There seems to be more traditional business networking groups in Petaluma than anywhere else in the Bay Area and, while some are certainly better than others, I have found most of them to have one thing in common.
Who made the rule that making new business friends requires sitting in a meeting room looking across from one another and waiting your turn to talk? That can be sort of an unnatural setting when you think about it.... so here is an alternative idea that came to me from a friend in Boston.
Compare a stark meeting room full of structured elevator pitches to two or more people hanging out together over a friendly game and letting the familiarity take care of itself... faster.
In my opinion, there’s also really no more effective or natural way to determine the nature of your new business friend than over a relaxing game of 8-ball, regardless of your skill level or your previous knowledge of the game. As a matter of fact, beginners have the exact same opportunity to take advantage of this quality time right along with a pro because the goal is not to win the game, but to get the know the people playing it right there with you.
Common networking groups sit around a u-shaped configuration or across a table and exchange glances along with the same pleasantries while following the same meeting format week after week. I believe a "billiard business network" group would be more like a real business experience because you never know what to expect. The conversation is natural and spontaneous, making everything much more real and transparent as a result. Billiard Business Networkers are also up on their feet, moving around the table, and learning from the natural body language, reactions and attitudes of everyone involved while discussing... business.
To me, high-quality billiard tables are not just expensive, but comfortable and refined. They’re just nice to be around and this helps everyone let down their guard and share a laugh while enjoying a sophisticated grown-up game... An activity that also helps sharpen your ability to concentrate, to calculate and to strategize.
The more I thought about this, the more I obsessed until I finally acted on it and paid a visit to the folks over at Buffalo Billiards to run it up the flag pole. As a Senior small business owner, I found Buffalo Billiards founder Lee Simon as someone who understands the need for business networking, and he’s also Petaluma’s far-and-away expert on how the mood around a high-quality billiards table opens the door to comfortable, productive conversation when meeting new people and closing new deals.
Sort of like golf only easier... and quicker. :-)
Is this a good idea or what?
Now that I am a Certified Tourism Ambassador (Yes, there was required reading and a test), I am quick to NOT suggest any one gathering place over another to experiment with this theory. There are lots of great pool tables in the area. However, I needed somewhere to go that was close to home so I put together the attached video with the cooperation of our pals over at Buffalo Billiards who are opening their doors to the idea to help get the ball rolling (sorry).
Networking, Schmetworking. Let's make it FUN.