Work it, work it, work it
Networking. When time is the one resource we can’t get back once spent, we must select wisely when it comes to finding the right group.
Here are some considerations to help you find the right networking group for you:
Know your purpose
Be clear about what you’re hoping the group will help you achieve. Is it more business? Is it about professional growth? Is it about giving back? How much time are you willing to invest attending events and outside of those to get maximum benefit? Be clear about your motives and expectations.
Know the members
Speaking with current members will enable you to understand things like the time commitment involved, what the positives and negatives are of being a member, what benefits they’ve derived from it and so on. It will also give you an insight into who you’ll be spending time with on a regular basis. Are these your people? Will they help you to grow professionally and personally? What are their motivations? How does the group support them? What have they been able to achieve as a result of membership that wouldn’t have otherwise been possible?
Know the value you bring to the group
Being a member of the group should also be about what you can bring to the group that may not be there with the current membership. How can you support the growth of the group and its members? Are there skills and experience that can be tapped into for the benefit of the group? Understand that being part of a group means showing up to give as well as to receive..
Know how the group recruits new members
Is it a numbers game with a volume driver or is there a more selective process for new members? Neither strategy is good nor bad, but the answer could help you determine the right group for you and the outcomes you’re seeking. If volume is the driver, you may wish to dig a bit deeper to understand the breakdown of industries to ensure there isn’t a skew towards one or two industries that aren’t relevant for you. Volume may also be good to ensure you have exposure to a number of different businesses and owners….know that depth of connection may be a challenge. When groups are selective and you understand the criteria, it tells you a lot about the members and their reasons for joining. If those reasons resonate with your own, you have the opportunity to develop deep connections over time with like minded people.