There are many opportunities for business people and others to go to networking events.
Whether these are any good, is a matter of opinion. And, whether you think an event is any good, also depends on your purpose in attending and, frankly, whether you’re any good at it. Oh, and whether the other people there are any good at it.
All too often, it feels as if all the organisers have done is to hire a room and put a sign above the door saying “Networking event”. You’ll probably get something to eat (not invariably an unalloyed pleasure) and be twenty five quid the lighter by the end.
For a networking event to be worth going to, at least the following must be in place:
1 The event must be facilitated:
– there is at least one host
– the organisers know you’re coming and who you are (and the same for everyone else)
– the host(s) will offer to introduce you to people in the room you don’t know whom they realise might be interesting for you to talk to.
2 The event must have a structure:
– often this means that people are sitting around tables of, say, eight and, at some point, each gets to talk for around two minutes about their business
– business cards are handed around
– tables should be ‘facilitated’, ie, there is a host per table ensuring that everyone gets a fair crack of the whip
– having done the above, the table host should facilitate a discussion—people can chat to each other before and after the event.
3 Attender lists should be available from the moment booking for the event opens (and updated afterwards).
4 Guest speakers are not necessary, unless they are good or very good, or they talk about how to use these events better.
If all the above aren’t provided, approach with scepticism.
> Networking guide
© Jeremy Marchant Limited . added 29 april 2015 . image: Free images
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