For many of us, one component of connecting with others in the community is attending networking events. Frequently, I’m asked for recommendations on who hosts great events, which events are the right ones to attend, and who to connect with once on the scene. With so many events to choose from and so many reasons people seek to network with others, it can be tough to know where to start. Here are a few tips for finding the right networking events for you:
- Consider your goals. What are you hoping to achieve by networking? Are you looking for a job, new clients, or simply to make connections in your field? Once you know your goals, you can start to narrow down your choices.
- Do your research. Read online reviews and talk to people who have attended the events you’re considering. This will give you a good idea of what to expect.
- Target events that are meaningful for you. Not all networking events are created equal. Some are more focused on socializing, while others are more business-oriented. Choose events that are relevant to your industry or profession. Look for events that are sponsored by organizations or businesses that you trust and are interested in.
- Be selective. Don’t feel like you have to attend every networking event that comes your way. Choose the ones that are most likely to be a good fit for you and your goals – where people you want to meet will be.
- Be prepared. Go to events with a plan in mind. Anticipate who – or, at least, what types of people will attend the events you are going to. Be ready to seek out those with whom you want to connect. Have business cards on hand and be ready to introduce yourself, learn about them, and share insights about your own work.
Networking events can be effective venues to connect with others, build long-lasting relationships, learn about new opportunities, and advance your career. By choosing ones that are right for you, you will be able to optimize your time there and have a lot of fun in the process.