When my mother was alive, she thought all I did was go from party to party, drinking bad wine, nibbling rubbery appetizers and chatting up strangers. She had a hard time understanding how I could making a living going to what sounded like cocktail parties.  In the early days of building a consulting practice, I did a lot of networking.

If you’ve done it you know it’s a tough way to build a business. It can be exhausting, expensive and time-consuming. But it’s also necessary to many businesses, especially consulting. It’s also critical to the job hunt.

There are a million networking events out there: how do you know which ones are worth your time? Here are three little things that will make your networking more productive:

  1. Know who you want to meet before you start looking for events. You can spend all your time running from event to event. Better to figure out who you need to connect with before you waste time, energy and money.
  2. Look for networking events that your target audience is likely to attend. If you can, assess the attendee list. The worst thing is to be just another consultant or job seeker in a room full of people all looking for the same thing.
  3. Get out of your comfort zone. Try a new industry, a new professional group, or a new geographic area. It may expand your horizons and open your eyes to opportunities you’d never thought of.

Now that you’ve figured out where you need to network, read my post next week on how to prepare for a successful event.