This article is available for reprint as long as the byline remains intact.5 Ways to Start a Networking Group That Sizzles, Not Fizzles
By Leesa Barnes
You’ve attended every networking event in your area and they seem to offer the same thing – eating, meeting, greeting and fleeing. You’re bored with the routine of these events and you joyously decide that the time has come to start your own networking group that will blow everyone’s socks off.
Starting your own networking group takes time and effort. Not only do you have to create excitement, but you also have to sustain the momentum so people continue to attend.
Here are 5 things to remember when launching your own networking group so that it sizzles, not fizzle.
Ensure that you build a solid board of directors or volunteers. You can’t do this alone, so enlist the help of volunteers who share your vision. I was fortunate to have 6 people work along side of me in the early stages of the development of this association. The seven of us became the founding board. Having them helped me in shaping the direction of this new networking group, not in my own personal vaccum, but by tapping into a wide variety of experiences.
Craft your association bylaws early. This will save you alot of grief in the long run. The bylaws help you to govern your group so that it runs more smoothly. It also helps you in deciding how elections will be run, how board members will be replaced and how you’ll manage your group’s money.
Plan your year’s events before you launch your group. Nothing will irritate new members more than to attend a launch for your new networking group with no other events planned for the rest of the year. Keep the momentum going by ensuring you have planned out the timing of your future events. If possible, make it the same time each month eg. the third Thursday or the first Monday. That way, people can plan ahead.
Decide early what your mission and strategy is for the first year. Being able to succinctly tell people why you’re doing what you’re doing can make the difference between having 10 repeat visitors or over 100. Understand why you’re creating this new networking group by crafting a winning mission statement and strategies for the upcoming year.
Understand whether your new group conflicts with another. People are more willing to support networking groups that offer something new. Develop an interesting model that other networking groups aren’t using and you’ll create repeat visitors to your events.
While adopting these suggestions may be too much for your new networking group, following them will make the difference between having a successful – and sustaining – networking group or one that fizzles and dies within weeks of the launch.
(c) 2005 Leesa Barnes. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
Leesa Barnes, The Schmooze Coach™, helps consultants, virtual assistants, professional organizers, coaches and solopreneurs avoid cold calling by developing a fearless networking plan. Leesa is author of “Schmooze Your Way to Success: 9 Fearless Networking Tips for the Shy, Timid, Introverted & Just Plain Clueless.” Go to http://www.schmoozeyourwaytosuccess.com/ecourse.html and sign up for her free 8-lesson ecourse called “From Clueless to Fearless: Secrets from the Schmooze Coach.”
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