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What makes a GOOD networking organisation?

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Old 11-12-08
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Default What makes a GOOD networking organisation?

Hi there

I've just been elected the President of the Chamber of Women in Business here in Canberra, and am wondering what, in your opinion, makes a GOOD networking organisation?

And what makes BAD one?

What kind of value are you looking for in a face to face networking organisation?

Thanks for your help!

Zoe

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Old 11-12-08
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Default Re: What makes a GOOD networking organisation?

Zoe

Congratulations on becoming President,

Good Guest Speaker; I go to one networking function and it is a ‘young’ crowd and very casual and generally not my scene, but they are enthusiastic about what they are doing. I keep going back because they have great guest speakers and I always pick up some info or just good to check the pulse.

Controlled environment to Network; opportunity to speed network, basically, the one minute elevator pitch, say for 15 minutes or a variation of this.

Good Venue; with parking, food and refreshments (for me a good wine list) and a good vibe.

Great Host; I am sure you will tick that box.

Good Luck

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Old 11-12-08
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Default Re: What makes a GOOD networking organisation?

Congratulations Zoe

Australian Anthill Magazine has a pitch club designed for networking.

The Australian Institute of Management have networking events in the form of guest speakers, breakfast meetings a little refeened for me but interesting

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Old 12-12-08
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Default Re: What makes a GOOD networking organisation?

For me, it's good speakers with solid, practical information. The option to bring the kids if I don't have a babysitter.

Breakfasts are no good for Mums - we have to get kids to school!

Easy to find venue with lots of parking.

Good food - especially something I don't normally get at home.

Networking time that is unstructured so we can talk with people on our table or get to make other contacts.

Melissa

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Old 12-12-08
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Default Re: What makes a GOOD networking organisation?

Congrats there, nice job.

For me, it's all about comfort. If people are comfortable in the environment, they're far more likely to open up to new opportunities. Stick the 5-foot wallflower in the crowded bar surrounded by 6-foot extroverts, and no one is going to know how good they are at usability and design. Drop the noise level and stick them on a couch though, and the ideas flow freely, I've found.

And this is coming from one of those 6-foot extroverts too, heh.

I suppose it's all about knowing the types of folks that you'll be having at your events. And I echo the above sentiments that a great guest speaker can do all of the above. Make folks comfortable as well as give them something to talk about.

Good luck.

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Old 12-12-08
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Default Re: What makes a GOOD networking organisation?

I'll say something that I KNOW will be contentious!

For me - I LOVE networking events that have a FEE involved.

Why?

I've been heavily involved with the professional development / personal development industry for the last 4 years in many capacities - as a private citizen, a hired salesperson and a businessperson in my own right. Something I have noticed is that the free events attract the SAME people over and over again ... and those same people are SO used to getting stuff for free that they don't want to pay for anything.

When there is even a small fee involved, events attract different kinds of people - people who pay for things they see value in.

For me, it's all about mindset.

I don't want to work with people who think they should get everything for free (this attitude particularly confuses me in people who consider themselves entrepreneurs! Right - so people should pay for YOUR service / product ... but you won't pay for theirs?). I want to work with people who value their time and their services and my time and my services.

In my personal experience - the higher the cost for people to be involved, the better, more long-standing contacts and clients I get out of it.

For instance - I've been involved in free events and found that while I get interest in my services, they baulk at the price, complain and disappear.

I have also been involved in a business program that cost $30,000 a year.

I have gotten at least 10 ongoing clients (without even STARTING on referrals!) - who paid back the cost of the program within six months - so the education of the program was basically free.

My ideal clients are people who are willing to pay for a premium service - which is what I offer.

I'm sure other people feel differently - but for me, this is ALL important.

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Old 14-12-08
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Default Re: What makes a GOOD networking organisation?

Congratulations Zoe

Leela I totally agree, I think many people have a perception of the quality of the event, in whether payment is required. As an organiser you have more of a commitment from your attendees even if part of this fee is donated to charity. Leela I also think you get a better calibre speaker.

I attend a number of networking functions and get so disappointed in the way functions are organised.

Simple things like allowing too many people attending from the same organisation. Numbering name tags encouraging people to move to the next group by asking people with odd numbered name tags please move and intoduce yourself to someone new. Having introduction people at the door, you ask attendees do you know anyone at our event today, no, then let me take you through to introduce you to some people. Name tags should have the persons First Name much larger than the balance.

A skilled well known speaker generally comes at a cost. Many people enjoy a lounge style (panel) of discussion as it offers a number of varying opinions on a topic of interest.

All the best Zoe, we would love to hear how it all goes.

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Old 15-12-08
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Default Re: What makes a GOOD networking organisation?

Hi Zoe
I've been to lots of different networking events over the past six months. A few things stand out as essential:
  • making people feel comfortable when they arrive
  • opportunity for structured networking, preferably a 30 second pitch to the entire room
  • opportunity to share flyers / promotions
  • a sense of humour - these events can be quite serious and boring!
Also, its good to help participants with their networking skills - teach them good habits and your events will be very effective!

One last thing - set some guidelines about adding people to their email lists - there is nothing more annoying than being added to a weightloss email list when its a service you have no use for whatsoever ;-)

Also, I recently enjoyed a WNA Christmas event where there was a wonderful spirit of giving and goodwill in support of those less fortunate than ourselves - that alone made me want to be a part of it all. Consider choosing a couple of pet projects which your group can assist with...

cheers
Lisa

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Old 15-12-08
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Default Re: What makes a GOOD networking organisation?

One that will let me in

I rang one up the other day and they meet every wednesday morning at the pub that is literally 10 steps from my house, PERFECT.

What do you do? Im in IT, sorry we already have one of those....

For me though its the people who make the club. I think a lot of networking has to do with making friends, and in my own experience, it takes time for people to trust you and approach.

Relaxed, friendly environment with non predatory practices is my favourite. The local BEC is pretty good as is Toastmasters.

My target market is the larger small and medium business, above 30 workstations and a server. I have not found any networking group that has this group of people in any great numbers.
I actually am trying to work out how to target business of this size, its not easy.

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Last edited by Adam Randall; 15-12-08 at 09:58 PM.
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