I write a quarterly guest post for NPA Recruiting, a global recruiting network for independent recruiters. This is my latest post for them: Networking tips – how to choose which event to attend. 

I used to go to a lot of networking events – easily one or two a week. And then life got a little busy (that networking was paying off!), and I stopped.

While I do a huge amount of networking via twitter (that’s also how I “met” NPA Recruiting), and have a lot of referrals come to me that way, I miss the face-to-face interactions that going to a networking event provides.

I’ve decided it’s time to crank up my networking again, and to at least go to one event a month. Maybe two. That’s easy you think. There are loads to choose from. And yes, there are. However like many solopreneurs, my time is fairly precious, and I want to make sure that the networking events I go to are going to be relevant and help me achieve my goals – business and personal (and no, I’m not looking for a husband!).

How do you choose relevant events to go to I hear you ask. Well, personally I go to networking events for a number of reasons:

  • to hear a speaker who interests me
  • to meet prospective clients
  • to catch up with a number of friends/colleagues/business associates all at once (it’s far easier than arranging a lot of coffees!)
  • to support a charity that I believe in – particularly if they are fundraising
  • to support the organisers if they are clients, friends or starting out a new networking group that sounds interesting.

Most of these reasons are fairly self-explanatory. However I am often asked how do you know that prospective clients are going to be at the networking function you are going to. There are a few ways to find out:

  • trial and error – go to a couple and see what sort of people are also there (this can sometimes be a bit exxy in terms of time and money)
  • go where your target market goes – one reason I go to events run by the International Association of Business Communicators is because other business owners go (and they are one of my target markets)
  • ring the organiser and find out who has attended previous events – while they probably won’t give you names, they may give you some examples of professions and roles
  • ask the twitterverse if anyone has been, what they thought, and what type of people were there – the people who reply will also be a good indication of attendees.

How do you choose what networking events you go to? And what are your favourites? And do you like face-to-face networking or do you prefer to do it all via social media? Do you have any great networking tips?

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