A professional meet-up group is a powerful knowledge-based event that can build invaluable connections, find mentorship opportunities and learn from other professionals. For example, if you are in sales you can start a meet-up group that focuses on sales professionals from your immediate area or region. You can start with professionals in your niche like auto sales but it doesn’t have to be–the focus is on the sales aspect itself in this case.

How to Start it

The easiest way to start a professional meet-up group is by inviting people that you already know. Maybe colleagues from the office or from a Facebook group you belong to. Don’t think about filling the room at your first one! The meet-up group is about long-term dividends and quality over quantity. Just try to invite as many people that you have some type of professional connection. Build value by inviting a guest speaker–maybe a veteran sales representative or sales guru or author.

Word-of-Mouth Growth

Social media will be discussed in part two of this article tomorrow, however, the most important growth you need and want should be word-of-mouth. If other professionals hear good things about your meet-up group they will want to be part of it. But that takes time and if you are patient and dedicated to making an exciting, wisdom-driven event, quality professionals will definitely come.

Networking Element

Although the most important element to these professional meet-up groups is the exchange of knowledge in order to growth professionally, connecting with others on levels such as business opportunities is important! Networking is still a key element to these meet-ups so always have a business card ready and some main points to discuss with others.

On Being a Host

If you are the founder of a meet-up group be sure that you set strong ground-rules to the event. It’s your meet-up so you can invite anyone that you wish. However, always be careful with other professionals that don’t have a sterling reputation. Be professional and courteous; don’t maliciously leave anyone out. Also, if you find a great group of professionals over time and don’t want to expand so be it! A strong inner-circle of professionals can be the ultimate group for learning and personal and professional growth.

If you Want to Expand…

This is an equally awesome path to go down. If your meet-up group gains momentum and starts to grow find other professionals who share your vision and can help you grow it! Get someone to look after social media and another person to set-up venue logistics. If possible brand the meet-up, create a website and Facebook group page, and promote!

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