Well, it’s that time of year again, the holidays are in the rearview mirror, the new business year has gotten into full swing, and BNI’s 9th annual International Networking Week initiative is just around the corner. If you’ve never heard of the event series, still on the fence about whether or not to put in the effort to attend, or most of the way convinced that you’ll be attending a local event then let me be the one to make the final pitch, so you don’t miss out on an enriching, professionally beneficial, potentially life-altering experience. On behalf of BNI, here are the top six reasons to attend an event for this year’s 10th annual International Networking Week between February 1st and 5th, 2016.
1. Events bring together representatives from all walks of life
• International Networking Week events aren’t just for senior executives and well-established business people. Everyone is welcome. These events will focus on bringing together students, government representatives, business people and members of the community for a unique, specifically beneficial and yet broadly applicable experience.
2. Events aren’t just about networking
• The goals are twofold. Of course, they will bring together individuals from all levels of the public and private sectors to enhance their networking capabilities and best practices, but it’s not all business; these events will also serve as a celebration of networking’s role in ongoing business development and success.
3. The talent pool is impressive
• As I’ve already alluded to, our events will bring together a diverse group of individuals from all walks of life. Last year, 60 countries and tens of thousands of individuals participated in International Networking Week events, and we anticipate even better turnouts in 2016. These events will provide unique access to an intelligent, hardworking and talented group of individuals who can take you and your business to the next level.
4. We teach networking
• Networking is a little like driving a car. We all do it, and we’re all fairly proficient at it, but we’ve had little, if any, direct professional training. Networking just isn’t taught anymore, and BNI is trying to change that through International Networking Week. When you attend, you will be exposed to both professional instruction and direct application, and you will emerge a significantly more productive and more connected networking professional for it.
5. We will have young professionals on hand
• Continuing the success of previous years, this year we’ll be redoubling our focus on young professionals for International Networking Week. If you are a young professional, attend an event! If you know a young professional, bring them with you! Talented youths offer a uniquely fresh perspective on business and networking and by focusing and developing the potential they offer, we can create a brighter future for everyone.
6. The focus is on Relationship Networking
• It’s easy to fall into the trap of immediate networking for utility’s sake. This gentleman can help me get this job. This woman can introduce me to this professional. I’ve heard this business is a good place, so I need to establish a connection. That is not the best approach to take; networking is about farming, not hunting. At BNI, we focus on relationship networking, an approach to doing business which focuses on long-term success by building successful, foundational, longstanding relationships through the networking process.
And there you have it, International Networking Week 2016. There’s a reason (or six) for everyone to attend, and while I’ve spent a considerable amount of time trying to argue the case, the events do speak for themselves. Visit here to find an event near you.