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Today I Joined the Chamber of Commerce!


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Today was the day. I have been putting it off for a while because I am not that great in public situations. I figured that I have to get over this and learn to get my name out there in my local community. If you have any suggestions about how to get over this shyness, let me know.

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Hi Darrell!

 

I joined my Chamber a year ago and have been to quite a few networking events since then. Each time you go, it gets easier. I find that I can talk about my business very easily now since I have practiced this so many times attending Chamber events.

 

One thing I really liked that our Chamber offered was 5 Minute Networking. Think of it as speed dating for your business. I went to so many of these that I was really able to practice and refine my elevator speech, and I got clients out of it. The bottom line is the more you practice the easier it will get.

 

Good luck!!

 

 

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Hi Darrell...

 

I'm a member of the GCACOC. I've gotten some business from it, mostly referrals. It's a tough crowd. I don't want to scare you or anything, but I personally find the mixers painful most of the time. I've gotten much more comfortable at them, but it's mostly big corporate people from Aliant and Maritime Electric and very few small businesses the ones I've been to. It's hit or miss, really. I haven't been to many mixers since I've been in the later stages of pregnancy and I haven't decided if I'll be going to the mixer this month, but I'm sure I'll bump into you at some point!

Jaime Lee Mann

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QUESTION :: What do VAs do when they've got big plans but don't know where to start?

ANSWER :: They download the VAnetworking Kick Start Package!

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Darrell,

 

I know the feeling but I really think you'll enjoy it. Find out about Leads groups, usually through the Chamber, that you can join for free. They are smaller groups intended to find leads for new clients. There are only about a dozen people in the 2 I have gone to.

 

I hate this stuff, too, but I decided to jump in with both feet. I joined last month and immediately offered to sponsor a breakfast. It's $60 to sponsor but I had a coupon for a free one. I planned my speech for the whole month and walked in yesterday with sweaty hands. But I was prepared. With a sponsorship I got to talk for 3 minutes. Using the advice from other VAs (thanks, Angela) I didn't try to "sell" myself. I just talked about my background, my family, my life in that community and then spent about a minute talking about what I do. Very non-threatening. Now I know I can do it again.

 

Each time you go you will learn something and hopefully they can learn from you. If you don't want to talk, don't. But usually they break up for a few minutes in between to network. Grab those cards and hand yours out as fast as you can.

 

You really don't have to approach people if you don't want to. I'm shy too but I know that I HAVE to do this to build my business because referrals and word-of-mouth are so critical. So just smile, make eye contact and enjoy the adventure. Let others approach you (and they will) especially the politicians that attend. One technique I use is to walk up to the chatty ones, hold out my hand and smile. They introduce themselves, I introduce myself, and they take it from there. I may never have to do another thing except smile and nod.

 

All I want to do with these meetings is build trust. So think of it that way. Just build the trust and the rest will come.

 

Good luck. You'll be fine.

 

Nancy

 

 

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Today was the day. I have been putting it off for a while because I am not that great in public situations. I figured that I have to get over this and learn to get my name out there in my local community. If you have any suggestions about how to get over this shyness, let me know.

 

 

Hi Darrell,

In my previous career as a Logistics manager I used to send my staff and anyone in my organization that wanted to, to participate in a group called "Toast Masters". They would meet once a week and each week someone else would take a crack at public speaking (in front of the other members of Toast Masters). Each person was then given feedback (positive & negative). They would then get other opportunities at later dates to speak again. Topics were usually suggested by other members. You could keep on going through the rotations until you felt confident enough to step out on your own. It really helped new supervisors and managers get over there fear of public speaking. Not sure if there is anything like this available to you where you live. Something local colleges offer these type programs/classes too. Good luck to you.. ~gary :)

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Today was the day. I have been putting it off for a while because I am not that great in public situations. I figured that I have to get over this and learn to get my name out there in my local community. If you have any suggestions about how to get over this shyness, let me know.

 

I'm still debating joining outs. My goal is to get one more regular/recurring client before I take that plunge (I know, I know, backwards thinking!)

