Meetups are a great chance for networking – whether it’s making a new friend, finding your next business partner or star employee, or even a new client or two. If you’re lucky enough to live in a big city, or a town where people are super into organizing Meetups, it can be tough to whittle down the list to the right ones for you.
It’s important to use your time wisely, both at work and after work. While Meetups can be an invaluable tool for networking, it’s still important to spend your time at the right events with the right people.
Who are you? What are you looking for?
Knowing what you want and need from networking events is important so you can plan your schedule accordingly. If you’re looking for a new, talented developer, then you should check out a tech Meetup (the Tech Toronto Meetup is an incredible one for the tech industry). If you’re trying to learn a new skill, or become an industry leader, find your niche and go after it! If you are a self starting female entrepreneur looking for a group of ladies to learn from and to give back like a mastermind meeting, then maybe Women Behind The Business is right for you.
Plan and strategize
It’s healthy to have a nice mix of different kinds of events with different types of industries. You never know who you’ll meet! Changing up your scene can save you from falling into a rut. It keeps you outside of your comfort zone and on your toes. Try to find a mix of weekly, monthly, and periodic groups. Make a calendar schedule of events and colour them in order of importance. If you have to miss one, you can see which ones to knock out and which ones to prioritize when things get busy.
Do your research
While there are benefits to going into an event with no clue who to talk to, with plans to just mingle and make it work, it’s not always the best approach. Take time on the day of a Meetup to creep the guest list, do some Google and LinkedIn slalking, and find some names you really want to say hi to. If you’re someone who’s really committed, get their Twitter handles and shoot them an @mention before or after the event to really connect. You’ll leave a lasting impression, without a doubt. #TwitterTips
FOMO – or, fear of missing out – can be your social lifes worst enemy, which is why you can’t let it creep into your professional life as well! Don’t go to an event just because someone else is or because other people have raved about it. You only have so many hours in a week and you have to make them count. Saying no can be hard, but there will always be a next time...if you choose to. Meetups are an incredible way to meet new people, learn some new skills, and network yourself. Amongst the sea of Meetup events, you’ll find some you love, some you never want to go back to again, and maybe you’ll even start your own. At the end of the day, choose your events wisely and make the most out of them. Take the time once a month to audit the Meetups that you are a member of. If you are a member of a group that hasn't had a Meetup in over 3 months, leave the group. Only remain a member in a group if you see value. Toss the rest.