10 Things to Consider When Picking a Networking Group

Jul 27, 2020 | Business Networking, MNO Blog, Online Business Networking

10 Things to Consider When Picking a Networking Group

Trust Your Gut Instinct

When you first walk into the room, be mindful of your initial reaction to the greeters and connectors. Did you get that warm fuzzy feeling inside within the first 10 minutes or was it a cold, discomforting one? Just because you can’t quite put your finger on it, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t trust your gut instinct.

Listen for the Numbers

You may have been treated like royalty and you could totally see yourself becoming a part of the group. But the proof is in the pudding and if the group’s performance is subpar, then you might as well join a social club. A networking group is designed to grow one’s base and get them more exposure. The numbers don’t lie, so keep your ears open for when the leadership team announces the numbers. The average ROI is $30,000 per member so a functioning chapter should be generating at least that for every member.

Visitor Count

It is extremely crucial for a chapter to inspire its members to invite fresh new faces. Otherwise, the meetings become stale and the members are promoting in an echo chamber. A networking group that has a strong inviting culture benefits by bringing fresh new energy along with new opportunities. Although members can’t sell directly to each other unless inquired upon, members can certainly sell to the visitors that choose not to apply for membership. Those that don’t miss out on a huge opportunity.

Attendance

The chapter may have a room full of visitors but that may mask the fact that half of the chapter is absent. It’s important that the members of the group commit to each other, and display their commitment by being present.

Preparedness

As a first-time visitor, it’s excusable to not have your promo ready. But for a member who has been at the meetings weekly to sound as though they whipped together a promo on the way to the meeting speaks volumes about how they treat their business and their chapter.

Sessions

Some organizations call it one to ones, but sessions are where any networking group enjoys a big portion of opportunities passed. The meetings are usually condensed and thus leave little room for members to truly get to know each other. Sessions are designed to form bonds between individual members and establish enough trust to start sharing opportunities with each other. A group that performs poorly in the realm of sessions is a sign that the members aren’t really that committed to learning about each other on a deeper, more substantial level.

Post-meeting Follow Up:

One of the best ways to feel welcome is to receive a text, a call, or an email from one or more of the members. A chapter that reaches out to visitors shows that they care and are willing to expand and share their network with you. If you don’t hear from anyone after the meeting, it could be a sign that the members aren’t looking to grow their networks.

Size does matter

It’s simple: the bigger the membership, the bigger the network. True, there may be some non-performers but you’ll find that in any size chapter. A larger chapter creates a certain kind of energy that lifts the morale of the group and lifts the members to excellent through the pride in their group. Be careful, a large chapter can easily fall from grace by deciding to go rogue and not follow the rules of its organization.

Follow the rules

Like in most businesses and bands, the structure is crucial to any group’s success. A chapter that holds its members accountable improves its chances exponentially at becoming a successful group. A group that is too lenient will lose its best members because they will end up carrying the weight of the chapter.

The Application Process

There are committees that are usually tasked with processing new applications. If you decide to apply, they are tasked with contacting you immediately and scheduling an interview. This shouldn’t take longer than two weeks. Ideally a new application should be processed in one week, assuming there are no issues or delays from the applicant side. Any delays or missed appointments to process the application could be a sign that the members aren’t taking their roles seriously enough to run the chapter efficiently. You can always cancel your interview and stop the process before you are inducted, and you should never worry about exercising that right if your gut instinct tells you maybe you made a mistake in applying.

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