to meet as many people as possible?
- What are your motives for networking?
- How much time can you afford to network?
- Are you looking for anyone or do you have specific clientele? Are you currently reaching them?
- Are the business networking events you’re currently attending putting you in front of your ideal client?
I’ve heard people say that networking is like a crap shoot. IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE!!
There are many business networking organizations out there with numerous rules and regulations. Step back and take a hard look at what is best for you. Keep in mind you are on your “own” hourly rate and what is your time worth to you!
How to pick the Best Business Networking Organization for you?
1. Business networking organizations where you are required to attend every week, bi-weekly or monthly.
If you don’t attend the events, according to their rules, you are penalized. Ask yourself, am I getting back the benefits I want in return? Is this organization worth your hourly rate?
2. Business networking organizations where you are required to attend every week, bi-weekly or monthly and their membership only allows one member in each business category.
Ask yourself, are you making the right connections, enough connections and/or leads from this group? Is it beneficial? If you don’t attend their scheduled events are penalized and have to pay a fine? Ask yourself, am I getting back the benefits I want in return? Is this organization worth your hourly rate?
3. Business networking organizations that host event bi-weekly or monthly and they don’t screen their members. These organizations consist of 70% to 80% account executives, multi-level, pyramid and sales representatives. Ask yourself, is this the clientele I’m looking for? Am I going to meet and create business relationships with “my clientele?” Will you eventually get back a return on your investment by attending these events? Is this organization worth my hourly rate?
4. What about the networking events you don’t have to join and pay a membership fee? There are many networking organizations out there that don’t have a membership fee BUT they do charge you each time you attend an event. It’s typically $20 – $30 per event. So, let’s do the math. If you attend an event once a month and you pay $20 – $30 dollars for each event that equals to $240 to $360 a year. And that only attending one (1) event per month. It may be more cost effective to join a business networking organization where most of their events are included in the membership for free. Again, is this organization worth your hourly rate?
How to choose the right Business Networking Event that works best for you and your business.
Some business networking events meet only for Breakfast or just Lunch or only host Evening Events. Some organizations offer a variety of all three (3). Do you have a preference? Do you prefer attending just breakfast business events or just lunch business events or evening events? It’s important for you to take a hard look at your day to day schedule and decide which business groups fit your schedule. Often I see executives join a business networking group but never seem to find the time to attend because it just doesn’t work within their schedule.
• Lunch Networking Events: Are you sitting at a round table with 2 – 10 other people? In this scenario how convenient is it to have a true conversation with the other people sitting at your table? Once you get your food, how long do you then sit through a presentation. Do you find once the presentation is complete most people are running out the door headed back to work or to another appointment? Again, ask yourself are you getting back the benefits you want in return? Is this event worth your hourly rate?
• Consider the size of the event: Look at what works best for you in the “size” of the events. Not everyone enjoys walking into a room of 100 ++ attendees. Networking is different for everyone. Some business leaders and executives prefer more intimate events where they can talk one-on-one. For example: Speed Networking Events, Executive Dinners and/or Mastermind Dinners
• Where is the event being held? Think about where the event is being held. Is this a conducive location where you can meet and talk freely without having to scream to be heard?
This article is certainly not to discourage you or stop you from attending networking events but to point out how valuable your time is and how you can be more selective on which business networking events you attend. AGAIN, IS THIS EVENT WORTH YOUR HOURLY RATE?