Try it on for size. "You network for a number of reasons--for knowledge, for friends, for business," says CXOnetworking president Mitchell Levy. "When you walk into a networking group you should have a feeling for which [of those] things you want." He suggests trying them on for size. Many groups offer free trials to observe a monthly meeting and get a sense of whether you've found what you're looking for.

Smaller is better for personal development. If you're looking for a group that can support you through career decisions or help you work through long-term business changes, find one that includes regular meetings with a small attendance. When a long-time member of Board of CEOs told the group that he was interested in selling his company, other group members hesitated. They understood his business structure well enough to know that it would...

Network Format Meeting Frequency Members Cost
Vistage International conference, local roundtable meetings, speakers, online networking Monthly Executives worldwide $12,000 per year
Adaptive Business Leaders Roundtable meetings, speakers Monthly Executives in healthcare, technology, and life sciences in California $6,000 per year
Tufts's Senior Executive R&D Roundtable Speakers and roundtable discussions Annual Executives in pharmaceutical and drug discovery $1,195 per year
Board of CEOs Roundtable meetings, private consultation Monthly CEOs in Silicon Valley Based on revenue, starting at $750 per quarter
CXOnetworking Roundtable meetings, private consultation Monthly Executives in Silicon Valley $1,800 per year
Biotechnology Industry Organization Conference with partnering events Conferences throughout year Executives at biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies worldwide Based on revenue, starting at $150 per employee
Young Presidents Organization Local forums, annual global conference Varies per local chapter Executives worldwide $2,500 per year plus individual chapter dues
Association of Independent Research Institutes Conference with roundtable discussions Annual Leaders of research institutions $595 per year

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