Sometimes it’s simply about connecting.
I'm the proud member of a couple of professional women's organizations. I've also recently attended one of those "one person from each type of field" groups where the topic was managing time and measuring the effectiveness of your networking time. I almost felt dirty after attending. I feel a bit used like a bottle of rum that's been passed around. The overall feeling is that they were evaluating, "What can she do for me? How can I make the most of her talents – usually without paying for them?"
We all like to make new connections that will lead to new business or help our favorite cause. Where it is a bit much for me is when we are encouraged to measure how many people we can try to get business from by attending an event. Letting that guide my business networking is not my idea of a stimulating evening or business event.
"Let's see, if I attend this charity event, what types of business leaders will be there that I can pitch during this evening to honor some amazing volunteer?"
Or, how about,
"Out of three lunches I can attend today, which one will cover the most ground and allow me to deal out my cards while spewing out the all-important elevator schpeel?"
That feels a bit gross and shallow to me. I'm a member of ThePowerMOB to connect with other business owners – business INVENTORS who happen to be moms. These are big things to have in common with a group. They understand the reality of picking battles, creating new business or die on the vine, as well as staying on top of new technologies and methods. THAT stimulates me to create more, look at things from a new perspective and re-energize to best serve my clients.
How about you? Are you going to one more Chamber of Commerce event so you can pass out your cards to the same people again? Why not choose an event that you would truly enjoy; an event that takes you out of your normal way of thinking and shakes it up? What about latching onto a charity that is near and dear to you and helping at one of their events? You may be surprised at who you meet that has the same caring heart and desire to make a difference. Wouldn't THAT be a better client for you? Wouldn't that be a better person to brainstorm new ideas with during lunch?
Today I had the privilege to finally meet my new friend over the phone. We've admired each other and become mutual fans on LinkedIn for a while now. We spent an hour and a half NOT talking about business, but about what makes us tick and embracing each other for exactly who we are. We celebrated how we handle business situations and relationships. I've been wound up and inspired all day.
Sometimes, it's simply about connecting. I'm not keeping score of how many times I give my 30 seconds and pass out a card. I'm taking away so much more by being available to connect and collaborate.