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Can You Dig It

Networking outside the norm

Having your networking event in an unconventional setting, such as an airplane hangar, can make for some impromptu photo ops.
Having your networking event in an unconventional setting, such as an airplane hangar, can make for some impromptu photo ops.

While most networking groups tend to fall into the same routine by hosting the event in the same place at the same time each month, often attracting the same people month after month, there is one group that likes to shake up things.

Networking from the Heart, hosted by Realtor Gail Hoover of RE/MAX Central, is a group that meets in a different spot in the Lehigh Valley each month, and, in the process, strives to create a deeper, more meaningful connection between people. She does this, in part, by allowing a half-hour for networking before lunch, so people don’t simply show up for the food and then leave.

Also, by having it in a different place and a different part of the Valley each time, Hoover is able to attract professionals from other parts of the region who might not otherwise get there. The end result is fresh faces at each meeting and new people to talk to.

It’s an approach that appears to be working. Since Hoover started the networking event, attendance has grown, up to 30 people at its most recent event, which is only its sixth one.

She also likes it when she can coordinate the event in a venue that’s outside the norm, such as the May 24 networking session that she hosted in LR Services, a hangar for corporate jets at Lehigh Valley International Airport in Hanover Township, Lehigh County.

As members introduced themselves, some had to pause as they were interrupted by aircraft taking off and landing outside the hangar. But, as Hoover put it, it was a nice interruption and one that sparked many conversations among members.

It ended up creating a fun, relaxed, distinctive setting that one certainly doesn’t get to see every day.

Setting plays a key role in setting up any event, including your networking session.

So rather than handing out a bunch of business cards, gobbling down some food and heading out the door to go back to business as usual, it pays to keep in mind where you host networking events.

Think about where you can host your next meeting, particularly if you get the opportunity to host it in an unconventional place. If might be time to shake up things.

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