Choosing a networking group starts within.
You have to ask yourself, “What is it that you want from the networking group?” according to Marketing Director Joette Giardina with Party People Events.
“Are you looking to gain support and awareness?” Director of Marketing Dianne Kaplan with 1st Priority Staffing adds. “Are you able to go to the networking meetings regularly?”
Asking yourself these questions can help you make your decision. And when push comes to shove, BRIDGE Local Founder Chrissanne Long suggests you go with your gut feeling. “When you walk into a room and feel that vibe of ‘These are my people. They think what I think. I believe what they’re saying is authentic. They truly seem to care about what they can help me with,” then that’s when you know you’ve found the right networking group.
Just show up!
Even if you don’t know which networking group is right for you, it all starts with just showing up! “Go to any networking event,” said President of Voyager Industries Rut Patel, “You’ll find something.”
“I go to networking events not to get customers directly but to get to know people and tell people what I do and what problems I solve.” Patel first started with Lakeland Business Leaders (now BRIDGE Local) and it helped him meet a ton of people who ended up introducing him to their connections.
Long agreed with Patel’s suggestion of going to any networking event. She said, “Go to a lot of different places with the mindset of asking, ‘Why do you network here? What is it about this group of people that makes it the right fit for you?'” She goes on to say it’s all about finding out what you are trying to get out of the group and then finding the group that fits that.
Wherever you decide to show up, make sure you “Show up as your authentic self,” said Kaplan. We couldn’t have said it better!
Here’s a few places to start.
During our meeting, there were a few networking groups mentioned:
- Lakeland Chamber of Commerce
- American Business Women Association
- BRIDGE Local 🙂
Why people chose BRIDGE Local.
Many of our attendees mentioned BRIDGE Local as the right fit for them for their networking group of choice.
“BRIDGE Local is laid back and personable,” said Giardina.
When you join BRIDGE, you are giving (instead of taking) and when you build relationships with those people you give to, they want to support you and be a part of your journey, according to Kaplan.
If you’d like to learn more about our networking group, please visit our “About Us” page by clicking here or join us at our next event! Many of our events are open to the public, so we invite you to join us and see if we’re the right fit for you!