12 Essential Cleveland Networking Events | College of Business Administration | Kent State University

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12 Essential Cleveland Networking Events

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It’s no secret that getting ahead in your career means putting in the work and setting clear goals for yourself. But the old adage of “It’s not just what you know, it’s who you know” certainly still rings true. 

Whether your goals are focused on the corporate world, a small company, or in forming a startup, to succeed in business you need a wide range of contacts. These people may well end up being future bosses, employees, colleagues or clients, so it’s vital that you make networking a key aspect of your career goals. 

In this post, we’ll be examining various Cleveland networking events, as well as numerous other networking resources that are sure to open doors and boost your career prospects. Don’t miss out on these opportunities!


Clubs, Organizations and Websites

For the dedicated professional, there are many clubs, organizations and websites ideal for Cleveland business networking, including the following: 

  • Kent State EMBA Program
    Our own Executive MBA program provides expert instruction from industry veterans while being tailored to the needs of a busy working professional. The “cohort” aspect of our program allows students to work side by side and grow with one another, gaining valuable contacts, while our international trip opens up new modes of thinking and opportunities for the dedicated businessperson.
  • Work It Cleveland
    With monthly networking events hosted by this group in and around downtown Cleveland, savvy business professionals will want to pay attention to this site and get all they can out of it as a resource. Plus, you can expect appetizers, door prizes and live music at the events!
  • The Cleveland Social Exchange
    Dedicated to connecting local business professionals, this organization hosts a number of networking events in Cleveland spread throughout the year. This is a terrific resource for those looking to make valuable connections in a vibrant city reemerging on the national stage.
  • WIN Cleveland
    This organization is the Cleveland branch of Women in Networking, a group designed to give businesswomen support, along with a forum to try out ideas on likeminded professionals. Featuring regular meetings, newsletters and published authors as members, this is a vital resource for working women in Northern Ohio.
  • COSE
    With insightful articles and news pieces along with a full slate of networking and professional development activities, this site is a must-read for anyone looking to get ahead of the competition. Be sure to follow their event listings because there’s so much worth attending!
  • SME Cleveland
    This site is tailored to sales and marketing executives who want to keep up in a competitive field. With regular events and a number of insightful speakers available, this is a great site for anyone seeking growth for their business.
  • The Cleveland Professional 20/30 Club
    For networking events in Cleveland, Ohio with a younger professional focus, you won’t find a better resource than the 20/30 Club. Dedicated to creating a thriving community, this group offers social, networking, philanthropic and educational outreach through a variety of events every month.
  • AAF Cleveland
    This group presents a number of Cleveland networking events throughout the year, with a focus on advertising, digital media, public relations, marketing and sales. Head over to their site and be sure to sign up.
  • Content Marketing World Conference and Expo
    This annual event has become a national staple for marketers and digital content strategists, and it’s right here in Cleveland! A great place to mingle and make contacts, this event is also terrific for non-marketers looking to learn some tools of the trade and find ways to incorporate them into their own businesses.
  • NAWBO Cleveland
    With a focus on female entrepreneurs, and expressing the goal of promoting their role in economic, political and social positions, this is another essential resource for the working woman. Regular events and speakers covering a diverse range of topics are offered, so make sure to check out this Cleveland networking opportunity.
  • Cleveland Area Networking
    For further Cleveland networking events, check out this site, which promotes events that feature both “formal” and “open” networking sessions along with luncheons. A great resource for those looking to reach out to their community.
  • Network After Work
    The Cleveland branch for this national organization provides fun networking activities in a casual atmosphere along with online articles detailing what to expect from Cleveland networking events, how best to prepare and success stories.

Getting Noticed While Networking

Knowing where to network is just the first step. Once you attend an event you need to ensure you make a worthwhile impression. Here are some things to keep in mind: 

  • Have a Battle Plan – If possible, research your event as much as you can to find out who might be presenting and attending. With this knowledge in hand, you’ll be able to approach people proactively, which will go a long way in ensuring you’re remembered.
  • Project Confidence – There are plenty of body language tips around the web and we encourage you to utilize them. You want to be open and positive while avoiding anything overly aggressive. But remember, being natural is of chief importance – looking rehearsed won’t do you any favors.

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