Do networking events really work?

Hey all,

Sorry, I know this isn't strictly a design question but still would value all your thoughts. And this is for anyone who has tried business networking events as a graphic designer.

Do they work? Are they worth the sometimes sizable joining fee? I would love to hear from anyone who has tried business networking events from our industry.

Many thanks,
I've been to one meeting as a guest of be honest the experience left me underwhelmed.


I think they are worthwhile as they can increase the number of people that know about you - business networks are a little inbred & recommend members to people on the your potential business isn't limited to within the network itself.

Also, it seems that many people join several networks - so you may find that the same people go to different it might not be worth joining many.

Different networks seem to have a different feel to them as well - the one I went to isn't for me...but I think I have found one that suits me & I will most likely be joining soon.

Agreed - it seems like a lot of money for not much in return...but think about how much print advertising you'd get for the same money & how much business you'd get back from that...i think networking is the way forward.
I am a member of a networking group and have been for a number of years. (I go as a printer) I introduced a GD to the group who has seen his business grow from where he was looking at going back into employment to being a busy man! Groups within the same organisations will be very different so try a number of them but I agree only join one. They all differ slightly but make sure that you get one that really does refer business not just within the group but outside as well. You will find the same people turn up at networking meetings but remember people buy from people so as you get to know more people your business should increase.

One of my friends (who does a fair amount of networking) was recommended by someone she has met only once but her reputation meant that he felt able to recommend her.
I'm not a fan and never have been, of 'formal' networking events- there's far too much pressure to have the 'right' conversations with the 'right' people and honestly, I don't think I've ever met the person who signs the cheques.

I find that taking the time to identify a company we want to work with, researching their business and presenting them with a proposal of how working with us would improve their turnover produces much greater results. It's highly flattering to the company and we end up with the kind of work we want to do (resulting in a stronger portfolio.)

we toyed with the idea of joining one of those paid networking groups but I found it was far too parochial and inwards-looking- resulting in small jobs with low budgets.

Mercy : Design Agency and Literature & Arts Collective : London / Liverpool : UK
Thanks guys! I couldn't have wished for a more balanced range of responses.

I know that a lot of effort and time will go into developing relationships with people but don't want it to be forced either. It's difficult to see into the future because if you are seeing the same people week in, week out, it may become just that.

I have definitely passed on joining that famous networking group where you have to act as the salesman for the rest of the group (regardless of quality of work of other members). I really can't see how that can bring about any good.

Still a really tough decision now...

Many thanks,