I had the chance to attend the Capital Cabal Networking Mixer last night. CapCabal is primarily for professionals who work in new media. Think marketing, PR, internet, web technology and the like.
This was my first time but I was impressed with the crowd. I grew tired of the typical Chamber of Commerce scene where itâ€™s too general of a crowd. CoCs are a little bit of everything from the self employed, the small business with no budget or a clue, the sales account executives, and corporate managers who think they know everything and are too good to talk to you. Thatâ€™s no longer for me as I know whom I tend to work and collaborate best with; marketing communications and technology professionals. Goodbye CoCs and hello networking events with a focused demographic.
Looking back at the night, I know that it was a good networking event when;
- I have at least three attendees take the initiative to follow up with me within a 24 hour time period. Itâ€™s usually me that has to send a courtesy email or follow up. I have a hard time recalling when was the last time three people send an email to me immediately. The funny thing is that I only managed to talk to less than 10 people. Iâ€™m used to talking to 15-20 people and Iâ€™m lucky if anyone wants to give me the time of day afterwards much less do a follow up.
- I actually enjoy the majority of the conversations. As I told Margaret Schwartz, itâ€™s a lot easier to relate when we speak the same language. In this case, the language of marketing and new media. As I always tell people, I donâ€™t expect to do business at a networking event. Iâ€™m just there to try and have as many interesting conversations as possible. The majority of my clients come to me for web design, blog design and consulting, along with localized search engine optimization strategies. As hard as it may be for some to believe, I don’t attend events to find prospects. Though, that would be nice. I attend events like CapCabal to find collaborative partnerships with professionals who work in similar synergistic vertical industries whereby we can serve both each other’s needs.This explains why there would be more synergy at an event like this for many of the attendees. We are all in the same industry and are just looking for the right partnerships.
- The demographics are varied but still focused. New media is a very broad term that encompasses quite alot of industries and professions. We had a good mix of account executives, entrepreneurs, and small business owners. Even the small business owners such as Julia Wilkinson, aspiring writer and ebook publisher, were pretty savvy.
- The attendees arenâ€™t clueless and show networking courtesy. I donâ€™t mind people talking about themselves and their business but just as long as there is some level of reciprocation. Most of the attendees were highly educated and showed courtesy. Plenty of bright intelligent people to talk to. Thanks Sarah
- I win a door prize. As I told Jose Laguna, I was feeling the vibe last night. As the master of ceremonies, Hank Dearden, was making his announcements, I told Jose that I had a feeling I was going to win a prize. And sure enough, I did. I won a gift certificate to Gua Rapo Restaurant. Yummy.
- The organization doesnâ€™t overcharge you for admission. Admission was rather cheap- $15. This included a drink ticket and some hors d’oeuvre. Thatâ€™s all I need. I get tired of networking organizations that go through all sorts of trouble for an extravagant feast and charge $50 for it. I can afford $50. Thatâ€™s not the problem. The problem is why bother when half the people arenâ€™t going to have a full dinner at the event. If you want fine dining, go out afterwards. Itâ€™s called networking, not netseating or neteating. It’s virtually impossible to have a dinner and meet people at the same time. I hear networking groups say that they want to provide an experience. Experience? If you want people to remember your group, just create an environment that is networking conducive. Not that hard, folks. Thanks for understanding that, Hank.
My only criticism of the event is that the music was too loud. It would be nice to turn it down so that I donâ€™t feel like Iâ€™m screaming at the top of my lungs when having a conversation. I know others said something similar. But if I’m gonna scream over loud music, then at least they made it 80s music to scream over. How bout some music from Eddie Money next time?
If I didn’t have to bolt out early, I would’ve stayed alot longer. Otherwise, two networking thumbs up.