The Art of Effective Business Networking

Where is your community?

Social media has opened up a multitude of opportunities for me personally and professionally. But even at its best, it’s a tool. Like any tool, it comes with operating instructions and cautionary tales of those who misused it and suffered the consequences. One of the most common misuses of social media is assuming a real life connection isn’t needed.

Numbers don’t make relationships. People make relationships.
Kathy Ireland, Julia Rosien and Betty-Lynn Eller

We met online…

How do you transform your social media networks into a powerful, sustainable community? You take them offline, face-to-face, every chance you get.

I connect with people online for the same reason I join networking groups – because we share similar interests or we have a similar focus in business. I’ve been blessed to be a member of some incredibly powerful networking groups and organizations throughout my career.

This past week at Las Vegas World Market, I reconnected with a few of them.

WithIt

I joined WithIt, Women in the Home and Furnishings Industries, in 2009. In 2012, I served as WithIt’s first international president (ground-breaking for this North Carolina based organization) and in 2013 it’s my honor to serve as Chairman of the Board. This year, WithIt moved its annual WOW awards to Las Vegas for the first time and it was my honor to introduce Kathy Ireland as our Lifetime Achievement honoree as well as present Margi Kyle as my 2012 President’s Award recipient. To learn more about WithIt, visit them online: WithIt.org.

ISPA

In 2009, I was asked to sit on the board of the Better Sleep Council (an arm of ISPA), representing Natura, a mattress manufacturer. Although I stepped off the board to launch SocialNorth in 2010, the organization holds a special place
in my heart.

networking events live and in personCurrently, the organization is focused on putting
the brakes on a California mattress recycling legislation.
Ryan Trainer led a power-packed session in Vegas that gave
me a clearer view of the issue – and allowed me to connect
with my peers. To learn more about ISPA, visit them
online: SleepProducts.org.

SSA

The SSA began a mattress labeling initiative when I worked at Natura, and as communications director, I took a leadership role in the project, helping to define their first proposed universal mattress labels. The project has grown and is now supported by a multitude of manufacturers and retailers committed to truth in mattress labeling. They launched BedFax.org at market with an information session overflowing with thoughtful, important commentary. To learn more about SSA, visit them online: SleepInformation.org.

NextGen NOW

Julia Rosien and Rose Lehy Hudecki I found out about this group through Amy Schmidt, a fellow board member of WithIt. NextGen Now is focused on serving emerging young furniture professionals. With seminars and events that cross generations, they’re clearly poised to offer a multitude of mentoring opportunities – regardless of age. And they’re a lot of fun to hang out with at market. To learn more about NextGen NOW, visit them online: Social.NGnow.org.

These are just a few of the groups I’ve had the opportunity to be part of in real life and online. Each group offers me connection to my peers, clients and potential clients. I love social media but it will never replace a face-to-face conversation, free-flowing and unhindered by 140 characters.

How you do super-charge your connections online? Do you turn twitter convos into phone calls or attend networking events that allow you to connect with many at one time? Share your ideas here of catch up with me on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

3 Responses to “The Art of Effective Business Networking”

  1. Ali Davies says:

    Hi Julia – love the point you emphasised at the start – social media is about people and relationships, not numbers. And as the world bcomes more and more online and gadget based, it is also what people are crying out for and have a need for more and more – personal connection based on genuine, caring relationships. Love how you role model that both online and offline.

    • Julia Rosien says:

      Hi Ali,
      Thank you so much for stopping by to read and take the time to comment. For me, social media is so valuable because of the relationships I’m able to nurture and grow. When we can automate that kind of thing, I’m leaving. So grateful for the connection you and I have made and I’m looking forward to meeting you in person one day in the not to distant future. Cheers!

  2. @SandraEamor says:

    Great Post Julia! If it wasn’t for the fact I’ve nurtured my online relationships offline, I wouldn’t be where I am today. It’s amazing to meet so many wonderful people and friends that I likely would never have met offline if it wasn’t for Social Media. It’s all about connecting online and in person…regularly!


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