Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Q+A: Enough with networking events already!

Questions from our Readers
Answered by Michael Pollock

Q: Other than industry gatherings and get togethers especially meant for networking, are there other places I should be going to network?

A: Certainly there are other places than pure networking events, though interestingly almost everywhere that two or three business people are gathered together, networking is also on the agenda.

Here are a couple of suggestions to stimulate your thinking. This week I attended Web2.0 Expo, a trade conference in New York. The principal goal for attendees was to learn what is going on in the industry, attending presentations from industry leaders and picking the brains of the people in the booths about the newest techniques and opportunities. It was a wonderful environment for talking substantively about the business - and incidentally making connections in a group that is deeply interested in the future of the industry. So seek out this kind of thing  even if it's not advertised as a networking event.

For the longer haul, there can be benefit in volunteering at a nonprofit or joining a nonprofit board. Here there is an opportunity to meet people while the attention is focused on the work of the organization. You can get to know someone really well and find common cause  these connections can prove invaluable additions to your network. One of the prime reasons why any C-level executive joins a nonprofit board is for the networking. They may look at several nonprofits and see which ones attract the kind of board members they want to get to know.

The community of your place of worship can be excellent for meeting and bonding with people. I have made good contacts in the PTA of my kids schools. And you should check in with your alum organization and see what they have on offer.

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