One of the easiest and most important ways to get ahead in all aspects of life is to make connections with other people, I’m sure you have heard the saying “it isn’t what you know, but who you know that counts…” well that’s how important connections are. And if you think about it this applies to both our business and personal lives, especially as connections often become friends. Here are a few tips on how to choose a networking group that’s right for you.
Ask Your Contacts
You already have contacts that you work with on a regular basis such as suppliers, contractors and customers. Simply ask them if they’re part of any formal networking or mastermind groups that you can check visit and check out. Be sure to ask them what types of people are in the groups, and what the goals of the group are, and how many typically attend events.
Know Your Reason for Joining
Before you join any group, it’s important to figure out why you want to join a networking group. For example, do you want to find customers or do you want to find partners?
When you find a group to join, set some goals. For example, if you want to get new customers you’ll need to ensure that you talk to people who can become customers. Get them on your lists, and market to them via the list. What goals do you need to set to accomplish that?
Do Your Research
Check out the leaders of the group, what the group stands for, and as much as you can about the membership. The members are very important but so is the leadership, so leave no stone unturned.
Find out the Goals of the Group
Each networking group usually has a goal of some kind. Sometimes the goal of the group makes it impossible for you to make a name for yourself, because they don’t allow members to network freely.
Know the Costs and Fees
Many networking groups are free, but others have a cost to join. They may have membership fees up front, and then of course you may need to pay for other expenses such as travel, food, and so forth in order to fully participate in the networking group.
Try Out Some Events
When you’ve done enough research to feel that the networking group is a good one, try out some events. You might have to buy a membership in some cases in order to go to an event, but it will be worth it if you’ve done your research.
Don’t be afraid to ask members and leaders questions about the networking group so that you can be sure it’s the right one for you. Ask members how long they’ve been part of the group. Try to identify the movers and shakers in the group, because you want to become one.
Get Active Once You Join
The biggest factor once you’ve picked a networking group or two to join is that you need to participate and get involved in the group. Volunteer, host, talk to people, and do all you can to make yourself known within the group and above all attend regularly.
Networking is a very powerful way to make your world bigger and better. You can meet all sorts of people that will help you and that you can help on your journey in business and life. But, first you must choose the right group for your needs. You might even need more than one group based on your goals.