Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Networking at Conferences - How to Choose the Right One to Attend

Networking works! Whether you are a Brick and Mortar Business or an online business - networking events are happening everywhere - Online, Live and Local. Live events and conferences are a great way to network with others in your business field.

Human interaction builds strong relationships especially relationships that may have started online. They are also a great way to practice networking skills in person. But what events are right for you? The trick is knowing where to look.

Here are a few suggestions:

Check local Business organizations for posted events.

Visit your favorite blogs/websites for information. If these people are speaking or attending a conference they will want to let their readers know about it.

Visit online forums. Business forums usually have a place where they list upcoming events both online and offline.

Visit social networking sites.
These are great for business connections - Facebook and Linked In are two main places where many people or groups post events and send out invites.

Now that you have found some options, how do you choose one? Look at what your goal is for attending the event. You will want to choose live events that are relevant to your business. You wouldn't attend a crafting seminar if you sell gardening supplies.

And, you probably would pass on a seminar that highlights how offline businesses can get into online markets if you already own an online business.

Here are some pointers to making a decision:

• Check geographic location - Your first time out, you might want to stay close to home to lower costs. Money is often tight when you are starting a business.

• Look at event registration costs - Will you recoup the fees?

• Look at the speakers -
Who is coming to regale you with their business savvy? If the speakers involved are other business owners or role models in your industry that you have wanted to meet, don't pass up the chance to have your questions answered and gain some insight and knowledge from a skilled speaker. Adding a face to face will really help gel your connections as well. Contacts made at events can have long lasting benefits.

Choosing a live event to attend doesn't have to be a hard decision. Gather as much information as you can about upcoming events, their location and fees so you can map out your networking strategy. And it should all be about strategy - why you want to attend and what you will gain from attending.

This past year I attended the Niche Affiliate Marketing Systems Conference in Atlanta - I chose to go for a few reasons:

1. I wanted to learn more about Affiliate Marketing and how it works.

It was an opportunity to meet two of my clients in person - one from British Columbia and one from California, as well as a Colleague from Washington State. I am from the East Coast of Canada so it would be rare for me to meet these people in person.

There were many other top internet marketers there I have been following online for more than one year and it was a chance to listen to their wisdom in person as well as meet them face to face.

When you make conference/event choices by strategically choosing reasons why or why not to go you will find your investment well worth it!

By : Kathy_Colaiacovo

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