Last night I attended the brand new technology industry networking forum in Nottingham otherwise known as Nott Tuesday. It is one of the first dedicated technology events of its kind in Nottingham, and many attendees expressed their enthusiasm for its launch and the ability to connect to other local professionals in the industry to share advice, make business connections and friends.
It brings me to say this: get offline! I (probably like many of you reading this) spend a lot of time reading news websites and blogs, using social media to connect to people and brushing up on my skills online. But nothing substitutes actually meeting other professionals in the flesh and sharing your experiences. Unique and exciting opportunities arise from relationships forged in person.
Never networked before? Don’t panic! Most events such as Nott Tuesday have a really relaxed atmosphere – just be yourself! As a first networking event I highly recommend going down to your local Twestival charity meet tomorrow night (events in 175+ cities worldwide, I am helping organise the Nottingham Twestival). Why? It’s about as informal and fun as a networking events get PLUS it’s for charity! If you use Twitter now, it’ll be like meeting your friends for a drink after work. Except better because you may meet a potential new business partner, employer, colleague or friend!
Networking is also a great way to air new business or career ideas too – so many great minds in one room; it’s the perfect forum.
Here’s a handful of other organisations with networking events to try:
(These are UK based – if you can recommend events outside the UK, feel free leave a comment!)
- The Chartered Institute of Marketing: marketing-centric seminars, workshops and networking events held nationwide.
- Business Link: seminars and events for businesses on anything from starting up to tax to IT and eCommerce.
- eBusiness Clubs: nationwide events on a wide range of topics including marketing, business, legal issues and business advice.