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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Events Rule

By Bruce Newman

Mid-Atlantic Bureau Chief
(New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington DC, West Virginia, Virginia)

I am always seeking more information about networking organizations in my mid-Atlantic territory. In my column, I will continue to list planned special events and feature one organization in an article. I urge any organization that has a planned event or wishes to be featured, to contact me at:

Upon reflection of this article depicting the importance of events, I realized this was an area I wished to pursue. I look forward to your feedback and comments at Possible topics include: do you consider attending events the most important aspect of networking? Do you strive to meet new attendees or reinforce your relationships with attendees you already know? What is your key thing you look for when you meet someone at an event? How do you pick which events to attend? What type of follow-up do you do following an event and how important is it?

Highlighted organization:

This month, I spoke with Jay Updike, the creator and driving force behind which “hosts business networking events and promotes its members all across Maryland, Delaware, Washington D.C., southern Pennsylvania, and northern Virginia”.

Bruce: What is the goal of your organization?

Jay: We help individuals gain exposure to the business networking community. Our goal is to be able to put people in front of an area they request by the click of a mouse. For example, a brokerage firm may sponsor four different events in which interested members can sign up for one or even all four of them depending on their interest and availability.

Bruce: How do members become aware of events?

Jay: Members become aware of events by three means: from the calendar of events on our home page, via a master email that lists all events and an email of local events in their geographic region. Every month, we automatically send the master and local events emails to our members.

Bruce: It seems that you are very events oriented.

Jay: We believe that events are the crux of the networking experience. Attending events can be extremely productive as you can meet many people and develop many relationships. Since the cost of attending an event is free, there is no excuse to not attend a number of them.

Bruce: I read on your website that for $99 per year, a subscriber gets a web page that they can personalize and attend any number of events at no cost. Can you please elaborate?

Jay: Initially, there was no charge or obligation for our service. As we have continued to grow and evolve in our seven years, we found that by charging a modest fee of $99, we attracted those people who were truly interested in networking. For this $99 fee, subscribers get a web page they can considerably customize and the ability to attend all of our events. Since all of our events are free, this annual fee in most cases, represents a person’s sole yearly expenditure for our service. Soon, events will be only available to our subscribers.

Jay: Any organization can sponsor an event for around $500 depending on the cost of the lunch or happy hour and the number of attendees. Sponsors have their name on all invitations and get 5-10 minutes to talk about themselves in front of the attendees. We also have space for a limited number of banner ads on our website and an opportunities page, both at an additional cost.

Bruce: How long have you been in existence and how many members do you have?

Jay: We have been around for 7 years and have built a huge database of over 1 million email addresses and 500,000 fax numbers that we send out announcements to. We average over 1 million hits per month on our website. Our goal is to grow to 10,000 people and average 100 events per month with fewer events in the summer when it slows down. Currently, we average 20-30 events per month.

Jay: We have worked very hard to get to this point. Our subscribers have generated a lot of business and developed many relationships as a result of our efforts. The paradigm of offering many events for people to attend has proven to be highly successful and we are growing rapidly.

Bruce: What can you tell people about networking?

Jay: Do it! We have (reportedly) 1 million hits a month on our business directory because people are seeking networking opportunities. The more people you speak to, the more relationships you develop and the more successful you will be.

I look forward to your feedback and comments concerning the importance of attending events at

Any networking group or organization that has a special meeting or conference they wish to announce, relevant articles or topics they wish to discuss, or would like to be featured by me (if possible), please email me at:


Bruce Newman is the Vice President at The Productivity Institute, LLC ( which provides prodinst by matching the specific software products and services needs of companies to rated outstanding consultants who can meet those needs. Any company that wishes to improve their productivity can sign up for this free service and be contacted by up to five rated outstanding consultants.

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