Networking can help you meet new people and advance your career. But what if you’re not sure you’ll find a group that fits your needs? Starting your own group can be an option, though it’s a risky proposition. Here’s how to increase your odds of creating something that will last long enough to make an impact.
6. GROW CAREFULLY.
Shannon Little, who works in digital promotions and communications, found that many networking groups she tried in Memphis were too focused on business card exchanges. So she and a few others "took it upon ourselves to start a group that offered more idea generation and support." Now, Memphis Young Creatives meets monthly at different local bars and restaurants.
"To get the word out, we set up a Facebook event page and invite the people we know in the business. They invite their contacts, etc., etc. We don’t like to broadcast the event city-wide, because we want to make sure that the conversation and attendees fit with the purpose of the group as much as possible," she says. This slow growth involves a trade-off, because one upside of networking events is meeting people you wouldn’t meet otherwise. But Little says that "In the end, we decided that it was better to have a small group of quality contacts that we could eventually grow as opposed to a large group where we would have to search for quality."