In the last week I’ve been “invited” to three of those big organized networking events. Maybe you’ve received similar invites…………… “There’ll be hundreds of people there. Everyone will get a name badge.”
That’s supposed to excite me?
Hundreds of people. Who are typically looking to collect business cards and add me to a mailing list. Hundreds of people. Who typically don’t know the first thing about relationship building; who just want to sell me and don’t take an interest in the person with whom they are talking. These events are tedious. They’re counterproductive and an absolute waste of my time.
First of all people, people who are busy don’t need to go to networking events. They’re working! They don’t have time.
But I do know you have to network to sustain a business. So here are some ways I network. And I’ve seen more referrals and bookings from these types of networking events than any event with hundreds of those people.
- I network on Wednesday nights when I attend a Meetup where a group of us “struggle” through speaking Spanish in a fun supportive environment.
- I network on weekends when I join a cycling group for a ride and have meaningful conversations with others on the ride
- I network when I meet friends for drinks and they invite other people; people who work for companies that some day may need a speaker for a conference or their staff are in need of a RECESSitation
- I network by not sitting in my hotel room when speaking at conferences but rather attending client socials and joining people in the bar to learn more about them, their industry and what they do.
- I network by volunteering my time, for causes that matter to me, for agencies doing good work; and by letting people learn more about me
- I network by making an effort to connect with people I have met through social media, real time, face-to-face, when I am traveling
There are other things I do. But the last thing I am going to do is attend one of those god awful networking events. They’re not for me. So if they’re for you, that’s great; you won’t have to worry about me taking any business away from you. And anyway, I’m either busy working or being more productive working my networking time into something enjoyable