Our members join the chamber for a number of reasons. Customarily, they hope to have networking opportunities to connect with other members. From ribbon cutting ceremonies to breakfasts and luncheons, networking is at the core of most every chamber event.
When we think about networking, however, sometimes we might see it as a task. Something we’re supposed to do. We trudge to an event because it’s been a while, shake a few new hands and call it good for a week, month, or longer. We tend to notice the serial networkers, who are at their third event that day. One has to wonder, does all that energy pay off?
Like most things, you can have too much of a good thing. However, if networking becomes a simple daily habit, that dose might be just right for you and your business. Daily networking can seem like overkill, however, the first step is realizing when you’re networking. Most of us are already networking on a daily basis. Are you?
When you stop into the coffee shop, chat with the usual barista who doesn’t have to ask for your order, and you spot a few people you know at a nearby table, do you nod, smile, or shake hands? When you Link-In to someone you know and want to keep in touch, re-Tweet a quote, or “Like” someone’s photo or status on Facebook, do you think they might notice your name? When you are at a weekend festival downtown and you bump into someone you know, yes, this is still networking. As you begin to think about when and where you see or interact with others, it’ll become clear to you that you’re already networking as a daily habit. Pay attention to each day, and if you haven’t networked yet, see that as an opportunity to reach out to someone.
Peppering your schedule with a few chamber events every now and then is important, too, and an enjoyable way to network with a number of people. Check out the chamber calendar and commit to a few now. In between, look for the small ways to connect and remind your network that you want to stay in touch. Keeping the relationship fresh can happen in a number of ways, not just small talk at formal networking events.
Have you networked with anyone today? When is the last time you sent a note card or email to someone, just to say hello or thank you? There is no better time than now.