Working from home is wonderful. Being able to work in my shorts or jeans is a big perk. But you may know that I also love to dress up a little and go to networking events in town. I’m a member of five different organizations and am on the board of two of them. For me, this is a part of my normal marketing activities since most of my clients are local. And since I am a speaker on marketing and social media topics, I am in front of hundreds every year.
Recently I spoke to a group of business owners about some networking ideas. Here are some of my favorites.
- Join multiple kinds of groups. There are three types of groups of which you should consider becoming a member.
- Groups of your target clients. For example, if you were a mortgage company, you might want to be a part of the local realtors association.
- People like you. I am a member of the National Speakers Association, since speaking is a big part of what I do.
- Groups that you can learn something from. I am in marketing, but I don’t do public relations or advertising. Therefore, I joined a local PR group to learn more about this.
- Visit many groups in your area to find the right fit. When I first started my business I went as a guest to a number of meetings. It was my goal to go to at least one event a month until I found my right spot. Sometimes I knew someone in the group; sometimes I didn’t. Visit some groups that meet weekly and some that meet monthly. The best part of being a guest? You almost always get to stand up and introduce yourself or get introduced by someone else. So, for $20 you get a nice lunch and get to tell 20 (or 50 or 100) people your 30 second introduction.
- Show up early for a networking event. This gives you a chance to see and greet everyone as they come in. It’s calmer and quieter when you are early and everyone isn’t already grouped up. If you come in after everyone else, you will have to walk up in the middle of conversations. That is the awkward stuff that we all despise!
Armed with these new ideas you should be able to get your name and face out there in a big way in 2013. What are your favorite networking tips?