In part one we covered aspects of Starting a Networking Group such as: Your reason Why, Law of Reciprocity, Group Type, Location, Goals, and Recruiting, We continue the criteria in this article.
Leaders – John C. Maxwell says, “Everything begins and ends with leadership”. The selection of the group leaders (officers and committee chairs) is very important. Officers could include a president, vice president, secretary, and treasuer. Committee chairs could be membership, marketing, education, social media, visitors, growth, librarian, social events, and more. Everyone in the group should have a position because participation will increase referrals and retention. You may have heard that people will do more for recognition than they will for money. This applies to networking groups also. So leaders presenting certificates for accomplishments is a must.
Accountibility – It has been proved many times that measurement affects improvement. Very few of the business networking groups keep a weekly total on attendance, referrals, 121 meetings, visitors, income generated, and eduction sessions. How would your members feel if they received a report each week showing the progress of every member in the group? What if they had a weekly newsletter that refreshed their memory about referrals requested, upcoming events, and visitors to be invited for next week’s speaker?
Publicity – Promoting your group through newspapers, trade shows, emails, and social media is a great way to have growth. What if each week there was a post on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, etc. about next weeks speaker, achievements by members or upcoming social events?
Meeting day/time – Most of the networking groups focus meetings on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, although there are a few meeting on Mondays and Fridays. Morning meetings seem to be more business focused, lunch meetings generally have a speaker, and evening meeting are more social.
Training – Would you hire someone and ask them to just watch the other employees to learn what they are doing? Every successful company has a training program and it begins on the first day and continues for a period of time. Each member of a networking group should have specific training for their position in the group and they should also be cross trained.
Meeting agenda- Rather than being about the members, the meeting agenda should be focused on visitors. They should see the opportunities for giving and receiving specific referrals, for learning networking techniques, for leadership training, for developing contact spheres, for access to resources, and for opportunities to help build the group.
Education –,The education segment should be focused on networking education, rather than focusing on marketing or sales training, which are available through a number of credible organizations, some of which may have a representative in your group. Networking education can cover subjects from giving elevator speeches to creating contact spheres. There should be a part of each meeting that is dedicated to networking education.
Personal Development – Networking is really about personal development so it should be stressed at each meeting. Nothing in GREAT until you change. The way to change is by growth and the key to growth is intentionality. You might ask yourself the same two questions that John C. Maxwell asks himself every day: “What am I doing for personal growth?” and “What am I doing to help others grow”? The best way for you to grow intentionally is to make a commitment, in fact, make the commitment public so it will have meaning. Then identify the areas you want to grow in and set aside one hour each day to focus on them. Finally, share your growth with others.
Mentoring – Most successful people have mentors in various areas of their life. Mentoring is different from coaching or training. Successful networking groups have a mentoring process where they are able to share experiences, set goals, check progress and hold members accountable.
Of course, there are other aspects of Starting a Networking Group. If you implement the ideas shared in Part 1 and Part 2 you will have a good start.
See you at the next networking event!