Next, in my search for non-networking networking, I am pleased to write ‘Networking Events, an alternative’. Discussing ways to connect with business contacts without it feeling like networking.

1. The # Hour

In the social media world, how do you know that you are speaking with peers you can learn from? How do you connect with those you can share knowledge with, help and eventually convert into a client or supplier?

We have participated in networking hours for a long time. We have also made great connections when hosting a guest hour. This opportunity allows you to:

  • Invite existing contacts that don’t usually participate in the hour.
  • Promote the hour within your networks both on and off Twitter
  • Write about and summarise your experience as a host
  • Manage the conversation to enrich the networking hour and engage with as many new contacts as possible

So what are you waiting for? If you regularly participate – why not ask if you can guest host?

2. Community Projects

Supporting projects within your community can lead to many opportunities. Often, with larger projects, sponsors, charities and a raft of suppliers are involved. What makes this the perfect opportunity for non-networking networking, you ask? Well, you have something in common to discuss project stakeholders. Use launch events, steering group meetings, and the wrap-party to build rapport and make valuable contacts.

3. Business Community Focus Groups

We recently discovered some local business forums in our community. Set with a clear agenda, these events look to grow business in the area. They don’t take on the format of traditional networking, which we feel can turn into a ‘free for all’. So there is no ‘each to their own’, trying to promote their own businesses with fist fulls of business cards. We’re going to sign up and give it a try.

We’ll let you know how we get on.

Don’t forget to Storify your tweet chat, that way you can continue to engage with participants beyond the hour.

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