A case example of success: How the MSU Alumni Club of Mid-Michigan does its Networking meetings:
- Determine what topics or information would be relevant to alumni in our club's area. Some examples of engaging and interesting ideas are:
Who are successful MSU alumni that have that knowledge and could share it effectively? This helps you club develop your speakers list. Quit often speakers can be identified by calling college alumni offices within Michigan State University, or by going to the Constituent Alumni Groups web site (These ae the college and academic alumni groups)
Club Networking Meetings are held on a regular basis; the Mid Michigan Alumni Club meetings are held once each month at 6:00 PM on a weeknight
Invite all those on your email/newsletter/contact lists. Post a notice on your club web site. Post a notice on the MSU Alumni Association events calendar. Send email notices at least two weeks in advance. Always actively promote the your next networking meeting at each session.
Two key actions occur at each monthly event for the Mid-Michigan club:
- The mistakes most new business owners make
- How to market your business/yourself
- The law and your business what you need to know
- Entertaining as a business builder
- How an MSU Alumni business directory can mean green for your business
- How to make business come to you
- How to effectively manage your limited time
Following an "Instant" segment, invite attendees to meet each other and ask smart questions about their presentations. This helps build the long term, effective relationships.
Always serve refreshments at your meetings. It can be simple, like cookies and cola, or pizza and bottled water. Food and beverage are important!
Find a business partner or a local Spartan-owned company that can help you plan and promote the events. Build a list of local alumni who might be interested in similar networking opportunities
The Mid-Michigan club's meetings last about 90 minutes. Be prepared for the networking after the "Instant Business Builders" to last for sometimes another 45 minutes.
Consider a larger annual meeting that includes a guest speaker from the University.
- Before the speaker, ask each attendee to stand and state his/her name, business and target prospects.
- Following the keynote speaker, offer a brief but powerful "Instant Business Building Ideas" segment. (Suggestions: How to Really Use Business Cards, Networking Taboos, Who Sould Be in your Personal Networking Group, Time Management, and Why Selling and Networking Don't Mix, and many more. ) These segments are vital since they immediately help people go meet the other attendees more effectively. Keep this short - no more than 10 to 15 minutes.