Meeting people face-to-face is the strongest and the fastest way of building long-lasting relationships and strong partnerships. We can email or chat with someone for ages – still one face-to-face meeting changes worlds. According to research by Mahdi Roghanizad and Vanessa K. Bohns published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology face-to-face contacts are reported to be 34 times more successful than email.
When I came to Shanghai in 2005 as a Business Analyst for a large multinational, I did not know a single person in the Orient. Nevertheless two years later I was setting up my own companies in Shanghai and Hong Kong, hiring my own employees and manufacturing high quality designer garments for emerging fashion designers and fashion entrepreneurs.All these activities require a solid network of professionals helping one to learn local laws and regulations, not to mention all ins and outs of conducting a fashion manufacturing business. Six months after my arrival I’ve build up a large network of like-minded people who in their turn helped me with the challenging task of opening a company in a foreign country, without speaking the language (at that time), in an industry I was not familiar with.How did I create this network of people? The answer is simple – Live Networking Events.All key people in my network, even my partner – I have met in a Live Networking Event. Live events are hot in a large city like Shanghai. Through the years I’ve always been a participant, until one day it hit me – why not organize my own?
First I thought the organization of a live event would be quite complicated. Not until my partner started popping out his Linux live events one after another. His live event management went very smooth. On the top of that, he also managed to create an audience of 100 highly qualified attendees in a matter of four weeks on a topic he just started out with, at no marketing cost.
Mesmerized by such results I’ve decided to test the same method of live event organization for our business. The nine letters, making organization of a live event as easy as our life should be, are Meetup.com.
In this article, I would love to share with you the simplicity of creating your local live community in a matter of 15 minutes and the great advantages of having such a local live community next to your digital communities.
According to the Meetup.com ‘About’ Page, ‘Meetup is the world's largest network of local groups. Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organize a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face.’
And that’s true. Meetup.com makes it easy to organize local groups and most importantly to build an audience of highly engaged people interested in the topics covered by the group in a very short time.
Preparing for the beta launch of our Wild Cat Fashion Business Training Program, I was looking for a group of ambitious fashion designers and (e-commerce) entrepreneurs aspiring to launch their own fashion brand. This is how our first group Fashion Cats Shanghai came into existence. It took me literally 15 minutes to set up the Group. A few days later we had about 100 members. Currently, the Group stands 332 members strong, all recruited by the Meetup platform.
I’ve decided to involve our live Group in the very development of our training program. We have planned 12 live events with the Group, each event covering a training module of our program.
Now, two events later I am extremely enthusiastic. Live interaction with people is very rewarding. The presentations are being videotaped to become the core part of our training program. Most beta members for our program will join directly from the Group. Why joining the program if you have learned the core content during the 12 live events? Because finally, knowing how-to, participants become eager to implement the new-learned strategies and are enthusiastic about our professional help with the strategy implementation.
The accountability sessions with the future beta members of the Wild Cat Fashion Business Training Program will happen in the Meetup format as well.
Is it necessary to have a local group and to organize live events if you want to launch a course or a training program? No. You can do everything online via webinars. We’ve decided to combine our training program development with live face-to-face interaction as an extremely rewarding way to share value and build strong relationships.
Personally, I find it was much more powerful to meet people in real life. From a marketing perspective, footage of a live event is increasingly stronger than any other type of video training due to its social proof connotation. If other people have taken their time to go to an event – it is most likely worth your time to listen to the content.
Experience with our first live Group in Shanghai inspired me to take it even further. In 2018 I’ve started frequently traveling between two countries: China and Germany. This was when the following question crossed my mind: How would it feel to come to Germany and to have your audience waiting for you already? Followed by the next question: How about building a mastermind community of fearless entrepreneurs in every country you spend the most time in, to promote expertise exchange, collaboration, mutual assistance, and mentorship? I am in love with this idea, and we have started with implementation in two cities I spent the most time in Shanghai and Berlin.
Having a local live community is great! The reasons are many.
- Are you developing a course or a training program? Present your modules as separate live events to your local group. Use video material as core content for your course and for future advertising.
- Are you looking for more speaking engagements? Speak frequently to your local group of like-minded people. Use video material as your proven track record of success as a seasoned speaker.
- Are you looking for great interaction with fellow entrepreneurs, expertise exchange, collaboration, mutual assistance, and mentorship? Create your local mastermind community and rock the world.
Quite often it’s being said that entrepreneurial journey is a lonely experience. Not as long as there is Meetup.com! It takes you literally 15 minutes to have your very own local live community, no matter your geographical location. And that’s great because loneliness becomes a matter of choice, rather than a given. But this is a topic for a separate conversation…
CEO at Quantumfactory and Co-Author at Boom! Your Own Fashion Brand in 90 Days: Walkthrough for Hardcore Gamers.