I run an open business networking group for the New Haven Chamber of Commerce. An open group means we don’t have a fixed membership roster and limit one business per category. As an example  one week there may be two CPAs in attendance and next week none.  We don’t force you to be there every meeting or have a “leads” quota. 

No admission fee is charged at the door or regular dues to become a “member”. But just because we don’t have all these rules, doesn’t mean you should  treat an open group any differently than other types of groups with dues or attendance rules. 

One theory I have is you will see more people in our group than you realize if you attend every meeting or almost every meeting.  The reason is people will attend open groups at various frequencies: every week, once a month, whenever they feel like it, when they have time, etc. And the people who attend a few meetings and never come back are the largest category.  That’s unfortunate for them, but you can make it work for you if you attend every meeting and connect to them in some way.  Don’t be annoying, just introduce yourself after the meeting and send them a LinkedIn connection request.

How do you feel about open networking groups? Do you prefer closed groups? Why or Why not?

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