Here are some tips to get the most out of networking groups:
Nail down your purpose
Know what you are looking for. Do you want camaraderie, help with business development or leads?
Look for a good fit
The head of a networking organization can tell you whether your goals match the group’s mandate.
Sample the wares
Visit groups to see whether you like the organization’s format and culture. Some groups will let you try out a meeting a couple of times before signing up.
The more you contribute to a group, the more you’ll get back. Even if an organization doesn’t take attendance or require members to meet referral quotas, it’s in your best interests to be an active member.
Don’t put all your eggs in one networking basket
While it’s unwise to divide your time across too many different commitments, networking shouldn’t end when you leave your Friday breakfast meeting. Your volunteer commitments and hobbies are also important ways to network.
Focus on relationships, not referrals
People buy from people they know, like and trust – so prioritize getting to know the people around you, not perfecting your elevator pitch.
Special to The Globe and Mail