Shepa Learning Company Blog

100 Places To Network

October 9th, 2013 by

100 places

At Shepa Learning Company, we often hear audiences asking,  “Where can I go to network?” With the help of our 2-Minute Networking Survey respondents we’ve created the ultimate networking list, 100 Places To Network.

-Darcy Rezac, Judy Thomson and Gayle Hallgren-Rezac

100 Places To Network

  1. “Professional associations I belong to, or would like to belong to, as well as personal development organizations. These include, but not limited to breakfasts, luncheons, lectures, and annual dinners.”
  2. Conferences – “Include conferences happening in my city so avoid the travel and accommodation expense, plus get to show people I meet my town!”
  3. Events like wine tastings, wine festivals, beer and scotch festivals.  – “They always sell out, wonder why…”
  4. Civic organization events – show up to support local mayor, touch base with council members.
  5. Volunteer community opportunities – e.g. community gathering places, art galleries, neighbourhood projects.
  6. Events at university, even if you aren’t enrolled in university – check out calendar of events on university website.
  7. Pecha Kucha — held in 700 cities around the world http://www.pechakucha.org/
  8. Join private club – are usually worth ‘the price of admission’ if you join the right club.
  9. “Events where I feel I can learn something new in my field, and also meet new people.”
  10. National sporting events – e.g. baseball, hockey, soccer games “Take a client, great bonding.”
  11. Free library events with speakers, or courses of interest.
  12. TEDx talks in your community – get a group together and then discuss over coffee/drinks after the event.
  13. Google “events” in your city, or check out www.eventbrite.com and go to something new.
  14. Dinner parties and neighbourhood dine-arounds – “Be the catalyst, organize the event.”
  15. Chamber of Commerce or Board of Trade events  – for excellent diverse network building.
  16. Industry specific associations – e.g. Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS), ARMA (Association of Records Managers and Administrators), Human Resources Management Association (HRMA) – get involved in a committee.
  17. Team sports- e.g. volleyball, pickleball, recreational soccer, hockey, softball –“expands my network, people I would not meet in my work environment.”
  18. Group tennis lessons or any other sport-oriented lessons.
  19. Golf games – go as a singleton or with another person and you will be paired up with new people.
  20. Golf tournaments – “Go to organized golf tournaments, but also do informal ones that I organize with charity in mind.” Always stay for the dinner and network.
  21. Executive education, MBA classes.– Team focused so it’s an opportunity to build close relationships with peers from different industries.
  22. Alumni events – not only in your city but if you are travelling check for your Alma Mater events in those cities.
  23. Learn to Run programs and running clubs – “Better than running alone.”
  24. Organized networking/speaker events, social events – e.g. a new CEO Series put on by a business magazine.
  25. Events for women in specific industries or careers – e.g. Women in Engineering, Women in Communications, Women in Finance, Women in Mining, etc.)
  26. Events  for young professionals – Google “Young Professionals Networking Groups”
  27. Say “yes” to invitations from colleagues – “I also try to invite new acquaintances out for coffee or lunch and often invite them to other events as a guest that I may be personally invited to.”
  28. Volunteering for the United Way, at any level, but if you are a senior executive becoming involved in the board is an excellent high-purpose network.
  29. Business referral organizations  –  e.g. BNI, eWomen.
  30. “Anything at 8 AM – my favourite time.” Morning sessions are often the most effective for busy people. It may be hard to break away later in the day.
  31. Toastmasters – learning public speaking and expanding your network.
  32. Local museum events – become a member and go to special member events.
  33. My building’s strata board.
  34. Parent Teacher association, Parental Advisory Committee – become part of the executive team.
  35. Church, Prayer Breakfasts, Faith Based Leadership Group, Faith @ Work Luncheons etc.
  36. Church student group – mentor or participant.
  37. Real estate investment group.
  38. Fraternity and sorority alumni.
  39. Company sponsored events – “Go to them!”
  40. Group cooking classes to improve your culinary skills where you meet new people while sharing a meal.
  41. Job Fairs – “And it’s not just visiting the booths, it’s the people you meet in the room.”
  42. Team events organized for work – “not a nice to, it’s a need to for your career.”
  43. Hockey and Soccer Movie nights – social events beyond the team bonding with a beer after the game, allows you to bring spouses or partners.
  44. “Concerts in the park in my neighborhood.”
  45. Professional conferences and workshops.
  46. Wine clubs, book clubs, movie club, etc.
  47. Rotary – anywhere in the world you can find a Rotary meeting.
  48. Not just Rotary, other service groups – here’s an example of the amazing number of service groups in just one city, Ottawa, http://ottawa.ca/en/residents/parks-and-recreation/partners-and-community-organizations/community-groups-service-clubs
  49. “Go with my kid to her events – example free/low cost movie industry events – daughter is an aspiring actress.
