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Making the Most of Meetups: Why Networking Shouldn’t Be All Work and No Play

I have been writing a lot about social networking and social media marketing lately, and the majority of this effort has been specifically focused on Facebook, whether directly or indirectly, and other web-based channels. At this juncture in the evolution of tech, we tend to largely associate networking with the digital realm. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Pinterest, email, blogs, texts and online chats are largely to blame for this association, and it doesn’t help that 85% of Americans now have a mobile phone. A steadily growing number of those phones are smartphones, allowing us to stay linked in at all times.

While we definitely love our tech around here, one of the networking sites that we at Amadeus Consulting are really passionate about is Meetup.com, a site that is specifically designed to help people meet in person! Meetup connects people through a range of fields, topics, and hobbies, from the Denver Pug Club to the Colorado Robotics Association.  Sure, you probably attend industry events from time to time, but more often than not there are lots of people there, and the focus is more upon acquiring leads and making sales than just networking for the sake of it. And let’s face it: the business golf outings and sporting events aren’t a privilege many of us get to take advantage of.  Meetups allow the perfect mixture of business and pleasure; some have a speaker followed by refreshments, some skip straight to the cocktails, others get outside to hike or do other fun activities. The ability to escape from the typical office or business lunch setting allows for much more natural conversation and collaboration, something that all of us 9-5ers can use a little more of.

Luckily for me, coffee, biking, running and other groups that mix business networking and recreation are an integral part of the professional scene in Boulder, Colorado, where Amadeus Consulting calls home. Last year the New York Times ran an article referring to Boulder as the new Silicon Valley, where “the mix of money, universities, a high-tech talent pool and appealing lifestyle” attract experienced tech entrepreneurs and investors from far and wide. Attending and hosting Meetups and other networking events are a fantastic way to break into this scene and develop lasting business relationships that bridge the gap between work and play.

Boulder is climbing the list of top 10 tech cities on Meetup.com

No matter where you are, the benefits of joining a Meetup group, or several groups, are plenty. It’s a great way to make friends in a new city, find new hobbies or foster old ones, network and collaborate within and outside of your industry, engage in continuing education in your field, generate leads, find employment opportunities, and so on.

Amadeus Consulting participates in and sponsors several Meetup groups in Colorado, including:

Boulder SEO/Northern Colorado SEO – a Meetup group dedicating to connecting Colorado Search Engine Optimization (SEO) enthusiasts and people interested in learning more about SEO. These events start with an educational portion at the Amadeus Consulting offices, which can include a speaker, presentation, or discussion sessions. Afterwards members move to local eatery Minglewood to network over food and drinks. This Meetup is a great opportunity to gain links, brainstorm about SEO tactics, and find the answers to any SEO-related struggles you might be facing.

VisitorCentric – A conversion optimization new and resource community dedicated to providing a single source where marketers can get all of the latest news, strategies, trends and tools in the fast growing industry of website conversion optimization and website usability. These events also feature presentations from key website conversion professionals followed by networking and social time.

Boulder .Net User Group – This group provides a place for .NET developers and designers to get together and talk code, UX, and design.  Along with .NET topics such as Silverlight, Expression Blend, Sketchflow, Surface, XNA, and Windows Phone 7 are also covered.

To learn more about Amadeus Consulting sponsored Meetups or to find some in your area, visit www.Meetup.com.

About the Author

Kenzie Rodriguez is a yoga and outdoors enthusiast with a passion for technology. She considers herself an eternal student of the ever-changing technical world, fascinated by the amazing innovations in digital marketing, mobile, custom software and creative solutions. She spends her days coordinating holistic, content-driven digital marketing strategies and her nights cooking, reading and playing fetch with her dog, Bea.

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