5 Top Tips: Where to Network
Updated: Jan 4
Without a doubt this is the questions I get asked most.
Where should I go networking?
What events would you recommend?
Which are the best?
But it's not that simple...
Imagine a stranger asks you to recommend a restaurant. That's literally all the information you have; that they want a restaurant. You can't just go 'Oh yeah this one and this one, and maybe try this one', there's so much more information you need first!
What type of food do you like?
How many people are going or do you want takeaway?
Is it for a special occasion?
Do you want casual or fancy?
What city do you want it to be in?!
Without all the relevant information it's almost impossible to recommend a restaurant fit for purpose, and networking is the same: to know which events are going to be best for you and your business, here are some things for you to consider!
Why are you going networking? It's a simple questions but can often be quite difficult to answer. This should always be the first thing you ask yourself when beginning to think strategically about the events your attending. Do you want to meet people to get new clients, or source suppliers, or find a new job? These are all wonderful reasons for networking, but the purpose for your networking activities needs to be established from the get-go so you can build your strategy around it.
Selecting networking events based on their topics or themes is a great starting point to get you in front of the people you want to meet.
Based on your 'why', what type of topics would the people you're looking to meet be interest in? If you're looking to source new suppliers for example, and you need a developer, take a look at what networking events are happening with themes such as UX design, E-commerce, or AI. Create a list of topics your target market may be interested in and go from there.
Although currently geography is no issues as all networking is happening online, once face-to-face events return it's important to think about where you're willing to go. If your 'why' is to meet new clients and those clients will require a lot of in-person time from you or your staff, do you really want to be networking 50 miles away from home? Alternatively, if you're keen to break into a new city or region spending time networking in that place is going to be invaluable. This can be applied to remote networking too: look at where the event host based, and that will give you an idea on where the delegates are likely to be from also.
Finding a format that works for you is really important, because funnily enough networking should be something you enjoy! It takes three times of meeting someone for them to remember who you are and what you do, so you really need to be consistent and put the time in to build effective long-term relationships. If you're hating every second of the events your attending this just isn't going to happen. Take a look at a previous post I did about being introvert or extrovert and how this can effect the right format fit for you.
Long and short of it is: if you're more introverted go for a structured event, extrovert go for open and free-flowing.
Going back to your 'why', if you're networking to meet new clients, why not ask your existing clients which events they're attending? Start building up a picture of the types of networking formats, topics and locations of the events people you're looking to meet are attending and that's where you should be.
If you're not comfortable asking directly take a look at their social media, people often promote events they're going to or have just attended so you know which event hosts to keep an eye on for next time.
There you have it! A very quick beginners guide to thinking strategically about the networking events you should be attending in order to achieve your goals.
If you'd like to go into more detail about strategic networking and how it can help you and your business just give me a shout; firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about networking take a look at our online-learning courses now available on Udemy HERE!