NCCCC Business Women's Expo 2015 - My Thoughts

Last month I attended the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce Business Women's Expo (every time I have to type this I think "what a mouthful!").  I'd attended before, but only as the employee of a vendor, so I hadn't gotten to attend workshops.

My overall thoughts on the event?  Kinda neutral.

I'll start with the good.  The workshops were awesome!  Mostly.

They were all based on TED talks, which was an interesting way to go but ensured that the topics were interesting.  The first went into depth on a topic mentioned in Sheryl Sandberg's book, Lean In: success vs likability (also in her TED talk, obviously).  Sandberg discusses how we subconsciously devalue successful women and the workshop described how to recognize some of those subconscious feelings and overcome them.  Fantastic workshop and excellent timing for me since I've been thinking and talking about this topic lately, anyway.

The 2nd workshop was also interesting - the speaker went into power postures and some of the science behind it.  I was amazed that not only does our hormonal balance change simply by standing or sitting differently, but it's a significant percentage change!  Huge, huge physical changes from standing for just 2 minutes in what the workshop called "victory pose."  Some of it is intuitive (looking confident will make you feel confident), but I really recommend watching the TED talk for this.

The 3rd workshop was kind of interesting - it was about finding your passion and figuring out what type of work motivates you (research, social/compassion, money, etc).  Buuuut... by the end it was really starting to feel like a thinly veiled sales pitch ("Hey, look at how passionate I am about my business, which is to help you.  Buy our stuff!")

Also good: the food.  Our luncheon was very tasty.  And the people I sat next to happened to be very nice and might be a good resource later for volunteering and/or networking.

Less good: the overall networking.  I met a couple of women at the workshops and I was enjoying their company very much until we introduced ourselves.  Then it immediately turned into, "What's your sales pitch, ok you done?  Here's MY sales pitch."  That's just not how I want to do it.  I'd rather make friends and then if we need each other's services it'll just happen naturally.

I'd been to chamber networking events in the past and it had been the my pitch, your pitch thing, but I thought that was my fault because I had no clue how to network back then.  Blogging has taught me how incredibly easy it is because I wasn't trying to.  I started blogging purely for enjoyment, discovered it's possible to make friends doing it, and then magically that turned into a few different opportunities.

So I thought a return to networking events COULD be a lot more effective (and fun!) by utilizing that principle.  But obviously that's not how everyone sees it and that's an obstacle I'm not sure how to overcome.

I was invited to attend more chamber networking events and I'm currently undecided.  Like the Business Women's Expo, I'm sure there's something to be learned at each one, but I'm not sure if it's really worth the investment of time or the sheer number of email lists I get added to each time I hand out a business card.

I think part of the problem is that a LOT of the entrepreneurs at the chamber sell business services (myself included).  So basically we're all in there trying to sell the same stuff to each other.  As much as I like the idea of it all, I think there might be more value in discovering new markets, rather than trying to compete in such a heavily saturated one.

And I do still want to make friends with other entrepreneurs, just for the sake of having people to sympathize with.  But maybe Meetup is a better resource for that.

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