Tuesdays and Fridays we meet. Every week. We started on Friday mornings, back in January of 2022, every other week. Then it was every week. And then we added evenings. And now we are looking at smaller and more specialized groups we we evolve, in order to better meet the needs of our members.
What are coffee meetings like? We do announcements, we share wins, we find creative ways to network without everyone introducing themselves in a circle. We have a topic for discussion, or a speaker, or what we call “hot seats”, when our business owners can put themselves on the spot and ask for help or suggestions about a specific problem or situation.
It’s not your typical networking meeting, and we like it that way. I designed the meetings to be reflective of what I thought might help business owners grow beyond just the networking piece– which is essential– by adding in education and spotlighting Bosses with lots to share from which our community would benefit.
Topics we’ve covered lately: Jenn’s stress relief Friday with Hil and Vil, Dr. Meg, Hilary Hepp & Carissa of Clarity and Connection; Taylor’s Tuesday discussion about Imposter Syndrome, Kimberly’s rotating topic Friday with Adrienne, Jamie, and Abigail at the helm as speakers, and Sandy’s Customer Journey discussion groups based on industry.
The squad works hard to ensure that we touch on relevant topics, which is not always easy with a wide and varied audience, but is always fun and valuable. We do our best to help new Bosses feel welcome, and we are open to suggestions to improve at any time.
What I’ve noticed, and we’ve talked about, is that visibility and connecting in person MATTER. According to Harvard Business Review:
…in today’s world, networking is a necessity. A mountain of research shows that professional networks lead to more job and business opportunities, broader and deeper knowledge, improved capacity to innovate, faster advancement, and greater status and authority. Building and nurturing professional relationships also improves the quality of work and increases job satisfaction.https://hbr.org/2016/05/learn-to-love-networking
Additionally, just being a highly visible person in a large and intelligent group of your peers has benefits for your social capital, self-esteem, and social life, too. People are more likely to refer others to you or purchase from you when they know you personally.
Our meetings can be big, and yes, along with size can come noise, too. Typically, we network beforehand and afterward, so if the unstructured piece is not for you, it’s fine to come just as the meeting begins (or early and hang out in the theater or in the background at the cafe! As a neurodivergent person myself, I can get overstimulated in busy environments, so if I am not used to a place or don’t know what to expect, I get the early and lurk).
So, jump on in! Find us by using our calendar here, and try the power of showing up in person.
Introverted? I really like this TED article:
I also can offer a little advice for you:
- Post an intro in the main group before you attend and try to engage online with some ladies who will be there. Some ladies also come early just for introverts to meet a person.
- Send a DM to a Squad member letting us know you’re coming! We will be ready to welcome you. You can also ask about the agenda, if you prefer a more chill, discussion-based evening, we can give you the plan.
- Choose a seat that puts you in a space that feels comfortable.
- It’s okay to tap out early or in the middle for a few for a break.
- Connect the way YOU connect. If chatting with one or two folks who come to you is your jam, that’s okay! Trust the right people are going to be drawn your way.
- Pull the focus away from small talk. How does the work you do relate you your life path or something you love? Approach others with that in mind, because purpose can create connection.
- Know that this isn’t a typical “networking” meeting. You’ll be given things to do and discuss, so the pressure is off of you.
- People love a good listener. “Tell me about your business!” is a fabulous ice breaker, and people will remember you for asking.
- Bring a book. No, not to read. A favorite business book in front of you is a tremendous ice breaker.
- Don’t feel obligated to attend everything, as it will drain you! Just do what feels good, and remember, you do not have to apologize for who you are: an observant, mindful person with a magic all your own.