I’d like to think I’m keeping pace with current Internet trends, but I keep discovering that I’m wrong. Take “meetups,” for example. They have been around for nine years; yet, I had never attended one until last night. Where had I been, I wondered, while my savvier peers were sitting around large tables, soaking up information, and networking like crazy?
Here are some of the things I learned (you probably know most of them already):
A meetup is
Just what it sounds like—a bunch of people who get together at a specified time and place to discuss a particular subject of interest to all of them. Wikipedia, which tends to be wordy, defines a meetup as “an online social networking portal that facilitates offline group meetings in various localities around the world.” Co-founded by Scott Heiferman, Matt Meeker, and Peter Kamali in 2001, meetups have become an international phenomenon. (Don’t you wish you had thought of it?)
How to find a meetup to attend
- Go to meetup.com, and enter your zip code or area of interest.
- Learn about one that sounds thought-provoking, and register online.
- Tag along with someone as a guest.
- Start your own meetup group.
You will benefit from a meetup by
- Learning more about a topic that interests you
- Meeting new people with similar interests
- Developing valuable contacts
- Letting people know you are and what you do
What to do at a meetup
- Observe the protocol before you start talking.
- Have your “elevator speech” prepared.
- Deliver it with confidence in a voice loud enough to be heard.
- Distribute business cards, promo materials, direct-mail pieces, etc.
- Participate in the discussion. Ask questions. Answer questions. Comment.
The meetup I attended is called “Tiny Business, Mighty Profits.” It was founded and conducted by Russ Henneberry, a dynamic marketing expert who knows a great deal about Web design, social networking, WordPress, and how to maintain the rapt attention of twenty-seven people for two hours without missing a beat.