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Archive for November, 2009

PostHeaderIcon Networking: bibles and bumper stickers need not apply

Warning: Sarcasm ahead 😉

I had 2 networking groups yesterday with two very different experiences. The first was “great” group that a client has asked me several times to go to. It was not too far from me (about 30 minutes I figured) and she endorsed how wonderful it was. Good enough for me – and she wouldn’t be there so I’d be her replacement. Great. Right?

Oy. It actually took me an hour to get there. I’ve been spoiled by working at home and traffic is horrendous going that direction from my house – then I hit this horrible fog and it just wasn’t a good trip. I picked up a friend on the way. We arrived about 10 minutes late and they had just started introductions. So far, seemed like a friendly enough group. All smiles, not put out by having to stop for a few minutes while we apologize for being late and introduced ourselves. Awesome, right?

The first guy introduced himself and the question on the floor was basically “what ties, if any, do you have to a veteran” since it was Vet’s Day on Wednesday. No problem, I thought – whew! I hate talking at these things and my husband was in the Navy, so score! I have something to say! (big sigh of relief). Right?

The 2nd guy… he goes on a small political rant about the ceremony at Fort Hood and how different politically-sided presidents were allowed to be greeted by the soldiers (apparently, there is are different rules for sitting Presidents than past). Whatever. Another person pointed it out to him and he kept going on. At that point, I didn’t care, they all needed to move on – I just really thought it wasn’t the venue for this discussion. Whatever it was, it was so beyond inappropriate, in my opinion. He was obviously very young and very conservative. I’m mid-age and very liberal. Whatever, I don’t care. Some of my best friends and team members are opposite of my views. It doesn’t matter and we don’t talk about it because it just doesn’t matter and no one is going to change their minds and well – it’s business.

The rest of the intros went fine. Again, that guy I really didn’t see as a representation of the group. He’s young and probably all hyped up about political stuff. He’ll figure it out as he gets older. At least I hope.

But then the presentation started. The presenter was there to talk about adoption. She runs an adoption agency. I thought it wasn’t really my bag or something I would expect to see at a business networking group, but I figured I would learn something new and well, that usually makes it worth it. But she lost me pretty quickly when she started out by telling us to keep our hearts open to god for these children. And then several times mentioned that they were looking for good “Christian homes” for these children and mentioned a few churches. Had it not been my first meeting I would have asked if Buddhist, Jewish and other religion homes were excluded. Had I really wanted to show what a smart ass I can be, I would have proclaimed myself Muslim and watched Christian Home lady and Obama Basher’s heads explode together. *laugh*

My point is this… is it me or was both of those probably not appropriate for a networking event? I can see the adoption thing, I mean, it’s her business and she was looking for ideas from the group. But do you feel that God and politics have a place in networking? (For the record, it was held at a cafe, not a church). Is it just me?

Bottom line for me is that while I don’t think it’s the group – I think we just hit it on a very odd day (surely that is not normal!) – I don’t think I’ll be going back. The hour drive to get there once per week really is just too much. It did, however, motivate me to find another networking group besides my usual monthly one. Just a little closer to home.


Speaking of which, my next networking group of the day was my usual Austin Virtual Assistants one. (If you are a VA in Austin, you really should join us – we’ve been together for over FIVE YEARS now!). No, we aren’t always exactly politically correct and we make jokes and we give each other honest (and sometimes brutal – for instance, one lady’s logo – it totally looked like a bug – poor thing had to change it) feedback. But we have that kind of closeness and trust that I think is very important to me in networking. And, yes, we leave our bibles and bumper stickers at home.