While writing well to get your message across is key to business success, so is networking. Meeting other people and talking with them can strengthen your business in many ways from increasing your clients and customers to keeping you up-to-date on the needs of your community to making connections business to business and more. This post talks about networking opportunities that are both local and internationally based.
I’ve attended several Green Drinks Ventura County events during the past 18 months. Green Drinks is an international organization which meets monthly to connect people in a wide range of sustainable businesses. The meetings are very social, casual, and easy going without much of an agenda where people get to know each other through conversation. Usually announcements are made midway and sometimes the venue offers a tour or discusses what they do that’s “green.”
Locally in Ventura County, Green Drinks meets on the second Wednesday from 5:30-7:30pm at a different location each month. This month, June 9, Green Drinks meets at the Sidecar Restaurant which is one of my favorites local restaurants. The dining room is an old train car and I run into the chef most Wednesdays at the Farmers Market in Midtown. The menu features local, sustainable items, the food is truly delicious, and kids eat free. The Sidecar also offers a nice selection of wine with a local emphasis and they hold winemaker dinners on a regular basis which they pair a tasting menu. I’m convinced the best way to eat there is by ordering the tasting menu and letting them choose the wines so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy yourself knowing you’re in capable hands.
Another widespread networking group is BNI. Last night my friend Borbala Arvai asked if I could substitute for her at a local BNI chapter. She’s encouraged me to attend many times, saying her group is a lot of fun and full of wonderful business women, and she’s made many valuable contacts for her business as an Arbonne consultant and as an artist . While I wasn’t able to substitute for her, I did take the opportunity to learn more. I found out that BNI is much more structured than other networking events I’ve attended. They make sure that each group fo 25 only has one person from each field. Members have the opportunity to speak each week. They pass out cards and people in the BNI group actively network and support other member’s businesses. BNI groups meet weekly for 90 minutes and there’s a hefty membership: in your first year as a BNI member, expect to spend $500 cash as well as 75 hours of your time over the course of a year in the required weekly meetings.
There are as many ways to network as there are people! But they all seem to revolve around food and drink, either caffeine and pastries, or wine and appetizers. That’s one of the reasons I’m offering “Walk & Talk Network Writing Workshops.” We live close to the beach and there’s a nice wide promenade where we can walk and talk and network in the fresh air. There will be a small charge. More information on these events when we get them started!
Check around your local area or on facebook and you will find other networking groups. Tomorrow night, Thursday June 10, I will attend a monthly networking event in Ojai organized by business coach Jodi Womack called “No More Nylons” which will be held at The Acacia Mansion, 205 S. Lomita Ave, Ojai. It’s also free but food and drink will be on sale.
What kind of networking do you do? Why do you engage in networking? Please share in the comments below!