When I talk to professionals in business communities across the country some roll their eyes at the thought of participating in their local chambers of commerce. But these organizations, with roots back to the 1500's in Europe (the 1700's in America), are more relevant in 2011 as they were 500 years ago.
Many business executives and entrepreneurs do not realize the power that a successful chamber of commerce can have on their local economy. We have been bombarded with information about the internet and social media, that many people instinctively push away anything that existed before 2005. But a good chamber or commerce, that is supported by local businesses, will be the catalyst to bring new employers, and other revenue generating business engines to the area.
The "too cool for school" crowd thinks that chambers of commerce are just for grandpa's business.... but the "Sunrise Breakfast Series" at the Austin Chamber of Commerce is sponsored by Google. Now if your company is more hip and successful (and currently more cool) that Google, then you can stop reading. If not, maybe you need to revisit the reason why supporting and participating in a chamber is a good idea for your business and your community.
This week I attended a the Austin Chamber's breakfast featuring author and speaker Jim Cathcart. Jim is a legend in the world of professional speakers, and the past president of the National Speakers Association. I attended the meeting to support my fellow NSA member (who was also speaking for the Austin NSA Chapter later that day). The real benefit was being with so many local leaders from a variety of industries.
While "liking" a popular Facebook page LinkedIn group is cutting edge and instant, you miss out on the power of sharing that live experience with 200 other people. Mr. Cathcart was great, but the interaction of the the crowd was what made the morning impactful.
There are a ton of "Social Media Gurus" who are getting rich counseling business owners and others on how to win friends and influence people on the internet... but they are missing the reality that social media is just one tool. Attending a chamber of commerce event is a great way to meet people and cultivate ongoing relationships. Hmmmmm, sounds like it is the same thing as social media (which is a tool to meet people and cultivate ongoing relationships).
Do not forget the power of live human to human interactions. Chambers of commerce (and other organizations) host great events. Do not think you can achieve all your goals and dreams by clicking your mouse.
Have A Great Day.