Networking – roll your own

Create Your Own Local Meetup Checklist

You can always join a pre-organized meetup, but you might serve your needs better by creating your own and inviting the people you want to be there. This is just a quick list of tips to help you get a local group together. 

Please note that this checklist doesn’t include instructions for the Meetup website. If you want to use Meetup.com site to plan your event, here is a very detailed checklist with plenty of tips to help you. Remember, an official Meetup will be more open to the public and is good for meeting people for the first time. Once you know a few local people, it’s probably even more beneficial to get together in a small group of specific people you want to get to know better. 

Here are a few things to do when trying to get a small group of like minds together. € Have a reason why. If you want people to get together, you need to give them a good reason why. For local meetups, it might just be the opportunity to connect with likeminded online business owners. Just make sure you understand why you’re putting together the event and make that known. € Check if there is already a similar event available for you to attend first. If you check sites like Meetup.com or Yelp.com and see that there is a group getting together, you might just want to join them first to get your feet wet. You’ll probably meet a few people there that you can invite to your next event. € Decide whether you want to create a more public Meetup group or do you just want to invite a few key people to a lunch or other type of meeting? The latter allows for more intimate conversations and will help you make the specific connections you’re seeking. € Choose a comfortable place to meet and ensure you have enough space. If you’re going to a restaurant, make a reservation. If you plan to meet at a coffee shop, keep it to a small group unless they take reservations. You want everyone to be able to sit down (unless it’s a stand up cocktail party) and to feel welcome. € For larger groups, figure out the details before you send invitations. If you leave it open to a large group to decide when and where you’ll meet, the planning quickly falls apart. If you set the date, time and place people can simply decide if they want to attend or not. For smaller groups of 2-4 people, you probably want to discuss it and come to a consensus on what works best for people. € If you do use a website like Meetup.com, don’t just post it and forget. Directly invite a few key players and promote your event outside the site as well. € Send reminders before your event. People forget, and online business owners are notorious for backing out of opportunities to get out and meet people face to face. Just send a quick note saying that you’re looking forward to meeting them, and include the details of when and where to meet. 

There are so many benefits to meeting face to face with other online business owners and you might be surprised how many people you can find locally. And remember, just like with other networking opportunities, nurture the relationships you form and get together more often.

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