At Tuesday's meeting of the Austin Chapter of the American Marketing Association, board member and former chapter president, Tracy Sullivan, led the "structured networking" segment of the meeting. This is a new edition to the Austin AMA lunches, and I found it to be a quick and useful tool to facilitate introductions.
Before the end of the meeting Tracy told the audience to break up into groups of two, with the caveat that your partner had to be a stranger. On each table she had placed small blue slips of paper with about twenty questions printed on them. Each duo was told to take turns asking each other the questions until discovering something in common. Everyone was left to talk for about five minutes.
The questions included:
Are you originally from Austin?
Where did you grow up?
Have you ever traveled to Europe, Asia, Australia or Africa?
What other professional organizations are you a member?
Do you do volunteer work? If yes, where?
What is your favorite kind of food?
Do you like to cook?
Have you ever had your "five minutes of fame"?
What is your favorite sport to watch on TV?
Who is your favorite actor or actress?
What is the best movie you have seen this year?
What is your dream car?
What is the best book you have ever read?
What is your pet's name?
What is in your car's CD player right now?
How many songs do you have on your iPod?
Can you tell jokes?
Are you a neat-nik or a slob?
What is your favorite restaurant in the world?
What is your pet peeve at the office? At home?
Have you ever traced your family tree?
Are you an e-Bay junkie?
Do you have your own blog?
This was a great exercise. My partner was Danny Holder, Director of Business Development at Business Ink. He was a very nice guy and we did not have to go far down the list of questions to discover we both enjoy really good Mexican Food (for those reading this blog who do NOT live in the Southwest, there is a difference between "Mexican Food" and "Good Mexican Food". Sorry, Taco Bell and Taco Cabana are not in that "good" category!).
He had some local favorites, but had never been to Guerro's or Curra's (the two best Mexican restaurants on the planet, in my opinion). We had a great conversation, and he decided to take his wife to Curra's that night and test my theory about Curra's having the most incredible tamales.
Congratulations to the American Marketing Association for creating a unique way to encourage members making new connections. I hope Danny enjoyed the tamales!!!
Have A Great Day.
PS- If your job is related to marketing and you are not currently a member of the American Marketing Association, you should discover the chapter in your community and become involved. You will learn a lot and make many important connections with other marketers. Click here to learn more.