Your time is precious. There are plenty of networking groups out there you really will be spoilt for choice and unless you live in a small town you will never be able to do all the networking groups that are on offer. However. not all networking groups will be a good fit and this is why is it important (and necessary) to do some research – particularly if you will be paying over a membership fee.
Start by researching the group onlin, formal networking groups will often have a website,more informal ones may just have a social media presence e.g. they may have a Facebook or LinkedIn group or be in twitter. Online research followed by have a conversation withpeopleyou know who are already members (or by reaching out to existing members for more info) will help you answer the first set of questions.
- what is the networking group?
- what are its aim/objectives?
- what are its values?
- who are its members?
- when and where do they meet?
- what type of events do they do?
- what is the membership fee?
- what are the member benefits?
- what are the member/non-member fees for each event?
- is there a trial or offer?
- do you need a recommendation to join?
- what is the process for joining?
- do you know anyone who is a member?
- how active is the group?
- what is the commitment?
Most websites should have a FAQ page or a “How to join” page that should have all the information available. Social media should give you an idea of their membership, how active they are and the types of events they have previously hosted etc.
The second set of questions you will need to ask yourself are personal.
- why do I want to join?
- what are the benefits of joining to me personally?
- who will I meet?
- who do I already know?
- will I be able to attend/commit?
- is the format/style/timing/type of events etc right for me?
- does it “fit” well with my other networking efforts?
Once you have done your research and decide that a group is a possiblity you will want to give the group or one of their events a go.
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