March 24, 2011

If You Hate Networking...

if you hate networking

Take the lead and hold your own networking event. Sound counter-intuitive? Perhaps, but you will be in control – which leads to confidence.

Starting your own event will greatly expand your reputation, relationships and marketing reach. It could be a one-time event, such as a free workshop or afternoon tea party. Or it could be an ongoing thing – following a networking group or mastermind model.

Leverage your connections and share the wealth. Find a partner with the same goals that you have and collaborate. You will be able to leverage all of your combined contacts and have someone to help with the planning, execution and hosting. Find someone whose skills complement your own.

Here are a few things to consider:

Weekly, monthly or quarterly
Day or evening - breakfast, lunch or happy hour
Day of the week – avoid Mondays and Fridays

Cover charge
Membership fee
For profit or not-for-profit

Hotel, restaurant, bar, club, coffee shop
Central location
Parking availability

Exclusivity – open to everyone or invitation only
Industries – specialized or diverse

Social media
Registration - if you are charging for the event, you will need to offer a way to register and pay

Clearly identify your target market and many of these details will fall into place. Take the time to think about who the participants will be and what they will also get from the event. Write out the benefit statements. You should plan this as a project, the same way you would any marketing strategy.

Originally published in Work Better, Not Harder on March 24, 2011

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