Posted by: thepersistentassistant | January 30, 2011

Increasing Your Network

As printed in The Woodstock Independent: Minding Your Business 1.26.2011

Increasing Your Network

Last month I suggested a list of business resolutions for the new year. Typically, the tradition with resolutions is for one to begin with gusto, but then tend to peter out by week three. Try visiting a health club the first week of January, and then a few weeks later. You will see what I mean.  My hope is to keep you motivated and on track.

“Increase your network. Get out and get to know more people. Explore new connections – find out what they do, how they do it and what skills they use to be productive. Share your abilities in return. There may just be a mutual benefit.”

No, this doesn’t mean increasing your bandwidth, sitting at home or in your office and “friending” the universe. It means scheduling time each week to get out, and do what I call, “shaking hands and kissing babies.” One easy way to accomplish this is to join your local Chamber.  Chambers already have a calendar full of mixers, breakfasts, luncheons, seminars, leagues, committees and so much more that you can get involved in.  It’s a no-brainer, one-stop shopping for any business minded person. Not ready to jump in head first? Most Chambers allow you to “test” the crowd by attending a mixer or two as a guest or paying a non-member price to attend a luncheon or workshop. It’s a small investment with a big return.

There are other opportunities to network that happen naturally. Remember Sesame Street’s, “Who are the people in your neighborhood?” Throughout our daily activities of running to the bank, post office, gas station, grocery store, grabbing a cup of coffee, getting an oil change, we see people all of the time.  The question is, do you “stop and chat”? I can’t remember a time when I didn’t talk to the person in front of me in line at the grocery store. Perhaps you consider approaching a complete stranger awkward or rather a skill of a social person.  If this is the case, simply compliment the individual on something.  Watch how the conversation unfolds. It doesn’t always mean whipping out your business card, however if the opportunity arises, go for it!

If you are getting out and socializing, what begins to happen naturally is what I call, “love connections”. No, I don’t mean filling up your dance card for the weekend. There will be a natural progression of you being able to connect the people you have met to other people with a need or similar interest.  You will be astonished as to how often you will now hear yourself say, “I know someone who could help you with that.”  The reward? Kudos to you and but most importantly, being remembered.

There are several key points to successful communication. You can buy a book to brush up on your skills with that. However, just ask any seasoned and successful salesperson.  The only one to remember each and every time is to stop talking about yourself.  Ask questions, stay interested and focused in what the other individual has to say. Get to know them. Silence about yourself will speak volumes.

For a great networking opportunity, try out the Crystal Lake Chamber’s “Spring Scramble 2011” multi-chamber event. Non-members are welcome.The Scramble takes place, Thursday, March 10th at the Crystal Lake Holiday Inn.

Laura A. Witlox is the Communications Coordinator of the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce and Proprietress of The Persistent Assistant and can be reached at



  1. Laura,

    An old chamber friend was looking for a home cleaning service. I came across your site here off of LinkedIn. I gave her a copy and paste of your site.

    I see you are using word press. I just had my business site built on the word press platform. Did you have someone build it or did you go directly through word press?


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