In 2010 I decided that I needed to start attending local networking events. I searched the internet and found a few resources for joining groups and attending events. I recently shared some networking resources with a friend and figured I would pass along the list. If you’re looking for networking events to attend, the resources and groups below might be worth checking out.
I’ve scaled back my attendance of local networking events quite a bit but I still consistently attend a few select events.
Resources for Finding Events
These are websites that allow individuals or companies to organize and/or promote events.
Crain’s is a business paper which publishes editions for a few cities in the United States. I subscribe to the Crain’s New York Events RSS feed to find out about business events being held around the city. It’s especially great for finding out about upcoming workshops and seminars being held at the New York Public Library. One draw back is that some of the events appear in the RSS very close to the date of the event. However, I’m not sure if that’s Crain’s doing or the event organizers.
I would describe Eventbrite as being the Ticktmaster of small/local events. You have the option of subscribing to the RSS feed for specific categories, cities, event hosts, etc. and/or signing up for a monthly email about events that match your interests. There are several categories for business related events so depending on your location it chould be fairly easy to have a steady stream of networking events to attend.
You’re active on LinkedIn, right? (If not, I won’t judge you. Visit the LinkedIn website to learn about the network.) To find the events page on LinkedIn while logged into your account, scroll over “More” on the navigation menu and click “Events”. The search options leave a bit to be desired but you can search by keyword and filter by location and industry.
Meetup allows organizers to create a group based on an interest, topic, purpose, etc and organize events for the group’s members. I haven’t looked into any other cities but there are a lot of business/networking groups within New York City. However, I’ll be honest and state that I do not like Meetup for standard business/networking events.
Some Meetup groups tend to have a recurring issue of people registering but not showing up for events (not a big deal, life happens) but in some cases this includes to the organizers. For example, I was once a part of a group where the organizer planned two events at locations that were a bit out of the way, didn’t show up for either, didn’t properly cancel the event, and then left the group when members complained. After these experiences I now only join business and networking groups and attend events that are decidedly social so I can still have a good time even if the networking is a bust.
Regularly Scheduled Events
The list below includes events that occur on a regular basis. I’ve personally attended at least one of each organization’s events.
Who: Members of the Freelancers Union.
What: The first 30 minutes or so of each meeting are dedicated to updates about the organization’s activism efforts on the behalf of freelancers and also specific items related to member meetings. At some meetings there is an exercise which allows members to develop ideas to improve their freelancing business while also getting to know other members. At other meetings there are guest speakers who provide tips and information tailored specifically for freelancers.
Where: The offices of Freelancers Union located at 20 Jay Street, Suite 700, Brooklyn, NY 11201
When: 6:30PM to 8:30PM. Typically the second or third week of each month on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.
Who: Entrepreneurs and professionals in the New York City metro area.
What: One of the two Chambers of Commerce based in Manhattan. MCC hosts its own events, seminars, etc. but also partners with and promotes events held by other organizations. In addition, MCC has seven committees and two groups which host their own meetings and events.
Where: Varies by event.
When: Varies by event.
Notes: Events vary by type, time of day, focus, etc. You don’t have to be a member to attend most events but events tend be free or discounted for members. If you register for membership you’ll receive a lot of emails about upcoming events, press opportunities, etc. I emphasize a lot because they are very frequent and at times repetitious. I haven’t looked into it as yet but it would be very useful if there was an option to specify the types and frequency of emails you’d like to receive.
Who: One of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce’s committees (see above). This group is geared towards young professionals and entrepreneurs age 21 to 35 but older members are allowed to attend events.
What: At least once per quarter there is an after work networking mixer. Membership meetings take place about once per month and primarily focus on planning upcoming events and sharing updates about the committee.
Where: Varies by event.
When: Varies by event.
Notes: I haven’t fully explored all of the main Chamber’s events or all of the committees. However, I prefer the MCC Young Professionals events out of all of the Chamber’s events that I have attended. Events tend to start after normal business hours, they are fairly relaxed, and you’re not bombarded with emails.
Who: Female entrepreneurs but men are allowed to attend. Presenters and attendees are from various industries but registrations from individuals or companies that offer competitive services are not accepted.
What: The event is split between networking and presentations (one well-experienced startup entrepreneur as the keynote speaker and three other entrepreneurs at various stages of the startup process).
Where: The offices of Hodgson Russ located at 1540 Broadway, 24th Floor, New York, NY 10036.
When: About every two months on a Thursday from 5PM to 9PM.
Who: Female entrepreneurs but men are allowed to attend.
What: At each event two founders from different companies speak for about 5 to 10 minutes each, the rest of the event consists of networking.
Where: Various cities around the world. The New York City event is held at the office of Makovsky + Company which is located at 16 East 34th Street, New York, NY 10016.
When: The first Friday of each month from 6PM to 9PM.
Notes: Tickets for the New York City event tend to go very quickly so you should register as far in advance as possible.