Networking (noun) def: the action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts. Why does networking always get pushed to the backburner, but 95% of people say face-to-face meetings are essential to long-term business relationships? Your professional network should be well rounded with people who you can learn from and who can learn from you. The key to creating a good network is to remember that you only have to connect with people who understand your industry and can bring you to the next level, professionally.
When thinking of networking, often the first thing that comes to mind is conferences. Taking time away from the daily operations of your business can seem overwhelming, but it is the best way to meet people in your industry. Save time and energy trying to match up schedules or thinking of reasons to send a connection an email – you already have something in common and are right there! In our latest podcast, Dave Delaney, who is a communication connoisseur, discusses his tips and tricks on navigating in conferences. For those of us who are more introverted, Delaney suggests that you set yourself a goal for the amount of time you have to spend at an event or a number of people you need to talk to. This will help to increase the amount of time you stay at networking events and how many people you connect with in person. For more of Dave’s tips check out our very first episode of Growing Global, featuring Dave Delaney.
The truth is, traveling to conferences is not the only way to build your professional network. There are plenty of groups geared towards entrepreneurs that you can join locally. Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO) has 193 chapters across 60 countries. Depending on what your next growth goal is, EO has a program for you. Another option for local networking would be to look into your local Chamber of Commerce. The purpose of the Chamber of Commerce is to represent the voice of the businesses in the community and help your business grow and connect with others.
Have some free time in your calendar? Do a quick google search of “networking events near me”. Google events makes it quick and easy to see what is going on in your neighborhood, the location, and how to buy to tickets. Introduced two years ago to compete with Facebook events, Google sources their events from all major ticketing sites including Eventbrite, Ticketmaster, SeatGeek, Stubhub and more. The design makes it very easy to browse each event and even buy tickets without being redirected to a new page. Use your google account to save events, track which ones are interesting and over time the algorithm will begin to sort suggested events just for you.
Are you overwhelmed with all the conferences and don’t know which one is the best fit for you? Please reach out and let us know! We have been to plenty of conferences that focus on various topics all over the country. For more networking tips and tricks, make sure you check out our Podcast featuring Dave Delaney.