Wednesday, October 10, 2007

New networking course

Commercial social networking has a tawdry history.

Many of us who have been in the game for long enough have memories of walking into a room full of self-certified financial planners and 'business brokers' drinking cheap beer in a stale hotel banquet room all looking for the keys to your money.

The misery that these events brought on was deep. Mostly because of all the time you'd wasted by falling for another come-on for business development socializing.

The Small Business Center at the Technical College (WCTC) I've been teaching through has done a very nice job of bringing these events into the 21st century. If anyone reading this wants some good suggestions for what I think works here, send me a note.

When a new course at the college opened up called 'The Art of Networking' I was asked to teach it. My first inclination is that I didn't want to do it because of the memories from the old days.

But when I watch new - and seasoned - entrepreneurs feeling their way through the newer, better versions of networking events put on by the Small Business Center, I sense a need for some one-on-one, interactive training for the way these things work in the age of Tom Peters and web 2.0

WCTC gave me a blank sheet of paper. I can't wait, the more I think about this. For anyone who has read these posts for a while, you'll know my approach to networking is finding ways to help your network. That's what I'm quickly filling in on those blank sheets of paper.

A good primer on my approach was summarized by Guy Kawasaki who I link to on these posts regularly. Always good stuff. Guy quoted author Darcy Rezac as someone he thought had the best definition of schmoozing: "'Discovering what you can do for someone else.' Herein lies eighty percent of the battle: great schmoozers want to know what they can do for you, not what the you can do for them. If you understand this, the rest is just mechanics."

These courses are the classroom variety and will be taught in Waukesha, WI from Mid November through Mid December, once per week on Wednesday evenings. There will even be a large group networking 'Connections' meeting sponsored by the Small Business Center on one of the class nights that we'll all immerse ourselves in.

If anyone comes looking for short term, easy money strategies we'll have a dunce cap on hand.

For everyone who comes looking for ways to work with a wildly changing and diverse marketplace in an honorable and valued way, I'll have extra gold stars.

The link for information and enrollment is below.

Thanks to the Small Business Center and WCTC for the opportunity and the blank sheets of paper. This will be fun for all involved.

Info about Networking Course at WCTC

Guy Kawasaki's blog on The Art of Schmoozing

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