Before you make the decision to commit to attending an event, there are many things you must consider. In my experience, going for the wrong event can cause a lot of easily avoidable issues.
The most obvious is the waste of time and money but the far more reaching implications include
- Creating a bad impression about networking events altogether, making you swear off attending even potentially useful events in the future
- Affecting your brand- and not in a good way
- Loss of focus,
- And one I have personally experienced….just being involved in random activity that leads to absolutely no productivity
As an evangelist of networking for career women, I believe that attending the right event can increase your knowledge base, expand insight, and stretch you by introducing you to like minded ambitious people who can become important connections and friends in the future. It can also help you identify potential customers and partners and give you the right visibility for your personal brand.
But how do you ensure that the networking events produce the later and not the former results? Here are a few questions that can help you differentiate the good from the unnecessary and the downright no go event.
Answering these questions will help you create a networking strategy that works for you!
- What have been the results from the events I attended in the past? Did they bring me closer to my goals? If not, why? Do I need to re-evaluate my networking strategy?
- How will attending this event help me to achieve my career goals? Will attending this event help me to achieve my goals quicker? Or on the flip side, if I don’t attend this event, can I find alternative ways to achieve my goals?
- Who else will attend? Most times people attend events only because of who might be speaking. In reality you spend a maximum of 5 minutes with prominent speakers, if you even get to interact with them at all. But you get to interact and spend much more time with the audience. So ask yourself, will the audience fall into any of these categories- like minds, people I admire and can learn from, potential customers and/or clients or partners; mentors, career sponsors etc.
How do you know who will be attending? Use social media to find out. See who else is tweeting about the event. Ask people within your network if they are going or if they know someone who might be attending. Or if they have attended similar events and what the crowd was like.
- What is the reputation of the organisers? Have they delivered similar events?
- What is the background, reputation and caliber of speakers and panelists, is this relevant to your personal growth requirements?
- Will this type of event suit my personality? How will I position myself to allow my personality come through best?
- What topics and sub topics will be discussed? Will these topics increase my knowledge of my sector and how others sectors impact on its growth?
- How will attending this event impact on my brand? Will it give me greater brand visibility? Would I be proud to share that I attended this event?
Which of these questions will you start asking more often? Share in the comments section