Even before I became a member of my local Chamber of Commerce I participated in more than one network event. I have always met interesting people with exciting jobs, interesting aspects, and even occasional insights. Recently, whether I'm involved in a network lunch or a member, I rarely leave at least one or two later lunches or coffee. Still, I often hear members and non-members who do not attend the events because they have heard that they are not "good". Where do these crazy ideas come from ? I think I know.
Subscribe to and appear, but never participate.
I was at the recent Chamber Breakfast event, probably one of the best networking opportunities in the local area – some say it all over the state! There were probably more than 200 people on that day. I've heard a small group from a local financial institution that remains anonymous. They complained that none of them had ever met a newcomer because they thought they would have a good relationship. What a waste of time!
Ironically, I remember that this group came in. They moved to one of the central desks, slammed the notebooks and the pens, and immediately moved to the morning queue. No wonder they did not meet new ones. It's really hard to get in touch if your hand has a knife and a fork, and the mouth is full of bacon and eggs. Hey, maybe one or two of the people at the table could do something they did not work every day! Scott Ginsberg writes in his book The Accessibility Expert The Power of Accessibility "When you sit with your company, you sit at WRONG."
How much better would your experience be if you really made a little effort to actually participate in the event? They could have broken their little clicks and sat with new people. They could stay for fifteen minutes in the morning and thanked the roommates. It could have been better to find a way to bring back the organization that organized this event. Not so difficult. Shortly after enrolling in the local chamber, I joined the big chambers, a small volunteer group within the larger chamber. Ambassadors carry out a number of tasks, including the reception of events. Now, when they go to these network mixers, I'm connected to all sorts of people. I meet new people who need some direction. I meet those old timers who know each other forever. I work with chamber staff who seem to know everything. It will be the recipient of the party offered by the Chamber and the only thing I need to do.
So, watch the next time you hear someone who says they do not deal with the chamber events (or any other network group). If they say they do not get something out of it, then there is no better average chance of doing anything.
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