Six Ways to Find Places to Network

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Have you decided that now is the time to start networking? Perhaps you’re new to town, in your first job, or just ready to create a strong community of relationships? Congratulations, networking is one of the most powerful business activities you can do. You have the desire, but your problem may simply be: where do I network? Even in the smallest city, there are going to be more opportunities than you can take advantage of. Here are six ways to find places to network.

Chamber of Commerce
Start with your local chamber of commerce. A chamber of commerce is a business association. Sometimes they run the local tourism department, usually they are not part of city government, but they are always dedicated to the success of their business community. Not only should they have a number of their own events including mixers and business seminars, but they should also know of local service clubs and associations. When you network with the Chamber, you’ll also meet people who are part of, and know of, other networking groups and activities. Your city many have several chambers of commerce because of specialty chambers such as Hispanic, Black, Women’s, and Asian chambers of commerce.

Local Paper
Pick up the paper every day for at least a month to check the business section for event listings. Their calendar may not list events until the day of the event, so you might not be able to attend that time, but take down group and contact names and phone numbers to call and get their future schedule.

Business Paper
A business newspaper will be like a greatly expanded version of the business section of your local paper. They should have extensive event listings and they may even run events of their own. American City Business Journals, Inc. runs papers in 41 major metropolitan areas in the United States. You may also find locally run business papers by searching for your city name and the phrase “business newspaper.”

Phone Book
As old-fashioned as it sounds, your local yellow pages directory is still an excellent source of information. Look under the headings of clubs, associations, and service groups.

Local Associations of National Chapters
If you are not already seeing these organizations listed in the Chamber directory, newspapers, or phone books, conduct an Internet search. Starting with an Internet search may lead you down many frustrating dead ends as you find interesting associations that aren’t in your areas. Use key words to search for your area of interest (e.g., management, advertising, etc.) along with the words association, society, organization, and national. You may also find local, independent groups by including the word “network” and your city name.

Ask
You may have a very small or rudimentary network, but if you work with more experienced business people, or long-term residents, start by asking them about networking events, activities, and organizations. If you’ve started your own business, go to your neighbors in your business complex, introduce yourself and ask for networking advice. Not only might you find some great suggestions, you’ll also start building relationships in your own back yard.

Conclusion
Using the techniques in this article should provide you with many sources of information for finding out where to network near you. As you begin to attend events, talk to people you meet. They’ll know about more events than may be listed and they’ll be able to guide and recommend you to the most effective and friendly networking groups available. You’ll soon find that you’ll be able to pick and choose among many opportunities.