Networking Shouldn’t Only Be Done Online

It’s the time of year when people look back at the year that was and reminisce.

It’s also the time of year when people set goals for the upcoming year.

If you are currently thinking about your New Year’s resolutions for 2012, I’d suggest adding more professional networking to the list.

In this blog, I tend to focus on the cool social networking sites out there (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Google+, etc.)

However, I would also suggest doing some of your professional networking offline.

This is something that I wish I had done earlier in my career.

Professional Associations

There are many great organizations out there no matter what field you are in.

In the marketing world, the American Marketing Association (AMA) is a great place to start.

I have been a member of the AMA since the autumn of 2009.

The great thing about most AMA events is that in addition to meeting many great people within the marketing community, most events tend to include an educational component to them. Whether it be an education luncheon or a panel event, the AMA tends to bring in great speakers who can help attendees keep up with the most current marketing trends. I have attended AMA events in AtlantaChicago, Minnesota, South Florida and Tampa Bay. In every case, it was well worth my time.

Likewise, most major metropolitan areas have a local Interactive Marketing Association. I have attended events hosted by the Atlanta Interactive Marketing Association (AiMA), the Chicago Interactive Marketing Association (CIMA) and the Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association (MIMA). These events featured guest speakers who really know their stuff.

These are just two of the many marketing associations out there. As I learned at this year’s Alphabet Bash in Minneapolis, there are many professional associations to choose from. Just check out the Alphabet Bash website to get a list of some of the other organizations that you can get involved with. And, I’m sure that there are many more out there if you do a Google search.

National Conferences

In addition to the local monthly networking events, many of these associations also sponsor national conferences.

Again, by attending these conferences you get a chance to meet a lot of great people.

National conferences also tend to give you access to some of the most respected thought leaders in your particular field.

Final Thoughts

I’m not the right person to tell you the best way to network at these events. I will leave that to people like Chris Brogan and Tory Johnson.

My only suggestion is that you take the time to attend some of the networking events that are held by professional associations in whatever field you are currently in.

Not only is it a great way to meet like-minded people who can possibly help you further your career or bring in additional business for your company, it is also a great way to keep up with the current trends in your field.

You also might want to check with your current employer to see if they will help pay for some or all of the membership fees for the various professional associations that you are interested in. They might even reimburse you for the costs associated with attending individual events or conferences.

In any case, if you haven’t attended many networking events recently, I would definitely suggest adding them to your list of 2012 New Year’s resolutions.

And, as always, continue networking online.

Photo credit: noluckmurphy on Flickr.

Chad Thiele

Chad Thiele

Marketing analyst and strategist, content curator, applied sociologist, proud UW-Madison alumnus, and an Auburn-trained mobile marketer. My goal is to help businesses identify trends that will help them achieve their marketing objectives and business goals. I'm currently looking for my next career challenge. Please feel free to contact me anytime at: chadjthiele@gmail.com.