When I started Roundpeg, I joined lots of networking groups. I attended women’s groups, tech groups and business owner round tables. With only a few projects and even fewer local business connections, I had time on my hands. I knew I wasn’t going to grow my business sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring, so I went out.
I spent the better part of five years actively engaged in networking organizations. I was officially a networking junkie and even wrote an ebook on the subject. As the company grew, networking was a required part of being a ‘Pegger.
Today we have lots of projects, and as a result of all the years of networking we have lots of business connections too. Although we don’t get to as many events as we used to, networking is still a required part of everyone’s job. With less time to spend networking, we are more selective about where we spend our time. Yes we are out in the community to make business connections, but also to learn something and maybe even have a little fun along the way.
Rather than just talk about my favorite events, you’ll get a better feel for our approach to networking if some of our team share some of their favorite events. (The side benefit to soliciting their contributions was the fact that I wouldn’t have as much writing to do this week)
Anne’s Morning Meet-up
My go-to networking event is the Social Media Breakfast hosted by Indy Social Media. This ongoing meet up is great because I get to hang out and meet people who work in the same field as I do. They understand the ups and downs of working with social media and digital marketing and offer excellent advice.
Peter’s Professional Development
Smartups have a tightly scheduled agenda focused on a great local speaker. There’s time to snack and introduce yourself to others before and after, but it’s brief and I like that you have a ready conversation topic around the presentation. Great for meeting Indy’s tech community.
You should also check out Linking Indiana’s quarterly speed networking event. You sit with six others and take turns introducing yourself and your question or what you’re looking for. The table responds with their own comments or questions. You typically do 4 rounds at different tables. The focus on problem solving leads to natural connections with potential partners and customers.
Jenna’s Go-to Inspiration
I have a couple events I go to regularly. For general networking I like the Linking Indy Women events. I’ve met some really interesting people there and made connections in many different industries.
My current favorite events to go to are a little more specific to my work. The monthly CreativeMorning lecture series is where I go to meet up with other creative professionals in Indy. It’s always a great time because the speakers are so unique, and their enthusiasm gets me excited to be more creative. An extra bonus at these events is knowing so many people, which makes it really easy to get introduced to other creatives who I’ve not yet met in real life.
Sara’s Favorite Events
Even though I have only been going to networking events for a short time as a Roundpeg Team member, I have enjoyed shopping around for networking events. Full disclaimer: As an introvert, I normally shy away from talking to a large amount of people and I gravitate towards an event with an interesting speaker or small groups of like-minded professionals.
I really like going to AIGA Indianapolis because they have really interesting studio tours and they also have some great speakers. I really enjoy talking to other creative people about their design processes and seeing how other agencies are organized. Another great meet-up I attended is hosted by Indy UX Salon. Aside from interesting speakers, you really get a chance to meet a lot of technology and creative professionals from around the city.
Natalia’s Entrance to Networking
Roundpeg has opened my eyes to the endless list of networking events throughout Indianapolis. Being a student at Butler University I have attended many university sponsored events with local businesses or alumni, but never ventured past the campus to network.
For my first off-campus networking event I attended Social Media Breakfast for Indy Social Media. I really enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere as everyone walked in and headed straight for the coffee. It also offered a great balance between networking and learning about the host company. Starting the day with coffee and a burst of marketing really helped set a professional mindset for the day.
Lorraine Thinks Small
I used to love to walk into a room with 150-200 people. I would cruise around, chat with lots of old friends and introduce myself to new people along the way. While I still enjoy the energy of the big room and enjoy lead generation events like the All County Speed Networking, I usually gravitate towards spending quality time with a few people at a time. So these days I look for ways to have smaller conversations.
Combining my networking with my interest in the arts, I serve on the Board of Directors of the IndyFringe and look forward to the small working sessions with 8-12 people I know and respect. And, it isn’t all work and no play. After we are done working through issues the organization is facing, we often celebrate together at a performance in our new theater. Then during the 10 day Fringe Festival I have a chance to get a dose of mass networking, as so many people I know come to see at least one show.
Go where you are comfortable, go where you are interested
Networking is a key element in your business’s success, but it doesn’t have to be painful. Pick events which interest you and you will look forward to attending. Be active and engaged at whatever event you attend and you will make the professional connections you need to grow your business.
So get out and network. Look for the ‘Peggers and be sure to say hello.