Great for making new contacts, meeting potential clients, partners and more, all in person. But how to find offline networking events?
Keep in mind
- Industry events are great, but not only for your industry. Use the former for mentors and partners, and the latter for clients and referrals.
- Events come in all shapes and sizes: trade shows, conferences, unconferences, meetups, seminars, clubs, workshops, association meetings, social events, sports nights, and more.
So where are they?
Your local newspaper
You can usually find upcoming local events in the weekend listings section, or maybe the mid-week listings if there are any.
The “local” newspaper could be a city gazette, county times or state journal.
Your local business association
This could be a Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, or any other place where professionals can regularly meet in an informal setting.
Sign up as soon as you discover a local branch, and there might be more than one.
Your local branch of a professional/industry association
Professional associations tend to hold regular events for their memberships. If you’re a member of e.g. the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) or the American Marketing Association (AMA), ask them for information regarding events in your area. And if you’re not a member, maybe you should join.
Your professional/industry association’s publications
Not only do many professional associations tend to hold regular events for their memberships, but they’ll also list them in their own publication. In the past, many would have a magazine or newsletter mailing that would include a list of upcoming events, but nowadays you’re more likely to receive an email update.
Your local networking club
Networking clubs aim to bring together people around something they all have in common. It could be around an industry or a profession, a business philosophy or entrepreneurship in general.
Many networking clubs that meet regularly have membership fees, and not cheap ones either. On the on hand, fees cover event expenses. On the other hand, they also restrict club events to people who are serious about participating as they literally invest in the club.
To entice people to join, you can often trial the club by attending one event for free. If they don’t offer such a taster session, ask for one.
Your own event
Not many networking events in your area?
Not many networking events in your area that suit your needs?
Make your own event. You’ll be doing something valuable for your local community and give your personal brand a big boost in the eyes of everyone involved and more.
And if all that isn’t enough, you can always go online and use these 20 Tools to Find Local Networking Events Quickly.
Jacob Share, a job search expert, is the creator of JobMob, one of the biggest blogs in the world about finding jobs. Follow him on Twitter for job search tips and humor.