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Finding your social synergy

In my last post, I wrote that social networking is organic.

I’ve also been learning that social networking is – to use a term I picked up from Scott Berry, one of the biggestTodd's ESGR pic networking guys I know – “synergistic.”

As I was leaving Jeff Garrison’s BYOB Gathering at McLellan Marketing Group’s office last month, I happened to walk by the Des Moines Social Club. I learned from an acquaintance of mine standing out front that the Greater Des Moines Young Professionals Connection (YPC) was hosting a social function that evening.

I’d been looking forward to making a connection with the YPC group for some time and it seemed like the perfect opportunity.  I had no agenda.  I just wanted a closer look.

As I stepped inside, one of the first people I recognized was Lacy Brunnette, an up-and-coming twentysomething with Global Reach Internet Productions LLC in Ames. Lacy knows my company has been looking for some locals to contribute photos of professional business events for our Web site. So she introduced me to Doug Enright, YPC’s webmaster.

I appreciated the introduction and enjoyed chatting with Doug.

A few days later, Doug sent me an e-mail asking if I’d be interested in flying to Camp Ripley, Minn., that coming weekend, to watch members of the Iowa National Guard taking part in their annual training. Doug is the state office manager for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, which coordinates the annual BossLift program. I jumped on the opportunity.

Not only did the 24-hour trip give me a chance to connect with Doug, but it also allowed me to tour a 53,000-acre military installation, catch a glimpse of a few fairly classified areas on the base, meet dozens of officers and soldiers, handle a variety of automatic weapons and artillery shells, ride in several Humvees, try on a Kevlar vest and helmet, observe some really cool demonstrations, watch businessmen blow stuff up and just talk to a bunch of people.

I also added a number of local professional contacts to my Rolodex.

In short, taking the time to drop in at the Social Club that night – after attending another networking event where I finally put faces with the names of several social-media gurus I’d been hearing more about recently – led to dozens of new contacts, the publication of a story and photo gallery, the production of a video and a heck of a good time.

And I have to say that riding in the cockpit of a Boeing Chinook CH-47 helicopter for about an hour with zero visibility was probably one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

Here’s my point. Networking tends to have a snowball effect. If your network consist of one person, that’s great. He or she knows people. And those people know people that can help your career and business. You just need to get the ball rolling.

Remember, networking doesn’t have to be forced. Reiterating yourself, your business and your brand – sometimes by just showing up – can ultimately lead to a closing a deal, making a sale, finding a job, publishing an article or hooking up with individuals and groups who can point you in the right direction.

See you in the news!

Todd Razor

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