Have You Tried After Hours Business Networking Recently?

Each month there are numerous opportunities to build business relationships, exchange ideas and sample featured foods in a variety of restaurants. Typically these networking events begin at about 5:00 PM or 5:30 PM and conclude by 8:00 PM. There are no dues, membership fees or long term commitments. The cost to attend most of these events is minimal (most are $10.00 or less).

There are no speeches, though there may be brief comments and introductions. The primary focus at all of these events is the opportunity to interact with a friendly group of people while snacking on featured foods. There is also a cash bar at most of these events, but there is no obligation to purchase drinks.  Indeed, for water drinkers like myself, there is water available at no cost.

What to expect:  When you arrive you will complete a nametag (if you do not bring your own), drop your business card in a bowl to potentially win prizes, and pay the nominal registration fee. Once you are registered you simply talk with people who will be pleased to speak with you. Expect to be asked what do you do?  You might also ask the other networkers what they do. If you are speaking with a more experienced networker they will probably also ask you how they can be of help to you and/or what you would like to accomplish from the event. The more experienced networkers will also be more than willing to introduce you to other people with interests similar to yours. For example, if you are:

  • A painter looking to build business relationships, you might be introduced to real estate brokers, electricians and disaster recovery spets.
  • Looking for a new position you might be introduced to people who help job candidates with their job searches
  • Looking to sell or market a new product you might be introduced to people who offer sales and marketing consulting services.

While all of us attending networking events have the objective of ultimately selling our products and/or services, we do this by offering effective recommendations to try to help each other, not by trying to pressure others into buying our products.

Some networking events are packed full of people. Others have fewer attendees. There are advantages to attending both, as you’ll meet more people at bigger events, but you will have more in depth conversations at smaller events.

What to avoid: First, avoid trying to meet everyone at a big event. Instead, focus on speaking to fewer people and getting to know them. After attending a few events you’ll get to know a lot of people well.   Second, avoid trying to pressure people into buying your product. Provide useful information. Share business cards. Follow up with a note to people who you would like to get to know better, just don’t be too eager to sell. Unless you are offering a unique service, chances are the networkers you will meet already have established relationships. Think of yourself as being there to work yourself into their “inner circle.” Third, don’t be a business card dispenser. Offer cards to people after you have had a meaningful conversation. Fourth, don’t come just a few times and say I’ve done it all. Relationships take a while to build and need to be maintained.

How to start.  There are networking events sponsored by individuals, businesses and chambers of commerce. You may find out about some of these by:

  • Reviewing the calendar in this journal.
  • Subscribing to Uncle Jay’s Weekly Newsletter (subscribe by sending a note to JayWhiteBiz1@cox.net.)

Plan to attend the following networking events several times to learn, enjoy, and become acquainted with the networking process.

  • Uncle Jay’s Networking.  Events normally occur on Monday one or two times per month.  See Jay’s newsletter.
  • Out of the Box. Events typically occur the first Tuesday of the month, for people interested in business, entertainment, and the arts.  See OutOfTheBoxNetworking.com.
  • New England Networking & Networked Events.  Events typically fourth Monday of the month in nearby Massachusetts.  Email info@networkedevents.com.

Please join us, meet nice people, learn, expand your network, enjoy featured foods and have fun.

Leave a comment

Avatar About the Author:

previous arrow
next arrow