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Local networking groups, mastermind sessions, marketing meets and even large scale exhibitions - the possibilities are endless - but which networking style is best for your business? We've compiled a list of various different networking events, styles and groups to make it easy for you to select the style that suits you. Before booking on to an event, make sure you read our blog on how to get the most ROI from networking to ensure it's the right choice for you. 
"I like that it didn't feel like a cult like some other events can!" 
 
- Rukmini Patel, Owner 

Speed Networking.  

There's nothing worse than being at a business event with a room full of strong potential connections knowing that there's absolutely no way you'll be able to engage with all of them.  
 
Speed networking is a simple - yet incredibly fun - solution to this problem because it allows you to start building relationships and exchanging business cards with every single person in the room.  
 
All you need to do is be able to explain your business and your ideal clientele within 2.5 minutes (which is harder for some than others!)  
 
If you're looking for a more fun and relaxed way to network then definitely give speed networking a go! 

Mastermind sessions.  

Running a business can be incredibly stressful work and - at times - it's hard to know who to turn to for support and guidance. You're torn between not wanting to burden your staff or bore your family but at the same time needing to vent about your frustrations to someone who understands your situation and can provide useful solutions.  
 
If this all sounds familiar to you then it might be worth joining a mastermind group which is made up of local directors in exactly the same boat as you. Not only does this allow you to gain a fresh, unbiased opinion, it also gives you the opportunity to connect with directors at your level which could lead to incredibly valuable business partnerships.  
 
The Alternative Board are hosting a mastermind taster session in Milton Keynes on 29th January - Why not give it a go?  
What is The Alternative Board and how can it benefit your business?  
 
This video explains why joining TAB has increased the overall productivity and profitability for it's members and how it can be extremely beneficial to all business owners who are looking to get more out of networking.  
"I would thoroughly recommend this course – it inspired me to sell with more confidence. The sessions were excellently presented as were the working exercises. I can now move forward in my business with greater clarity of thought with a simple approach for winning more business." 
 
- M.D. FM Group 

Workshops & Seminars.  

If you have a particularly niche business, or a very specific clientele demographic, sometimes attending an industry specific workshop or seminar is the best place to find them.  
 
For example, let's say you're a marketing company, why not try attending a marketing workshop? The people attending are obviously looking for marketing advice and you may even pick up some useful tips too!  
 
The best thing about educational business events is that you are pretty much guaranteed to get your money's worth because, even if you don't walk away with a client, there is always something more to learn. 
 
Sailfish Associates are hosting scaling up and sales workshops in Milton Keynes on 18th February - Why not take a look?  

Exhibitions.  

Exhibitions can be large or small but are a great place to get creative when showcasing your business. Sure there will be loads of other businesses there competing for attention, but generally if you have an eye-catching stall and a winning smile, you will attract some interest.  
 
The key to exhibitions is to move around, network with other exhibitors and engage with people walking past - don't just stand there waiting for a crowd of people to descend upon you - go and find them!  
 
Exhibitions are perfect for the more established businesses with lots of attractive merchandise; brochures, roller banners, leaflets etc. However, if you've got a very visual/interactive product, food product (because who doesn't love a free sample?!) or the gift of the gab then exhibitions will be a perfect way to get your name out there and connect with new clients!  
 
Our International Conference and Exhibition is back this March 
Business Expo 3.0 welcomed over 3,000 delegates throughout the day, Business Live 2020 will be out fifth international conference and exhibition to be hosted in Milton Keynes at Marshall Arena on 19th March 2020. 

National networking groups.  

These groups have all thrived because they have a clear structure, consistency and attractive membership packages. Members gain exclusive access to events and online membership forums, as well as business support and advice.  
 
If you're new to networking, or simply keen to connect with a more national audience, then trying at least one of these groups is definitely advised. 
 
National groups have a proven reputation and are trusted by thousands across the UK meaning they are perhaps more likely to have good attendance rates and high quality, motivated attendees who are keen to connect with you.  
 
To the left are some of our favourite and well known national networking groups, why not check them out? 
 
 

Local networking groups.  

If you're low on staff, a localised business (i.e a shop unavailable online) or you generally need to travel to visit clients, then it is important for you to attend as many local & regional networking groups as possible.  
 
These events will take less time out of your day and, funnily enough, will be attended, mostly, by others in your local area giving you the highest probable chance of gaining ROI. 
 
If you want to find out more about what events are being hosted in your local area then our best advice is to Google the phrase 'Networking events near me' and be sure to use our S.L.A.T.T formula when picking the right local networking event for you. 
 
The Directors' Network is our local monthly meeting in Milton Keynes for Directors only where we discuss a topic of business - Its only an hour of your day so why not come along to our next one?  
Finally, often we find that the most popular form of networking is whenever a nice pint or glass of bubbly is involved so, if you like to have fun and fancy taking a break from the more serious meetings, then why not try attending evening events like award ceremonies, launches and gala dinners to network? This is often where the best business relationships are formed - Just don't over do it!  
 
By Chloe Evans, 
Director of Operations 
Business Live UK 
 
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