 

I have to ask - when did you re-align your sig line to the right? I just "got it". Clever AND it made me smile.

 

Good luck with your CoC!

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Hey Darrell, I have my first biz after five event tomorrow...I know how you feel. I think with practice it will get easier. I really like some of the advice you've received, I'll try it out tomorrow and let you know how it went.

 

Best wishes,

Sabrina

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There was a time when I had the same problem. It took a lot of work before I could walk into a room where I know nobody. There are some tricks to doing the socials and meetings.

 

1. Until you get to know more people in your chamber ... Take a date, even if your date is your best (same-sex) friend or a former co-worker.

 

2. Practice your elevator speech. the 30 second verbal presentation you give to someone about your business.

2a Always end your ES with something close to, but enough about my business, What do you do?

 

3. Develop a list of questions and counter questions that you have memorized. Learn to do them in random order.

 

4. As you network outside of the socials, find out who is going. Make a point of touching base with the contacts you have, and meeting at least two new ones (YES I know this is hard for a shy person)

 

5. As you meet more members, make arrangements to meet with them at socials in advance. That way you have a reason to look forward to going.

 

6. Most of the socials are come and go... Get there after it starts and leave before it ends, (set a time frame of anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. )

 

As you practice these steps more and more, you will start to become comfortable with the larger groups, to the point that nobody will ever believe that you are shy!

 

 

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Hi Darrell, I also recommend Toastmasters if you have a club in your area. I am a current member - I recieved my Compentent Communicator award last year and am half way to the Advanced Communicator - Bronze.

 

In Toastmasters, you are given a manual and speech assignments. After each speech, you recieve both written and verbal evaluations. You also have an opportunity to master Table Topics - a one to two minute impromptu speech on a subject of another member's choosing.

 

I am a member of a networking group here in Utah, and as part of our luncheons, we do what is called a Power Drill - one minute to talk about something personal (they give you a topic) and one minute to talk about our business. I brought a friend from Toastmasters with me, and she was terrified - until I reminded her that it is nothing more than Table Topics and we train for this all the time.

 

 

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Congrats on joining your COC. I joined my local COC in early 2006. I have since become Chairperson of the Women in Business Committee and I was approached for consideration for the Board of Directors. The networking events still give me the nervies, I would much rather sit in a meeting room and talk planning...BUT, since public speaking is not my forte, membership has proven very beneficial for me. It has allowed for me to speak in conversation about my business without sounding salesy and to get to know other people and businesses in the community.

 

It can be a tough crowd, I agree! But the events get easier to attend and before you know it, you will be right at ease. I recommend going to the events early, grab a spot and talk to people as they arrive. You might also ask the Chamber official conducting the event to introduce you around. In addition, our Chamber has Ambassadors, if your does, you may want to see who yours is. Our Ambassadors are encouraged to meet new members at the events to break the ice.

 

Happy Networking!

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Hi again Darrell,

 

I had a great time at the BAF event tonight! It seemed as though I was with old friends. Everyone was so nice, and seemed genuinely interested in my business. I also tried to make a point of discussing things other then business, and it made it so comfortable. And on top of it...I won the 50/50 draw...$156. Wow, can't complain at all. I hope your first event is as pleasant as mine was.

 

Sabrina

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Hi Darrell,

 

Good stuff, this is such a great step to take for your business.

 

I know these things can be very intimidating (believe me I know) but if you remember that everyone else in the room is there for the same reason - networking and promoting their business.

 

Have a little conversation with yourself before you head out and in the car and tell yourself all the great things that you can provide for potential clients, pump yourself up so that you will have a little more confidence when you walk in the room.

 

When you get there look for someone who seems to be on their own and start up a conversation with them. I have found that helps to make you feel a little more comfortable. If they all seem to be standing in small groups, find the smallest group and just walk up and introduce yourself. You will be surprised at how responsive people can be in these types of things.

 

Oh, one more thing go in there with a smile!!! It helps to put you in a better frame of mind and it let's people know that you are approachable and are happy to be there, even if you are uncomfortable.

 

Good luck and let us know how you make out.

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