Even in this social networking age, I believe face-to-face meetings are still the most powerful way for women in business to build solid professional relationships.
Purpose of Meetup.com –
Meetup.com is an online way to organize and find face-to-face meetings in your local area. The purpose of Meetup.com is to make it easy to network with other like-minded people. Meetup.com combines the power of the Internet with the power of face-to-face meetings. You can search the Meetup.com Internet database to find the local Meetup that will fit your personal and professional preferences. Or, you can begin your own Meetup group.
About Meetup.com –
Founded in 2002 and according to the Meetup.com website, their mission is: “To revitalize a local community and help people around the world self-organize. Meetup believes that people can change their personal world, or the whole world, by organizing themselves into groups that are powerful enough to make a difference.”
How Meetup Works –
1. You go to Meetup.com and type in a topic of interest, your city and zip or postal code. You will find all the local Meetups within fifty miles of your location. This is basically a “key word” search for your interests: Small business, women in business, women entrepreneurs, etc.
2. You register to become a member of Meetup.com first and then you join the local Meetup groups of your choice. The organizers of each individual Meetup group can charge a fee for membership, a per meeting fee or it may be free – that is up to each individual organizer. If you cannot find a local group that meets your networking interests, you may want to start one of your own.
3. You join, then RSVP for the next scheduled meeting and attend to meet and network with like-minded individuals.
4. You can easily organize your own Meetup group. There is an organizer fee.
5. There are even opportunities to sponsor local Meetup groups.
My thoughts and experiences with Meetup.com:
Pros of using Meetup.com – It is an easy and effective way to begin a networking group. They provide a website, help with publicizing your group, offer quick customer support and provide easy to use tools for building a Meetup website for your group to use. Professionally, as the organizer, it is a way to develop yourself as an expert in your field and to become a recognizable figure within your niche market.
Cons of using Meetup.com – Developing a successful Meetup group takes work, time and effort – I think of my Meetup as a part time job. It takes consistency and dedication to develop a successful networking group and to benefit from being a member – you cannot hold or attend a meeting once in awhile and expect business-building results. There is a fee to be an organizer and there are rules from Meetup.com that you must follow to remain an organizer. As a member, choose your group carefully and make sure it is a fit for you and your business.
Starting my own Meetup group has been one of the best business-building experiences of my career. I recommend Meetup.com to my coaching clients as a tool to grow their businesses and as a way to gain personal and professional self-confidence, whether as an organizer or a member.
Note: I am writing this article without any prompting from Meetup.com and am NOT being paid to write a review. My opinions are solely mine.
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