Don’t you hate talking about networking? Oh my gosh, tell me an event is about networking, either overtly or indirectly, and I just don’t wanna. Don’t. Wanna. I get the importance of schmoozing and meeting people and building a network; we all need to make a living, and we all need to buy things from one another. I also genuinely enjoy being social and meeting people. But the idea of waltzing into an event where I am meant to sell myself to people and be sold on others is so unappealing. Ugh.
Being a socially active extrovert anyway, I would just as soon make real connections to people through real interactions. Maybe those relationships will come in handy for business, but do they have to? Building relationships is something I’d just rather be less strategic about.
That may seem dangerously haphazard, but here’s an example of why I think it works. Today, I’m going to my first book event not planned by me. I’m going to have a table at the Owosso Art Walk, where I’ll be hosted by the most delightful gift shop in town, Apple Tree Lane. I’m friends with the owner, because I used to work in Owosso for a downtown development organization with which she volunteers. She was my best volunteer by far, and she did it all to make her community better. And while we didn’t need to stay in touch when I left Owosso, we just like each other, so we did.
As it turned out, Sue made the dessert for our wedding. My friend designed her store’s new logo. She’s hired my husband to play music at events. And today, I get to go sell books at her store. So how’s that for a real, live relationship that actually turned out to be professionally beneficial? The best part is, it doesn’t even need it to be, because Sue is the coolest and we’d be friends anyway, business or no business. And we never had to awkwardly shake hands over crappy coffee and exchange business cards while sizing each other up. That actually might be the best part.
Off I go to Owosso!