We live in an increasingly busy world. Thirty years ago, people met face-to-face, shook hands, perhaps made the occasional phone call. Twenty years ago, the fax machine added a new, quicker way to communicate. Ten years ago, emails communicated what you needed with friends and colleagues.
Today, we have all of those things, plus text messages, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the list goes on...
But in our digital world, do not underestimate the need for a personal touch. When was the last time you wrote or received a hand-written note? When was the last time you picked up the phone to deliver a compliment? Networking face-to-face, stopping by a place of business to make a delivery personally, can have a huge impact on your relationships with members. While it's so easy to send an email, there are times when a voice, a handshake, a smile communicate more personal warmth and caring.
A key benefit of Chamber membership is inclusion in networking events like A.M. Exchange and Business After Hours.
- Relationship building. The best way to build relationships is to meet people. If you meet someone who is interesting and influential, be willing to the commit time and resources necessary to connect.
- Business expansion. You never know who you might meet at a networking event. Increase your sales, generate new customer leads, gain new knowledge. Be prepared to talk about your business and how you might create synergy with a contact you make at a networking event.
- Get out of your bubble. We spend too much time with our thumbs pounding out a message on our mobile devices, our heads hung as we read an email while walking down the sidewalk.
Networking events force you to come face-to-face with other like-minded individuals. People who attend networking events want to expand their sphere of influence. Networking events are a great place to share positive news about your company, your products, or your services. It's a great time to build excitement for a community initiative or project. It's a great audience to reach out for new volunteers or board members. For a short time, put down mobile devices and make eye contact with an actual human being.
Once you attend a Business After Hours, then what? Don't be afraid to reach out to your new contacts and continue your conversation over coffee or lunch. Don't be afraid to reciprocate when a new contact asks advice or a favor.
Remember: Networking is not collecting business cards, good networking takes time to develop. It's never too early to start.
So, get out of your bubble! Make personal contact. Add a personal touch and you'll reap benefits in your relationship building. Send a note, pick up the phone, stop by a business. Shake hands, make eye contact, add a personal touch.