Case Study – Is Attending a Networking Event Really Worth It?

Situation:

It seems like everyone is sponsoring some type of networking event that they want everyone to come to. Some are free and some charge a fee. All of them advertise the same thing – come meet people you do not know. Really? If you do any type of networking at all you will be seeing the same people just at different events. So how do you decide where to go, what to do, and how to evaluate which events are better for you?

Analysis:

1. You cannot attend everything. You have to actually work sometimes.
2. You should not attend everything. If you want to catch tuna you need to fish in tuna rich waters. This might seem simple to some. It is not.
3. Do the attendees come to network or to socialize?
4. What are your goals, desires, and past history with a certain group? Where do your friends or peers network?
5. Should you join a professional networking group like BNI? Can you make the time commitment required of a professional group?

Solution:

ASBC sponsors a quarterly networking meeting that is heavily attended by Cincinnati professionals. The networking events are always within the first month of the quarter on the last Thursday of the month. (We had one exception in January 2013 because of the availability of the venue.) Depending on the season we average from 100 to 140 attendees. The events have all been sponsored to date so there has been no charge for attendance. One of the main differences in ASBC Networking events is that I explain to everyone when they arrive that they are expected to meet new people and to network. We actively introduce professionals to each other and will ask groups to circulate around the room. If a new person attend their first meeting we will make a point of introducing them to people they need to meet. I personally have made 5 appointments with possible new clients I met at our event in April, and know of several other people who made connections with new people. We had 80+ attendees at our April event and one third of them were new to ASBC. Use this as the metric of measure against other venues and see if networking at an ASBC type of event is right for you and your business. See you in July.

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