I'm an avid member of Meetup.com because it's a great way to find out about events related to your industry or field of interest. So far my foray has been pretty fruitful, and I've come across many interesting people on my meetups. If you're a job hunter, meetups are a great way to network, so definitely try to see if there are any near you that are worth going to. Here are my tips for a successful meetup:
- Organizer: Look up the organizer online, view her meetup profile, and see what her track record is like. Check out her LinkedIn profile or her website bio to see if she's legit. Sometimes you can end up going to an event that's a waste of time, so be sure to check her out to see if it's really worth your while.
- Attendees: You can tell a lot about the event by the participants. Take the time to look at their profiles and their backgrounds to see if these are people you are interested in meeting.
- Business Cards: Always bring your business cards and remember to ask for the other person's business card as well. It's a great tool for networking, and will make you more memorable. It's also easier on you if you're bad with names — a sneak peek at the card is a great reminder.
- Good Questions: Remember to have a few good questions and even key topics in mind before you approach someone. This is so you don't end up drawing a blank after introducing yourself. If possible, try to prepare a couple before the event.
For more tips on great networking, read on.
- Mints: Keep a couple of mints in your bag just to freshen up once in a while. Talking a lot can also make your mouth dry, which can lead to not-so-pleasant breath.
- Keep in Touch: Email the people you talked to after the meetup or connect with them via LinkedIn. Refer back to something you talked about in your conversation with them so that it feels more personal.
- Manners: Conduct yourself properly at these events, because people will take note of that. Be courteous toward everyone you meet, even if it's someone who you don't think you'll develop a relationship with. How you act is a reflection of yourself.
- Public Places: If you have no clue who any of these people are, be sure to attend a meetup at a public place and not someone's house. You may think this is common sense, but I've heard of a couple of people who went over to a stranger's house for a meetup.