There are over 30 different networking organisations in the Reading Berkshire area. It has been said that you could network all day every day if you wanted too but which organisations are the best ones for you?
After a year of trial and error I have experienced a variety of different groups that could work for different people and different industries. The BNI which stands of Business Network International is the most successful networking organisation in the world. It was started in America by Dr Ivan Minster and has been the bench mark of profitable networking ever since. Their Ferocity is Givers Gain, if I give you business hopefully you would like to give me business in return.
Their meeting are very structured and are on a weekly basis starting promptly at 7am and finishing at 9am. This has been questioned by a lot of people saying it does not let working Mums have the opportunity to join and these people have now started to run afternoon meetings in its place. There is a lot of commitment when joining BNI not only financially but time wise as well, but if you are prepared to do all of this then you really get out what you put in.
Ladies who Latte meets at the Copthorne Hotel in Reading once a month and as suggested in the title this is an all women networking event. There is a turn out of about 20-25 women and is very much a social lunch as well as business events. Most of the women attending these Ladies who Latte meetings are promoting products, massages, holidays and the like. Most are generally working part time or are just stepping out into business.
Mary Flavelle networking takes place all over the Berkshire area but the nearest one to Reading is in Bracknell at the Bear Keller by the John Nike Centre. This is a monthly Networking Event run by Mary herself. Mary is an extremely passionate and fun person to know and her breakfast meetings are extremely popular and up beat attracting a group of over 30 local networkers. This is a group not to be missed.
NRG Networking is run by David Clarke at Wokefield Park in Mortimer. This is a lunch time meeting. They run business seminars before each business networking lunch. These pre-lunch seminars cover business or personal development topics as well as giving people the opportunity to network. Seminar topics are chosen with the independent professional in mind. The kinds of people that attend this event are mostly experienced business owners.
Duffnuts is a new local networking group which is run by some experienced local networkers. This is a free event which takes place at the moat house in Sindlsham on the last Friday of every month. There is usually a great turn out of about 25-30 local business people. There is free parking out side and you are able to order some lunch from the restaurant if you wish. I have found there to be a lot of regulars that attend Duffnuts so it is a great way to build strong relationships.
Word of Mouse is a franchise and was started by the directors of The Business Referral Exchange. The idea of this networking group is to network on line and off line and costs £25 per month which you can pay as you go. When using the web you join a power circle and there will only be one person from one industry in each circle. The area coordinator will arrange monthly meeting and make sure that everyone is contributing effectively and will help and improve when needed.
Networking in your local area is very important not only to achieve referrals and to make local connections but to give and receive great advice as well. The idea is to not sell to the room but to make strong relationships which will hopefully result in business in the future. Networking should not be a short term fix and if you go in with that attitude then you will come out with nothing. Make sure you have goals for networking just like you would with any sort of marketing and advertising so you know what you want to achieve out of each and everyone. This stops people treating the networking event like a socials meeting.