Anybody who follows the Coffee Lunch Coffee platform with any regularity knows, in networking, I’m personally much more inclined toward one-on-one interactions vs. group events or formalized networking organizations. That said, recently, I have found myself squarely belonging to two networking groups as an all-in member! Allow me to describe both…
- Biz Chics. In April, I attended an event at the Central Exchange, an organization that, through more than 400 programs per year, provides the venue and voice for women seeking to reach their full personal and professional potential through more. There, I ran into Breandan, a sales training, mentoring, planning and strategy expert whose name I’d been hearing for years but who I had never connected with directly. Together, we fell into conversation with a woman named Kim, a newly minted financial planner working to help women achieve financial independence. Through the course of the discussion, we realized we all had a common connection, Pascale, a business attorney with her own thriving practice. The four of us agreed on a date for lunch. Over salads and pizza, we bonded! Jokingly, we decided to give ourselves a team name… the Biz Chics! At lunch #1, there was an abundance of laughter, ideas exchange, advice and a desire to continue the conversation. So we scheduled another lunch. And, then, another. The group lives on today and we do our best to get together about once every couple of months.
- The Awesomes. Over the past few years, I’ve gotten to know a very cool dude, Mic, who is a web developer, LinkedIn trainer and blogger. We’ve gotten together from time to time to exchange stories and seek one another’s guidance. In September, he contacted me and said, “I oversee a little networking group that gets together monthly – there’s nothing formal about it, but everyone in it is awesome and I’d like to invite you to join us!” WOW! Since I’m constantly striving for awesome, I agreed! It’s a small group – a mix of men and women – all from different backgrounds, generations, professions, experience sets. We have a standard gathering spot which serves up a great happy hour menu and we gab, non-stop, for about an hour and a half. It is both fun and educational! Several of us have served as referral partners, coaches and mentors to one another. It is truly awesome.
Here’s the deal: I don’t pay for membership to either of these “organizations.” Mind you, I have no trouble with membership organizations – I’m a member of a few of them myself – however, one of the reasons I like Biz Chics and The Awesomes so well is they grew organically, we all made a commitment to show up when the various sessions are called and do our best to honor that commitment, there is a tone of confidentiality whereby a “safe” environment has been established for transparent, open conversation. Furthermore, there is a true spirit of give and take… but mostly of give! Whether it’s advice or information or resources or introductions every member of these groups is excited to share.
Interested in creating your own organized networking group?
- Look for diversity of thought and experience and profession among people who naturally tend toward generosity.
- Commit to getting together on a regular basis (monthly, quarterly, twice a year… whatever works for you).
It’s simple and highly rewarding! Go on… it’ll be AWESOME!
Already part of such a group? Please tell the CLC Community about it by commenting below…