How to ruthlessly choose your Oxfordshire networking group in 2020
By its very nature, networking is successful where there is mutual respect and support. Networking is a time for forging relationships; an opportunity for collaboration over shared interests; a place for active listening. But here’s a secret: before you join an Oxfordshire networking group, we also think you should be utterly ruthless.
There are lots of networking groups out there, and you need to make sure you find the right one for you. Whether you’re self-employed or you run a business, your time is valuable, and you shouldn’t spend it drifting from one disappointing networking experience to another.
So before you join a new networking group, ask yourself a few questions:
What are the aims of the group?
Not all Oxfordshire networking groups are alike. Some are highly structured and referral-based – while at the other extreme some are very informal get-togethers. At Juice, we strike a balance: we encourage socialising, but we are also referral-based, because we feel that a networking group should have the aim of generating business at its core.
What are the values of the group?
Nobody wants a networking group that cares little for member success, or one where the founder is more interested in pocketing the membership fees. At Juice, we have a trustworthy committee who is dedicated to providing a worthwhile networking experience – and even donate a portion of membership fees to support local charities.
What accountability is there?
Referrals-based groups often demand a high degree of accountability to make sure you meet referral targets. This approach aims to encourage effective sessions, but can also create a pressurised environment. At Juice we track referrals – but we don’t hold members to account, because we like our members to be able to relax.
Will there be competition in my field?
While some people thrive on competitiveness, others feel uncomfortable in such environments, regardless of how much more they have to offer than their counterparts. At Juice, we allow just one member from each trade or profession to our Oxfordshire networking sessions, so conversations can take place without bloodthirsty tactics.
What do other people think of the groups?
To get the best impression of a group, listen to the people who have tried it. Browse websites and online forums for testimonials. At Juice Networking, we publish what our members say about us on our homepage, and we recently ran a member survey too, where 94% of respondents said they’re recommend our group. When you can find genuine recommendations from credible members, it’s a good sign you’re on the right track.
What will I pay?
You’ll no doubt want to consider cost when choosing an Oxfordshire networking group. Heavy financial commitments are no good without a guarantee that you will see a return. Equally, a free or very cheap group might be attractive – but will be unlikely to deliver on quality. Juice Networking hits the sweet spot for cost: it’s just £15 for your first session with the next one free, and offers affordable monthly payments with no tie in.
When are the meetings?
Do you have other commitments that might make joining a particular group challenging? We run our sessions weekly, so members can build relationships quickly. Plus we’re here from 7-8.30am so you can fit us in just before your working day starts.
Are there any other perks?
If you’ve found an Oxfordshire networking group that ticks all the boxes, that’s great. But do also take a look at any extras they might offer, to see if that sweetens the deal. At Juice, we know that many people can’t think straight on an empty stomach, so our morning sessions come with a free delicious breakfast – with healthy options available.
Already been to a session? It’s time to be ruthless again…
When you’ve worked out what you want from the above, you’re ready to sign up to a networking group. However after attending once, it might be that you feel like something still isn’t right: maybe you didn’t meet the right type of people for your trade; or perhaps you just didn’t feel like the right ‘fit’.
It’s OK to decide a group isn’t right for you and it’s also OK to choose not to go back. Just let them know politely, and then be ruthless with your own criteria once again, and try something new.
Now you know more about Juice Networking in Oxfordshire, consider joining us at one of our Juice Networking Guest Days. If you’re ruthlessly searching for a group that is relaxed, friendly and professional, we look forward to meeting you there.