started this topic @ 14:49 on 06/08/2012
Like many new businesses, I attended a lot of networking events when I first started out. In fact, I think I have attended over 15 different events over the past 5 years and generally found them enjoyable. That said, I am not always clear whether I am gaining businesses benefits either directly or indirectly - other than enjoying the time out to chat with other business people and usually having a good lunch.
The networking group that seems to be the most distinctive is Business Network International (BNI) - the key difference being that it is a structured referral organisation rather than a traditional networking event. This means that you build relationships over time and cross-refer business between members rather than simply sell to the room. It seems to work well, but it is quite high commitment in terms of cost and time.
I am interested to hear what peoples' experiences have been of BNI and other networking events, and which you think are the most effective. Also, does it depend on the type of business you are in? I'd be glad to hear your thoughts.