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Networking events rock.
They are a great way to meet new people, make solid connections, and build some Social Capital. Our Brainerd Lakes Chamber hosts some very good events monthly. Networking opportunities like Business Before Hours, Business After Hours, and CHOW are worth their weight in gold. Check into it if you haven’t already.
Being a pretty seasoned “networker” I totally enjoy attending these events. And since I’ve “been around the block” a few times, I can tell you I have gained new friends and also new customers by doing so.
I can also tell you a few key things to NOT do at one of these events.
Basically, I’ve made an flaming a$$ of myself a time-or-two.
I chalk it up to the “Becky charm” and learn from my mistakes. People still seem to like me anyway despite my quirks and weirdness. But I’ll spare you the embarassment and share a few things:
5 Things To NOT Do At A Networking Function:
1. Get sauced on free wine, then talk smack about the competition. (YES, I did do that…ONCE. It was about 20 years ago, thank gawd).That would be the KING of all dumb arse moves.
2. Say things like “hey! I saw a dead possum on the road on the way here. That’s not something you see everyday!”….Er…yeah.
3. Business cards? What business cards? (Bring your business cards, Einstein. That IS what networking is about)
4. Offer to sing and pantomine the “Two Short-Necked Buzzards” song you witnessed at Kindergarten Graduation. Though it may entertain the people in your immediate circle, it will look freakishly disturbing to those across the room. First impressions are biotch sometimes.
5. Don’t show up with a Jack Sparrow mentality.
Meaning: it’s now about what you can pillage and plunder. It’s not about you, period. Go with the attitude of learning something new and connecting with one new person. Papering the room with your business cards, wolfing down free food, and yapping for an hour about how awesome you are will have lasting effects. And not the kind you want. Use these opportunities the right way, and you will see the benefits pretty quickly. Good luck and Happy Networking!
If you want info on upcoming Brainerd Chamber Networking, pop over http://explorebrainerdlakes.com/chambers/events/