Picking up the networking hammer
Photo by Leszek Soltys
I was chatting with an acquaintance — let's call her Mary — from our local chamber of commerce when she dropped this bombshell on me. I'm a huge supporter of the Chamber and all the benefits they provide. A couple of years ago, I would even present a short program to incoming members about the many benefits of networking at the chamber.
I was a bit surprised when Mary admitted this to me, but we all know that not every group is appropriate for every networker. The chamber is no exception. Still I was curious. "So, Mary, why have you decided to leave?"
"Well, I've been in the chamber for a year, and I haven't gotten anything out of it. No new business. Nothing."
Hmm, interesting, since I knew her target market (local restaurants) was fairly well represented at the chamber.
"Wow! I'm sorry to hear that. Maybe there were better places to find the folks you were seeking. Which events did you attend?"
"Oh, I didn't have time to do any of that!"
"O-o-o-kay." What I really wanted to say was more like "How did you figure that was going to work?"
You see, Mary was assuming that all she had to do was join a group and somehow, miraculously, business would start flowing her way. If you think about it, treating group membership this way would be like going to Home Depot, buying a hammer, and expecting it to build a house for you.
Just like the hammer, membership in the group is only a tool. Without us being the driving force, it can do absolutely nothing to improve our businesses or our lives.
So, what can we do to "pick up the hammer"? We'll talk about that next time.
Greg Peters, founder of The Reluctant Networker LLC, writes, speaks and coaches about good networking practice. For more tips that can help your connections count, go to 52-tips.thereluctantnetworker.com.