Networking is something we all do – whether it’s joining a mom’s group or building a business. For some reason, the concept of “Networking” has gotten a bit of a “salesy” connotation. I will admit, some of the networking events I attend are a bit too much of a “pitch” party where everyone you talk to is trying to sell you something.
However, at a recent networking event sponsored by the Vienna Chamber of Commerce, I came away with a new appreciation for networking. At this event, we settled down and discussed our shared experiences and future plans. No pressure to hawk your wares or force your business card on fellow attendees. I met several interesting people and learned about what they were involved with.
Of course these days, networking is more than just cocktails and chit chat. It’s about being present online and putting yourself “out there” (wherever that may be!). During a recent visit with friends on the west coast, I had the pleasure of being introduced to Mick Ukleja. We had a great conversation about reaching out past the old comfort zone – the fact that we were drinking wine on a beautiful patio overlooking the Pacific Ocean was only part of the charm.
Mick’s job is to teach business leaders how to “live on purpose.” He has such great insights in how to invest in growth – our own physical, mental, emotional, and financial growth. It’s a personal vision that readily translates to business. It fit my interests perfectly. I am publisher of a magazine that’s all about providing for our DC area parents. We grow our business to help you grow happy, healthy families.
Mick teaches his clients that much of our growth comes from what we contribute. That meant a lot to me. I’ve been thinking for some time about making some changes, and his ideas seemed ready-made for where I was. I had already started doing more networking of the face-to-face variety and have been considering upping my game for my online presence - namely focusing on my blog.
Before I struck out into that web wilderness, I wanted to make sure I had a clear picture of what my blog would be, AND that I had a plan to make it happen. Blogs take time. Good blogs take a lot of time. Time is something I’m not long on….
So it’s about setting priorities, and I’m familiar with tough choices. Change is scary for all of us – and the process of change, the transition, is where we separate the “just do it” from the “maybe later” mentality. Stepping out of our comfort zone into a commitment isn’t about taking a leap. It’s about landing that leap over and over again. I’m so glad I had the fortune to talk with Mick that afternoon. His approach really inspired me to take my next step, and the next, and the next….
At the magazine, we do a lot of work with our advertisers (most of whom are fellow parents), and from our discussions, I know we’re all looking for opportunities for growth. We love being face to face with the advertisers. We learn what challenges local businesses are facing, and we are prepared to help. As I reach out more in my professional ventures, my goal is to grow by contributing. I’ll spread the word (many words) with the hope that I can contribute to the benefit of our readers.
In the spirit of reaching out, I wanted to help other professionals looking to make connections. I did some research into local networking opportunities and am sharing some of my favorite finds. I have listed several sites below. There is also a link to the FAMILY Magazine web site for future networking opportunities.
Or better yet, you can find information about great growth opportunities by tuning into my new and improved blog! I’ll keep a link at the bottom of my intro page where you can find up to date information on local networking events. Be sure to email me with information about your favorite local networking events. I’ll add them to our list.
So as Mick Ukleja says “Snowmen fall from Heaven…unassembled.” I guess all those letters on my keyboard are my snowflakes. I’m intent on building a blog out of those letters. A meaningful blog that enables me to reach out and grow with intention. Carrot nose and all!
For more information about Mick – and to follow his most excellent blog - check out his site: http://leadershiptraq.com/blog/
To visit my blog (and hopefully sign up to receive updates) go to:
For local connections, check out these organizations:
DocWalker.com – events all over the region for power networking
Good Morning Rockville Chamber of Commerce
Mix & Mingle Rockville Chamber of Commerce
Bethesda Chamber of Commerce
Vienna Chamber of Commerce Events
Dulles Chamber of Commerce