One option is to participate in networking events. They are designed to help people make connections. Get tips on how to find networking events, as well as how to create most of them.

The reason for the growth of your network is obvious:  Your network, by introducing, serving as a reference, or more, you are more likely to know someone who can provide carrier assistance. The easiest way to build your network is with current and former colleagues. But once those relationships are in place, and you’re connected to LinkedIn, how can you expand your network?

5 Ways to Find Networking Events

1. Talk to friends and colleagues

Peers will often be familiar with industry-focused networking events. Friends who don’t work in your industry can share how they get events. (And participating in events outside of the industry can also meet interesting people.)

Ask colleagues and friends about any business events they plan to participate in or have enjoyed in the past – this could include snack discussions or networking events, Happy Hour events, conferences, round tables, lectures and discussions, classes, and more. So much more. Your mentors are also a good source for recommendations.

2. Browse networking sites

Thanks to the Internet, there are many ways to find events, conferences, and especially networking-focused events, characterized by geographic location.

The two most popular and well-known sites include:

Meetup – Explore the free and low-cost personal transformation of your industry, whether it’s beauty, technology, photography, or something else. There is also a category for “career and business events” that you meet regularly with various career-focused groups.

You will find fairs, festivals, discussions, conferences, classes, and much more.

There are many opportunities to network virtually in which a remote professional can participate.

3. Check social media and your inbox

Many organizations put on annual or more frequent events.

If you are involved in media, publishing, or public relations, for example, you may want to follow MediaBistro and Moro Crack on social media and subscribe to their newsletters.

View organizations in your industry and follow them through social media and newsletters. If you’re not sure which organizations are bigger, ask colleagues, post on LinkedIn, or do a quick online search.

4. Alumni and opium institutions

Colleges and universities also frequently host events and conversations which is also a great place to meet people.

Connection groups are form around interests, goals, and sometimes identities. For example, some organizations have affiliation groups for LGBTQ + people or women, or people with disabilities. You can join the group at your office fee, or find someone outside of your company.

Demsband, for example, is a woman-centered networking organization, while Out Professionals is a membership-driven organization with job listings, networking events, professional development, and more services for members.

5. Local bodies

For more places to find networking events, consider local: your library or religious organization can organize events. You can also find events open to all through community organizations, co-op spaces, and your local chamber of commerce.

Make the most of networking events

Going to endless events can be fun or boring, but by default, it is not helpful for your career. Here are some tips to make sure happy hour events, conferences, breakfast roundtables, and other networking events help your networking, and in turn, your career.

Expand your definition of networking. Some events are specifically identified as the purpose of networking.

Keep in mind that whenever you meet someone – from reading a book to crafting a meet-up – it’s an opportunity to expand the number of people you know.

No need to push for networking; It can be a matter of making acquaintances and friendships.

Know that you want to exit the event. Are you going to an event to learn more about a topic, meet people, or connect with someone you want to work for? Having a specific goal can be helpful, even if it’s just to “introduce yourself to two people in my area and exchange business cards or connect on LinkedIn.”

If you want to meet people, you have to introduce yourself, engage in icebreaker games, and communicate. If you’re shy or introverted, this can be a bit daunting. Remind yourself that probably everyone is a little nervous – not just you. Set a goal of talking to just one or two people. Ask questions and connect by talking about the theme of the event or the topics of conversation. 

Be prepared with an elevator pitch. If there’s anything special you’re hoping to get out of the event, come prepared with a lift pitch. That is, if you’re looking for a job, start a new business, move a career, etc., a 30-second quick speech of your background and experience, and be prepare with what you’re looking for next.

Follow up with meaningful contacts. Even a thousand LinkedIn contacts won’t help you if none of them remember who you are. Getting in touch with people on LinkedIn is a good idea and in general, no one can harm. But if you meet one or two people that you have had an in-depth conversation with, send them a quick email or a LinkedIn message to let them know that you enjoyed your conversation.

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