March Meeting Includes Speed Networking Exercise Led by Kelly Pappas
Rand Hinman, Director of The Ultimate Bath stores, welcomed the 65 members and guests to the March meeting at the Westborough showroom. Hinman gave a brief history of the 120-year-old Granite Group, parent company of The Ultimate Bath Store.
After some brief remarks by EM NARI president Justin Zeller, Mitzi Negic, The Ultimate Bath Outside Sales Representative, introduced EM NARI board member Kelly Pappas, Agent-Advisor for the Foster Sullivan Insurance Group. Pappas has served as the chair of the Membership Committee and now leads the Women in Remodeling committee. She is also active in the Burlington Chamber of Commerce and spends much of her time at events cultivating business and networking.
“The key to networking is building relationships. Nobody wants to work with somebody who comes off as aggressive or insincere. Until somebody gets to know, like, and trust you, don’t expect them to want to do business with you,” Pappas said.
She led the group in a speed networking exercise where everyone stood in two lines facing one another. Each person got to ask the person across one or two questions and then the other person asked one or two questions. After a few moments, a whistle blew and the lines moved so participants faced someone new with whom to connect. The key to the exercise was that none of the questions directly dealt with business. It was a way to get to know someone more congenially.
Pappas offered the following tips for better networking:
- It’s not always all about business. People who have commonalities have an easier time building relationships. Find those commonalities by asking relationship building questions.
- Don’t start a relationship with an “ask.” Those who “give” are far more likely to receive a referral than those who only “take.”
- If you’re not a natural networker, set a goal! Walking into a networking event with a goal of making at least 2 solid connections will increase your likelihood of making those connections in comparison to simply attending an event with no measurable objective.
“As a membership committee member, we have continual conversations on how we can improve on helping people make the connections they came to NARI to make. This is so important for retention in our organization. So often during meetings, people go where they are comfortable and stick to the same small groups of people that they know or even work with. The idea behind the Speed Networking was to force people to meet someone new or learn something different about people they have known for a very long time. Kelly Pappas, who is a pro at networking, was the perfect person to help lead this activity,” said Negic. “As I surveyed the people who attended the event, my impression was that they all really enjoyed themselves. I even heard comments like ‘I hope they do this again.’”