Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Networking Nosh

Over the last few weeks I have had the opportunity to attend a couple of networking events in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania organized by The Power Lunch Project. As many of you already know I enjoy meeting new people and I am always looking for different ways to get out and talk to people in addition to my regular meetings and events. The Power Lunch Project is a great addition to my networking repertoire and I look forward to attending additional gatherings in the future.

I have tried other, more traditional, networking groups such as BNI and they have all left me feeling a little let down by the dry robotic nature of the meetings. Some people enjoy BNI and benefit greatly from their group but it just wasn’t for me. Of course, I may have also caught them on a bad week. I like getting to know people beyond the simple introduction of who I am and what I do. Maybe it’s the writer in me but I am always looking for a little more meat on the bone.

It is for that reason that I really enjoy my Monday morning meetings at the Freedom Deli in King of Prussia. Each week there is a different set of questions for us to discuss which allows everyone to get to know one another a little better. This week, for example, the questions were the following:

·         If you could change ONE THING about your work day, what would it be?
·         What did you want to be when you grew up? In what ways does your current job resemble parts of that early ambition?

In both instances, you could hear the similarities that many of us had but also the variety of aspirations and character types that filled the room. It didn’t matter what industry someone is in, we all talked openly about both the challenges of our day as well as our childhood aspirations and whether or not those dreams are part of our current (or future) reality.

Another important aspect that will keep me coming back is the fact that it is not just a referral game. It is much more of a holistic approach to networking. Of course, connections are welcomed and appreciated but ideas are also shared and discussed. Maybe it’s a different approach, maybe a different target market, maybe a way to reshape, expand, or promote a program. The overall dialogue that occurs during these meetings is fantastic due to the fact that everyone was, as I like to say, personally professional with the honesty and openness that was displayed in both responses and feedback.

How would you answer the questions above? What questions come to mind that you would have a group of professionals discuss? Would this type of networking event be a good fit for you?

For those of you that are looking for something a little different in your networking experience, I encourage you to join us at the Freedom Deli in King of Prussia on Monday from 11:00 am to 12:15 pm. In the meantime, browse the website, join the group on Meetup, and connect with the organizers, Sara Rosenberg and Yisroel (Izzy) H. Levovitz, of this weekly experience on LinkedIn. And, for those of you in other parts of the country or world, find a similar event in your area or start your own group where this kind of atmosphere and community can be achieved.