Be a Joiner, X, Y, and Z

OK, we finally made it to the last day of our week-long list of attributes for networking groups which we may be considering. We’ve looked at size, location, membership, and perks. Now, we’re down to the final three. Remember that first and foremost, the group must support your networking goals. If they can’t do that at least, then you shouldn’t even be considering it as a part of your networking efforts. These considerations primarily help you to decide if you will be comfortable and able to support the group in its mission, whatever it is.

Now, for our final three.

Xenophilia. OK, you had to know that “X” would be a toughie. Xenophilia is the love of the foreign or the outsider. In the context of a group, how well does your group work with outside individuals and agencies? For example, if you are attending a speaking event, will the presenter be from within the ranks of the group or will it be an external expert? Both are OK, you just need to be aware of how this trait matches up with your desires.

Year-round. What sort of schedule does the group keep. For networking to be powerful, you really need to maintain it on a regular basis. If the group goes on hiatus for a couple of months in the summer, how will that affect your efforts at consistency? Will you be able to find alternative venues with which you can fill in your schedule? Or will you just assume that a two-month break in your networking won’t be a problem for you?

Zealousness. How excited are the members to be a part of the group? Really, for the group to be as strong as possible, you need to have at least a core group who are true supporters. If most members are just showing up without an intention of actually pitching in to make the group stronger, then the organization is likely to fail in the not-too-distant future. If that is the case, you have to decide if you want to be the one who steps up to re-invigorate the membership.

There’s one thing I should mention when you are using these ideas to evaluate a group. Certainly you can use the attributes to disqualify the group from consideration. There is nothing wrong with seeking out the optimal group for you. If, however, with the exception of one or two of these traits, the organization looks like a good fit for you, you might want to ask yourself if you could serve the group by addressing those areas where you perceive a need. Assuming you treat the existing members and leadership with respect, you will go a long way toward securing a much stronger relationship with the other members of the group.

And that will go a long way toward reaching your goals of networking success.

Photo credit: Pawel Kryj

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About Greg Peters

Greg Peters, president and founder of The Reluctant Networker, LLC, is a business networking specialist. He works with trade associations on both the local and national level to create a culture of better connections and greater opportunity. Find out more at www.TheReluctantNetworker.com or gpeters@thereluctantnetworker.com.

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