7 Low-Key Networking Goldmines That Don’t Require Your VistaPrint Business Card
If you're anything like me, then you would rather be a contestant on Fear Factor than go to another boring & basic networking event.
You'd rather sing the "Baby Shark" song for your audition at American Idol.
You’d rather become a Nun and join a covenant.
...Shifting tangent gears.
Why do networking events matter when you want to stand out online —you ask? In a nutshell, online and offline endeavours should work in conjunction, as they reflect the brand you're building no matter the platform.
When done effectively, it enhances your overall social presence. However, you'd be pressed to find one that doesn't bore you out of your moisturized skin.
That said, these 7 networking activities are goldmines. And they also help you build relationships, gain clients and do good for the world minus the drag or the drain on your energy (even if you’re an introvert, extrovert or an ambivert...networking events are exhausting for all personality types).
1. Join a Board
This is a low-key goldmine for the simple fact; you're around the table with other business owners/company representatives in a meaningful and productive way. This is a real opportunity to be of value to valuable people and missions.
Choose the rooms you want to be in wisely.
Try: your local government, non-profit organizations, start-ups, or art councils.
Hear me out.
Volunteering is one of the lightning round ways to get on someone's radar without overly pitching your services. They will see how you operate by working with you in their environment. Volunteer to do the thing you do in your business, that why you build upon your experience, skills and network. It's also portfolio-worthy.
Try: Hop on time-bound projects and events.
3. Sit on an Event Committee
Similar to joining a board; however, this has a project end date if you can't commit to the one to three-year timeframe boards require. This is where you show off your ability to lead, bring resources to the table and promote to your network. This adds to your social presence clout. It also bestows several references you can tap into for LinkedIn recommendations.
Try: Either business related (In our network, who’s hosting an event? Ask to help) or unrelated (i.e. road safety committee).
4. Become an Official Mentor
Becoming an Official Mentor —automatically puts you in a circle of trust. Apply to become a mentor at an organization so that you're time mentoring is structured and documented. As a result, you're usually selected first for speaking engagements and workshops you can host at the organization. This kind of do-gooder spirit allows you to not only be among other mentors but tomorrow’s business leaders from the mentees in the program.
Try: Your city/region organizations, local community agencies.
5. Host an Event
Bring the people to you by having them connect online via a one-off hosted occasion. Give to get —the network you want in front of you. You’re automatically viewed as a thought-leader, and there is a power dynamic shift that happens when you go this route.
Try: Have an interview panel session or live podcast.
6. Run a Workshop
Similar to hosting an event but running a workshop can be an on-going saga, which will build upon the relationship you're growing. Collect emails to follow-up and announce future projects you're working on. Stay in their inbox!
Try: Teach an under-rated skill in your industry, run a walk-through presentation with an in-person Q&A.
7. Attend Only Paid Networking Events
There's a higher return on time/investment at paid networking events.
Since people put their money into being in attendance, they're more likely to seek out quality conversations and material. Free events are not awful but they're not remarkable regarding ROI. Folks at paid events are more in-tuned and engaged and rarely do they shove their business card in your face. Yuck.
Try: Use the event's hashtag to drum-up attention from other attendees.
If you know of another networking goldmine I didn't mention above, PLEASE, let me know. I can't take these low-level basic networking events anymore.