Inside the chamber: Reaping the benefits at a networking event | PostIndependent.com

Inside the chamber: Reaping the benefits at a networking event

Joni Bates
Inside the Chamber
Joni Bates
DYLANLEWIS |

Part 1 of a four-part series.

Complete your membership application to join now! Whenever I see this I often think of the song “Signs” by Five Man Electrical Band — you know the one, “Sign, Sign Everywhere a Sign” and the one verse says, “The sign said you’ve got to have a membership card to get inside.”

Everywhere we turn money saving opportunities and plenty of benefits are offered to members. I don’t know about you but whenever I join anything the benefits tend to be overwhelming. I need constant reminders of them so I can remember which benefits were the most important to me and hence the reason for joining. We all realize membership benefits often come in many shapes and sizes. Get the inside scoop on one of those benefits below that many of us use daily.

Networking

All benefits are not actually about a tangible dollar sign. Networking is a benefit of many organizations large and small. Building relationships with other business owners and community members can be very important and beneficial to you personally and your business.

Have you ever shown up to a networking event and completely stumbled over your words when introducing yourself to someone? More often than not I find it is easier to go with friends, but then you find yourself with the same group during the entire event and never meet anyone new. If this is true you might want to try these four ice breakers to help you rock your next networking event:

1) Work on your introduction. You know, your elevator speech. Keep it short and unique. Choose your words carefully using confidence. Be proud but do not brag. Keep it as close to 30 seconds as possible. When you are done if the person has questions they will ask. Most importantly of all, smile.

2) Find someone who is not with a large group of people and introduce yourself. Begin with small talk, exchange business cards, and slowly move on to the next group of people. Continue to do so until you have met a large number of the attendees and possibly made some new friends.

3) When speaking with groups, if a couple of people nearby are standing alone include them in the conversation. The larger the group the easier the conversation will flow.

4) Did you meet someone really interesting at the event? Follow up with them within the next couple of days. When collecting business cards I often write on the back of the card important bullet points about the conversation. When I contact that individual I will refer to the conversation so they hopefully remember me as well.

Part of the Glenwood Springs Chamber’s 2014 Image Campaign featured local businessman Bob McNutt of Desktop Consulting Inc. He said, “When it comes to promoting my business seminars, I rely on the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association. Their weekly e-blast goes out to over 1,000 business people, and it’s the only vehicle I use to advertise my lunch and learn series. Thanks to the chamber, I consistently have between 30-40 attendees.”

Attending events such as seminars or lunch and learns are also great ways to meet new business people. You are learning something new and have something in common with the other attendees at the event, which is a great conversation starter. Don’t leave these events shorthanded; introduce yourself to those you are seated near and remember to have business cards with you at all times to hand out. Remember to introduce yourself to the host as well and thank them for the opportunity to attend.

Membership, in terms of the chamber of commerce, in your town may help you reap the rewards as well. In 2012 an updated national survey of 2,000 adults by The Schapiro Group revealed that “being active in a local chamber of commerce is an effective business strategy because two-thirds of consumers believe that such companies use good business practices, are reputable, care about their customers, and are involved in the community.”

It may not be about reaping the rewards of all of the benefits but possibly being a part of something larger. Having a membership card to get inside might not be such a bad thing after all.

I laugh to myself whenever I start rambling during an introduction at a networking event. I always remember the article I read about actress Mae West who once said, ”Move along sonny, you’re beginning to bore me.” Is that me, I am thinking to myself at this point, am I beginning to bore you?

The chamber of commerce is not an exclusive organization. If you have a desire to be part of your community through a membership with an award winning organization you too can begin reaping the rewards and benefits of membership. Contact the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, located at 802 Grand Ave. or call 945-1514 and ask for Joni.

Joni Bates is the VP of Membership Development at the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association. Call her for more information about joining the GSCRA or attend membership orientation on Tuesday, November 3rd to find out how you can reap the rewards of your membership.


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