Monday, October 15, 2012

The Need for Networking (& some tips and tricks!)

We cannot stress the importance of networking enough. Networking is what plugs you into your community. It is what creates links and relationships with other professionals in your area and gives you a chance to put faces to names. You never know when you're going to make a connection with another professional that may be exactly what you and your company was looking for.

We are lucky to have an abundance of excellent networking opportunities in the Traverse City area. There are a few that we must mention not only because they have proved to be great events with impressive turn-outs, but because we hope that someone (maybe even you!) who is reading this article may say "Hey- those sound wonderful! I've really been missing out!" and attend the next networking event. 

So, on that note, here are a few Traverse City networking events that we are huge fans of:

1. Business After Hours- This event is definitely a Traverse City favorite. Business After Hours occurs once a month- at a different location each month. There are usually 150-200 business professionals at each event, allowing you to get to know individuals from virtually every profession imaginable. Business After Hours truly is a relaxed and social setting, which makes networking much less intimidating and allows conversations and introductions to flow naturally. There is also always a raffle at the end of the event and the prizes are completely worth attending. We have a free-ski day voucher sitting pretty here at the Events North office from a part Business After Hours event. You can bet we'll be putting that to good use.

The next Business After Hours event is this Wednesday, October 17th at Grand Traverse Ophthalmology Clinic from 5-7pm. Attendees are encouraged to wear their favorite football teams apparel (how fun, right?) and to bring a non-perishable food item to donate to Father Fred Foundation.

2. Traverse City Young Professionals Conference- If you follow Events North, Allison Beers or Meaghan Jameson on Facebook, you may have noticed that we are slightly (read: EXTREMELY) excited for this event. The Young Professionals Conference features a phenomenal keynote speaker, Organized Audrey, who may finally help you learn how to empty your inbox and correctly file away your documents- we even noticed a mention of her explaining how to live your life...without post-it notes. There are also far too many wonderful round table and breakout speakers to mention (although if you ask us about them we would be more than happy to gush to you about each and every one). Our personal favorite part of the upcoming conference is that there will be a panel full of Traverse City's Leaders talking about "things they wished they had known at 22." 

As far as the networking aspect of the event, there are breaks between every speaker that give attendees a chance to catch up and learn about each other's professions. There is also time before the conference for Young Professionals to network over breakfast, as well as an hour and a half networking reception in Aerie Lounge after the last breakout speaker session. If you're a Young Professional, you should make this conference a priority.

The conference is coming up next Tuesday, October 23rd at the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa. You can sign up to register right here. We really hope to see you there!

3. Grand Traverse Women Networking Nites- First of all, sorry gentleman- this event is strictly for the lovely ladies of the Traverse City area.. 120+ of them, to be specific. Grand Traverse Women Networking Nites are not only a chance to connect with other female professionals in the area, they're fun and offer a feeling of camaraderie that isn't always easy to come by. Spending an evening every other month with like-minded women is such a positive and fulfilling time. The Grand Traverse Women Networking Nites also always have themes and featured speakers, neither of which ever disappoint. 

The next Grand Traverse Women Networking Nite is coming up on Wednesday, November 7th at Paperworks Studio. Tickets are $25 and the event is worth every penny (and the food provided is always wonderful)! The theme is "card night," so look forward to some adorably crafty creations!

4. Recess- Recess, much like Business After Hours, attracts some of the most impressive members of the Traverse City Community- and it attracts a lot of them. Recess is another simple and accessible way to network and mingle with other area-professionals while enjoying delicious food and beverages. The location of this event changes every time, allowing you to experience a fresh atmosphere each time!

The next Recess is taking place on Wednesday, November 7th at the Traverse City State Theatre from 5pm-8pm. Tickets are $5.00 and there will be a private film showing, hors d'oeuvres and drinks (and also some great prizes). 

With so many opportunities to networking in the area, there really isn't an excuse not to attend at least one. Most events occur right after work on Tuesday or Wednesday nights, so chances are you're available to attend!

A few things to remember when attending a networking event:

- Don't be shy. Go ahead and make the first move by extending a handshake. You have to be a go-getter at networking events!

- Make sure you have quite a few business cards on hand. These events range from 50-200 attendees, you don't want to strike up a conversation and realize that you have no business card to pass along.

- Follow up with the individuals you meet. Making connections is not a one-night deal. You have to follow through.

- Go in with an open mind. What are your goals for that evening? To promote your business? To find new industry partners? Get to know as many people as you can- you never know who you may end up meeting!

We hope to see you at all of the above mentioned events! Stop by and chat with us- we promise to have business cards on hand. 

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