HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF THESE NEBRASKA/IOWA NETWORKING GROUPS
Networking, a thing I never thought would be my world until I locked eyes with Chatterkick. When I first heard this would be part of my role, I immediately thought, tons of business cards, lots of handshakes, coffees, cocktails, and smiling faces. To say the least, I was pretty spot on. I've done some networking events at industry tradeshows with previous jobs but never on a local level.
I enjoy meeting new people, making connections, and building relationships, but the number of different networking events available to attend these days is out of control. There are networking opportunities all day every day! I had no clue. Then there are even these leads groups where people give referrals after hearing the businesses 60-second elevator pitch. There is also speed networking. It's hard to know where to start? Which one to pick? How do I drink that much coffee in a day?
So, I tried to expose myself to as much as I could and try a variety. My goals were to grow professionally and expand my local network.
What did I try and a few takeaways?
- Always fun and leave feeling energized.
- Members break out in small groups and process business and personal issues.
- Awesome group of professionals wanting to grow.
- CEO focused.
- This elite group is great for personal growth.
- The group's strengths rely on accountability and forcing members out of their comfort zone—Lots of intelligent people to learn from.
- Very strong B2C, if you need financial advisors, real estate agents, or chiropractors, there are plenty of those businesses/individuals and much more!
- This group meets weekly, ingests tons of coffee, and attends happy hour events.
- Participants are always willing to connect.
- This group can keep anyone busy!
- The Chamber is an amazing organization that is very involved and active in the Siouxland community.
- They continue to grow and look toward the future of our community!
- This is a great group of professionals.
- If you are looking for a large group with lots of options, this is the one.
- I went to a few events and I admit; it can be a little overwhelming with the number of members.
- Another solid Chamber group.
- They are very involved and active in the Papillion area.
- People are very welcoming and instill a down-to-earth mentality.
- CREW is for women in commercial real estate.
- This group of ladies has style and hold very close niche, events that are well organized and welcoming to new people. Not to mention the delicious lunches are an added treat.
- An old school group but very upbeat.
- The meetings fly with tons of fun, engagement, and even some singing. They meet weekly at Anthony's.
When I go to these events, I always try to learn something new and meet someone new. Focus on having one or two quality conversation vs. 20 quick introductions.
Since COVID-19 hit in March, a majority of these groups have adapted and are now being done virtually. It's a little harder to connect and mingle with new people but still very possible. I often follow up with new connections on LinkedIn and write a personalized message.
My advice to those that are just starting to network, try it all, and find events that YOU like and want to learn from. Usually, new business will happen organically with just having a natural conversation with someone. Be yourself, and try to give value to others.
Handshakes are definitely now optional. 😉