Networkers get 60 seconds of rapt attention

By Kathy Canavan

Power Networking is the speed dating of the business world.

Pro: It’s all about you for one minute.

Con: You must get your pitch across in 60 seconds flat.

Alexis Innis of Blood Bank of Delmarva explained the new blood-donation process of the Affordable Care Act to the group.
Alexis Innis of Blood Bank of Delmarva explained the new blood-donation process of the Affordable Care Act to the group.

An account executive for Blood Bank of Delmarva nailed it with her opening: “Good morning, everybody. I’m Alexis Innis. I’m also known as the blood lady.”

Innis spoke at a free power-networking session the Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce sponsored in Dover this month. Like farm-team baseball, timed networking gives business pros a chance to hone their pitches in front of a small audience.

It works exactly like speed-dating except it’s not one-on-one. With power networking, one individual speaks; all the others listen.

“Power networking is great for the new member who may be nervous about networking,” said Felicia Cook, who handles special events for the chamber. “Our mixers are quite large, with 100 to 150 people in attendance each month, which can be very overwhelming to someone who has never attended before. Power networking sessions give members the opportunity to present their spiel with the undivided attention of a much smaller group.”

Ralph Artigliere, manager of Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore in Dover and a networking-event veteran, describes the events as mini-mixers. “You have a minute to give your elevator speech,” he said.

Susan Outten, guest services manager at Dover Mall, told the audience her primary job is selling Visa and American Express prepaid cards. She grabbed their interest when she told them that the mall offers corporate discounts on cards and that cards can be personalized to advertise a particular business.

Mustafah Abdullah offered his business consulting services and joked that he doesn’t mind if “Lion King” fans call him Mufasa.
Mustafah Abdullah offered his business consulting services and joked that he doesn’t mind if “Lion King” fans call him Mufasa.

Mustafah Abdullah, president of MY Consulting Group in Magnolia, broke the ice when he said it’s cool if “Lion King” fans pronounce his name as Mufasa.

His pitched the value of hiring him versus a large consulting company: “It’s just me, so you don’t have to pay that much.”

His sign-off was, “Anything related to your business, what I say is let me know. I can probably help you.”

At the end of each session, a person whose name is drawn at random wins a 45-second film clip on the chamber’s YouTube channel. Innis of the Blood Bank pumped the air when her name was called.

Artigliere was the lucky winner of a drawing at a previous networking event. His clip is already posted. “I’m shooting for a million hits,” he said. “I think I’m up to 56.”

The video has garnered results.

“One customer came into the store and said, ‘Hey, I saw you on YouTube.’ ” Artigliere said. ♦

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