Thursday evening I attended an MV Speaker Series Event which was sponsored by the MV Chamber of Commerce, Vineyard Square Hotel and Sitka Creations. The series centers around empowering business professionals on the island, Thursday’s event hosted by Rose DeNaro, a business and life coach, focused on local networking and stressed its importance even in the “off season” here on the Vineyard.
As a young professional just starting out in real estate sales I welcome any and all input on networking and growing my business. It is easy to see that we can all grow complacent in this area of growing our business. Without a definite time frame for yourself or plan the ideas for networking can fall by the wayside. This was a great way to get myself back on track.
The speaker series costs $25 if you reserve your space ahead of time and $30 at the time of the event. If your business is a member of the Chamber of Commerce then the series is usually free. Aela Mass, Director of Member Services at the Chamber stated that there are 900 members. 900 businesses on the island of Martha’s Vineyard are members of the Chamber of Commerce here. It’s an extremely large member base and with that many businesses these events could be a potential networking goldmine. If you would like to find out more about these speaker events contact the Chamber of Commerce today to be kept in the loop.
Back to the event I recently attended…As is typical in any situation like this we went around the room and introduced ourselves. We said our name and our business. Rose mentioned afterward that how we introduce ourselves should be interesting. We should figure out a sentence or two to explain who we are so that when we walk away from the conversation the other person has a clear vision of who we are and our business. This gave me a lot to think about and it reminded me of our twitter culture. We are encouraged to be brief and concise in the information we provide. I like that idea. Being someone who tends to be overly wordy it’s challenging for me, however I find it necessary. I am currently trying to come up with my interesting introduction. I thought this was a great idea.
Some great tips I took away from this event were to consciously be aware of where I network. Rose suggests you have a strong contact group, a casual network, and a service network. She also stresses the importance of belonging to groups, boards, and committees. This involves you in the community, keeps you knowledgeable about your town and offers you networking opportunities. Rose encouraged us to get cards from others as opposed to only handed out our card. She mentioned that when you do collect a card and have a conversation with that person to follow up with them within at least 2 days. This helps keep you fresh in their mind and is considered smarter networking. Rose also spoke about SMART networking. She explains this as having a Specific goal, making sure is Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and give yourself a Time frame to expect a networking result. Attend events, have your interesting introduction, a few questions to ask and talk to people you don’t currently know. It’s not networking if you talk to the same group every time. The average time spent networking is 5 hours a week. Be above average. Think of more ways to network and expand your sphere of influence.
I found this speaker series very helpful. It gave me ideas to run with and reminded me of the importance of this business tool. Networking is “work” as Rose stated in her talk and should be treated as such. I encourage others on the Vineyard to take advantage of this island resource. It’s a great way to get ideas to grow as an individual or a business and it offers the opportunity to meet other island residents working to grow their business as well.