January brings new promise. Business people have plans and quotas and individuals make attempts to do better with their personal goals. This was evidenced in a recent networking event that has its roots in Meetup.com's online portal.
I organize four "Meetups" on the meetup.com system. I wanted to share the ongoing results of that work. Over the last four months, I and another colleague have fostered a networking event at a local W Hotel in Franklin TN. The event started with my invitation to two of my groups to come out and mix and mingle. Bring cards, a smile, and see what happens. The most important part of any networking event is the meeting that takes place after the meeting. If I can facilitate the connection between someone so they can then follow up for coffee or a luncheon, then I feel my work with meetup.com and its tools is being accomplished.
In our most recent event, four different groups were present. There was no agenda in place. Simply networking with others in a similar demographic and place. So far, the successes seam real. I know personally, I have made worthwhile connections. Some of the people I now do business with, get referrals from, am in business with as vendors, or partners, are a direct result of my work in the meetup.com environment.
The event in January had approximately 60 to 70 people present. There were new faces and for the first time, I had no chance of shaking the hand of all present. This is a little bit of a challenge in that part of the work of a great host is to "connect" those who are new with those who have been around a bit. Not everyone has the personal presence or confidence to start shaking hands and collecting cards. Anytime we get together for a casual or "purpose" driven event, the connections are what it is all about. My greatest frustration is with some of the group who feel without immediate tangible SALES at the meeting they have failed. Frankly...they aren't getting it. Selling something to someone comes with relationship with someone. If one isn't willing to be in relationship with me or make me feel that way..I have no interest in buying from them. Part of my mentorship to others is facilitating the relationship. I count my relationship capital as my most important commodity. It is nearly as important as family, friends, and love. Without it, nothing else is supported.
Take a look at your online presence. Are you bringing value to others? If not, reconsider your position in the marketplace. If you aren't delivering something of value to others, you are by default just taking.
For more information about how Sherman Mohr has leveraged an online presence into local results, feel free to connect with him on twitter or linkedin.com