Chambers provide you with more ways to get to know the business community than most organizations. I was once elected President of a Chamber and the Board strived to get businesses involved with each other. One of the mandates was to make sure that we had opportunities for networking and socializing both between members and with other Chambers. We often put on professional development talks. A good example of how a Chamber helps the business community is through it's involvement with the city in which it resides. The Chamber gives you a voice in the community and further aids you by allowing you to advertise in its publications.
Many people have told me that their Chamber is useless because the businesses that belong to it are too small. This may be true in some respects, but Chambers also have large corporations as members, and this is especially important if they are involved in the community. For example, the Chamber in San Ramon, California, counts Chevron Texaco as a member, and they are deeply involved in the community. The Chamber recently sponsored awards at which two employees from Chevron Texaco were honored for their commitment to the community at large. You should never downplay an organization that provides so much service to the business community.
Chambers also offer a venue for speakers. They will often put on a professional development series for members. Even though these events usually only draw 25 or 30 people, those that attend often tell others about the success of the event. You really need to get involved and make the most of what is there for you.
Bette Daoust, Ph.D. has been networking with others since leaving high school years ago. Realizing that no one really cared about what she did in life unless she had someone to tell and excite. She decided to find the best ways to get people’s attention, be creative in how she presented herself and products, getting people to know who she was, and being visible all the time. Her friends and colleagues have often dubbed her the “Networking Queen”. Blueprint for Networking Success: 150 ways to promote yourself is the first in this series. Blueprint for Branding Yourself: Another 150 ways to promote yourself is planned for release in 2005. For more information visit BlueprintBooks.com