Black Girls Network at BLKhack?

I recently attended the latest session of BLKhack at Jumpstart Inc. BLKhack Cleveland is a monthly networking event for people of color looking to “hack” into tech, education and business, and scale their businesses. They also have a group on Meetup.

I attended the launch event and was pleasantly surprised by the number of people in attendance and the actual networking that took place. Often, especially at many after-work networking events, people gather with a happy hour mindset instead of looking to connect with new people professionally.

BlackgirlCLE BlKhack601

This month’s topic was Photos to Profit focusing on visual content and marketing, hosted by Lawrence Lemon of Lawrence Live.  The first portion of the event was for networking. People talked and exchanged cards,while DJ Walk played music. There were also appetizers from Chicago Chicken and Waffles.

During the panel discussion, four photographers shared how to make money from taking pictures. The first speakers focused on apps that pay for the everyday pictures, and the others spoke about their photography businesses.

BlackgirlCLE BLKhack602

I enjoyed the event because everyone was willing to share information for the good of the community. The speakers spoke about why they started, the lessons they learned while being in business, and the importance of having insurance and contracts.

While still a new event,  BLKhack is becoming  one of my favorite professional events. From the business side, I make new contacts, build my network and learn something new that will help me on my entrepreneurial journey.

BlackgirlCLE BLKhack600

Looking for some tips for meaningful networking.  Here are some things I’ve learned;

  •  Be intentional - Make a schedule. Set a goal for the number of events you want to attend. My goal is to attend four professional networking events each month.
  • Attend a variety of events - All networking events are not created equal. By checking out different events you broaden the types of people you meet and the skills you develop.
  • Have a goal in mind - Decide why you are attending a new event. Are you looking for new clients? Are you launching a new product or service for a new segment of people or are you looking for new social connections? Knowing what you want from an event will help you choose the right one.
  • Don’t drink too much - If you are looking to grow your professional life, maintain professionalism at all times.
  • Have business cards - Business cards are the language of networking. They show legitimacy and a great reference point for follow ups and referral business. No matter your industry, or job you should always have a business card.
BlackgirlCLE BLKHACK604
What are your tips for great networking?  Shout out organizations that are good for connecting with others? Comment below