Are You Really Connecting at Networking Events? How to Make the Most of Networking Opportunities

We are fortunate in Greensboro, NC to have so many opportunities to participate in networking events. At Office Evolution Greensboro, we host a couple of networking events each month. Why add another networking opportunity to the abundance already available in Greensboro? Quite simply, we are encouraging growth of the business community in our space and beyond.

Networking Best Practice

When planning our first event, I reached out to Abby Donnelly of The Leadership & Legacy Group, and her advice has helped shaped my thinking around networking events. Here are 3 things that I try to reinforce with our gatherings.

  1. One of our goals with these events is to build relationships and help each other be successful. It’s not about how many business cards you can collect. It’s about how much you can learn about what each person you talk to is trying to accomplish, what they do, who they are, etc.
  2. Give/help first – rather than looking for people that can help you, think about what you can do for others, what connections can you help people make – to me this is when networking really became fun.
  3. Don’t spend too much time with any one person. It’s expected that everyone will excuse themselves to mingle with others. This is OK! If you meet someone you want to talk to more, commit to getting together another time.

Creating Community

Making connections fits right in with Ohana, which is one of Office Evolution’s core values. Ohana is a Hawaiian word that means family, not just in the sense of blood family. It could be a sports team, a theater troupe, a civic club, etc. It’s a very positive term that describes a group of people fighting for the same purpose, in the sense that we’re all in this together.

When planning our events, we are

  1. Varying day of the week and time of day to avoid constant conflicts with other networking opportunities,
  2. Posting and sharing throughout our network and asking our connections to also share our events,
  3. Invite speakers that draw a diverse group,
  4. Offering these events at no charge,
  5. And of course, we provide refreshments.

Our networking events generally gather 10-30 people, and because people are interested in the speaker and topic, they are truly connecting with other participants that are there for the same reason. That connection is really what we are trying to achieve with the networking events at Office Evolution Greensboro.