Creative Networking (and a prize for your creative thinking)
I've spent the better part of 2008 (see UPDATE below) hosting a luncheon called The Ladies Who Power Lunch. The idea was born from all the smack talk about the economy. While I'm not a fan of whining, complaining or doom predicting, I am a huge fan of coming up with creative ways to not participate in any down economy, to continue to experience increases in my business - and in this case, the businesses of the powerful women I am connected with here in Las Vegas. This is just one of many creative, out-of-the-box ideas I've implemented in my business in the past year.
Here's the model: host a lunch and invite 15-20 people you think should know each other (or know each other better). Get some giant gift bags and ask them to bring a memorable item to put in the bag for each attendee. Have each person answer the following questions (1) Who they are, (2) Company they own/work for, (3) Who they serve (ideal client), (4) How they serve them, (5) What they need next most (new business, introductions, etc.), and (6) What's their gift and why did they choose that item. As each person is introducing themselves, have the other attendees write down any ideas, connections or thoughts ... then encourage the participants to get together later to develop their budding new relationships.
As you can see above, the contents of the last power lunch were many and quite fun ... ranging from a tile with the Chinese symbol for disruption (meaning crisis and opportunity), to a journal to a Starbucks gift card.
My master lunch list now consists of well over 100 women who are all power hitters here in Las Vegas. The good news: I get to meet new women at least once a month. The great news: the attendees are expanding their networks. As they say, a rising ride raises all boats.
Just because others are experiencing lack and limitation doesn't mean you need to. Sit down and brainstorm 50 creative ways to position yourself, network effectively and generate new business and revenue.
As of December 2012, more than 60 Ladies Who Power Lunch Luncheons have been held in Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tucson and Dallas. I now live in Austin, Texas and am hosting LWPLs here, and my COO, Joan Richardson, holds them regularly in Dallas. If you're interested in attending or hosting one of our luncheons, let us know!