Networking is a vital activity for all businesses. Becoming a member in a networking group is a great way to expose your company to the public and other business advocates. The organizations available have standards and procedures in place that will assist you in becoming successful. With that said, each organization is tailored in its direction and not all may be great fits for you. But how do you know which ones are best to join? You’ll have to get proactive.
The only way to get an accurate sense is to attend different networking groups and base your decision off of these ‘trial meetings’. While you are there, talk to the members. It doesn’t cost anything to ask questions so start up conversations with multiple individuals. Try to get business cards from people you didn’t get a chance to speak with and give them a call later on that week.
Before you call, create an outline of questions that are important to you because like you, these individuals are busy and you don’t want to waste too much of their time. Here are some good sample questions to start off with:
- What do you like best about the meetings?
- What do you like least?
- What kind of advice would you give a new person like me that is joining the group?
- What’s the biggest benefit of being a member of the group from your perspective?
- Are there other groups you think might be a good idea for me in my business?
- How would I go about exchanging referrals with someone like you in the group?
After speaking with other members it will easier to decide if that group is good fit and positive use of your time. Talk to at least 5 people from the group before you decide to participate. If you decide to join one, participate fully. Step up or step aside. Make it happen!
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