Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend a local business networking group in downtown Greer. I was an invited guest to learn more about the group and share a little bit about my business. The group was made up primarily of small business owners ranging from financial advisors to contractors to attorneys to media advertising.

I was given 60 seconds to introduce myself and give an ‘elevator speech’.

I have to say, I was a little anxious. I really didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t nervous or intimidated, but I just don’t like the unknown.

I had prepared a brief little statement about me and my photography business and thought about throwing in a discount to the members who were in attendance. At the last minute, I changed my mind and left the discount out. I kicked myself all the way to the car.

Later that day, I was at a pre-natal appointment and was chatting the with doctor. I told him that I did photography part time and he casually mentioned his daughter was getting married next year. We talked for a few more minutes and my appointment ended without me mentioning my website or business name.

In the back of my mind, I knew I should have been more bold. I didn’t have any more business cards on me, as I had given them all out that morning. I felt like I had let an opportunity slip through my fingers.

The moral of the story and lesson of the day is to use the opportunities placed in front of you to your advantage.

You don’t have to be salesy or pushy, which I felt like I would have been doing in both circumstances. I could have casually mentioned the discount and moved on. I could have given my photography business name to the doctor and moved on.

In the moment I knew I should have done something. But I didn’t. Hindsight is 20/20 they say and I’ve had about 24 hours to think about both scenarios and what I could have or should have done differently.

My takeaways from yesterday are to be bold and confident in what you do and in meeting people. I had felt like I was being desperate if I had suggested a discount or thrown out that I shot weddings to the doctor. It’s like name dropping- nobody likes it when you do it.

However, there is a difference when it’s done without the arrogance. When its done in a well-meaning and helpful way.

I was also reminded at the morning’s networking meeting that I desperately need to brush up on my communicating skills! It’s been a while since I’ve been around professionals in a setting like that and I should have been more prepared with some questions of my own for that 20 second lull in the conversation.

Anyways. Next time I’ll be more prepared and I’ll be looking for that opportunity to put myself out there just a little bit.

business networking