Monday, March 4, 2013


Recently, a Chamber of Commerce member remarked that networking meetings are not as effective as they might be because those involved come to broadcast their messages, but are less eager to receive the messages sent by others.

I am guilty of this. I recently went to a Chamber session on “elevator pitches,” trying to learn how to present my freelance writing business to new people in half a minute to a minute. I learned about “pitching,“ but I still need to learn about “catching.”

A network is a set of connections among a number of nodes, objects, people perhaps. A two-person interaction has two connections, if both can send and receive. A collection of N people has approximately N squared connections. In a room with twenty people some 380 possible connections…if people are both sending and receiving in pairs, one-on-one. For any individual, in this example, there are nineteen others with whom he can have a dialog, and the larger the audience, the more possible dialogues…if one has the time!

If you are involved in the Chamber only as a seller, not a buyer, then there are half as many valuable links to be made. Furthermore, the person you are selling to can feel like a target rather than a partner in the interaction.

How can one develop one’s “elevator catch”? Listening attentively helps. Ask questions. Think about possible uses for what is proposed and possible other users if one cannot use it oneself. Be receptive.

The Chamber is large enough that there is likely to be a buyer for what a member is selling and a seller for what a member would likely buy. Buyers and sellers need to make greater efforts to look for the beneficial pitching-catching combinations that produce win-win deals.

The Chamber phone is answered with “Orange County Chamber of Commerce– where members come first.” If we think of our fellow members first when we want to sell or buy, we can help each other prosper…especially if we listen as carefully as we speak.

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