Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Good food, hot coffee and a captive audience

I love networking, especially when food is involved.  I’ve gone to numerous ‘Business After Hours’ and they are good.  But, as they’re about networking bar style over food and alcohol the crowd is different. 

Now Business @ Breakfast, courtesy of the Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA), is a horse of a different color.  Here, you sit at a round table as one of eight people sipping coffee and eating eggs, ham, fruit, or Danish.  Ah, good food, hot coffee and a captive audience.

Tony Giles of Morgan Stanley is the ever-cheerful emcee, who does not need a mic to be heard to the farthest reaches of the room. After an introduction and hello, we get a quick over view of the ‘rules of the room’.
You’ve heard of speed-dating; this is speed-networking.  One person volunteers to go first.  Moving to the right around the table, each person hands their cards off to be passed around with each person taking one, while they tell us who they are, what they do in one minute.

Tony must have a stopwatch, I never watched, but you don’t have to worry about going over your minute, because he calls time.  “All right number one, your time is up.  Number two – go!” And so on around table. 

When number eight wraps up, we play musical tables.  Again, Tony’s voice chimes out, “Everybody up and change tables.  Do not sit with the same people, you’re here to meet new people.  Everyone is smiling, laughing as we move from table to table, reminded perhaps of childhood games, musical chairs, trying to be first, etc.  It is fun and you meet so many new people.  Some head quickly to another table to be the first from their table to get there.  Some strategists, stay at the same table counting on seven new faces to show up.

BBA has a participating partner that provides breakfast for these event.  This morning it was Verizon.  Thanks Verizon – It was a great breakfast and the coffee urns were bottomless.

Thanks, too, to the Birmingham Business Alliance.  I made 35 new contacts this morning, and five said they need a freelance writer (that would be me).  The other 30? Well, everybody has a sphere of influence, and who knows but they might pass my name along to someone else needing my services.

If you’ve never been, you need to check out BBA's website for the next one - I’ll be there for sure with my blazer pressed and loaded – right pocket full of cards, left pocket ready to receive incoming cards.

1 comment:

Ruth Cook said...

Thanks, Perle, for the link to this. Sounds like a great event for freelancers.