Fun Networking Group

October 25, 2008

I arrived at Rookies in Huntington on Thursday evening not knowing what to expect. It was my first meeting with the Huntington Chamber of Commerce’s Under 30 group. I’ve been a member of the Chamber for nearly a year. I’ve found the general networking sessions useful.

But this was a little different. The Under 30 group, which is a misnomer because half the members are over 30, is really about connecting new and young entrepreneurs. (As an aside, they want to come up with a better, more fitting name. Young Entrepreneurs makes sense. Apparently there’s already a Chamber group for high school students with that name. So if you have a good idea, suggest it.)

What made this networking session, open to non-members for a $10 cover, different was the atmosphere. It was more vibrant. People were more relaxed. And one member gets to spotlight what they are doing with a short presentation to the group. Did I mention the beer and wings were free? All and all a solid event.

Blog originally posted at LI

The Dark Side Of Networking Events

July 9, 2008

I’m a member of the Huntington Chamber of Commerce. This is a very active group with regular networking events and other opportunities that allow local merchants and professionals to mingle. I attended my first networking event in June. I saw it as an ideal place to hand out cards and introduce my new web design business.

What I wasn’t prepared for was being on the receiving end of the hard sell. Although I did leave the event with one very solid contact and lead, I also walked away with a newfound understanding of networking events. The majority of the people you meet aren’t interested in doing business. They only want to sell you.

That includes me, of course. I’m sure they don’t teach that in business school. And there’s no fine print warning you that there will be sharks at the pool party.

I’m not telling you to avoid the next invitation to a networking event. Far from it. An emerging business needs all the exposure it can get. I’m just saying be prepared to swim with sharks.

Blog originally posted at LI