Like most business owners and working professionals you probably feel over-extended most of the time. Perhaps your efforts to network and “get the word out” are contributing to that feeling. Sound familiar? We’ve put together some tips that may help.
Three is the Magic Number
Experts suggest that there may be a thing as “too much networking.” According to Ivan Misner, PH.D. (author of Truth or Delusion: Busting Networking’s Biggest Myths and founder of BNI), “three is the magic number.” Experiencing a School House Rock flashback? Well you’re in luck! I’ve included some fabulous YouTube videos below so that you can get your nostalgic fix after reading.
If three groups is a good rule of thumb, the next step is choosing the right groups.
Choosing the right Networking Groups
Research – When it comes to networking, a little research can go a long way. You want to figure out the following before attending:
- Is the group industry specific?
- Is the group active (regular events or meetings)?
- Is a member directory available? If so, consider researching your fellow networkers.
Diversify - We consider it best practice to mix things up. Consider picking three groups that fall into three separate categories. Misner breaks networking groups into the following categories:
- Strong-Contact Networks – Structured, industry/profession specific, referral-based – ex. BNI
- Casual Contact Networks – Less structured, membership is not limited by industry/profession – ex. Chamber of Commerce
- Service Organization – Associations that support humanitarian efforts – ex. Rotary
- Professional Associations – Designed to support a specific industry, may include direct competitors
- Social/Business Organizations – Combine business networking with social activities – ex. Jaycees
- Women’s Networking Groups – ex. ABWA
- Online Networks – Internet based networking opportunities (groups or information exchange) – ex. It may be as simple as blogging or emailing newsletters.