Did I get your attention? Ok, so this isn't an article featuring some new “speed dating” service in Vancouver :). I was actually invited to attend a Y.E.S! Vancouver event by the Chief Connector and Networking In Vancouver founder, Jen Schaeffers. Jen asked me to attend the event to write an “unbiased” review of Y.E.S! from a male perspective.
Founded in 2007, Y.E.S! Vancouver has attracted over 500 women to their professional and fashion-forward networking events. Together, they have raised over $65,000 for Dress for Success Vancouver. This money is used to provide women with professional attire from head to toe and give them ongoing support through the Professional Women's Group, where they are mentored and gain access to career development tools and scholarship opportunities.
Luckiest Man In Vancouver?
So, let me paint a picture for you. Tonight's event was held on the deck at Joe Fortes Restaurant in Vancouver, BC. There were approximately 40 women in attendance and……well……me. If I had any thoughts of “blending into the crowd” at this event, I very quickly realized that this was going to be virtually impossible This was not the case however as I was there to meet new people and ask questions. And being the only man in the room made meeting new people quite easy. After all, this is what networking event are for, right….connecting with new people!
I've attended numerous events around Vancouver including the Vancouver Board of Trade, Rotory Vancouver and various Meetup groups and I must say, this event was quite different from most that I've attended (aside from the obvious guy/girl ratio). The event was a “mingler” and it truly was that. I found that many of the women made a point to move around and connect with numerous people…..rather than standing in the corner and chatting with the friend they arrived with.
This was a very positive thing to see at a networking event. Unfortunately, I find that many events around Vancouver are quite the opposite. People typically show up and spend most of their time chatting with one or two people that they see all the time or perhaps even work with. I often wonder why people do this. The point of NETWORKING events is to NETWORK, no?
Do You Have An Elevator Pitch?
I had the pleasure of meeting approximately 75% of the women in attendance, which gave me plenty of opportunity to work on my own “elevator pitch”. Of course, being the only man in the room made for an instant ice breaker. If that didn't work, introducing myself as Jen Schaeffers “bodyguard” worked quite well! But, jokes aside, meeting so many people in one night and listening to each one of them tell me “who they are” and “what they do” made me reflect on the importance of an elevator pitch.
For example, I own/operate numerous businesses across a number of industries. So, trying to summarize that into a 10-15 second introduction can be hard at times. However, the majority of my businesses all revolve around one common theme, they are all driven online. So, my shortened elevator pitch is “I work with clients to help them monetize their online brand”. It's short, but to the point on “what I do” and almost always follows with that person asking me “how I do it”. This allows me the opportunity to elaborate on my Sports Business, Linkedin training business and other ventures.
As I said, I met many women tonight, and some had their elevator pitch down pat, while others struggled to explain exactly what they do, why they are good at it and how we might be able to help each other out. After all, that's what networking is for. Meeting other people to understand how you can help them out knowing that when you provide value, you almost always receive value in return! I wrote an article on this exact topic a few weeks ago that you might want to check out called: “15 Networking Tips And Pitfalls“.
Based on my experience, it was very enlightening to see the openness of everyone in attendance and I can see why all of the women I spoke with had nothing but great things to say about Y.E.S! Vancouver and all the benefits it provides.
Reasons To Join Y.E.S! Vancouver
For more information on Y.E.S! Vancouver, check out these links:
Thanks for the invite ladies…..it was great to meet everyone! Hope to be lucky enough to get an invite to future events! 🙂