Yep! I said, “Weekly!”
If you haven’t already found a group that suits you, visit as many groups as possible that spark your interest. This may take some time to determine your interest in them and their interest in you. Take all the time needed. Your choice will play a major part in your success later. I never recommend joining the first group you visit.
Find a networking group that meets weekly, is highly structured and hold their members accountable for building relationships with each other and who encourages active networkers to actually look for business referrals for other members. BNI is one such group.
The goal of your networking group of choice is to bring together a group of business owners and professionals who are truly best-in-class in their respective business categories, and create a sense of responsibility for each member’s growth and success. The members should make every effort to learn about each member’s business, gain trust and confidence, refer high quality referrals and enthusiastically promote each other whenever possible. These ideas would be a great mission statement for any effective networking group.
Are their meetings at breakfast, lunch or evenings? People who get their day started on a positive note with a breakfast meeting are often the most serious networkers. Lunch is next on my list and evenings are way down the list. I’ve noticed that people who are not doing well, seem to gravitate to the evening meeting and will often head to the bar and are really not that serious about networking… but more interested in selling. There are exceptions, so choose the time that your group meets carefully.
Notice the tone and attitude of the group. Mix and mingle with as many members as possible. Do the members of the group demonstrate a support for one another? Does the leadership appear competent? How often do they meet? (Weekly is always BEST). Ask lots of questions from lots of people there to get a feel for the group. This means questions that ask who, what, where, when, and how as opposed to those that can be answered with a simple yes or no.
Superstar networkers will occasionally show up at large networking events which are usually held monthly or quarterly. They quickly discover that these events almost always yielded no fruit. Why? Because meeting only a few times a year doesn’t support developing long-term relationships. They are fun to attend once in a while but I’m frequently put off by so many uninformed networkers who shove a business card in your hand and ask you to buy their product or service.
Weekly meetings demand commitment. I love being around totally committed people! You must adjust your schedule to attend every meeting every week and stand by your commitment. It is much easier to build a relationship with someone when you see them every week.
In this video (4:15), Ivan Misner supports the “weekly” meeting idea. He details his response to a gentleman’s proposition of monthly, as opposed to weekly, networking meetings – in other words, his suggestion that networkers should have a “Networking Light” option as opposed to going for the “Full-Calorie Networking” system.
Suffice it to say, opting for “Networking Light” has never done anyone any favors, and his secret to success in business and life (which he shares in this video) has a lot to do with never cutting corners or skimping when it comes to his daily recipe for goal achievement.
BONUS Article: 3 Essential Questions to Ask for Your Networking Plan
Video Copyright © 2015 – Ivan Misner. Called the father of modern networking, Dr. Ivan Misner is the Founder of BNI and the senior partner for the Referral Institute. He has written nine books, including his New York Times best seller, Truth or Delusion? Busting Networking’s Biggest Myths.
Text Copyright © 2015 – Larry James. Larry James presents networking seminars nationally and offers Networking coaching; one-on-one or for your Networking Group! Invite Larry James to speak to your group! His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”
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