Mar 112014

Networking venues you many not have thought ofAre you tired of going to the same old places and seeing the same old faces?

If your networking needs a fresh perspective, consider the following:

1. Trade shows

Here you can find people of like mind or, more importantly, people looking for your product or service. As always, make sure you have plenty of business cards, and any advertising collateral you wish to share. You could have your own booth, in which case make sure you bring back up so you have time to network with other business owners. Or you could attend as a visitor, leaving you free to network with whomever you choose. As you ask exhibitors about their business, remember to tell them about yours.

2. Religious events

Think about it. Regardless of your religion, there are no restrictions on who can attend a service, and a congregation is a natural team, or tribe, sharing a natural bond. A great place to network!

3. Coffee shops

I want to say that this is a no-brainer, yet many people overlook the power of the coffee shop! There are millions of dollars in business done in coffee shops daily. The preferred haunt of many an entrepreneur, you may find that different types of people congregate in different coffee shops, so stake them out and find out who’s going where.

4. Neighborhood groups

Do you know the plethora of talents available in your neighborhood? If you don’t attend neighborhood meetings, you may never find out! Your next door neighbor could be your best client, and you wouldn’t even know it if you never talked to them.

5. Conferences and conventions

Like trade shows, you’ll be most likely to find people here who are looking for you and your product or service. And they’ll be expecting to hear your elevator pitch when you hand them your business card. Do you have your elevator pitch ready?

6. Meetups

If you’ve never been to a Meetup, check out and look for groups in your area. You can find groups related to business, hobbies and interests, gender, religion, nutrition, political affiliation, marital status, and much more.

7. Volunteer groups

Meet people AND do good!

8. Chambers of Commerce

Your local Chamber organizes many events designed to help you in your networking endeavors. Whether you attend meetings before hours, after hours, or during business hours, you’ll always find someone willing to hear your pitch, and give you theirs in response.

This app will help you locate your local Chamber of Commerce.

9. Toastmasters

Sharpen your networking skills while practicing your speaking skills. Find a Toastmasters club here.

10, Alumni events

Catch up with alums – you already have a common talking point!

Your turn!

What’s your favorite place to network?