The Day I-85 Fell In Atlanta
OK, I wasn’t anywhere near Interstate 85 during the fire and the subsequent collapse. That event, although tragic, didn’t affect me at all, well, at least not yet. In fact, I was at least twenty miles to the Northwest in Marietta at a networking event. I didn’t learn about the incident until driving home.
Al Maxwell and Dawn Barrs hosted the event I attended. They are business associates who teamed-up to sell real estate under the Keller Williams brand. This was the fourth gatherings they have hosted in the past year, with plans to have one event each quarter. It is a component of their marketing outreach. I’ve known Dawn for over 12 years. I met Al at their first event last year. Both are first-rate networkers.
The event was held at Sage Social Kitchen and Bar, which until recently was a Chequers restaurant. It is a great venue, conveniently located, with a private room to mix and mingle. The hors d'oeuvre table was strategically located in the middle of the room.
I invited Faith and Hope to attend as my guests. They were my guests at the last event, which proved to be a productive time for each. That was my contribution to help Dawn and Al. Faith couldn’t make it, but Hope was available.
Hope and I arrived at the same time, and entered the venue together. We were among the first, my plan to beat rush-hour traffic. Arriving early is a good way to spend quality time with your hosts before they become involved with other guests. We checked-in, accepted our name badges and made small-talk with Al, who was manning the reception table. Dawn was across the room on her cell phone. She eventually made it over and greeted me with a big hug. Almost immediately she and Hope were deep in conversation, discussing mutual interests. Hope is an Interior Designer; working for a remodeling company so connecting her to Dawn was ideal. By this time, I was getting to know Terry, who arrived immediately after Hope and me.
KEY POINTS TO HOSTING A SUCCESSFUL NETWORKING EVENT
- Find a convenient location with proper food and beverage capabilities.
- Schedule the event so that guests are not fighting rush-hour traffic.
- Use a tool like Evite to invite and manage guest communications.
- Use a greeting table to welcome guests and provide name tags.
- Locate Food and beverage service so as to facilitate mingling.
Terry is a former AT&T executive who became an entrepreneur when he retired. He owns a business that helps smaller companies manage their IT networks and infrastructure. We had a nice chat about cyber security, the hottest topic in his field, and certainly top of mind with the politicians in Washington. Terry could be a good contact as we both serve similar customers. I gave him my card, but he did not seem to have one. Later, I sent a 'thank you' note to Dawn and Al, and asked for his contact information. I probably spent too much time talking with Terry, but he was interesting and friendly. Eventually, I made a gracious exit and began circulating.
Two hours into the meeting, Hope had to leave as she had another appointment. I spent the next twenty minutes or so making my exit, thanking my hosts on the way out.
I would have to say that this was a successful event. It was well attended, and I met eight people who I plan to see again. One is a potential candidate and four are potential referral sources.
My work is all about meeting new people and strengthening existing relationships. I attend at least one networking event a week. Some groups are not as productive, and the events are not well planned. Not a surprise if I don’t accept their next invitation. Dawn and Al run the model networking meeting, which I always enjoy. I will make every effort to attend their future events.
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Jim Weber, President
New Century Dynamics Executive Search
Author of: Fighting Alligators: Job Search Strategy For The New Normal
1. COO- Atlanta-based Casual Dining Restaurant Company – New
2. Director of Business Dev, Atlanta-based B2B Professional Services Company: Complete
3. Payroll-Benefits Manager, Atlanta-based Retail Company: Complete
4. Senior Accounting Manager – Atlanta-based Manufacturer. Offer Accepted
5. Controller – Atlanta-based Restaurant Company: New