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Networking Events

Even those gatherings that seem to have no purpose other than getting together serve a purpose. They are important for establishing and maintaining business relationships that produce long and short-term benefits for a regional economy and for individual businesses. The interaction of people within the business community, as well as cross-sector contacts for business people with their counterparts in the government, social services, education, clergy and neighborhoods is, in many ways, its own reward. Such gatherings reduce transactional friction, increase trust, enhance in-region commerce, foster talent mobility and spread ideas. For chambers, “networking” is not a by-product; the network often is the product.

Traditional holiday-style gatherings are becoming less and less prevalent in the chamber movement, but business socializing related to purposeful gatherings is a constant. Programs like business-after-hours and referral exchange luncheons are constructed solely for the purpose of advancing individual business success. An opening day chamber event at a ballpark provides a backdrop of civic support for a community asset, while also engaging business people in a shared experience. Darcy Rezac, former CEO of the Vancouver Board of Trade, has written extensively on the importance of this purposeful networking. Sometimes, the purpose for a networking event is simply to raise money for the chamber. A Derby Day party or similar event will only continue to make money if the perceived networking value remains strong to potential participants. Thus, such events come and go in chamber calendars.

Links to Darcy Rezac's works

  • Connector Leaders: Gathering Voices... - Chamber Executive article, Spring 2007
  • Work the Pond - Book by Darcy Rezac with Judy Thomson and Gayle Hallgren-Rezac (2005), available through ACCE's bookstore and Amazon Associates link.
  • Shepa Learning Company - Website for Darcy Rezac, Gayle Hallgren-Rezac, and Judy Thomson, networking specialists and keynote speakers. The goal for this website is to help everyone become better connectors in work and life.

Learn to break the ice

Articles

Examples of Chamber Networking Events

  • Face2Face Speed Networking - Greater Kansas City Chamber's 90-minute networking event. The November 2015 event is focused on businesses engaged in health and wellness, as part of the chamber's HealthyKC initiative.
  • Tri-Ethnic Chambers Mixer - the Dallas Black Chamber, Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber and the Greater Dallas Asian American Chamber of Commerce hosted this after-hours event to welcome the new Dallas County Community College District Chancellor, Dr. Joe May in July 2014.
  • East Orlando Chamber Coffee Club - Popular networking event with quality guest speakers presenting topics to help your business and free breakfast.
  • Red Carpet Committee - Overview from the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce about their program to network with new members.
  • Greater Spokane Incorporated Events Calendar - GSI offers a wide range of networking events for members and member prospects.
  • Women in Networking (WIN) - Highlands Ranch Chamber offers WIN for women's networking. WIN creates connections and builds relationships with women-owned and women-led businesses. WIN hosts a networking event for women on the first Tuesday of each month.
  • "Bridge to Business" - The Lake Havasu Area Chamber was a 2014 Chamber of the Year finalist for its initiative to "bridge the gap" between the limited resources of small business and traditional marketing strategies. The chamber provides networking, education, and marketing opportunities through a monthly Business Solutions Luncheon and Business Booster Lunch events.
  • Los Angeles Area Chamber’s Connect for Lunch program - A face-to-face ongoing networking event where attendees make new business connections, enjoy good food, and have fun growing their business - all on the lunch hour.
  • Summer VIP Reception - Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce - Join us for executive level networking with the Chamber’s top investing companies. Sail away with the Chamber for a dockside reception and sunset cruise on the harbor as we watch the evening’s yacht races.
  • Mesa Chamber Coffee Time - Join local business owners and fellow Chamber Members in an informal networking opportunity, held on the 4th Thursday of each month.
  • Olathe Chamber of Commmerce Coffee Club - Held on Thursdays at 9 a.m. at different Chamber member businesses, our coffees are the largest weekly networking event in the Kansas City area. Expect to meet 150 to 250 people each time.
  • Good Morning, Springfield! and Business After Hours - Springfield (MO) Area Chamber of Commerce offers the opportunity for its members to purchase an annual pass to monthly networking events. Benefits of the annual pass include receiving a discounted rate, convenience of a one-time charge, and no need for advance registration every month.

Convention & Seminar Resources

NOTE: We are looking for some great samples of networking events, from Business After Hours to Breakfasts to Ballgames! Please email hero@acce.org with examples of your best networking events. Sample documents or a web address would be great.

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Last updated: 7/26/2016

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