  50. My children’s sport events – “I network chatting to other parents at soccer games, in the playground etc.”
  51. Volunteer around my kids’ schools – “I make the time to go hand out pizza on pizza day, don’t leave it just to stay home moms and dads.”
  52. Meet-up events – www.meetup.com
  53. Industry association education, for example, professional development accredited courses (PD credits).  “I go with business cards.”
  54. “Government-hosted conferences and events in my field of interest.”
  55. Business initiatives – “When companies launch something, celebrate something, I show up.”
  56. Political campaigns – “Intense bonding with like-minded people.”
  57. Fundraising events – e.g. cocktail receptions and luncheons for charities such as Little Sisters, Big Brothers, Boys and Girls Clubs, Dress for Success, etc.
  58. Big ticket galas – “I try to go to at least one a year, usually the same one where I build my profile.”
  59. Tradeshows – “I talk to other attendees, find products or services that might be of interest to colleagues, customers, even if not a fit for me.”
  60. Scheduled weekly lunches with our team members. “Internal networks are equally important.”
  61. Luncheons with interesting speakers – learn something and meet new people.
  62. Events with interesting sponsors – opportunity to meet sponsor companies, usually senior people from sponsor-company attend.
  63. On-site volunteering opportunity such as jazz festival, film festivals, run for charity, etc.
  64. Gym/workout classes/yoga – talk to people, not the mirror.
  65. Go to a language class – then go to Meetups specific for that language.
  66. Become a board member for an industry/business association. “Know this doesn’t happen without putting in the time.”
  67. “Volunteer board member for a not-for-profit that I have a passion to support.”
  68. Parties at children’s daycare center – “This is how I get to know other parents.”
  69. Leadership circles hosted by my company.
  70. After work receptions – internally, and in the community. “Family knows this is takeout night for them.”
  71. Workshops – from learning how to bake bread to how to use social media.
  72. Community barbeques, foodie events, playing ball hockey for Food Bank (e.g. Five Hole for Food).
  73. Local festivals – go with a group, “volunteer for my company who is a sponsor”.
  74. Cycling group – “meet every week, ride and then stop for food and chat, very diverse group”.
  75. Undergrad and Graduate Student Societies – “get amazing university guest speakers, often a meet and greet networking opportunity as well, and usually price of tickets is a bargain”.
  76. Informal referral exchange group – this is a group that anyone can put together for mutual benefit.
  77. Volunteer workshops at the YWCA – join or be the presenter (e.g. a business coach providing information to budding entrepreneurs).
  78. Interesting club of like minded people e.g. www.eventsandadventures.com.
  79. “I always stay open to talking to strangers.”
  80. Local theatre group participant or volunteer – e.g. “Board of Directors for our local Performing Arts Centre”
  81. International volunteering – from building schools to sharing expertise http://www.volunteerinternational.org/
  82. Starbucks (or other coffee place) for quick inexpensive ways to connect or reconnect.
  83. A cup of Virtual Tea or Coffee – meeting face-to-face through Skype.
  84. Social events for young professionals that are not labelled “Networking Event”.
  85. “Small private gym offers some of the best networking for me as I have been there for 5 years”.
  86. Funerals –  “See people I haven’t seen in years.”
  87. Dog obedience and agility dog classes, dog shows (need a dog!)
  88. Soup kitchen volunteering with a new twist – Broth Brothers, Soup Sisters http://www.soupsisters.org/
  89. Life groups – small gathering, between 6 to 12 people, that meets on a regular basis to discuss life, family and faith.
  90. Riding the bus, train, plane…
  91. Intermissions –  “Intermissions are a great way to connect with others in the lobby”.
  92. Walking clubs – walking and talking.
  93. Walking tours in your city – often put on by Heritage Societies, Architectural Institutes, etc.
  94. Go to networking in my city websites – e.g. http://www.networkinginvan.com/, http://www.iloveseattle.org/
  95. International organization meetings – go beyond local networks and sit on the international boards of organizations you volunteer for locally (e.g. World Organization of the Scout Movement).
  96. Angel Investor events – any events to gather knowledge; make connections for career and business growth.
  97. Cause-based events – bonding with other social activists.
  98. Employees association at work  –  “I take a leadership role.”
  99. Any opportunities to engage with others who share the same passion – “I have a passion for hockey, especially at the Junior level. It is amazing to me the number of contacts I have developed through that interest and alignments I am able to make with the business I am in. The common ground often leads to unexpected connections.”
  100. Don’t just think of networking as an event, it’s an attitude.  “If there are two people, it’s an opportunity to connect.”

If you are reading this, and have not yet signed up for our free Positive Networking® Tips+, you can do so here.

Gayle, Judy and Darcy, co-authors of Work The Pond!

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