Attending networking events are great but what about organizing your own monthly events where you invite like-minded, non-competitive and collaborative professionals to gather and discuss a particular industry hot topic or brainstorm an issue someone is having? Or share contacts and advise?
I’m in the process of organizing an informal monthly lunch and learn with other marketing and communications professionals. Right now my network is a loose group of amazing women whom I regularly call when I’m looking for a media contact at a particular outlet or recommendation on how to pitch a particular editor. They do the same when they need to brainstorm or massage an idea or if they just need to vent about a particular issue.
Individually we work hard for our clients. Collectively, though, nothing can stop us. We take care to not abuse our relationships or contacts and are right there to cheer each other on, attend an event when we’re concerned about attendance or to spread the word about something they are working on.
Is there a group of folks you regularly call on for help or think might make for a beneficial networking group if you were to connect monthly? Choose a date, time and place and be sure to create an agenda (most of us don’t have time to waste so be mindful of people’s time and create and stick to an agenda!). Then send out your invites and see what happens after that first meeting.
Know that not everyone will be able to come and think about whom you plan to invite so you have a healthy group (you don’t want wallflowers necessarily but you also don’t want someone who will talk the entire time so as not to allow everyone to participate).
Perhaps you can make sure each person will have an opportunity to present their issue during a monthly meeting and if someone really wants to chat about something they can bring it up as an option.
The goal is to make this a fun, enjoyable and productive time. Tweak it as you feel necessary!
Are you part of a monthly networking group? What do you enjoy most when you meet?
Megy Karydes is principal of Karydes Consulting, a boutique marketing and communications firm that specializes in working with both for profit and not-for-profit organizations. She’s a big fan of networking events, especially when they include smart women who share her belief that when women work together, great things can happen.