I was really fortunate to have a friend to take me to my first networking event when I was in London and at my first networking event, I met other networking event organisers who invited me to their meetings and that’s how it snowballed. When I moved to Australia though, I didn’t know a single person prior to going. Here’s what I did to try and find networking groups.
- I asked. It was a long shot, but I thought I’d give it a go. Does anybody know anybody in Brisbane I asked? Not a sausage, but after going to several networking events, I did eventually receive the name of somebody who had just moved to Sydney. I was really lucky though because I knew that I would be in Sydney for a week before moving to Brisbane. Why not give her a holler? I felt like the luckiest gal on the planet because I was put in touch with the amazing Suzy Jacobs from She Business fame.
- Twitter. I decided to take full advantage of my week in Sydney to try and meet people other than the wonderful Suzy. I found several business owners on Twitter and struck up a conversation with them, and asked if I could meet them on a certain date/time. From memory, I think I managed to set up 7 meetings in 5 days with my first meeting on the day of arriving in Sydney from London. Yes I was jet lagged after a 24 hour flight, but with that meeting came further business opportunities later down the track including a couple of tea speaking gigs, and an opportuniTEA to showcase my tea in front of 50 business owners.
- Google. After my week in Sydney, I did a Google Search to find networking events in Brisbane to see what would come up. Google led me to some great networking events including Chambers of Commerce, Rotary Clubs, BNI groups and other local networking events organised by local business owners.
- Word of Mouth. When I went onto Twitter to find business owners in Brisbane, I was extremely fortunate that I met the lovely Linda from Journey Jottings fame on Twitter and invited her to a cup of tea at the first tea house I found in Brisbane. We met face to face, had a really pleasant conversation and Linda also gave me suggestions on Brisbane based networking events.
At each networking event I attended, other networking event organisers attended to entice business owners to go to their networking events. I very quickly found myself inundated with several networking events to attend. Attending the first few networking events, led me to my first interview about Twitter, led me to my first Chinese Gong Fu Tea Ceremony event. Helped me to find someone to design my business card and led me to a great photographer. I found opportuniTEAs to talk about tea and to sell my tea and teawares. Networking for the first few months in a city I didn’t know led me to some amazing prospects and future collaborations.
- Meetup.com. Meetup is an online social networking website that encourages people to organise and/or participate in face to face meetings around the world. I used this website both for business to find networking events and business events to attend. I also used Meetup for personal use too. Moving to a new city in a new country meant that I had to find a way to meet new friends. I found a meetup group that loves Karaoke (I LOVE Karaoke), Films (I love films) and Friday Night drinkypoos (I like to gain my daily source of antioxidants by various means other than tea 😉 )
- Business Magazines. As I attended networking events, I sometimes found business magazines at venues where networking events were held. Leafing through the magazines and reading interviews of successful business folk and useful articles about various aspects of business, there were advertisements of local networking groups to attend to.
If you have any other suggestions of where to find networking groups, please share them in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.