• IVAC Connect

  • Next Meeting is Thursday, June 15th!

    11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

    Featured Business

    Kathy Casstevens ~ Starved Rock Lodge

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  • What is IVAC Connect?

    The Illinois Valley Area Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development (IVAC) introduces a new networking program called IVAC Connect:  Connecting Professionals and Businesses in a Fast Paced Environment.

    IVAC Connect holds a networking event opportunities to make connections, create leads, and ultimately grow their business. 

    IVAC Connect holds a structured meeting on the third Thursday of each month in the Community Room at Peru City Hall, with an open forum, ice breaker, 30 second commercial, in which each attendee has the opportunity to promote their business, and a focus business speaker.  For additional information about IVAC Connect or how to become a focus business speaker, you may contact IVAC Ambassador Vice President, Nikki Baer at 815-220-2289, or IVAC Board Member and Ambassador Steve Lamis at 815-664-2014.

    IVAC Connect is open to non-members for their first two meetings.  If they wish to continue with IVAC Connect, you would be required to become an IVAC member.  The cost of each meeting is $10 which includes a light meal.  RSVP’s are welcome but not necessary by calling the IVAC office at 815-223-0227 or email, ivaced@ivaced.org.

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  • Network Like a Pro with These 12 Tips!

    Start Networking Before You Need It.

    Seasoned networkers can smell the stench of desperation from across the room. People can sense when someone is only out to help himself. Tip-offs ranging from a panicked look in the eyes to a portfolio brimming with networking when you have no ulterior motive, you can begin to build relationships and a reputation for being generous rather than self-serving.

    Ask Great Questions!

    The only way to get to know someone else is to ask them genuine and thoughtful questions. It’s always best to walk away from a conversation having allowed the other person to speak more than you did. Not only will they feel great about the conversation, but you’ll have gotten to know a lot about him/her, helping you plan and execute your follow-up more thoughtfully.

    Remember to Share, Not Sell!

    Remember that this relationship you’re building is supposed to be one of mutual benefit. Avoid allowing it to teeter too far to your side by keeping a focus on sharing aspects of your career opposed to selling them. There’s a difference - one of them is genuine; the other isn’t. Don’t be pushy. Don’t act like a stereotypical used car salesman. Instead, be professional, but personal too.

    Follow Up!

    It's often said that networking is where the conversation begins, not ends. If you've had a great exchange, ask your conversation partner the best way to stay in touch. Some people like email or phone; others prefer social networks like LinkedIn. Get in touch within 48 hours of the event to show you're interested and available, and reference something you discussed, so your contact remembers you.

    Consider Their Network.

    When meeting people, it’s important to remember that even if they can’t help you directly, someone in their network probably can.

    Do Not Work the Room.

    Don’t try to meet as many people as possible in a room; focus on making just a few solid connections. People can sense when you’re simply speaking with them to grab their card and go. These short interactions will not be memorable and therefore work against you. Aim to meet a few people and begin a meaningful dialogue.

     Know Your Elevator Speech.

    The term Elevator Pitch has come to mean how you would tell your story if you met someone super important and had a very limited amount of time to hook so they want to continue the conversation (i.e. e. in an elevator). In an age of pervasive ADD and Smartphones, if we haven’t grabbed someone’s attention in 30 seconds, then we’ve blown the opportunity. Just stating what you do or what your company does in complex and boring terms can bring the conversation to a screeching and quite awkward halt. Be prepared with the problem you are solving, and some staggering fact about the market or something amazing you’ve accomplished…Done.

    Make Your Introductions More Interesting.

    Most people just aren't interesting in the way they communicate. They apply their efficient approach at work to how they meet people, talking in boring, direct ways about themselves. Try to be a little elusive to create some interest. Try delaying the job-talk for as long as possible and spend more time trying to get to know each other more personally. Eventually you will figure out which people you actually like regardless of whether they can helpful to you. People do business with people they like.

    Resist the Urge to Arrive Late.

    It's almost counter-intuitive, but showing up early at a networking event is a much better strategy than getting there on the later side. As a first attendee, you'll notice that it's calmer and quieter – and people won't have settled into groups yet. It's easier to find other people who don't have conversation partners yet.

    Think of networking as a puzzle you’re piecing together.

    What need does someone else have and how can you use your resources to fill that gap?

    Take a buddy along.

    A huge business networking event or even a small dinner can be less intimidating if you have a buddy. That way, you’ll have someone to sit with or introduce you to others. If you have to go alone, reach out and make at least one solid connection. It’s always much easier to have a partner than to be lost in a crowd of complete strangers.

    Although it has been stated, follow up is the most important aspect of networking, so...

    The First 30.

    Within the first 30 days of meeting someone new, think about who in your network you can connect them with and make a virtual introduction. Explain to both parties why you wanted to connect them. People will really appreciate the fact that you took the time to help them build their network and offered something helpful.