Every week for the past four years, I’ve delivered a networking themed “education moment” at my weekly B2B network – BNI Corporate Exchange. They each last about 5 minutes, and have rarely repeated, except by popular demand. Simple math told me that I must have 1000 minutes worth of material suitable for constructing a workshop. – something I’ve wanted to do for a while. I’ve delivered 20 minutes on shorter pieces like networking for introverts or building a networking plan, but never covered all of the essentials. Until now. 

The word ‘workshop’ rather than ‘seminar’ says that it will be interactive. Which means questions, group exercises & roleplay – all great learning tools. Feedback from colleagues told me that no more than a half day would fit into their calendars. So probably a third of that would be interactive. My math skills stirred up panic as I began to realize that distillation was necessary to bring 1000 minutes down to about 150.

The good news is that my experience came to the rescue. Three years heading the leadership team, along with the four as a weekly educator meant that I know what visitors and networking newbies want to learn. Most of the more advanced techniques can be introduced briefly, but focus needs to be on the two most difficult parts of networking:

1) Mingling

2) Planning

Mingling sounds easy to extroverts, and daunting to introverts. Doing it effectively requires discipline from both groups, and constant awareness checks (when was the last time I asked a how/why question?).

Planning your networking – selecting groups, people to connect with, and connections to make for others – should be the guiding force that makes the time spent worthwhile. Too many think of networking as the goal, and the only measure of the activity as sales.

With mastering these two aspects of networking as the goal, the agenda focus became crystal clear. Instruction and exercises on mingling. Theory, tips and a takeaway workbook to facilitate a personal networking plan.

I finally have venue details to share:
September 21 – all morning. Hart House on the U of T campus, right off the subway. $250.
A registration form will be live on this site shortly.

And we’ll use the other 850 minutes for a more advanced class later… although I don’t think anyone except my wife has been able to put up with me for that long.

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