One of the my strategies in trying to build up business has been meeting as many people as I can, which lately has meant going to a lot of networking and association meetings. For those who know me well, it's pretty hard to imagine me as a life of the party kind of guy, and don't worry, I haven't changed that much. While way out of my element, I'm trying to learn the art of meeting a large number of people and trying to follow up with most to develop a few close relationships.
Here are a few results so far:
-I've been in the Rotary Club for almost a full year now. It's a nice place to see some familiar faces and have a reason to get out and do some good things too. Out of this group, I have made a tennis/music sharing friend, and got my first training order on my own.
-I joined the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, which happens to hold monthly meetings at a hotel which has an amazing breakfast. At my first meeting, I realized I only had about 5 business cards and ended up avoiding talking to people. At the next one, I walked out with around 30. As I was going through them, I felt like a kid going through a new pack of baseball cards and hoping that one was Ryne Sandberg or at least Andre Dawson. Ironically, the only further contact I've had is lunch with a guy from the Russian consulate who was surprised that Americans actually liked Russians.
-I also joined the Indo-American Association, which I quickly found out was an organization that pretty much exists for it's own sake. It's a lot of older people who like to get together and occasionally plan things. I'm scared if I go too many times they will want to make me an officer of their club.
-I've been to gatherings on Marketing and Empowering Women in IT, all very fascinating.
So, as I get acclimated to the business world, I'm trying to be more social and outgoing, yet still be myself. We'll see how it all goes, but it's definitely been a fun ride so far.