Thursday I began by attending a lunchtime networking event at Flourishes Studio on Lincoln Avenue in Chicago. They had a nice turn out of about 25 people. Cost $5 included pizza and drink. I had the pleasure of personally meeting about 15 new people, some of whom I am sure you will be hearing more about here.
The venue is a very nice store featuring an eclectic mixture of parenting and inspirational items as well as gifts and personal accessories. Check it out if you’re in the neighborhood. I took the opportunity to speak to Dionn the retail manager in regard to having the store stock some items related to a program I market for children who bed wet. You can learn more about that at www.tryfordry.com .
In the evening I networked with a group of about 35 marketing professionals who gathered at Panera Bread on South Wacker Drive. We broke into groups and shared information about ourselves and marketing in general. My discussion group was led by John Murphy President of Reachmail. I also had a nice conversation with promotional products seller John Gerlestis of 3 Tree Marketing. If you need any imprinted promotional items you can reach John at www.3treemarketing.com or 877.274.4852 X 705 or
Today I met and had short conversatons with 27 new people. I consumated each encounter by swapping business cards. So they know how to get in contact with me and visa versa. The key here is not simply the swap, but taking the time to learn a little about each person. It’s hard to say at the moment what value you might have to eachother but I find that over time as your network builds you have more and more resources you can draw from. I do my best to refer people whenever possible. This strengthens your relationships. I also make a point to follow up with everyone I meet ASAP to reinforce the encounter on both ends. Networking is not just about collectng cards but rather meeting people and building relationships. Business cards are the insurance that you do not leave an encounter without knowing how to contact eachother when needed. Networking is the first step. If you meet about 20 new people a week, that would be about 1,000 in the course of a year. Do you think meeting and talking with 1,000 new people this year might grow your business? If so take a look at www.meetup.com to find some networking groups near you.