If you’re looking to expand your network, stop going to events branded as “networking events”. Why so? They are surprisingly filled with salespeople trying to sell their services, or job seekers looking for their next career opportunity.
People who are the key decision makers or uphold great influence amongst their businesses, do not readily attend events where the primary purpose is to network. Their time is valuable. Instead, they attend events where the purpose is to either: 1.) have fun 2.) fundraise for a cause they care dearly about 3.) learn something new or 4.) to compete amongst others within a social environment.
Having similar interests and values is what brings people together. For instance, if you attended a charity event or fundraiser – it will be likely other attendees will showcase their care towards the same cause. This itself is a great conversation starter, which will help you to develop a fruitful and long-lasting relationship with others. This is the better form of “networking” – meeting others who are similar to you whilst broadening your network indirectly.
Clearly, how you position yourself is important. Be selective and stop attending events branded as “networking events”. Instead, start attending events where the purpose is not to network; but to meet other like-minded individuals.