You will often hear that chances for business networking are all around, and it is true. Technically, every person you meet is a potential member of your network. However, some places are better than others. As much as you may hear about how great social media is for networking, the more traditional venues tend to be the best, places where you meet often with people face to face.

So forget about LinkedIn or Twitter for a minute. For some powerful, intimate networking, you want to try these five places:

1. Work

There is no better to extend your professional sphere of influence than in the workplace, where your co-workers can see you in action. In many cases, your co-workers spend more time with you than your family or friends do. While you’re getting work done, you’re also building strong relationships that can last long after you’ve left that job for another. Because of these strong work-based bonds, co-workers can be a far more powerful part of your network than, say, some guy you met a luncheon one time. As long as you’ve been a good co-worker, your co-workers will be invested in your success and you in theirs.

2. School

Similar to the relationships you build in the workplace are the friendships you make with your classmates. As you go to class, participate in study groups, or work projects together, you and your classmates become a sort of team. And that team spirit doesn’t end with one class. Years later, you can count on classmates to send you job openings in their companies or offer you a recommendation on LinkedIn.

I often say that when you get a degree you may be getting a paper but you pay for the network. Don’t be a hermit during college, or you may find yourself passing up the best benefit college has to offer.

3. Church

Most churches are hubs of service and community activities. So it’s no surprise that many people network within their congregations and congregation members are happy to oblige. The truth is, a large number of the people who attend church do so with the goal of bettering themselves and helping others. This makes the mosque, the temple, or the chapel a perfect place to meet people who would love to help you with your career, as well as people who you can help in return.

4. Volunteer Activities

Like churches, volunteer organizations are centers of altruism in your community. They attract the kind of people who are driven by helping others, the kind of people you want to have in your network. Also, in the process of participating in volunteer activities, these people get to see you in a work atmosphere but at your very best, helping others just because it’s the right thing to do. These brownie points can add up over time, so when you approach them for help in your career, they are happy to help out.

5. Family Reunions

Who better than family to help you in your career? You may share the same last name or at least the same genes, but typically the bond between family goes far deeper than that. Your success is literally their success. It’s not unusual for uncles, aunts, or cousins you barely know to leap at the chance to help you out. After all, you’re family.

So don’t skip out on those family reunions. They can link you up with family members who would be honored to assist you in your developing career.

Where do you go to network? What places are the most effective? Share the goods in the comments below!

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