Choosing a business networking group to join can be daunting when faced with lots of different options. It is not always clear which will be the best investment of your time and money. However, if you do your research and ask around you will soon find the right networking events and groups to match your goals and objectives (and your role).
Ask yourself the following questions.
1. What do you want to achieve from networking?
This is the first question to ask yourself. Look back at your Business Networking Goals & Objectives.
2. Who do you want to network with?
Your overall network will include people such as current and former co-workers, co-members of professional associations, friends and family and former classmates.
Joining a networking group gives you an opportunity to meet people you might not otherwise meet.
- Do you want contact directly with clients or with people who share similar clients to yourself?
- Do you want to attend meetings targeted at a particular industry? or interest?
- Do you feel more comfortable in mixed sex or single sex groups? Large or Small groups?
- Do you want to meet like-minded people?
When choosing a networking group you will want to consider what type of people you want to meet and consider whether the membership of the group are those type of people.
3. When are you available to network?
Networking groups are run at all times in the day from early breakfast to late evening. You need to think when would be best for you and how often you can commit.
4. What type of networking group suits your needs?
There are many different types of networking groups. I would recommend that you check out all the different types before making a decision and do your research. However, your answers to the above questions might naturally select the best type of networking group for you.
Further Reading: Different Types of Networking Groups – Explained!
Once you have answered these questions you can then start working out what networking groups are for you.
Researching networking groups
Once you are clear on what you want it is then about researching available business networking groups available to you that will help you to achieve your goals. Researching networking groups whether these are online groups or local groups should form part of your Networking Strategy.
Pick a few different types of Networking Groups and try them out
There are three types of groups that everyone should consider: a peer group for brainstorming, advice and sharing experiences, a professional business group for career development and a group that is your ideal target market or who knows or works with your ideal target market. After picking a few options try them out – they may not reap rewards immediately, but you should be able to judge whether they are a good fit and whether you will be able to build meaningful relationships.