Canadian-American Chamber members should expect good things from events anytime they attend. However, attendance, involvement and participation are the key components to making your networking efforts worthwhile. Members who experience the most success generally approach the chamber events as a opportunity to reconnect themselves to the main group, meet new prospective members and regenerate their own lead creating enthusiasm.
As a business development specialist, I formed many alliances and business opportunities simply by showing up to as many events as I could put on my schedule. From various events I formed relationships with Microsoft Solutions, American Airlines, Fidelity Investments, FedEx, UPS, Nissan, Allstate Insurance and other major contributors to the local economy. As the Chairman of the Ambassador program, I enjoyed meeting new business professionals during the many business mixers and ribbon cuttings provided by the chamber for its members.
The key is to be in attendance. My father taught the kids of our neighborhood how to play baseball. Anticipation and being in the right position were two of the primary principles he taught us when we played defense. He showed us very clearly that if we were in position, we could make a play with relative ease. When we anticipated correctly, we increased our chances of success. In a chamber, members learn to anticipate who will be in attendance then properly position themselves to make the right contacts. Not everyone’s schedule allows for them to be in attendance, this is a fact of business life, however for those times when a new member or potential lead shows up and I am out of attendance, I lose that opportunity.
Involvement presents another key for success. The more involved one is in their interests the more success they will enjoy from that interest. If you enjoy meeting new people, then chamber events provide the perfect opportunity to meet someone new. Ironically, some feel that meetings are ‘the same old crowd.’ However, nothing could be further from the truth. Over the past year, 50 percent of our attendees have been new to our chamber. So the argument that its the same old people doesn’t really hold water. When a person stops being involved, it becomes difficult to convince them otherwise that they really are missing out. Get involved, make the chamber work for you. Right now, we entered a period of time where we have a very enthusiastic member willing to head up our Ambassador program.
Consider this, if you take the opportunity to be involved, attend various functions and be committed to participate in various activities, success will follow. Leads take grooming and careful attention. Leads are more than faceless business cards. Leads are the people behind the business card who need our support and services. Honestly, there are times when leads may not need our services directly but they might know of someone who shows great potential for needing what our skills can provide. The only way to know for sure is to take time to attend, get involved and participate in the activities provided.