Oftentimes those who network think ‘the more the merrier’ when it comes to attending networking events. Unfortunately, that approach rarely works. What does work is being strategic about where and why you decide to attend a networking event. Answer these simple questions and turn regular networking into strategic networking.

1. Is the Event or Hosting Group Strategic for Your Organization? Thinking strategically about everything you do to successfully grow your organization, includes where you invest your time networking. Being strategic means you’re constantly asking yourself if anything about the event or hosting group is a strategic fit as a source of new revenue, important contacts, referral sources or information vital to growing your organization.

2. Are You A Member of the Organization? If you’re a member of the organization, you have more chance of attracting the attention of staffers and Board Members at the event. If the organization hosting the event is worth its salt, they’ll have a proactive Membership Committee and Board that’s eager to help you make meaningful connections, and engage you at a higher level of involvement and sponsorship.

3. Are You Active In The Organization? The best way to get traction from networking is to be very active in one or two organizations. Doing this, you’ll generate momentum, because more people will know you, know your work, and be eager to help you make profitable connections. Being actively involved can mean being a Board Member, joining a committee especially the Membership Committee–which is a great way to meet people and target those you want to meet. Active involvement can also mean making a commitment to attend the organizations’ events regularly, and supporting the organization financially.

4. Will Your Target Customers and Referral Sources Be There? If your target customers and referral sources probably won’t be attending the event, you might want to rethink if it’s worth your while.

With these simple guidelines, average networking becomes strategic networking–generating more profitable connections, qualified leads and new business for your organization!