What to do if you don’t like networking events?
We all know that networking is important but finding the right type of networking event isn’t always easy – and who’s got loads of time on their hands to do it?
It’s particularly hard for introverts and anyone who doesn’t enjoy meeting strangers in what can often be a fairly fake situation.
If you’re anything like me you’re probably quite fussy too, so that makes it even harder. I’ve been to those stuffy events where people are speed networking with business cards and it just doesn’t feel genuine.
Surprisingly, online networking has worked really well when it comes to building my business network, but I’m sure you’ll agree – nothing beats meeting in person.
How to find the right type of networking event for you
Truth is – if it's not the right type of environment, you probably won’t get the results you want. So be clear on the type of situations that you do and don’t like.
I avoid anything that will make me want to hide on my phone or overdose on biscuits.
At some point, you’ll probably want to be a bit more experimental, but you should still sense check if it’s going to have like-minded people attending.
I’ve been to a couple of events hosted by Janet Murray, the marketing expert. Whilst they were fairly large in number, Janet’s a great teacher and most importantly (to me) she sets up small tables so you do get to meet and spend time with people.
Tim Queen’s events are always fun and he attracts friendly, helpful people.
Like-attracts-like as far as I’m concerned.
But it's unlikely that you'll find me at a LinkedIn local because I need more than LinkedIn in common.
Eventbrite is a good place to whet your appetite but always ask your friends and contacts for recommendations too.
I usually ask myself these questions:
1. Are these my people?
And by that, I don't mean are they working in my sector, but are they like-minded and am I going to feel included?
2. Is the event going to be too big?
I don’t like big events and venues as a rule. I’ll probably get FOMO as I won’t be able to see who’s there.
3. If it’s a small event or round a table is there an agenda of sorts?
And is there a danger of me getting stuck with the people sitting next to me? This could go both ways and if goes badly I don’t want to feel trapped.
Again there’s FOMO of other conversations and I don't really have time for too many ‘socials’ without learning something new.
4. Am I expected to stand up and deliver a one-minute pitch?
And even worse will I have to listen to loads of other one-minute pitches?
5. What am I hoping to take away?
And I don’t mean a goody bag!
Which got me back into organising my own events
There’s nothing like getting a small group of people together to share insight and breakfast.
It was something I used to do almost monthly.
In the past I often hosted with an industry expert – Jonathan Akeroyd (ex-Alexander Mcqueen), Claire Kent (luxury analyst), Felicity Green (first woman on the board of the national press), Bruce Robertson (innovation and creative strategy in HR) and Emily Zak (ex-Vogue) to name a few.
I’ve recently started hosting small events again
As well as bringing like-minded people together to share knowledge and expertise we’re creating a community. Friendships are being sealed, connections and networks are growing, and we’re teaching, learning and challenging each other as peers and experts.
We’re planning a series of networking meet-ups and we'd love you to join us.
If you’re interested in hearing more about our networking events please do get in touch.