I've been working for the Clovis Chamber of Commerce for three years as their Membership Director and I've signed up nearly 700 members during that time. They join for different reasons, but the most common by far is "networking".
It's been interesting. I've seen a lot of different types of people join. I've been surprised though, again and again how much (or how little) networking they actually do. Mostly how little. Especially since our Chamber is incredibly active. My activities alone count for 21 networking opportunities a month, on average. That's just about 1 a day. From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., there's always something to do.
But I'm amazed at how few people really take advantage of this. Or at least that's how it seems. One of my near-future projects is to look at how many of our 1,130+ members actually participate in some way. If we're looking at the usual 80-20 rule, with 20% participation, I should see about 220 different people, oh, say once a month. I think it's less than that.
Why is that? Certainly it can't be a lack of opportunity. And it's not like we're in L.A. where it's a trip and a half to go anywhere (we get frustrated in Clovis/Fresno when we have to sit through a light twice). People tell me all the time how friendly we are. So why is it that people don't network in an environment where all the variables seem so right. Sure, we're all time crunched, but building relationships with other business people is so important, isn't it?
I've started to wonder about the connection between people's personality types and their ability and willingness to network. Obviously, not everyone likes to go to a mixer where they're just thrown into a group of people they don't know. It probably goes deeper than that, which is what this blog is going to explore.