Susan's Super Citizen Showcase

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Virginia Greene shares a new expression at IABC event in Vancouver

The expression is “hidden wiring.” Virginia Greene, president and CEO of the Business Council of British Columbia, picked it up a few weeks ago at a business event in the U.S. just before the election. She heard the expression used in reference to the bonds that exist between business people who work together from both sides of the border. Their personal relationships are held together by “hidden wiring” that is stronger than a change in the U.S. administration.

Virginia (at right in the photo, with her friends, and lots of business cards) spoke before an audience of communicators at “Networking 101” – an event hosted by the B.C. chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators at Steamworks Lounge in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. She said she likes the expression because it describes a network that is strong and not easy to take apart. It’s hidden wiring that holds the network and its people together.

“These relationships are so deep – so interconnected, personal, and one-on-one,” says Virginia, who networks all day long as a part of her job as Council president / CEO.

Virginia told us Business Council members reported in a recent survey that networking is the main reason they are members. B.C. is unique in that it is the only province in Canada with this type of council made up of companies from forestry, oil and gas, and so many other different industries. The members survey was the first of its kind since the Council formed in 1966, and the feedback on networking is valuable. In response, the Council is stepping up efforts to organize networking events. For some people, evenings and a glass of wine are preferable to a.m. breakfasts.

Virginia described three different networking situations:

1) The optical opportunity – This is a “see and be seen” situation that shows your organization was represented at an event. You might just whip in for 20 minutes, circulate, says hellos to a few people, and get on your way once you have made your appearance.

2) The serendipitous opportunity – You run into someone you haven’t seen for a long time – maybe someone who used to work at a company you just took a job with. Or perhaps the ex-wife of your new boyfriend! These conversations can turn out to very illuminating...

3) The strategic opportunity – This is a situation that is important to your business. You are there to work and you are approaching the event mindfully with a purpose.

Vancouver is a nicely networked community – considerably more casual than other cities. Virginia says our community is friendly, open, and entrepreneurial. People make time for each other and return each other’s calls nine times out of ten. It’s “personal courage” that keeps us going in networking situations, as we follow up with contacts and try to get past receptionists who might say: “Will he know what this is about?” (though now most executives use email and blackberries and iPhones and it’s not as hard to get through the old school "receptionist filter")

I leave you with two final tips I took away from Virginia’s talk. They are just so wonderfully basic and obvious – and important to keep in mind for those of us who might feel shy or “not on” or lacking in “personal courage”… (or self-conscious about our outfit choices LOL)We are all told that "confidence" is attractive and important - and this is very challenging for people who are naturally more introverted. So it helps to be prepared...

What do you do when you arrive at an event? Look for someone you know. That helps to get you relaxed, geared up, and social. Have a bit of a chat, then politely move on to someone you don’t know. What are some good ice breakers? “Hi. How are you?” is always a good stand-by – along with “What business are you in?” or “Where are you from?”

I also like Virginia’s idea that our local IABC hold a networking event with other industries. Do any fellow members have any thoughts on this? (Come on and share your comments!)


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home