How To Choose Which Networking Events To Attend When You're In-Demand and Busy

Filter event invitations by the Curator, or the person who initially connected you to the person extending the invitation to you.

A few weeks ago, I was “on the fence” about going to a local networking event.

I ultimately decided to go, and…

That event ended up leading to an offer from a top tech startup accelerator for $100,000 for my new company Offsite, as well as an angel investment deal, and potentially a sponsor for upcoming Network Under 40 events.

How did I decide whether or not to attend the event, and what would have happened if I chose NOT to go?

Here’s how I choose which networking events to attend…

Different Types of Networking Events

Not all events are created equal. And…

You can still “network” even if you don’t attend events in-person, go to lots of events, or even talk about business while at “networking” events.

The best relationships are built through unique shared experiences (or USEs).

A successful event leverages USEs to quickly build trust and intimacy among any growth-minded group of people. Plus, USEs are “remarkable” meaning attendees will remember the experience, share it with others, and think back fondly to the time and circumstances under which you initially connected with them.

USEs can happen:

  • at properly-curated and well-facilitated virtual events,

  • at in-person events designed with intention (even if the intention is to relax or have fun),

  • and even on social media if you are sharing great content and engaging with others in a thoughtful manner.

In contrarian fashion, I personally believe many of the best events to attend are the ones requiring the highest level of investment, be it of my time, energy, or money.

That’s why top entrepreneurs invest tens of thousands of dollars each year and valuable time away from loved ones into masterminds because they receive a higher level of curation, better facilitation, and enter each experience without any doubts about whether or not they will receive business value from those networking events.

But that doesn’t mean you HAVE to spend lots of money to choose great events.

Regardless of the price, location, or type of event, I’m mostly concerned with who is organizing the event and/or inviting me to tag along with them.

Attending Events Because of Super-Connectors

I’ve written at length on this Substack and in my new book How To Build A World-Class Network In Record Time about the importance of forging strong ties with as many super-connectors as possible.

One way I meet more super-connectors is by (almost) blindly saying YES to any invitation extended to me by someone I trust, admire, and regard as a super-connector.

Next week, I’m speaking at the Cyber Security Retreat, which you can attend alongside me either in-person or online, and the only reason I’m going is because the host is a super-connector, particularly in an industry I’m not as connected in (i.e. cybersecurity, if you didn’t guess).

This is why sometimes I’ve passed on happy hours or other gatherings within walking distance from my home, but have literally flown across country with only 48 hours’ notice to attend house parties hosted by a mentor.

Of course, when you host your own events, YOU become the trusted curator, and can invite potential clients, investors, fellow super-connectors, and others to join you for dinners, social mixers, and other unique shared experiences.

But that’s for another post…

What To Do If You Don’t Know Who Is Hosting The Event?

1) We have the Internet…so try and research the person, company, or organization hosting the event.

2) Fall back on the person who invited you, and/or if they are a new connection, consider who put you in touch with that person.

For the event I was invited to a few weeks ago, I was on the fence about attending because I was made aware that two companies were “sponsoring” the event, but I didn’t know who was actually hosting or curating the gathering.

I was invited to attend by a client of Meeting of the Minds, so that took me from “no” to “maybe” when considering whether or not to attend the event, but admittedly I’d only known that client for all of three weeks when this invitation was extended.

To make a decision, I referenced the person who connected me to that client, who is a dear friend and someone that’s connected me to LOTS of incredible people.

Thankfully, I made the right decision, and met one woman at the event whose company I’m now planning to invest in, who also connected me to an accelerator she recently participated in that made an offer to invest $100,000 into my new startup.

If you take all this to heart and you STILL can’t decide whether or not to attend an upcoming networking event…

…I say GO FOR IT!

The downside of attending a bad event versus benefitting from amazing new connections gives you asymmetrical upside that you’ll have a positive outcome.

If you’re a super-connector that’s invited to an event by someone who is scrappy, yet unproven, you can always decide to attend their in-person or virtual event as your way of investing in up-and-coming talent.

If you’re deciding between a few extra hours of work and the possibility of meeting new people, opt for the event or experience that might lead to relationships which could benefit you for decades to come (which is ultimately more important than 99% of tasks you “have to do” at the last minute).

If you’re shy, then focus on more intimate events where you can meet one or two people, or attend virtual experiences from the comfort of your own home.

At the end of the day, you don’t have to appear at hundreds of events each year to become a super-connector.

You’re not a politician (thank god!).

You can simply pick-and-choose which events to attend based on who is hosting and/or inviting you to tag along, and placing your trust in them.

I promise you…

The new friends you make and experiences you have will be entirely worth it.

And on that note…

I’d like to invite you to our upcoming Meeting of the Minds in Atlanta from August 20-22.

You can also check out upcoming in-person and virtual events from Network Under 40.

If you’re interested in Meeting of the Minds, reply to this email (and for Network Under 40, you can click the link above and/or click HERE to see all upcoming events).

Have a great weekend!

- Jared


Jared Kleinert is the founder of Meeting of the Minds (motm.co), as well as a TED speaker, 2x award-winning author, and USA Today's "Most Connected Millennial".

Meeting of the Minds curates "super-connectors" and subject matter experts as invite-only attendees to 3 day summits in places like Napa Valley, Bermuda, and elsewhere, as well as “deep dives” such as this Marketing and Biz Dev strategy & implementation workshop. Members of the MOTM network include CEOs of 7, 8, and 9-figure businesses, creators of globally-recognized brands and social movements, New York Times bestselling authors, founders of pre-IPO tech unicorns, c-suite execs from Fortune 500 companies, and others.

Jared's career began at 15 years old when he started his first company, and took off at 16 while working as the first intern, and then one of the first 10 employees, for an enterprise SaaS company called 15Five, which today has raised over $40M and has almost 2000 forward-thinking companies as monthly recurring clients.

Later, Jared would become a delegate to President Obama's 2013 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Malaysia, write multiple books including the "#1 Entrepreneurship Book of 2015", and speak at TED@IBM the day before he turned 20. 

As a highly-sought after keynote speaker and consultant, Jared’s clients range from organizations like Facebook, Samsung, Bacardi, Estee Lauder, IBM, Cornell, Berkeley, AdAge, and the National Speakers Association. His insights on entrepreneurship, networking, marketing, and business development have been featured in Forbes, TIME, Harvard Business Review, Fortune, NPR, Entrepreneur, Mashable, Fox Business and more.

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