Just like there are hidden jobs, there are also hidden events. Here's how to find them.
Keep in mind
- Industry events are great, but not only for your industry. Use the former for mentors and partners, and the latter for clients and referrals.
- Events come in all shapes and sizes: trade shows, conferences, unconferences, meetups, seminars, clubs, workshops, association meetings, social events, sports nights, and more.
So where are they?
Your local newspaper
You can usually find upcoming local events in the weekend listings section, or maybe the mid-week listings if there are any.
The “local” newspaper could be a city gazette, regional paper or a community pamphlet found in your local place of worship.
Your local business association
This could be a Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, or any other place where professionals can regularly meet in an informal setting.
Sign up as soon as you discover a local branch, and there might be more than one.
Your local branch of a professional/industry association
Professional associations tend to hold regular events for their memberships. Whether you're a member of e.g. the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) or the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), ask them for information regarding events in your area. And if you're not a member, maybe you should join.
Your professional/industry association's publications
Not only do many professional associations tend to hold regular events for their memberships, but they'll also list them in their own publication. In the past, many would have a magazine or newsletter mailing that would include a list of upcoming events, but nowadays you're more likely to receive an email update.
Your local networking club
Networking clubs aim to bring together people around something they all have in common. It could be around an industry or a profession, a business philosophy or entrepreneurship in general. Even a job search club is a form of networking club.
Many active networking clubs have membership fees, and they're not always cheap either. On the on hand, fees cover event expenses. On the other hand, they also restrict club events to only include people who want participate so much that they literally invest in the club.
To entice people to join, you can often trial the club by attending one event for free. If they don't offer such a taster session, ask for one.
Your own event
Not many networking events in your area?
Not many networking events in your area that suit your needs?
Make your own event. You'll be doing something valuable for your local community and give your personal brand a big boost in the eyes of everyone involved and more.
I originally published a version of this article on the terrific Personal Branding Blog.