Have you noticed how many opportunities you have these days to network. Whether it is conferences or networking web sites, they seem to be popping up everywhere. How do you make these choices when your life is already too full?
Here are some tips worth considering:
1. In regards to networking web sites (linkedin.com, facebook.com, myspace.com), each one has a personality and a style. Join all three and watch how the features play out. You will probably find that one or two really fit you and how you operate. Then stick with that one instead of trying to manage 5-6 networking profiles successfully.
2. When looking at a potential conference, the first thing you should do is throw away the promotional materials they send you. There are many good conferences but you won't know it from the materials.
3. When you find a conference that looks interesting, find someone who has gone. Usually these conferences tend to focus on a certain type of person. Some attract CEO-level people and are most beneficial to them. Others attract workers who are dealing with very practical day-to-day issues. You need to know that so that you will understand what kind of networking can be accomplished.
4. The city where it's held is important. Are there other organizations/people you need to meet with in town? If so you can combine the event with other key meetings.
5. The keynote speakers are usually hyped significantly. Think about listening to something they have online via podcast. Or read something they have written. Decide whether hearing from them will help you in your specific ministry/function.
I hope these help you as you wade through the onslaught of networking opportunities.