story & photo
by Amy Pjura
I’m not typically a morning person, but when I was asked to cover this event, all I thought was, “If there’s coffee, I’m there!” Sure enough, when I arrived at Panera Bread, Waterford, there was a coffee cup waiting there with my name on it. The room was filled with businessmen and women ready learn about networking at the Business 2 Business event, held by the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern CT and sponsored by PrimExcellence.
Angela Arnold, Director of Marketing and Business Development, CorePlus Federal Credit Union and the 59th Annual Citizen of the Year, offered her networking skills and tips of the trade. Angela said, “Volunteer, volunteer, volunteer.” Volunteering helps you meet new people and that is the first step to networking. She also suggested joining a Rotary or a Chamber of Commerce. One skill that works well for her is to ask about something personal when she meets someone new, like their birthday and puts it in her calendar. Since following up is key in networking, she will send an e-mail or a card when their birthday comes along. Angela says, “Networking does not always have to be business related.”
After Angela taught networking, Barry Runyan, President, PrimExcellence, explained the process of speed networking, which everyone was going to participate in and have a chance to use Angela’s tips. Barry said speed networking is a lot like speed dating: five minute sessions to chat with the person across from you. The process began and the room filled with energy as networking among the 26 people happened. It was an exciting thing to watch.
As long as there is coffee, I might consider attending the next event like this, to improve my networking skills.