Types of Networking Groups

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Networking groups are very important for businesses and professionals. Specifically, networking groups offer a lot of business opportunities, including referrals. Others, on the other hand, offer professionals the chance to gain more knowledge including access to educational opportunities. Some networking groups are specifically dedicated to commerce and industry promotion while others simply provide a venue for people in the same field to come together. Networking groups may also serve as venues for people to socialize.

Strong Contact Networks (BNI)

  • The purpose of a strong contact networking group is to openly provide individuals the chance to pass around business referrals. However, this type of networking group usually permits only one individual per profession to join. A strong contact network is ideal for building in-depth relationships. This type of networking group usually meets every week. Referrals are part of the meeting so members get to interact completely with one another.

Casual-Contact Networks

  • Casual-contact networks are also called a Chamber of Commerce type of networking group. In this type of group, business people gather together but in a less structured atmosphere. Despite being a major source of referrals, the group does not limit the membership by profession. Casual-contact networks are ideal for people seeking to add depth in their network. Nonetheless, it may also be a good source of long-lasting relationships. A Chamber of Commerce group is considered to be an open networking group. This group allows more than a few individuals per profession. Usually, the main purpose of creating Chamber of Commerce groups is to help promote businesses in targeted geographical areas. Meetings are often held after working hours and members take turns in hosting the gathering. On some occasions, casual-contact networks also hold lead-sharing and business meetings. For members to fully benefit from the group, it is strongly suggested that they do not miss meetings. Since these gatherings provide limited opportunities for members to discuss things, it's important to maximize every opportunity for group interaction.

Online Networks

  • Online networks are the newest addition to networking group options. As the name implies, this type of group primarily uses the online platform as a means to come together. Just like conventional networking groups, this network seeks to develop relationships. Depending on the nature of the website, the target group varies, including qualifications. For instance, there are online networks for academe associates while others cater to less formal groups. This type of network uses emails and blogs to facilitate communication among members.

References

  • Photo Credit Hugh Sitton/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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