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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Year Round Networking at Tulsa Metro Chamber

By Peter Biadasz, Southern Plains Bureau Chief
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There exists a community in the Midwest which provides quality networking events for the first 11 months of every year. While you may be on your own for December, the month of countless holiday gatherings (I mean “networking opportunities”), from January through November you get to work the Networking Circuit provided by The Tulsa Metro Chamber. The Networking Circuit provided by the chamber includes:

(4) - Regular Breakfast Network meetings,
(1) - Power Networking Breakfast event,
(3) - Business After Hours events,
(1) - Restaurant After Hours event,
(12) - Business Owner’s Forums, and access to a host of open and closed networking groups.

The breakfast events and the after hours events are in alternating months. Therefore, if your schedule is better suited for only morning or only evening meetings, you have the opportunity to attend the most convenient event based on your schedule.

Per Elaine Walsh, Manager, Member Events, “the success of the events is not only in the quality of each event, but in effectively marketing each opportunity so that the membership can utilize the event to have maximum effect for the attendees as well as positive effect on the community”. Elaine mentioned that each event is marketed via several media including mailings, e-mails, tickets, post cards, the weekly Monday Morning Memo online newsletter and The Chamber Report magazine. An annual pass is available for purchase allowing access to all Breakfast and After Hours Events at a discount.

Here are the fun and important details:

(4) Regular Breakfast Network meetings – These meetings average about 200 people in attendance and features a program of organized networking (each participant meets at least 18 people) and a very interesting speaker. This meeting is always finished by 9AM so you can schedule a 9:30 am sales appointment.

(1) Power Networking Breakfast event – This event always has over 200 people. Each person networks at 5 tables of 10 people, 15 minutes at each table. At all breakfast network events a 90 second introduction is utilized and a computer program ensures smooth transitions from table to table.

(3) Business After Hours events – Averaging 500 – 600 people per event, Business After Hours features networking and lots of great food in a high quality trade show atmosphere. Chamber members can purchase booth space to showcase their products and services for several hours. The event concludes with a balloon drop in which you will find cash in select balloons. Networking, food and they pay you if you find the right balloons. A don’t miss event!

(1) Restaurant After Hours event – With well over 600 in attendance yearly, this event features local restaurants in a showcase type setting. All attendees go from booth to booth sampling the wide variety of foods that the restaurants want to show off. This is an all you can eat for one price event so come hungry. No one leaves with an empty stomach. This event has been held in the local aquarium for several years allowing the attendees to visit the exhibits and walk through the shark tank in an attempt to burn off those newly consumed calories.

(12) Business Owners’ Forums - Every month business owners gather in a formal setting to discus topics that are of interest to business owners. A formal part of the meeting agenda is 30 minutes of networking, owner to owner.

Access to a host of open and closed networking groups – Within the metro area are at least 40 open and closed networking groups that meet weekly, bi-weekly, and/or monthly. You will find a networking opportunity of some sort on every day that ends in “y”.

As you can guess, ensuring that each event runs smooth involves quite a lot of manpower. Besides an incredible chamber staff, Karen Humphrey, Member Services and Resource Campaign Manager, has an army of volunteers called The Hospitality Club. These 50 individuals are involved in the many tasks required to have consistently successful events. Karen stated that she “feels blessed to have such a dedicated group of professionals who generously volunteer their time and energy.” These volunteers are many times involved in set-up and break down of tables and chairs, professionally facilitate the table commercials at the networking events, greet people at the door, ensure that vendors have what they need at trade show style events, and do whatever else needs to be done to ensure the success of the event.

By participating in the networking circuit you are not only full prepared to make the most of December’s Holiday Networking Season, but also prospecting to your fullest potential, ensuring a great year of satisfying business. If you would like more information about networking as sponsored by The Tulsa Metro Chamber feel free to go to and contact Warren Unsicker, Small Business Program Manager; Dennis Currington, Director, Small & Minority Business Development; Karen Humphrey, Member Services and Resource Campaign Manager; or Elaine Walsh, Manager, Member Events, at The Tulsa Metro Chamber.

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