Hey, friends! Today’s episode is all about how to start networking. What is networking? Simply, it’s meeting and forming relationships with people for business to work together. Listen to the episode or read below to find out where to network, how to get the most out of events, and why it’s so important as a business professional!
Let’s start this conversation by talking about the different places you can network! Networking events are events planned specifically for meeting a lot of people in the same place with either other businesses, clients, or both.
This is my favorite kind of networking and I really love being involved with associations! Some associations include, NACE, MPI, or ILEA. These are hosted monthly and usually cost a small fee to attend and you can attend as a guest or as a member of the association.
So what are all those acronyms?
You likely have a handful or two of other associations that are on the local level, so it’s worth a quick search on Facebook or Google or asking a friend in the industry.
Every association is different with different people, purposes, missions, and ways they conduct their meetings. My best suggestion is to attend as a guest a couple of times and then pick one or two associations to go all-in on.
If you refer back to episode 26, I talked with Nate Nelson all about the 10 tips to expert networking and what to do at the actual event! You can use the same tips that Nate and I talked about in that episode for Open Houses and small gatherings as well.
These are usually hosted by venues and everyone attends these! When it comes to open houses, though, it is usually a smaller group of people and will include both vendors and clients. Whereas networking events are typically just event vendors and not clients. When we hosted Twilight Tuesday at On the Levee last month, it was a fantastic experience getting to mingle with both clients and vendor friends.
These are hosted by anyone! Could be a launch party, a small lunch meeting with a handful of people, or someone celebrating something like a business anniversary. We hosted our own Render launch party when we changed our name last year.
Coffee dates are intentional meetings to start or grow a business relationship. The other day, I had lunch with a friend in my industry and we talked about business, life, kids, and a whole bunch of other things. The goal of the meet-up was to grow our business relationship, and we did just that! One thing that I love about coffee dates is that you get to know someone on a more personal level. This usually results in a better relationship and connection going forward!
Yes, virtual networking is a thing! If we didn’t know how to do networking virtually before, 2020 and the pandemic sure taught us how! You can gather with people on Zoom, Clubhouse, Facebook Groups, or really any form of social media. Make sure you are active in the comments and not just a fly on the wall watching during these meetings. You really can connect with others, even if it’s online.
Our best advice is to go to networking events early, be the last one to leave, and GET INVOLVED! Our company has majorly benefited from being a part of these associations and getting to know people on a more personal level. We know yours will too!
Cam | Render Co.
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