Monday, June 08, 2015

I Just Can't Figure This Out

Networking is an active sport.  You can't just sit on the sidelines and expect anything to happen.

I attended the annual speed networking event presented by the Rocky River Chamber of Commerce. Now I have to admit that this type of networking is not my favorite type, but this chamber does it well.  In one hour, we meet around 30 people.  But usually 80 are in attendance, so over half are still an opportunity waiting to happen.  Liz Manning, the Executive Director of the chamber, has it all under control, because by that afternoon, she has a complete list of attendees, with all the necessary contact information, out to all participants.  That's efficiency.  Five gold stars to Liz.

I look at that list as a challenge.  For each person that I schedule an appointment with, I use a highlighter pen on their name.  My goal is to have the page be all pretty green highlighter! 

It's always interesting to me in the way people reply.  Usually, I email from this list,  I have found that using the phone number means that I have to leave a message and more times than not it doesn't get returned.  I know, busy world.

So my message looks something like this:  "Good afternoon, Suzi, We were both at Coffee, Tea and Contacts on Thursday, and while we didn't get to meet, I wondered if you would be interested in getting together for coffee so that we could get to know each other with the idea of figuring out ways to help each other.  I will be available on June 3 or June  10 at these times. Would either day fit into your schedule?"

I use a similar message if we did meet.  

Many are glad to meet and we get something on the books.  Others get back with funny answers.  Funny as in odd.

Example:  "I'm busy both days."  That's it, the whole response.


Example 2"I don't really see the need for us to meet."


Example 3:  "I'm busy the rest of the summer."  We were just at the end of May when this happened.

And this is not just one person.  All three examples were from different people responding.  

I guess my question is, if you attend a networking event with no expectation of meeting beyond the event, why in the heck do you even bother????? OK, I'll get off my soapbox before I hurt myself.


Liz Manning said...

Thanks for the mention Debby! Coffee, Tea & Contacts is a fun event and I often hear of successful connections made at it. Regarding some people's reactions to your email, some people "get it," and some people don't when it comes to connections. Some people have unrealistic expectations of instant results and they don't see the value in meeting you if you're not a potential business partner. Little do they know you probably know more people in the Chamber than anyone and do a remarkable job of connecting people! So their loss. I see that type of reaction all the time and it's very frustrating, but it's reality. I preach all the time that "networking takes time" and you never know who you might meet at an event or who those people could introduce you to, but sometimes it falls on deaf ears. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink! :)

Debby said...

Thanks, Liz, I couldn't have said it better. So many business people are short-sited and just want something for today, not realizing that banking for the future will give better results!