Essential Networking: Choose the Right Networking Event

By Bella Rareworld
Bella Rareworld
Bella Rareworld
April 6, 2013 Updated: April 10, 2013

Some net workers often feel disappointed after attending a networking function, due to their choice of events. I can understand this frustration and disappointment because it’s similar to shopping for a pair of shoes only to find that the shoes you like will not fit. It is easy to make mistakes when choosing networking events due to the plethora of available events each week. Be aware that every networking event will attract a different audience. It is essential to have a goal in mind and ask yourself “what do I really want to achieve from networking?”.  

Having a clear goal will give you a better direction when choosing the right networking event. Before you decide which one to choose, try some brainstorming to establish who you want to meet. Think about the types of people you want to reach and what their job roles would be. For business contacts make a list based on business categories. You can list these by turnover, by size, by location, by industry, by gatekeepers, by departments and so on. Redefine your listing and prioritise primary and secondary contacts to give you an attainable target. 

 My grandfather used to tell me over and over again, “you get what you pay for” and, considering possible delegate fees, this is absolutely true when choosing networking events. Though attending a networking event is often free, delegate tickets can range from £5 to £100. The delegate fee is a useful indicator in gauging the expected audience. For example, if your client profiles are business start-ups with small budgets, free networking events are ideal. Comparing this to targeting law firms, it would be in your interest to attend a networking event with a delegate fee because most law firms will have a higher available budget. Networking with a membership is another useful indicator in determining your choice. Every networking membership will provide you with a breakdown of their membership by industry category so be sure to contact the membership department to request the list of current members.

There is a current rise in the number of breakfast networking events starting at 7am or 8am, although evening events are more popular. Time of day is a crucial factor when choosing networking events. You need to be honest with yourself about what time of the day you are at your best and most active. If you’re not a “morning person” try to avoid early breakfast networking events and stick to daytime or evening events to maximise opportunities. 
 
We are often drawn to networking events that have an impressive number of delegates registered to attend, sometimes 100 or more. Depending on your networking goals you need to decide if your preference isquantity or quality. However there is a myth that networking success can be measured by how many business cards you distribute, but this is not the case. Remember at a networking event it is not possible to speak with all the delegates because time is limited.  Some networkers prefer to network in smaller groups because there is a stronger likelihood of forming quality relationships, especially if it is a boardroom style event. A final note to remember is that the smaller the networking event the more likelihood there is of your being remembered. Bear all this in mind and you will no longer feel disappointed or frustrated about your choice of networking events. 

Bella Rareworld, Managing Director of BellaNetworking Events, provides strategic networking solutions by managing every stage of a company’s networking life cycle to fit their marketing strategy. Go to www.bellanetworking.com, email her at info@bellanetworking.com. Bella Rareworld has over 70+ testimonials on LinkedIn. You can also follow her on Twitter.