Being Awesome and Other Reasons to Join a Networking Group

sphere of handsAnybody 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?

  1. Look for diversity of thought and experience and profession among people who naturally tend toward generosity.
  2. Commit to getting together on a regular basis (monthly, quarterly, twice a year… whatever works for you).
  3. Connect!

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…

4 thoughts to “Being Awesome and Other Reasons to Join a Networking Group”

  1. Alana, Great blog! I was at a Professional Women’s event in St. Louis last week, as a guest. It was a Wine & Chocolate event but I realized how I have gotten a little lax on my networking. This was a great reminder to me to regularly invest time in networking.

  2. I am always trying to find a group of people to meet with. I have volunteered at historical sites, art events, gardening locations, city functions, work functions, sport events, and entertainment events. Rich now I am volunteering to do the Facebook for the Kauffman Performing Arts volunteer group. But I never can find a group to make a commitment to meet outside of established things like American Business Women (which is where I met you) How can I find out more about online blogs and places to chat with like minded business people. (I do linked-in) I’m only half way through your book. Does it tell me the answer to this question?

    1. Hi, Sandy —
      Thanks for your question. While I don’t have a silver bullet response, I have a couple ideas for your consideration and hope that other members of the CLC Community will weigh in with other ideas. 1) Organize your own group. This can be time consuming, but very effective. The groups that I talked about in this article were built like this… one person at a time. You can choose to meet monthly or by email or via whatever means and frequency works for you. 2) In terms of blogs to follow, ask the question through LinkedIn or Facebook. In the status bar, ask: “Do you follow any [business-related] blogs that you recommend?” Instead of “business-related,” you can fill in any qualifier you wish. 3) Consider the Central Exchange. There are two locations in KC and the organization has multiple events during each week that may be of interest to you. Let me know what you think!

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