How to choose a networking group

You’ve been to so many networking groups, clubs, socials, business after 5’s, breakfast meetings, etc. it’s overwhelming. Plus, you now have so many business cards you can wallpaper your bathroom. Sound familiar?

Here are some tips to help you pick the right group for you – and dump the groups that are no longer a right fit.

First, ask yourself some tough questions:

1. Who needs to know about you to help you reach your goals?

2. Does this (name them) networking group serve your target audience?

3. Does this group have members who ARE your audience – people who know or serve your industry or company targets?

4. How much time does active membership in each group take?

5. How often do they meet?

6. How big is your personal commitment?

Know that if a group is not working for you, it’s OK to cancel your membership. However, it’s NOT OK to break ties with those people in the group you enjoy most.

Next, pick three!

If you’re just starting out  or trying to whittle down your obligations, pick at least three types of groups.

Peer Group: For brainstorming, education, and commiserating. Nobody gets you and your situation  like your peers.

Prospects: A group that is your ideal target market or who knows or works with your ideal target market.

Professional business group: Hiring decision-makers often Google your name before meeting with you. Membership in a professional organization can boost your online presence.

After choosing your three groups…

You’ll need to know when a group’s a great fit for your career – and when it’s not. With some groups, you’ll know after the first meeting it’s not a food fit; others take time to gel. For example, if you’re active in the group and meeting the right people, it may be a good fit. The goal is not to collect business cards. The goal is to build relationships that grow with you, your career, and your business. It comes down to this:

If you’re not building relationships in the group, and you’re just going for the food, it’s not a good fit.

Want more networking tips? Read Rock Your Network®.

Got ideas? Share how you decide if a group’s a right fit for you.

Image created by SnapHappy Creative LLC.

©2009 – 2011 | Wendy Terwelp | All rights reserved.