Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Networking en Masse; for Pleasure and Purpose

On May 20, I was involved in the Victoria Day parade, after being invited to walk with a group called 'Friends of Pittock'.  One of their goals is to help educate the public and build awareness about maintaining the health of natural systems within our world through personal action and speaking up.  With the parade to start at 10:00 a.m., I found myself at the last minute scrounging through my gardens trying to find ornaments and oddities to create a promotional sign.  The theme was "Be a Voice for Nature".  A  decorative turtle, a few butterflies, a snail (with a mini-windmill attached), a wind chyme and several spruce sprigs later, I had my supplies laid out in front of me.  When done my hot glue project, I comfortably had room for two words .... Nature's Voice.  Good enough, I thought! Or was is?

Walking in the parade not long after, I found myself all too easily settling into the middle of the road, with the crowds ... although they surrounded me ... oddly seeming like they were a mile away. About fifteen minutes into the parade route, a lady signalled me to come over so she could read the sign up close and personal, so off I went into 'their world'. In doing so, I noticed a lot of eyes shift to the sign as I came closer.  

It was then an idea struck me, and from that moment forward, I literally ran from one sidewalk to the other, emphatically 'pointing' my finger to as many individual people as I could to gain their attention.  I then 'pointed' out the two words on the sign deliberately without saying a word, and then dramatically swept my arm across the entire crowd.  At this point, I also waved all the fingers on my free hand across that particular crowd.  Meaning, essentially, each one of them could choose to be the voice of nature. It was like I had become an energizer bunny. I had gone from 'walking the line from a distance' to engaging directly with the crowd.  And it was a LOT MORE FUN than just toting a sign and expecting the sign to speak for itself!

In retrospect, I guess you could call this en masse networking.  I went from passive marketing to reaching out to people and consciously trying to share and spread a message.  When I agreed to walk in the parade, that was a good first step.  But only a first step. Making a sign was a good second step.  As a third step, a ready made crowd did not hurt either!  But really, all of the aforementioned were simply tools.  The real networking began when I found a way to use and integrate the various tools at my disposal to strategically present my message.

Whether you are promoting a cause, job searching, or marketing a business, you should network with a purpose.  And indeed, it may not only be purposeful, but pleasurable!

Happy networking to you!

Do check out my other blog topics while on here!  I love writing about people and what inspires them.  I also discuss various career and employee development topics, usually with a dash of humour or a grain of salt! I welcome you to join me, and to leave a comment!

Catherine Stewart-Mott; Forward Momentum Services