Many years ago I was a charter member and one of the original organizers of a very successful networking group that met at Ann Sather’s Restaurant on Belmont in Chicago called The Hour Networking Group. After about eight years of meeting every Wednesday morning we disbanded and each went on to other activities and I thought my days of organizing was behind me. Recently a networking group I joined that had been meeting at Bar Louie in Evanston was in need of a new coordinator so I stepped forward to fill the role. The group has over 80 members registered so I thought it was worth trying to keep everyone together. At some point each of these individuals felt willing to be a part of a networking group, so now I just need to figure out why he or she was motivated to do so and how to reinvent the group to be more valuable to its constituents.
To begin, I changed the name of the group from Avaya / Converged which was the name of the former organizer’s telecommunications company to Business Card to Business which compliments my brand and evokes the idea of face-to-face networking. I also have moved the meeting place to Atlantic Bar & Grill on Lincoln Avenue two blocks south of Foster and just a little north of Lincoln Square. I made the move partly because it is a little more convenient for me and it is a nice Irish Pub with good food and ample meeting space. My plan is to meet the last Tuesday of every month from 6PM to 8PM. The agenda will include open networking at the start, then a planned program or speaker for twenty minutes, followed by individual introductions so that everyone gets 20-30 seconds to say who they are and what they do. We will end with a drawing and about thirty minutes more of open networking. People are of course welcome to stay and mingle as long as they wish and food service and cash bar are available. There will be a $5 or $10 fee per meeting and an annual option with a considerable discount for the first twenty five charter members willing to pay a flat fee for the year. All of these details will be available at www.meetup.com/businesscardtobusiness . Interested networkers can also see the schedule for the year, RSVP and make payments via PayPal at that site.
Our first meeting held October 26th was basically to discuss these business and house keeping issues and was very useful. Thanks go out to MONA-VIE distributor Tommy Love of TLO-Strategies for being the first charter member. Also Dan Silvestri of doorcountynavigator.com ; Chris West and Phil Hendel representing Pre-Paid Legal and Blastoff. Communications specialist Frederick Dudek gave me a lot of good ideas and insight learned from his successful twice monthly luncheon meetup that takes place at Rocco’s Pizza on Lincoln near Armitage.
Face to face Networking to meet new people and solidify relationships is vital to your business growth. If you are in Chicago and can join us regularly we welcome your participation. If your just in town for business or pleasure we would still be happy to have you visit. No matter where you are find at least one networking group you can join or start one of your own. Remember face to face networking is a great way to meet new people and build meaningful relationships. Be sure to seal the deal with a business card.