This morning, I accompanied my husband (who just started his first business as a financial representative-extraordinaire) to a Chamber of Commerce breakfast.
Now, this isn't normally the sort of thing you bring your spouse to.
But since I also own a business, I decided to go and see what it was all about it (and yeah, provide some moral support).
Networking = Yawn
It was everything you'd expect from the words “chamber of commerce breakfast in a Holiday Inn banquet room.”
Really disgusting coffee.
Oh, the people were delightful, even the old men politicians.
And for businesses like Jay's, it makes perfect sense.
He needs to meet people, build relationships, earn trust, get referred as a “great guy” (and he is, so that shouldn't be too hard).
My business needs all those things too
People who like me (and I like them)
But I don't need old-school networking.
I know I'm about 10 years late in extolling the virtues of the internet, but dudes! Do you know what it's saving us from?
Bad coffee! Boring elevator speeches! Smiling and nodding while old men talk tee times (not tea times, which I would have found slightly more interesting)!
I don't do networking events like these because I have Twitter. And Raverly. And the Boutique. And this space right here.
I've built a business that caters to my personality and strengths (I'm a hermit that needs to nap after lengthy exposure to more than 3 people).
But you might.
Jay can tweet till his eyes fall off (and I finally convinced him to try), but his business success will depend entirely on the local market. So he can't skip the Chamber of Commerce breakfasts (but he'll be alone from here on out!) or the lunches with old dudes or the shaking hands and smiling.
So don't assume, just because you have (and love!) social media, that it does everything you need. Maybe you should brave an early morning meeting just to see how you might do it old-school
And I hereby promise to only have the best coffee when you come by to shake my hand and talk about (anything but) golf.