Networking Nightmares

When we lived in BCS, I belonged to Business Networking International, a business referral organization. It was ok. I made some friends and got to know some people better than I had before. It was a pretty big financial and time commitment. I think I broke even; I certainly didn’t make money. You see, I was already in established relationships with pest control, insurance, retirement, real estate, etc. so I didn’t need to hire most of the members of the group. Thus, they didn’t hire me. But, BNI was the only show in town. And, their previous photographer had done well and only quit because she moved.

So, when we moved to ATX, I looked at all the groups I could find. I even visited a lovely BNI chapter that would be a pretty good fit for me, but it’s pretty far south. Plus, I just don’t want to spend that much, again.

Austin has a similar group: I’ll call them CLY. OMG what crackpots they are turning out to be! Don’t get me wrong, there are some very nice and very normal people in the group, but there are some wack-a-doos, too. One lady is very touchy-feely. Eventhough she can’t remember that we have met—once in a very small group—several times, she is all clammy handshake that creeps up your wrist and half-side hug. She gets way inside my personal bubble by rubbing circles on my back. EW! Another guy tries to be helpful; he half-seriously suggested that I should network with divorce attorneys to find future clients. And, that was not the most ignorant statement he made about the wedding industry. WTF??? No wonder these people need so many (~20 per week) networking opportunities. They are socially awkward. Oh, and did I mention that CLY is about the same price as BNI? Yeah, naga-naga-not-gonna happen!

Here’s the “funny” part: I’m going to keep going to the group that meets every other Wednesday. Because eventhough most of them are CLY members, and eventhough clammy wrist shake lady attends, and eventhough she also works ~exclusively for CLY by selling memberships….(ew! Can you say pyr-a-mid? ew!), it’s not affiliated with CLY, and the purpose of the group is great. We have intros with referral requests to get people thinking how they can all help each other. Then, one person presents a problem and we all brainstorm suggestions for them while someone else takes notes. It is great. The only rule is that you have to go three times before you can be in the hot-seat. There was still time for announcements and a little networking. It’s just a sad coincidence that the ones I didn’t click with came from CLY.

So, the word of the week, kiddos, is wack-a-do. Can you say wack-a-do? I knew you could!

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