Lisa, Kaylie, and I went to the Ya’ssoo Greek Festival on Sunday. It was at a local Church, but folks were coming from all over to celebrate being “Greek for a day”. The music and dancing were a lot of fun and the food (homemade, of course) was fantastic! What struck me most about the event, though, was the sense of community I saw all around me.

We were sitting at one of the long tables watching Kaylie dance to the lively Greek music. I glanced around me and saw families gathering to break bread together. Friends would greet each other with a hug. Laughter and smiles punctuated many a conversation between folks who hadn’t seen each other in a while. Why, there were even a few folks who recognized me who came up to say hello.

What occurred to me as I was watching all of this activity around me was how much we all need to be a part of some community. Online “friends” and “connections” attempt to fulfill some of this need, but somehow we really need that face-to-face interaction to make the true relationships happen.

I think that networking within a group should be like this. It should be about the connections, not the contracts. Imagine how much more enjoyable the next networking event would be if everyone viewed it as a chance to come together as a community to renew and strengthen our ties while breaking bread with each other. Heck, without the stress of trying to sell to your neighbor, I bet there would be a lot more laughter, smiles, and maybe even a hug or two.

The connections we’d make would be personal. They would be about who we are, not what business we run. How strange that would be if instead of Bob Jones, Owner and President of ABC Company, we run into Bob, the guy who told the great story about camping in the Rockies. And which person would we be more likely learn to trust?

Is it business? Why not? After all, who says that business can’t be personal?

Photo credit: annachok