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.”

Boring.
Old men.
Politicians.
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

Trust
Relationships
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.

3 Comments on In which I briefly consider networking

  1. Sherron
    July 15, 2010 at 6:08 pm (10 years ago)

    “(I’m a hermit that needs to nap after lengthy exposure to more than 3 people).”

    Oh honey. Me, too! There are more of us in this world than I thought, and that is SO good to know.

  2. TaraSwiger
    July 15, 2010 at 6:10 pm (10 years ago)

    Absolutely!
    The best part is: we can avoid it!

  3. SnarlingBadger
    July 22, 2010 at 3:46 am (10 years ago)

    Absolutely! Meeting new people is exhausting! After a day at work (a holistic pet store), I'm tired of being nice. And the majority of our customers are very friendly & upbeat. It's just… I have to turn on the nice, and it gets drained. I am a limp noodle by the end of the day.