Dr Renate Volpe, in her “Networking Tips” cards says “Ask for the attendance list of events up front so that you can identify the people you would like to meet.”
Some of the networking events will be facilitated or even semi-facilitated and when this is the case, it is easy to get hold of the list of people who will be attending.
For example, if you attend any of the Business Engage Hot Tables Dinners (www.businessengage.co.za) the list of hosts is generally e-mailed prior to the function taking place. This ensures that, as a participant, you will be able to decide beforehand which ‘hosts’ you would like to meet and/or engage with.
In Inner Circle meetings however, you will never know who is going to attend up front. In many instances, people who have committed to coming to the meeting either don’t pitch up and/or phone at the last minute to say that they will not be attending. In this instance, although you are present at the meeting, a list of attendees, with their e-mail addresses is mailed to all the participants during the course of the following day. This means that you can contact these individuals, if for some reason you were unable to engage with them during the course of the meeting.
The BizNetwork meetings sadly, are very informal – there is no facilitation what-so-ever and it is up to the individual to engage with whomever they wish. This in my opinion, is just as bad, if not worse than cold calling as you have no idea who the person is or in what field they are.
BNI meetings, although very facilitated, usually engage with the same people on a weekly basis.
As an entrepreneur, it is essential that you actually find the medium that you are comfortable in and which allows you to engage with others, in the most comfortable fashion.
For me these are meetings like Women In Finance and Inner Circle – these are meetings that are semi-facilitated and allow me the freedom to interact with people who I have met and/or been introduced to, at the meeting. BNI meetings for me, are too facilitated and too structured and meetings like BizNetwork are too informal. However, that’s not to say that you might not enjoy them – this is just my personal opinion.
Once you have decided on which meeting is best for you, make sure you are armed with enough business cards; there is nothing worse than running out of them, when trying to network.
Should you wish to know more about Dr Renate Volpe and her cards please visit her website on www.drrenatavolpe.co.za