Whether you enjoy networking or not, it’s a fact of life in American business. It doesn’t matter if you’re an introvert, extrovert, or like most of us—somewhere in between—networking is expected. For many, it’s part of the job. Regardless of your opinion, networking can help you and your organization. The question is, which events will be most helpful?
Do you know what you need? Before attending any networking event, determine your needs first. Are you looking for a new career, or do you need to hire employees? Are you searching for new products, vendors, or ideas? By understanding your needs, you can look for events that align with them.
Determine Who Can Help You
Once you’ve determined your needs, review the list of attendees. If that’s not available, use social media to ask who’s attending. Seek industries, organizations, and individuals who may help you.
Ask for Recommendations
Reach out to friends, colleagues, and past attendees. Ask why they attended, what they got out of it, and if their needs were met. Look online, too. Is it being talked about on social media? What’s being said? The lack of conversation says something as well.
Test Your Networking
What the heck, go try it, but don’t waste your time if it doesn’t fit your needs. Time may be the most valuable commodity we have in this modern age. Are you currently attending events because your friends do, or because you think you’re supposed to? If so, take a new look at the event and ask yourself—what am I getting out of this?
While it’s certainly OK to attend events because the boss expects you to, the best events fit your needs. Networking events ease the introduction process by making connections the goal, but you first need to decide what your needs are and who can help. Only by understanding your needs can you get the most out of networking. How do you decide what events to attend?