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Posts Tagged ‘social networking’

take my card2As a Freelance Copywriter Charleston SC, packing SEO keywords into sentences like this one, I have developed a bit of a bunker mentality. I work out of the spare bedroom in stately Lively Manor, and don’t get much face to face human interaction. You’d think I would be all over a networking opportunity, but…

What I don’t know about networking could fill a book – a book about networking very poorly. Sure, it would have a clever title like “Network Outage,” but it would go downhill pretty quickly from there.

So my buddy Nicolo, who is actually NOT named after a 16th century Italian philosopher, dragged me to a networking event in downtown Charleston. (Be sure to check “dragged here” on the survey form.)

How’d it go? Well, it went, and not badly. I guess maybe I have actually learned a thing or two about networking in my decade-long rise to somewhere in the middle of the Charleston copywriter pack. So, here we go.

  • For me, a big hurdle is forcing myself to interact. So I have a rule: if we make eye contact, I have to stop and chat.
  • Next, get the business card swap out of the way ASAP. You never know when you or the other guy are going to get interrupted or swept away.
  • Then, just get down to it! Make your elevator pitch, listen to his, ask a few questions, and follow the conversation in whatever PRODUCTIVE direction it leads.
  • Which means also recognizing when the conversation is going nowhere, and moving on as soon and as politely as possible. Some people will simply not further your quest (though, I admit, you can never really know for sure).
  • Finally, SOMEBODY has to end the conversation. It might as well be you, and the other guy will actually appreciate you taking the bullet.

And that, sports fans, is Smooth Jimmy Apollo’s Lock of the Week!TM

lock

“That’s a really big lock!”

So go forth and network, young Padawan, as painful as it may be. At least in Charleston, you’ll get some awesome hors d’oeurves!

Note: if you have gleaned that networking is not my favorite thing, please contact me at LivelyExchange (at) gmail (dot) com. We’ll meet in a bar, along with a few dozen strangers, and discuss it!

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I hope all those ITVA/MCAI’ers who I roused yesterday came back for another visit today. I have been meaning to do this for a while.

It was about six months ago that GG told me that Gerry Hagner had passed away from Hodgkin’s disease. Gerry was a video entrepreneur, a philanthropist and, judging by his YEARS of involvement in ITVA/MCAI, something of a masochist as well. He served in every board position at least once and opened his home numerous times for board meetings, chapter meetings and summer socials. Long after the Civil War I mentioned yesterday, when the rest of us had moved on, when the Cincinnati chapter had dissolved and melded into the Dayton chapter, Gerry continued to serve.

Gerry was a lovable nerd with a level head, the superego to our raging ids (and yes, I am referring to all those battles over serving beer at our socials!) He was always the one taking care of the details while the rest of us chilled.  He was so behind the scenes that I am not surprised to find that the only photo I have is from his monthly column in the newsletter. Gerry was never one to leap in front of the camera with a lampshade on his head. He left that to ALL THE REST OF US.

If you have a nice Gerry anecdote to share, spill it here.  Here’s mine: When I quit my cushy but stifling corporate gig and went freelance, times were tough.  It was post-9/11, the economy was crap, and the awesome gigs I was promised if I went freelance did not materialize.  Gerry knew about my situation and gave me a “gig.”  A nothing little writing assignment, helping him put together a promo piece for his business. It was unspoken, but entirely obvious, that he wasn’t going to use this script. I think I invoiced $100 for it, maybe $125. It meant almost nothing to my checkbook, but it was totally a morale-booster.

By the way, Gerry’s wife is selling all of his gear. Some of it is strictly museum pieces, but much of it is modern stuff at good prices.

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Typical ITVA Conference Badge

There once was a communication trade group called ITVA. Long ago, that stood for Industrial TV Association, and then International TV Association, I think. I’m not sure because the name was never really that important. (Are you sensing a branding nightmare? Yeah, we’ll get to that.) It was a trade group for people like me (at the time) who worked in corporate communication departments making training videos and never seeing the sun except in exterior shots. The ITVA did all the trade-groupy things like monthly meetings, electing boards, and having annual blowout drunk-fests in far-off cities. It was a cool hang and, as long as your company was paying the $450 annual membership, everything was groovy.

But things changed, as they always do. I know I aged 10 years in the time I was active, and so did everybody else. Things like vitality and new blood became less important. And our chapter evolved from a networking group of young people trying to make connections into a social club more concerned about the refreshments being served. As the average age continued to skew older, the national office lurched into “action.” In a delicate situation that required lots of tact, they displayed precisely none, and civil war broke out. They said (quite rightly) that to remain vital, we can’t be the “video dude” club anymore. And many people found themselves on the Status Quo side, largely in response to the ham-fisted actions of the national office. We said, if the Teamsters can have a horse and a wagon-wheel as their logo, then we can be the ITVA!

Anyway, it became a race between re-branding and irrelevance that, somehow, achieved both. The ITVA became the MCA-I, the Media Communications Association International. It wisely attempted to incorporate all the elements of communication that weren’t video, like print, web and multimedia, but had no idea (as of 2002, anyway) how to do it.

It’s been years since I attended a meeting, even longer since I was on the local board. So I have to ask…do organizations like this even have a place anymore? Or do forums and chatrooms fulfill the same purpose? What do you think?

Update: Old Cincinnati hands were aghast that the Flying Pig was not on the name badge. So, take your pigs and stick them!

mmm...pork!

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