I accidentally attended five different networking events last week. I say accidentally because they weren’t all labeled as such. Monday night was a birthday dinner for a friend and client. I met eight women I hadn’t known before. Friday night’s event was for the purpose of networking yet began with an hour of yoga which made it feel warmer and friendlier than just shaking hands. I put out my books, met many other women business owners and shared good food. Sunday afternoon I attended the opening of an art exhibit curated by another good friend and client. I bumped into several colleagues whom I hadn’t seen in months, years and even a decade.
The other two were purely networking events located at commercial venues. They didn’t work as well for me personally. After all these years in business, I’m still discovering what works and what doesn’t. The best place for me to check in with that is my heart. How do I feel? What’s the vibe? Are these my people? Is the atmosphere conducive to the conversations I want to have?
My commitment to myself and my business is to attend three networking events per month. I intentionally check my calendar to see if I’m accomplishing that. Then there’s the unintentional networking which happened at the birthday dinner and art gallery. Any time you show up in public, you’re networking. In fact, my thesis is that whenever you’re not home alone, you’re networking.
Bottom line–be who you are wherever you go and bring business cards.