Finding your sphere of influence?

As I get ready to go speak to a group of college students during their weekly organization meeting, I sat down and thought for a few moments, jotted some notes, and pulled my ideas together. About a month ago, I received this email from one of my former students to speak during their regularly scheduled meeting:

“Hi Bobby,

I hope you are having a great semester so far. I know that Grace and I gained so much from taking your class this past semester and I was wondering if you would be willing to come speak to the rest of oursorority. Beyond the experience from planning an event, I personally gained the most from learning how to pitch myself and networking to buildbusiness relationships. I feel that these skills are extremely importantfor those who are starting to interview for jobs and internships. I thinkthat the women of Sigma Kappa could greatly benefit from learning theseskills as well. Sigma Kappa is having a chapter meeting on Sunday, March 28th at 7 p.m. and I was wondering if you would be willing to come speakfor about 30 minutes. Please let me know if you are interested.

Thank you for your time.

So as I sat today to bring my thoughts together…I wondered, how am I going to give them something relevant to walk away and ponder? Here we have a collection of students from freshman to seniors, those who are just happy to be in school and enjoying the joys of college to those who are sweating if they will be employed in a few months. But it comes down to this, it does not matter if you are a freshman in college, a senior in college, in graduate school, looking for a job, have a job, entrepreneur,  home body, nobody, somebody, CEO, or man on the street…it is all about relationships.

So here are my notes for tonight’s little chat…in the form of questions and discussion:

  1. Why am “I” here today?
  2. Why do “we”join groups?
  3. Where do “we” want to be in five years?
  4. Where do “we” want to be in ten years?
  5. Who is in your room of “influence”?
  6. Who have you met “new” today?
  7. How can “we” leverage those relationships?
  8. What are “Our” dreams?
  9. How do we turn those “Dreams” into realities?

Here is the actual presentation…I used Prezi to put this little talk together!

Building Communities – Anderson Area Chamber Style

About a week ago…I get a call from the Anderson Area Chamber to help take part in their yearly membership drive. At first, I was kind of perplexed about this request, but I believe in the life of the chamber so I was happy to jump on board. Plus, I have never taken part in a membership drive so I was interested to check out the process and maybe build some relationships along the way.

To the pleasant voice on the other side of the phone, I happily agreed to show up for a training this morning. So 8am this morning, I made my way into a conference room at the Area Chamber of Commerce where the room was full and the coffee was brewing. JAVA – Good!

What I walked away from this hour and half experience is that the Anderson Area Chamber is building communities, raising awareness, and not just making simple cold calls asking for membership dues.

The Anderson Area Chamber brought in a Membership Campaign Consultant to help the 25 plus members (that agreed to take part in this effort) come together as a group and use their sphere of influence to ask non-chamber members to consider joining their “Tribe”…their “Ecosystem”…their “Sphere of Influence.” Sheryl Ross is her name and empowering communities is her game.

This is here membership game:
Communities —> Awareness —> Membership

As I looked around the room, there was a wide representation of membership taking part in this event. Each one was hand selected, each one has a sphere of influence, each one is passionate about small business development, each one consistently understands the meaning of leveraging relationships. Sheryl Ross was brought in to empower the membership represented in the room about the benefits of a chamber membership; and to empower this membership to expand the “Sphere of Influence” by tapping into their personal/business address books.

What is the point of joining a Chamber of Commerce, especially one that has a broad “Sphere of Influence”? How about to have a voice, generate revenue, and save money. That is the bottom-line. The Anderson Area Chamber is building their “Tribe”, expanding their sphere of influence, and gaining momentum for the following:

Empowering Membership —> Empowering Awareness —> Empowering Business

This is a training session that I enjoyed…I guess I drank the kool-aid. But whatever the reason, I want to be a part of this “Tribe”. I want to grow my “Sphere of Influence.” That is the benefit for each member that showed up for this training session. An opportunity to grow their “Tribe” by networking and engaging in fluid conversation with others in the room, those potential “Tribe” members that will be recruited, and ultimately to feel like they are a part of a “Tribe”. While the chamber is leveraging their membership in the room as means to grow and find new members, the membership in the room is recruiting new members and growing their sphere of influence…this is a mutually beneficial relationship. Business and engaging/building/leveraging relationships is fun. I want some more kool-aid….actually some more coffee.