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? 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.
#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 – find at least two new places to expand your network, and attend two new events. For a list of places to network, visit the resource page at www.thenetworkinggurus.com
About the Author: Donna Feldman and Cindy Rold are The Networking Gurus, authors of “99 Networking Nuggets”, a practical book filled with nuggets of networking gold you can put to use instantly to become a more effective networker. They are both experienced, certified coaches who help business professionals increase their sales and marketing success. Together they publish The Networking Gurus News, a monthly e-newsletter of networking know-how. Read the newsletter and find free networking tips and resources at their website at: www.thenetworkinggurus.com
Photo credit: Photo by thinredjellies from Flickr