Every month I have been asked to give the networking tip at the GreaterFindlayInc's morning networking program called Fresh Brewed. I have just a minute or two, so I have to be clear, concise and hopefully memorable.
There is always a theme. Tuesday if was "Elect to be Involved." (It was election day in the US.)
So I decided to tell a story about my mother.
My parents moved 17 times in the first 11 years of their marriage. After the first three or four moves my very shy mother realized that if she didn't make a friend the day she hit town, that six months later she would be leaving without any friends. This was a challenge to begin with, but she became very good at it. In their heyday, my parents penned a handwritten personal message on over 700 Christmas cards every year. I guess she got over her shyness!
Fast forward to me making the move to Toledo in 1992 not knowing a soul except for my new husband. The first year I traveled out of town each week for business and when I went to the grocery store each weekend, I saw no familiar faces. Then remembering my mom, I decided to get involved in the community. My father-in-law recommended a group. I attended the first meeting one weekend morning. The next weekend I walked into the grocery store and my day was made when someone said, "Hi Debby."
I ended my story Tuesday by saying that we can elect to be involved for what we can get, but to remember that we need to reach out to those who are new and not connected.
You could hear a pin drop.
After the formal meeting was over, several people came up to me who have not spoken to me ever before and I've received several emails from people commenting. I think I hit a chord that is in all of us, that of being alone and left out.
So the general election is over for another four years. Even so, you can elect to be the person who says hello to those that really need it!
That's what networking is to me.