You heard me right when I asked if networking events are obsolete.
I think networking events are highly inefficient. I took several years off in my career to teach high school math, and then I spent a year in the non-profit sector. During that year, I attended a lot of networking events, usually twice a week. I developed my style on how to meet people, start a conversation, and more specifically, how to find out what we have in common. I became good at it!
After each event, I would pull out my business cards and start scheduling time to meet people. Real networking occurs afterwards when you meet people one on one and develop a relationship.
Was that an effective method of networking? In general, NO!
I would meet a lot of people, but was I meeting the people I needed to meet? Most of the time, the answer was no.
It was a shotgun approach. A lot of the people I most needed to meet did not attend these events.
What is Replacing Networking Events?
In today’s world of social media, it is fairly easy for me to research a company and develop a list of individuals that I need to meet to accomplish my goals. Also in the case of managing my career, who might be able to hire me.
I can use LinkedIn Advanced Search to find companies that have staff in my city. Notice, I did not say they had an office or facility in my city. So many companies have remote employees, and they may not have a physical presence. You can locate companies using LinkedIn Advanced using the following steps:
- Search in a radius of 50 miles from either your home zip code or where you want to work
- Search either using a specific keyword or job title
- Sift through the list of profiles that meet the search criteria to find current companies
- Go to each company LinkedIn profile
- Click on the See All link to see how you are connected
- Enter your current city to filter the list
You now have a list of individuals who work for the target company who are also located in your city. What you will discover is that there may be a lot of employees of a business in your city that does not have an office or facility.
This can be tedious, but if you keep searching and sorting through profiles, you will be amazed by what you find.
Are networking events obsolete? I do not think so.
I now attend networking events to maintain key relationships. I attend far fewer than before, and I am very strategic in the events I attend.
I attend a Metropolitan Breakfast Club every single Wednesday morning. I have a few key meetups I attend, typically once a month. All of these are to reinforce relationships, meet a a few key individuals, and get my social fix.
I now network strategically using social media and by meeting key individuals one on one. This is far more efficient!
Check out my book Repurpose Your Career – A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers