18 April 2017

Revisit & Update: Making Networking Less Stressful

I've come a long way in my courage to network in the past two years. Working in the tourism industry and interacting with local business and civic leaders as well as attending events with other tourism organizations from across the country I had lots of chances to get to know people and make new connections. It's much less intimidating to me now, but it easier when you do it often. It's been a little while since I've attended a lot of business events and I'm starting to do that more again, so I need to sharpen my blade to get out there and network.

I've been signing up for business networking events around town and my goal is to attend at least two a month. Last week I attended a Facebook Boost Your Business event at the convention center here. I think everyone was stunned at how many people showed up. It was a packed house. I learned some great things and met some people. Just what one needs to do when trying to network.

My next event is a business class at the end of this week. I'm going to go learn about making sure product pricing is profitable. It's always a challenge to sign up in advance and then keep the commitment to get there. The closer you get to the event the more one might chicken out. So it's good for me to have a goal and push myself to get there.

Networking whether it's at a child's school, in a new church congregation, at the gym or in business is always a little unnerving. Here's a post I wrote a while back about ways to make networking easier with some tips and how networking can help you get closer to your goals and dreams.

How do you make networking easier? I'd love to hear your tricks and tips in the comments below.

17 April 2017

Impromptu Party Planning

A couple of weeks ago I was thinking it would be great to recreate our California Easter Egg Hunt tradition here in our new town. I talked about it with a friend, we both thought it would be fun and then I kind of forgot about it. Then she reminded me and I quickly pulled together an email and sent it out to a few dozen families.

Having it at a local park made cleaning the house and other advance preparations unnecessary other than just getting our basket of eggs prepped for hiding, making a treat to share and grabbing some Subway sandwiches on our way to the park.

We all arrived, the dads hid the eggs and we sent the kids off to hunt them down. I'm pretty sure there are still a few eggs out in that park but with a couple of dozen kids there, I think they cleaned up pretty good. One tradition we have its to always take a photo at the beginning of the hunt. All the parents get a photo and once we all get chatting we often forget to take more. So it's great to have that one good photo!

The kids combed the park then immediately starting trading eggs and climbing trees and playing on the playground. The grown ups were all hungry so we started eating and kids came and got food as they wanted to.

We decided the party was a huge success because there were never more than a handful of kids anywhere near the grownups and for long periods of time there were no kids in the picnic table area at all. We grownups sat and chatted and munched on fruits, veggies, sandwiches and snacks quite peacefully. The big kids ran around in the big field and climbed trees and the little kids could play on the playground right next to the picnic tables. It was great! Egg Hunt is definitely going to be an annual tradition after this year.

We've decided to try to do this one night a month for the summer and I am really happy about that. It's easy to just bring a treat and some sandwiches and hang out while the kids play. The park we went to is also a great park for kids to ride bikes so we'll encourage bringing bikes and trikes over too. Sounds like a really fun way to spend time with friends over the summer. I find while the kids do need time together we adults need it more! We are going too fast and are too tired and just don't get enough downtime or time with our peers. More grownup playdates please!

This all reminds me that a great event doesn't take a lot of planning or work or decorations or fuss. Just send out a text or email, grab some snacks, bottled water and some chairs or blankets and hit a park with friends. So easy and so much fun and so relaxing. It was fun to hear that everyone had a good time and we need more of that so that's my goal this summer.


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