It may be cold outside, but a group of people today at the Chamber were on FIRE.
Early this morning I attended Speed Networking, an event put on by the Peoria Chamber of Commerce. Basically, it's like Speed Dating (which for the record I have never done). Twenty or so local business professionals faced each other in the conference room, and each of us was given 90 seconds to give our "elevator speech" to the person across from us. After each person gave their spiel, we switched and moved on to the next.
At first I was nervous. As a writer and marketer, I have found it's very hard to describe out loud exactly what I do. But after the first few "speedsters", as I affectionately call them, I hit my stride, and by the end of the hour, I felt like a well-oiled marketing machine.
But what I took away from this was more than just networking. I was truly inspired by the individuals that I met, the challenges that they face, and the goals they are trying to accomplish. I met the CEO of an IT and web management service company who was well versed in marketing, but didn't have the time to give it his full attention. I met a life coach who was amazing at what she did, but said that marketing "made her head hurt". I met a medical professional who struggled to get the word out about the benefits of his practice's services over another.
What has occurred to me before hit me again: We are all in this together. Yes, we are all looking for more work, more clients, better opportunities. But I think in addition to that, we all want to see businesses in Central Illinois grow and succeed.
I felt such a connection with a few of these people today, and I left there with a deep desire to HELP them succeed - not only for MY benefit, but for theirs as well. I think that when people collaborate - whether it is a business and a marketing agency, a patient and a medical practice, or a writer and a client, we all need to see that it is a more than a business agreement - it is a partnership. Each person gets something from the other, but also gives something in return. I WANT to see these businesses succeed, and giving them ideas or helping them with those successes is what drives me to do what I do.
I encourage anyone who is interested in networking to attend a Chamber Speed Networking event. You can find out more by clicking here.