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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Is This The Secret Of A Useful Business Networking Group?

One of Manchester's media group pulled the plug on a good business networking group this month. Everyone I met who used to attend "The Board" thought it was a great shame. The Manchester Evening News who'd run "The Board" for about two years had tried their best to provide a great networking experience.

Yesterday I attended another networking group (Simply Networking). This group is going from strength to strength and the numbers attending increases almost every time. They usually have over 100 people attending.

Was their any difference that could explain the collapse of the first and the rise of the second group?

I believe so ...

The Board usually provided a speaker at each event together with a light breakfast or light lunch depending on the time of day of the event. The first few events were very well attended. They also had sponsorship from several local companies so could afford to entertain in this way. But the quality of speakers varied so that as a result people stopped making the effort to attend. Plus you didn't really want to sit through a sales pitch to meet people you could meet at another networking group. The numbers attending dwindled. But I would say they still had between 70 and 100 people every time.

In the final analysis were they helping local business, their sponsors or getting more advertising in their papers?

Knowing some of the sponsors and seen the advertising in the papers I think the answer is no.

Simply Networking on the other hand is purely about going to talk to a large number of business people.

For several hours.

Which is what networking is all about.

You get to spread yourself around. But not so much that you make no impact or don't hear what the other person is saying to you.

Also you pay whenever you attend unlike a lot of networking groups where you apy every time you attend and have an annual fee. So if you don't feel like it or are rushed off your feet it doesn't feel like you're pouring money down the drain by not going.

Again are they helping local business. The short answer is they are. They're giving them the ability to have exposure to a lot of other businesses over a decent amount of time.

So the death of The Board is mourned but perhaps the writing was already on the wall?

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