If you're someone frustrated with type of connections you have or lack, are tired of attending lame networking events, or just want to connect with like-minded individuals, then starting a networking group could be right for you.
Are you organized? Enjoy meeting new people? Open-minded to trying new things? These are just some of the qualities that you should possess when taking on this task. Maybe you want to collaborate with friends or colleagues.
Everyone needs help building their network. We switch careers or jobs, start businesses and really don't have the connections that a traditional work environment provides. So starting a networking group not only helps you but serves the greater good.
1. Start with a small free event, by small I mean no more than 8 people. You want to get in the swing of learning who people are and engaging in conversation.
2. Have a discussion topic that pertains to something current in your industry or business, an issue or news topic that will allow for people to engage.
3. If you have an area of expertise, offer a discussion based around that or give tips for people to acquire new skills.
4. Choose a location that will allow for conversation without disruption (such as loud music, foot traffic, etc.).
5. If you host at a restaurant, choose affordable options with entrees under $24. (This will be different if you select to offer a prix fixed menu, have a caterer, etc.)
6. Promote on social media, email your LinkedIn contacts in your area, and utilize sites such as Eventbrite. (Eventbrite is just a suggestion, if you don't want to utilize direct email. If you host future events you will be able to reach your past attendees more easily.)
7. Give a thank you gift or parting favor. It adds a special touch to your event.
These are just a few quick tips, if you have any questions don't hesitate to connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.