5 Tips for Making Networking Events More Enjoyable

by North Metro Woman

North Metro Woman Networking

Networking events for both business and personal reasons can sometimes feel intimidating, but they can be beneficial for both your business and social life.

Granted, not everyone is extroverted and wants to mingle with like-minded people, and that’s okay. But many of us thrive on that social interaction, especially as more of us are working from home.

If you do it right, networking can be reap big benefits for your career. Whether you are looking for a new job opportunity or starting a business from home, networking can bring you connections and opportunities you wouldn’t get sitting behind your computer.

Plus, getting out of your environment and meeting new people can energize you and may just open the door to a new friendship, customer, vendor or partnership.

Here are some tips to help motivate you to attend that next networking event:

Choose your event wisely

Select events strategically. Not all networking opportunities are created equal. If you don’t pick them wisely, you’ll waste a lot of time talking to the wrong people.

Choose events that will help you connect with people in your industry – or people who could be potential customers.

For example, if you provide social media management services to real estate agents, then attend real estate industry networking events where you can learn more about your ideal customer. If you like to network for social reasons, find groups that do things you enjoy like hiking, cooking, reading or crafting.

Bring support

To make a networking event more fun and relaxing,  consider going with friend who also wants to network to help make it a little less intimidating. Meet for a glass of wine or coffee beforehand, which doesn’t hurt to loosen up the shyness a bit.

A word of caution about bringing a friend –  don’t just stand in the corner and talk to your friend at the event! Make sure you both mingle and talk to people other than yourselves :).

Research, don’t sell

If the idea of selling yourself scares the heck out of you, just remember that you’re there to connect with people, not to do a sales pitch. You’ll turn people off if you’re there to hound people to hire you.

The best approach at networking events is to listen and learn about other people. This takes the pressure off of you and helps you build relationships.

People always want to know what you do, so you’ll naturally talk about your career or business during the conversation, but if you take the approach that you’re there for research and not for sales, you’ll take the pressure off yourself and be more relaxed.

If you’re connecting with potential customers, you’ll want to ask questions that will help mold your services.

For example, “I have a business supporting other women entrepreneurs with their social media.”

What better place to go then to networking meetings where women entrepreneurs gather? Ask the other attendees what struggles they are having or what their biggest obstacles have been. Let them do the talking.  People love to talk about themselves!

Find unique opportunities to help others

You may meet someone at an event that could help someone else you know. You may also be able to offer some advice to someone who could potentially be a new friend of customer.

Connecting people is a great way to enjoy networking events. Instead of trying to pitch what you do all the time, connect people to others who can help them. It will create goodwill which is the end is a win-win for everyone.

Go into a networking event with a good attitude and find ways to be helpful to others. The good mojo will come back to you!

Be prepared and follow up

If you are going to a networking event to market a business, be sure and have your “elevator pitch ready to go. When someone asks you what you do, be prepared with a short, concise answer that will spark further conversation.

Take business cards, and collect them (or take pictures of them!).  After the networking event, send a quick follow-up email to let people know you enjoyed meeting them. If appropriate, schedule a follow-up lunch or coffee date.

Networking events actually can be fun. They can be downright exhilarating when you meet someone who sparks a new friendship, opportunity or idea. So don’t poo poo networking events until you try a couple!

Here are a couple networking groups in the North Metro area:

Mod Moms

Mod MomsMod Moms is a group of women that gather for fun invites like movie nights, yoga, book clubs and dinners. The fee to join is $49 per year (prorated depending on when you join during the year).  It’s truly about connecting and making friendships.

Polka-dot Powerhouse – Westminster Chapter
Polka Dot Powerhouse Westminster

Polka Dot is a networking group for women who primarily own businesses. There is an annual fee to join, but once a member, you can go to monthly networking events and lunch and learns.  Annual fee is $299 for the first year and $199 for renewal. Attend your first event for free to check it out and you may get a discount to join.
Signup for Meetup.com for free and find all kinds of networking events whether it’s hiking group, crafts, business, real estate, and so much more!

If you have a business, look into the local Chamber of Commerce membership and leads groups.

Do you know of a great networking group in the North Metro area? Be sure and let us know about it!

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North Metro Woman

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