There are endless networking events out there. You can easily fill your calendar morning, noon and night going from one event to another. Many of them are a lot of fun, but you still need to give yourself time to actually work.
So how do you filter through the endless list to know which are the right events for you?
What I have found is that there are 2 different types of networking events. There are the one off events, where you go, meet people and then all go on your merry way and then there are groups that meet on a regular basis.
The groups are hands down the best way to go. One off events are really like going to the bar for happy hour trying to get lucky.
Recurring events allow you to really get to know people and build a relationship. It also keeps people top of mind.
Going to an event, talking to someone for 5 minutes and swapping business cards does not a working relationship make.
I know you are busy and it’s hard to commit to regular meetings, but it is worth the time. My favorite groups are ones that meet monthly. It’s frequent enough to build relationships, and realistic for scheduling.
I also like ones where it’s more about you getting to know people rather than the hard sell of forcing you into a relationship that may or may not be right for you and your business.
Another important thing is to make sure that the people you are spending time with are the types of clients you want, or that they have access to those clients.
No matter where you end up, networking takes time. Commit to showing up, having fun and getting to know people.