I had so much fun yesterday coming up with a short list of reasons to join groups other than strict networking that I thought I would continue the list again today. In fact, I may stretch my creativity a bit to see if I can complete the whole alphabet (fortunately this gives me a couple of days to come up with something for “X”.

So, let’s look at the next five reasons.

Fun. Yeah, I know we call it networking, but if you aren’t having a good time, too, you are going to be far less likely to maintain an interest in the group. When you are visiting a group for the first time, ask yourself if you are having fun or even if you could have fun. If the answer is “no” then this might not be the group for you.

Goal Setting. Yesterday we talked about being part of a group to provide accountability with your goals. These same groups can help you come up with your goals in the first place. If they are really good, they will force you to be very specific when you create you goals so that you have a better chance of achieving them.

Hobbies. We so often forget that almost any group can be a good networking experience. Sure, you can network at your local marketing roundtable. You can also make great connections through your membership in the local quilters guild. One of the big benefits of doing this is you already have a personal interest in common with all of the other members — a great way to begin a relationship.

Inspiration. We have a local group called the New Enterprise Forum. During one of their monthly meetings, a couple of people will get up and make presentations about their startup businesses. Basically they are practicing getting up in front of investors. Now, I don’t always get a lot of education from their speeches, but I’ll tell you that I am inspired to get to work on building my business.

Joint Venture. Most people think of networking in order to get more business clients. Some of the best results in networking, however, come from finding potential business partners. Check out the membership of a group to see if there are a few who might end up making good collaborators in future ventures.

Remember, networking groups are more than just the local Chamber or BNI chapter. Of course, no matter which group you join, it must have good networking that meets your goals. Beyond that, though, the more reasons you can find to keep coming back, the more likely it is that you will come back.

Photo credit: Bethany Carlson