Eight Ways You Can Determine Which Networking Invitations to Accept
Via Huffington Post : Eight Ways You Can Determine Which Networking Invitations to Accept
Regardless of where you are in your career, networking is something you need to keep in mind. When you’re first starting out, you want to get in touch with a good number of different people and groups in order to establish connections and help each other out where you can. Later in your career, networking is an excellent opportunity to give back, helping people starting out get their feet wet and in touch with mentors or peers. As you get more settled in business, you may find that you get more networking event invitations than you know what to do with. Some are from people within your wider network, while others are for public events seeking to draw a diverse crowd.
You only have so much time and resources to dedicate to events, so how do you determine which invitations to accept, and which to politely decline? Members from Young Entrepreneur Council suggest the following:
A. Determine If It’s Mutually Beneficial
I try to do quick research on the opportunity. Is it a person or group I might be able to conduct business with or learn from? Do I have experience that might benefit them or the group? If so, then I consider it. If I don’t see an immediate benefit for either party, I move on, or table for later. While I believe in growing a large network of connections, being focused wins. – Shawn Schulze, CallerCenter.com
A. Know When to Decline
We honestly get hundreds of recommendations and networking invitations every month. While many of them are great, one of the best ways to weed out the good from the bad is to choose ones that you know are attended or recommended by other friends, partners or experts within your industry. Networking and time are always going to be important, but knowing when to say no is also key. – Zac Johnson, Blogger
A. Only Accept Leveraged Invites
Endless meet-ups without strategic focus will kill your business. I’ve made that mistake by accepting coffee meetings and party invites without a strategic agenda. After wasting thousands of dollars, I now only accept leveraged invites. This means there is an agenda with real focus where either I can give back or my company can scale as a direct result of the connection. – Klyn Elsbury, Landmark Makers
A. Try the ‘Today’ Test
It’s often easy to accept networking events that are weeks away when your calendar is open. For every event invitation that you receive, ask yourself, “If this event was today, would I attend, assuming that I was available?” If the answer is yes, it’s probably beneficial. If you have higher priorities today than to attend, there’s a good chance you’ll feel the same way when that event rolls around. – Lisa Curtis, Kuli Kuli Inc.
A. Favor Curated Networking Events
I tend to accept invites where the host has thoughtfully curated who will be at the event. When the host has put thought into making sure guests will connect in a meaningful way, I end up making a few key connections, as opposed to bigger events, where it is harder to find connections that will resonate, because it’s too easy to get lost in the crowd. – Diana Goodwin, AquaMobile
A. Look for Natural Networking
To keep myself effective and genuine, I try to focus on events where networking seems like it will come naturally. Often this means focusing on personalized invitations to small gatherings in the community, rather than attending larger conferences and events, where hundreds of unconnected entrepreneurs will be. – Peggy Shell, Creative Alignments
A. Pay Attention to How They Reached Out to You
It is very easy to spot the canned invitations to connect. LinkedIn is the king of unwanted, canned invitations. Instead, look for people who go out of their way to make a connection with you. Typically they will do it in less-common platforms such as Snapchat or Instagram, maybe even by email. If someone truly cares to connect with you, they will go out of their way to do so. – Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors
A. Remember: A Good Fit is Crucial
Finding events or masterminds that fit you and your business are key. Business and personal needs vary drastically from person to person. Strive to match yourself with equal or slightly higher caliber attendees. This ensures you continue to grow and network with those that can provide value. Find reviews or a past attendee list and compare yourself. Will you fit in? If so, then give it a try! – Kyle Goguen, Pawstruck
These answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
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