Sunday, February 15, 2009

Mint Hill, NC Networking

Making the Most of Chamber Events: Visibility

By Rich Ferretti

The Mint Hill Chamber has 3 events every month. Are you taking full advantage of these networking opportunities? Are you meeting new people? Are you letting other people get to know you?

Too often we attend these events and behave as if we are there just to swap business cards—moving person to person pulling out our cards, giving a quick “elevator speech” and moving on. Stop putting your business card in their face and asking for business! Your first step when at a networking event should always be to build the relationship. That’s Visibility.

Or perhaps you aren’t comfortable passing cards out like candy. Think back to a time when you walked into a room full of people and didn’t know anyone. How uncomfortable did you feel? Did you silently say, “This is the last event I’ll ever attend? Of course you did! We’ve all said that.

And then there are those times when you luckily spot someone you know and zoom… off you go to the same person or group you see each event! It is human nature to gravitate to people we know in a room full of people. However, a Chamber event is a networking event—and networking means meeting with new people, building on relationships, building new relationships.
What about the new member who just joined the Chamber and is attending their first event? Have you ever considered that person’s feelings? As a Chamber member, it’s our responsibility to take the initiative and make that person feel welcomed and introduce them to people you know. Again, think back to when you felt you walked into your first Chamber meeting…wouldn’t you have wanted someone to do this for you?

Each meeting, make it a point to meet at least one new person at each chamber event. You will alleviate your own discomfort by taking the initiative and making at least one person feel welcomed! Introduce them to people you know.

Most of all, listen to what each person has to say first before saying a word.  Really listen… stop thinking of what you’re going to say, and just start listening.

There’s an old saying: God gave us 2 ears and 1 mouth, use them proportionately.

Next time: Moving from Visibility to Credibility

For more information on networking, call or email Rich Ferretti.

Remember, it’s our Chamber, let’s make the most of the experience.

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