The best networking for your business is done by building relationships, not by "selling". What better way to meet people, connect with them and develop a relationship than by volunteering for a non-profit or working together for a cause.
I met one of my best friends while I was volunteering for a peer mediation program in our local public school. At the time this friend was working for a major high-tech company and she brought me in to do a team building workshop for an executive team of a new division.
The trust you gain by volunteering with others is invaluable to developing the kind of connections that will help your business grow.
Thursday Bram on Lifehacker.org,http://tinyurl.com included "Volunteering" as one of her tips for better networking.
"Networking is, in part, about giving back. As an entrepreneur, it’s useful to have connections to local non-profits far beyond the tax break you’ll get for any donations you make. You’ll get word of sponsorship and PR opportunities far faster, learn about projects that might help your business along — and you may even have the chance to do something good for your community. A non-profit doesn’t have to be related to your industry, either: if you’re ready to do some good in your community, why not work on an issue you’re passionate about?"
This next week, during national Volunteers Week,instead of spending time handing out business cards at your networking event or leads group, try to volunteer your time for a worthy cause. Better yet, bring your networking group with you.