When we think of Networking what comes to mind? Anything that you do in and outside of your office is networking and your are your best advertising. Except when I let my husband drive my car, that is when I hide. Yes, there are the traditional Networking groups such as the Chamber of Commerce and trade organizations. These are great places to meet people and teach them about your profession. You can use each others businesses too, I happen to have all women working for me right now and I try to do something special for them each month as a thank you. Two fun nights I am working on are a Pilates night and a facial night with two of the business owners I know in my Networking group. One owns two Pilates studios and the other a salon/spa. In turn, I go to their employees and teach about saving their hearing or how we can do custom earmolds for what ever gadgets they use.
Do you have the time to sit on a Board of Directors or an Association committee? This can really help your reputation in the community. Some of these things will be more appropriate at different times of your life, I would not have the time to devote right now. I have a 2nd and 4th graders and am trying to spend more time with them at school. Through this I have found the boys school is another great networking place. The school secretary knows everyone and has recommended my offices more times than I can count. She is definitely the person to butter up!
I can also kill two birds with one stone and network as a volunteer while I teach my boys to give back to the community. I make the volunteering the primary focus of what we are trying to accomplish, but from my ads in the paper and TV I am recognizable enough for people to talk to me about hearing too. So branch out of the office, you are your own billboard!