by Kirby Lindsay, posted 10 October 2014
On Wednesday, October 22nd starting at 5:30p, the Fremont Chamber of Commerce invites all Fremonsters with something to promote to the Multi-Chamber Speed Networking event at the Courtyard by Marriott in South Lake Union. This gathering – hosted by the Fremont, Green Lake, Phinney/Greenwood, Wallingford and Queen Anne Chambers – will cost $10, and give attendees many opportunities to spread the word, liberally, about, well, anything – their business, event, political cause, etc.
“It’s community working together,” observed Charley Shore, Executive Director of the Queen Anne Chamber of Commerce, “that is the basis of ‘Chamber’.” Shore, who works with small, medium and large businesses in both the Uptown and the Upper Queen Anne districts, acknowledged, “I’m really excited about multi-chamber events.” This Speed Networking gathering will give all of her member businesses a forum where they can shine – as they meet-and-greet customers/clients from all over North Seattle.
Make It Relaxed
At Speed Networking, “you get your 30 or 40 seconds of fame,” Shore explained, “and the Marriott has graciously given us a very good area, with two spaces just for networking.”
In one area, people will be seated across from someone that they speak with for a brief time (the time depends on the number of attendees but it usually works out to a minute or two,) about their respective businesses (or whatever.) “You can hone in, one-on-one,” Shore explained about this exchange. At the end of the scheduled time, one person moves on to another partner while the other stays put and gets met.
In the other room at the Marriott, there will be a traditional, cocktail party kind of networking set-up. Those who find it difficult to walk up to strangers and introduce themselves, may find Speed Networking, based on the Speed Dating model, gives them an advantage. “It gives that introvert more of a chance to express themselves,” Shore observed. In Speed Networking, you can use a pre-practiced elevator speech, depend upon your one-on-one rapport, or, as Shore recommended, “I kind of like the genuine, ‘Hi! How are you?’ It’s more personalized.”
“We really try to make it such a relaxed thing with all our events,” Shore said, “We have big businesses that always join in, and we have the smaller businesses that can’t always get away, and we are there for all of them.”
For businesses with something physical, or visual, to present, Speed Networking is ideal. “Anyone that has something to hold,” Shore described. A newer Queen Anne business, Shore noted, has put together welcome ‘baskets’ or packs for use by real estate agents as a promotional tool with clients, and they will be able to show off the packs at Speed Networking. Queen Anne also has a chiropractor, and an AFLAC agent that has a lyric she uses as her elevator speech, both of which have something easy for others to understand.
Make It Real
Like the Fremont Chamber, the Queen Anne Chamber advocates on behalf of all its businesses. Shore works with businesses like Amazon, Vulcan and Microsoft, along with some larger restaurants (Dick’s Drive In,) “but by far we have many more one or two person businesses,” she observed. It means that advocacy can often involve helping promote businesses that have no marketing, promotions or social media person of their own.
“Even though people think this is such an affluent neighborhood,” Shore said, many businesses provide practical services that are the first customers cut back on when tough financial times hit. The nice thing that the Queen Anne district has, that Fremont doesn’t, is that Queen Anne residents shop Queen Anne. Still, “the first place they cut back,” Shore said, “is dry cleaning, restaurants, nails, and toys for the puppy dog…,” exactly the sort of businesses that form the backbone of the Queen Anne business district.
Make It Good For All
The Queen Anne Chamber, like Fremont’s, has struggled through the economic downturn not just working to keep its business district alive, but also keeping people involved. Shore praised businesses like HomeStreet Bank, Video Isle, Union Bank, Dick’s, the MarQueen Hotel, SIFF and Kasper’s that always participate and support the community, looking beyond the cash register to help their neighborhood thrive.
“Some don’t think there is any value to the Chamber,” Shore acknowledged, “I think it is just a matter of being part of the Chamber.” Involvement, such as attending a Speed Networking event, not only benefits the participating business (or event, or cause, or whatever) but also the other businesses that they meet and learn about.
“I am so thrilled,” Shore said about working with the other Chambers, including Jessica Vets at the Fremont Chamber. All five Chambers will benefit from having access to the cumulative memberships, but so will their members as they get their product, service, and other grand ideas promoted to a larger audience.
To attend the Multi-Camber Speed Networking event, on October 22nd, RSVP to the Fremont Chamber on the website. To find out more about Shore, and the Queen Anne Chamber, visit the website…or take a road trip up the hill and visit in person!
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