What do you get when you combine your personal professional network with the magic of the internet? The answer: One Powerful Combination!
Two days ago, I learned that one of my instructors was trying to schedule a FastTrac NewVenture course for Veterans in the Houston area. She was desperately seeking a location at which to run her class, but was coming up short – unless she was willing to pay great sums to secure a room. My team shared this tidbit with me as a point of information, but did not ask me to get involved.
Then, after another concerted effort to find space, my colleagues came back to me to see if I could think of any options. Time was running out.
I ended up posting a simple plea for help on my LinkedIn page. I also sent it through to my personal Twitter account and re-Tweeted from the @fasttrac account. Specifically, it said:
Please help! In search of a conference room for 20-25 people in the Houston area where we could deliver FastTrac courses to Veterans — Wednesday nights from 6-9pm 4/18 – 6/20. Anyone willing to lend us your space?
Now, here’s the deal, on LinkedIn alone, I have more than 1,200 connections. They are people from all over the world. Turns out, I only needed one… just one… to hear my call and set the wheels in motion.
Within 30 minutes of my LinkedIn post, I received a personal email from one of my LinkedIn connections – a good friend who lives in Kansas City, but has contacts in the Houston area. On my behalf, she sent out an email to three of her contacts in Houston. Not 30 minutes after that, one of the three responded saying, “Mary, I got your back.” Now, less than 24 hours after my LinkedIn posting, we are connected with and talking to the right folks who are working on getting us that meeting space.
That’s all it took:
- A challenge
- A request for help sent to 1,200 contacts
- One offer of assistance
Amazing. Truly, it gives me chills to think of the power of leveraging a personal professional network through the use of social media tools. Not so long ago, this scenario would not have been possible.
Just a few years ago, I would have been making phone calls, one-by-one, probably to the hospitality divisions of Houston-area hotels, to see what space they had available and asking them to cut me a great deal. Now, through the use of social media, I was able to type one question, forward it to all of my connections on LinkedIn and other platforms with the press of a button and, low-and-behold, a contact in one city led me to exactly the contacts I would need in another city to complete the task at hand.
Oh, and I made several new friends in the process. My new contact in Houston is interested in taking one of our courses and plans to introduce me to others of his colleagues with whom he believes I share common interests and objectives. How cool.