When it comes to networking events there are a multitude of options. So much so, that one can easily attend breakfasts, luncheons and happy hours — pushing and pulling business cards nearly every day of the week. It’s no small feat that the GLBX Council has once again, been voted “Best LGBT Networking” by SFGN readership. The Gay and Lesbian Business Exchange [GLBX], a Council of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce, is Broward County’s premier support for Gay and Lesbian owned businesses as well as gay-friendly businesses.

If you think about it, every time you meet someone new and exchange ideas, you are actually NETWORKING!

So, for the good news — there is no right or wrong way to network when it comes to building business relationships. In the same manner you would create a business plan for the year to come, create a specific roadmap for attending networking events. Include a reasonable budget and remember these expenses may be incorporated into advertising lines.

We’re here to share the top 5 strategies for growing your business (yes, profits!) through networking during 2014:

Visit business [leads] groups two to thee times before becoming a member.

Most networking groups welcome visitors and encourage prospective members to attend a few meetings. Not every group is the right fit for you, therefore, assess the “personality” of the collective membership by observing a few meetings.

Check out Chamber events – DownTown Breakfast, Beach Council, Weston Power Luncheon

Target exactly who you want to do business with and become involved in their networks. While it may seem unrelated to the service you are offering, similar interests are the thread that bring many business people together.

VisitFTLchamber.com to learn more about other Chamber members

Social media is definitely a form of networking and should be considered an effective way to get noticed by potential clients. Post frequently, both professional and personal messages, so that your online network builds and really gets to know you and your business practices.

VisitFacebook.com/FortLauderdaleGLBX to connect with other GLBX members.

After hours mixers, social sports teams and the golf course are great avenues to chat about your business sans the suit and tie. Executives near and far will tell you that more deals are closed on the greens than at the conference table. It’s been said time and time again, “People do business with those they like and trust.” Allow others to know who you are and give them reason to like and trust you.

The Next GLBX Business After Hours Mixer is January 23, 2014 from 5:30-7 p.m., at Ruth Chris Steakhouse, 2525 N Federal Hwy, Fort Lauderdale

Speak up. Attending networking events without taking the opportunity to converse with those in the room is a waste of your time. If possible, arrive early or stay late. Chat, and be social. Most importantly, have a great [30 second] “elevator pitch” ready at all times.

GLBX Referral Advantage Group meets from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., the first & third Wednesday of the month at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce Building, 512 NE 3rd Avenue, Fort Lauderdale

For more information regarding Chamber membership visitwww.ftlchamber.com and contact Rene Cantu This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For more information regarding GLBX Council, contact Chair, Chad Thilborger This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Some of this writer’s top picks for networking are:

GLBX Referral Advantage Group [Chamber of Commerce]

         Contact: 954-462-6000 X8789 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

WIN Women in Network [Pride Center]

         Contact: 954-463-9005 x641 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Circles of Fun

         Contact: 954-639-3151 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Las Americas Community Center

         Contact: 954-323-9526 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.