Meetup.com is a great vehicle for you to use to get in touch with other people with similar interests. The website hosts user-created groups based on a certain skill, activity, hobby, or cause (for example, the Technology for Women Meetup Group and The Chicago Agile Methodology Group). Organizers of these groups schedule meetups on a regular basis, allowing group members to gather and share their passion for whatever it may be.
So what does all of this mean for you as a professional? If you are serious about expanding your network in your community, then meetup.com can help you achieve your goal. Once you’ve signed up, here are 4 moves you can make to get the most of the site:
1. Attend a professional meetup
RSVP for a meetup and go! By attending the right meetups, you will instantly be in the presence of professionals in your community. Meetups based on applicable business skills rather than hobbies tend to attract more professionals. The Chicago .NET Developers (downtown) meetup I attend is often a group of up to 60 developers wanting to both learn and share their knowledge with the group. When hosted at West Monroe Partners’s Chicago office, this meetup is preceded by light refreshments, providing a great opportunity to network with other developers before the presentation starts. Join a group that aligns with your career interests and network at its next meetup.
2. Create your own meetup
Don’t see a group for your interest? Create it yourself. Scheduling your first meetup soon after creating your group will help bring in new members. Even if your group isn’t skill-oriented, you are bound to attract members with whom you can network in your group. I started my own financial planning group using meetup.com, and through this group, I have found other developers in the Chicago area who share my passion. Be proactive. Connect with others in your community who share your interests.
3. Present at a meetup
If you consider yourself a Subject Matter Expert on a topic, show it off at a meetup. Delivering a presentation at a meetup will give you recognition among your peers as an expert on that topic. Attendees will want to introduce themselves and ask questions afterward, so stick around after presenting for great networking opportunities.
4. Sponsor a meetup
Get your name out there by sponsoring meetup. West Monroe Partners has sponsored a handful meetups, including the Chicago.NET Developers meetup and the Technology for Women Meetup Group. Having your company sponsor a meetup is a double win: local professionals who attend get exposure to your company, and you create networking opportunities at the location or company you choose to sponsor the event.
What ideas do you have for expanding your professional network? Share in the comments below!
Kyle Coronel is a Consultant in West Monroe Partners’s Technology practice.