Our business networking group has been in operation since 1998 with the same core membership. As of January 2018, we have 19 active members, over half of whom have been members for more than five years! We do experience turnover and are always looking for new members who are compatible with the group.
Over the years, we have met in various venues, always at the same time in the morning. At present, meetings are held at 3900 Essex Lane, Ste 1000. A full breakfast buffet is part of the membership program.
Our format is to gather at 7:00 a.m. when the doors of the building open and begin with coffee and juice and informal conversation among members and guests. At approximately 7:30 a.m., the leader for the day calls everyone to the breakfast line, a cornucopia ranging from fruit & yogurt to eggs & bacon. Beginning around 7:45, we usually begin a round of introductions, in which each participant stands and introduces himself or herself and gives a brief description of their business. These introductions are timed in order to help our members practice brief compelling statements for use in meeting people during their normal business activities.
Following the introductions, we feature a "spotlight" speaker. These spotlights are opportunities for members to describe their products and services in more detail, take questions from the group, and help the other members of the group understand how best to provide effective, productive referrals to the speaker. We maintain a "Spotlight Schedule" and members are encouraged to sign up in advance for a speaking slot.
Once each month, instead of featuring a spotlight, we have a general open discussion meeting, where we discuss topics of interest to the membership, issues of policy and practice within the group, and techniques for improving the effectiveness of the group in creating business referrals for the members.
At 8:25 am, discussion is closed and we spend the final minutes of the meeting to thank other members for referrals and other acts of assistance. This provides an opportunity for the group to be reminded of the activity that is taking place within the group, and to show appreciation for help that members provide to one another. At 8:30, the meeting is adjourned. We hold firmly to this time schedule so that members can feel free to schedule their business day with confidence that they will not be delayed by the meeting running overtime.
Members often linger after the meeting, if the room schedule permits, to carry on conversations pertaining to matters pertaining to their businesses.
Board of Directors
(Current term: July 2017 to July 2018)