Saturday, August 11, 2007

Networking: Unexpected Benefits

Big family groupIf you've been reading these posts for any length of time, you'll know that I do a lot of networking in the pursuit of my business. I attend a lot of Chamber of Commerce events. I meet with interesting and interested people regularly. I've taken classes on how to network. Even my blog and my ezine are designed partially to maintain my connections with my growing list of contacts.

Today I discovered a surprising benefit of all of this networking: Meeting my own family.

I attended a family reunion out in New Baltimore, Michigan at my Aunt Anne's house. In attendance were a number of cousins whom I'd known for many years. There were a number of others, though -- great-aunts and uncles, second cousins, etc -- whom I had never met or whom I hadn't seen more than twice over the last couple of decades. Of course, my lovely wife, Lisa, was even less likely to know who they were. She's pretty good with the immediate circle of relatives, but these folks were all new to her.

At first I waited for others to introduce us. Unfortunately, they seemed unaware of our predicament. So I decided to take the situation into my own hands. I treated it like any other networking mixer. I said hello, shook hands, smiled, and asked questions. Before long we were all seated out on the deck chatting and comparing stories as if we'd known each other forever.

What could have been a long and uncomfortable day ended up being a lot of fun. Lisa and I drove away feeling much closer to the family than we'd ever been -- all thanks to networking techniques which worked as well for family as they do for my fellow Chamber members.

So, what business skills have helped you out in your non-business life?

1 comment:

Jacki Hollywood Brown said...

I'm an Army Wife. I need to be able to talk to retired Generals and young, brand-new soldiers (and of course, the wives/girlfriends and families of both of these groups).

Actually, I found the opposite, my personal life (as described above) helped me out with networking events when I opened my business.