Lombard businesspeople – both members of the Lombard Chamber of Commerce and non-members – meet the second Friday of each month from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the Crowne Plaza, 1250 Roosevelt Rd., Glen Ellyn, in order to connect with other businesspeople and further each other’s business interests by forming mutually beneficial relationships. There is no charge to attend the monthly sessions which began in 2010.
“We average 30 to 35 people attending the AM Connection session each month,” said Yvonne Invergo, executive director of the Lombard Chamber of Commerce, “but sometimes we have twice that number attend. This meeting is open to everyone and is not business category exclusive.”
Business networking is a low-cost activity that involves more personal commitment than company money, so such sessions are generally popular. In fact, many businesspeople contend that business networking is a more cost-effective method of generating new business than either advertising or public relations campaigns.
“We borrowed the format for our monthly meetings from the CPA Society so attendees spend the first half hour networking as they get settled. Then we do a welcome, followed by a rundown of the meeting’s agenda and a review of upcoming Chamber events,” Invergo said. “Then we go around the room and ask for news from other networking groups and then ask attendees to give 30-second commercials about themselves, their businesses and the types of clients they are seeking.”
Next on each month’s agenda is a three-to-five-minute networking tip by Anna Weselak of Lombard’s Weselak & Associates, a firm that provides customized seminars and consulting on self improvement, improving interpersonal relationships and communication. Weselak likes to say, Invergo noted, that she “helps people play ‘nice’ at work.”
Recent quick-hit topics Weselak has addressed during the AM Connection include “Seven Networking Tips for the Introvert in You,” “How to Approach and Join that Group which is Already Talking,” and even “How to Shake Hands While Holding a Plate of Food, Glass of Wine and a Napkin.” Weselak presents a new topic related to enhancing your productivity and professional development at virtually every month’s meeting.
Following Weselak’s presentation, the group goes around the room again to give attendees an opportunity to mention and thank others for business connections recently facilitated. Finally, a business card drawing is held to win a bottle of wine plus several other small giveaways, brought by attendees.
After the formal portion of the gathering, members may linger to network again and are given the opportunity to pull other attendees’ business cards from bins on a side table.
“This is a great place to make connections and it is a nice, welcoming group where humor is an integral part of the proceedings,” Invergo said. “For instance, if someone talks for over 30 seconds in the ‘commercial’ about themselves, a big cow bell is rung. We approach everything in a light-hearted manner so there is a very relaxed atmosphere at these meetings.”
Attendees range from small business owners to hotel and restaurant executives, managers from large businesses, village staff members, representatives of local nonprofits and even people who are looking for new jobs.
“Some people come every month and others attend occasionally. Everyone there knows others in Lombard so a lot of great connections are made,” she said.
For more information, call (630) 627-5040. Incidentally, no RSVP is required.