Fridays are days where I answer random questions that I get from readers of this blog.
Today's question comes from Katherine:
Question # 5
"What are the best places to network?"
This question comes up a lot. The answer is that there is no "BEST" place to network, because the answer would be different for every person. It is not about the best food or where you find an open bar, it is about finding where you can meet people with whom you can create mutually beneficial friendships.
You need to think about where the type of people you want to meet actually will be in attendance. If you want to network with CFO's you would go to FEI (Financial Executives International....but in some cities they will not let you attend their meetings unless you are a CFO). To meet dentists you would go to different types of meeting or conventions than if you were looking for technology executives.
You also need to find organizations that interest you. If you like the symphony, find out if your local symphony has a "Young Professionals" auxiliary group (In Austin, Texas it is called the Symphony BATS). But if you do not like the music, you will find your long term participation will fall off quickly. Making real connections with people takes a long term commitment.
My recommendation is not to over-think the question of "where is the best place", but just look for some "good" places to network. No organization, event or conference is going to be attended 100% by your ideal clients or contacts. But if a few are present, then you might have the chance to meet them.
Networking is a marathon, not a sprint. Just get out there. Do not over analyze the process.
Have A Great Day.