There were many networking lessons learned from this:
- Your network will find and suggest opportunities for you that you would not have discovered on your own. I was asked to participate for the Chamber because of the involvement of one of our board members, but then I tapped into my network to find out more about the event before I made the commitment. They all said it would be a good opportunity. Let other people's experience guide your choices.
- There are industries, professions and groups of people you haven't begun to tap into. I had no idea how many non-profits we have here in the valley and how much work so many of them do. I would not have been able to learn about these organizations and their activities so easily in one place without the event.
- You might think you know "everyone" but you don't. I spend the majority of my time networking with people who are in very similar circles. So I usually know quite a few people wherever I go. It would be easy to think that this "microcosm" is the entire business world. Events that are outside your usual are a great way to be reminded that there is always room to expand your network.
- Social networking and social media are still very new to many people. I presented to a group of about 50 people who mainly represent non-profits. Some have taken small steps into Facebook for themselves personally but are still looking for ways to expand their usage to help their organizations. I think that social media sites are a powerful tool for these organizations to leverage their resources.
And, if you'd like a copy of the slide show that I presented at the event, you can get it at http://www.slideshare.net/BethBridges/social-media-as-a-networking-tool-for-non-profits