Five Top Places to Network

Have you fallen into a networking rut?  Do you keep going to the
same events, or the same type of events while wondering if there
are other places to go?

Besides the business networking events listed in our newsletter,
there are many other opportunities for you to meet a wide array of
people.  To help you expand your network, we've identified the top
5 types of groups where you can go to grow your network:

#1 Business Networking Groups

A wide variety of groups fall within this category, most of them
meeting monthly.  These groups are set up for the primary purpose
of networking and usually include people from a mix of industries.
They may meet at breakfast, lunch, or after work.  Some groups have
a structured format, while others have an unstructured mix and
mingle format. Some require membership and allow guests; others are
open to anyone and everyone.  You'll find many of the local groups
listed in our networking events list below.

#2 Leads Groups
The primary purpose of a Leads Group is to exchange leads and
contacts.  These groups tend to meet weekly, require membership,
and allow only one member from each profession.  There are private
Leads Groups, both national and local, and Leads Groups within most
Chambers of Commerce. 

#3 Professional Associations/Industry Specific Groups
These groups are organized around an industry or a profession and
you'll find an organization for just about any group of people you
can think of.  Join your own professional organization to meet
colleagues and competitors and to stay current with your industry.
To widen your network, visit the groups your prospects, clients, or
referral partners belong to.

#4 Community Service Groups
A large number of public and private organizations exist whose main
purpose is providing service to others.  There are charitable or
fund raising groups, civic, community, political and religious
groups, to name a few.  These groups allow you to meet like-minded
people and to contribute at the same time.

#5 Special Interest Groups
These are the fun groups and another great way to meet like-minded
people. Whatever your interest, there's probably a group you can
join. You'll find book clubs, chess clubs, and hiking clubs.  There
are dance classes, yoga classes, volleyball leagues, and more.
Just by getting to know people in a social setting, you can
establish relationships which can lead to business transactions.

A useful goal for growing your network is to attend a variety of
events to ensure that you are meeting everyone from colleagues,
competitors, and business people to personal friends, clients and
prospects.

Here's our challenge for the month - find at least two new places to
expand your network, and attend two new events. Below are a few
resources to get you started: 

U.S. Chambers of Commerce
International Chambers of Commerce
LeTip Lead Exchange Groups (U.S. and Canada)
BNI: Business Network International (worldwide)
Rotary Clubs (worldwide)
Kiwanis Clubs (worldwide)
American Society of Association Executives  

National Trade and Professional Associations of the United States
(directory available at most public libraries)