What To Expect At A Middlesex Chamber Business After Work Event
Last night we attended our first Middlesex Chamber of Commerce Business After Work Event. When we launched LMG back in October, Katie and I both agreed that joining the Chamber would be a great way to grow our new business. Last night’s event hosted by Fire At The Ridge in Middlefield certainly affirmed our decision to do so.
In this blog post, we’ll recap our experience and share some details on what you can expect at a typical Middlesex Chamber of Commerce Business After Work Event.
The Middlesex Chamber does a fantastic job of filling their Events Calendar with all sorts of beneficial seminars, training classes, and socials for local business people. The calendar can be accessed on their website, making it easy for busy entrepreneurs to plan ahead. They also send regular email reminders to members on upcoming news and events (again, something I find to be very helpful for scheduling purposes).
When we joined the Chamber, we got set up with credentials so we could access their online Member Portal. The portal is intuitive, user-friendly, and allows you to view and register for upcoming events. I was able to quickly register both me and Katie for the Business After Work event in less than a minute.
Note: From what I gathered, pre-registration is recommended but not mandatory for the Business After Work events.
Business After Work events are free for members and a nominal suggested (but optional) donation is taken at the door.
The event was scheduled from 5-7pm. Upon arrival we were greeted by a table of friendly Chamber representatives at the main entrance. They gave us name badges that touted blue smiley face stickers as a way to differentiate us because we were new. The stickers definitely served as a conversation piece throughout the night. People kept asking us what the stickers were about. We told them it was because we were VIPs but then fessed up that it was because we were new. Hehe!
I would recommend business casual attire for the Business After Work event. You’ll be meeting people (or potential future customers) for the first time so I feel it’s best to be well put-together in a situation like this. You know, dress the part. Or as Ron Burgundy would put, “You stay classy San Diego.”
Food & Drink
An assortment of hand passed hors d'oeuvres were prepared and served by the staff at Fire At The Ridge. I love to eat so I’m all about any event that provides delicious treats! Everything I sampled was delectable, too. Amongst several other things, I had a miniature French Onion Bowl that was quite memorable. Complimentary wine and beer were also served.
I’ve been to enough networking events in my time so I feel like I can share some words of wisdom here. For starters, don’t make the rookie mistake of showing up without business cards. Bring a big fat stack because they’re your golden tickets to potential future opportunities! Also, make sure your cards are easily accessible (i.e. not buried somewhere in your purse or hidden behind credit cards in your wallet). I have a business card holder which I stored in my back pocket throughout the duration of this event. Easy access.
Now if you’re an extrovert (such as Katie), you are inherently equipped and designed for a networking event. Shaking hands. Making friends. You’re a true professional. However, if you’re more of an introvert (such as myself), networking events can tend to feel awkward. And certainly put you way outside of your comfort zone. Here’s what you’ll need to get in your head. The SOLE purpose of these events is meeting people. If you go and hide in a corner somewhere, you WILL be the odd man out. So take a sip of the complimentary wine and get socializing!
I can honestly say that I didn’t feel at all awkward during last night’s event. Everyone from the Middlesex Chamber was delightful and eager to meet us and make introductions. The attendees we spoke to were extremely friendly and made us feel welcome. We collected several business cards and left with viable new business leads.
The only negative piece of the overall networking experience was the noise. There was live music (which I thought was awesome) but that, combined with 150+ people all talking in a confined space, made it very difficult to hear. (And if you’ve watched any of my videos, you know I have a child’s voice that does not project whatsoever. So people were clearly struggling to hear me as well.) That said, the venue had a few separate areas so we were able to relocate to a somewhat quieter space for a lengthier conversation.
If you’re a business owner who does business in Middlesex County, I would absolutely recommend joining the Chamber of Commerce. It will open so many new doors for you by providing you with unique opportunities to meet local entrepreneurs like yourself. You can get a wealth of information on their website: www.middlesexchamber.com
Check it out and hopefully we’ll see you at an upcoming event!