I knew it would be difficult for me to meet all of the 100 people in 50 days I have challenged myself to meet through face-to-face networking alone. I knew I would have to engage people online as well. In fact there is no good reason to separate the two activities. Both online and offline networking are valid ways to make contacts today and business people should be using all avenues available. These two tactics should not be seen as being in competition with one another. If you are following my challenge hopefully you will get a few ideas and examples of how you might broaden your own sphere of influence.
A few days ago I connected with Sally Chapralis a Chicago area public relations and communications professional. I cannot rememebr now if I saw her name on a group discussion board or if it was one of those suggestions of people you might know that LinkedIn provides. But anyway I noticed we had a few contacts in common and I liked what I saw at her profile and website so reached out to say hello. Sally and I had a nice phone conversation and we learned a bit about each other including the fact that she is a jazz fan. I am looking forward to meeting Sally in person at our next business card to business meetup. Stop by and you can meet her too.
If you’ve been reading along for the past week or so you will remember my new buddy Lonnie Sciambi “The Entrepreneurs Yoda.” Lonnie introduced me to Charlie Newman who he described as “the best negotiator in the free world.” Charlie is the retired Director of International Business Development for the Automotive Component Division of one of the big Detroit auto companies. He spends his time now teaching and developing plans to help smaller businesses startup or grow by building alliances. This is what Charlie had helped big companies do and now he is using his expertise to help small business. Well I suppose based on what he is used to all business is small business for Charlie. He has presented his experiences and ideas in a book called “Beyond the Chicken Dance.” As Charlie explained it to me all negotiations and alliances begin with a kind of courtship ritual which he equates to the chicken dance but the real work begins once the courtship dance is over. Though a shrewed and tough negotiator Charlie emphasized that the end game is a win-win situtation. You do not want to enter into what is essentially a marriage with one party feeling like they are on the losing end of what is supposed to be a newly formed team. Check out his book, I look forward to some more conversatons with Charlie, who by the way is also no stranger to a pool cue.
Today I had the good fortune to meet marketing and branding expert, Ben Baker of CMYKsolutions.com Vancouver, BC. Ben and I also connected online at LinkedIn and ended up having a great conversation. Ben markets a few interesting and diverse products and specializes in helping trade show exhibitors get more out of their trade show experience through better planning and execution of their trade show strategy. I am a veteran of hundreds of trade shows and in fact still manage exhibits for a few of my clients. I know from experience that many exhibitors have no idea what they hope to accomplish through their attendence and typically have poor follow up strategies. In fact in Turn Your Business Card to Business I have one chapter devoted to using your business cards effectively at conventions and trade shows. Ben offers a needed service and we agreed there was definitly a synergy between our businesses.
My final part of this report is meeting Karen MacNab (again online) who is a coordinator for the growing Connectors networking group I blogged about a few posts back. The coincidences and ironic twists involved in our meeting are too difficult for me to type out here, but in a nutshell Karen was at the meeting I wrote about earlier. However we connected today because she was seeking a speaker for an upcoming meeting and found me quite by accident at meetup.com. Well long story short we did finally meet but it would have been nicer had we had an opportunity to exchange business cards last week since we were standing in the same room breathing the same air. Its’ great that we did connect but it goes to show you how easy it is to miss an opportunity. My short message as always is to meet as many people as you can and when it is face-to-face, seal the deal with a business card. If it is online follow up with an email. I keep most of my general networking contacts at LinkedIn and will blog later about how that is working for me.
For tonight the count stands at Day 31 with 59 new people met.