Probably not a good group for supervillains
(for those who are unaware, these are all superheroes)

By the way, did I mention that I went to Dragon*Con over the Labor Day weekend? I just wanted to make sure that no one missed out on that subtle detail. I know I may only have mentioned it once in passing so some folks might not know about my trip down to Atlanta to commune with 40,000 of my fellow geeks.

In all seriousness, in addition to just having a lot of fun, I did discover a number of networking concepts operating in the wild, so to speak. For example, one evening, my buddy Tim and I were hanging out at the hospitality suite just doing some people watching. With the number of people wearing costumes, we could almost have spent the whole weekend just doing that.

Tim mentioned that he had talked about the convention with a friend of his and the friend just didn’t understand what the attraction could be. Tim had tried to explain, but for some reason it just didn’t strike a chord with this guy. It just didn’t match up with a compelling reason in his life.

The same thing happens in more traditional networking venues. I might be a member of a group in long-standing. For whatever reason, this group just works for me. It works so well, that I might recommend it to other people in my network. This is where I really need to be careful. I need to know both the group and my networking contact well enough to know that they will be a good match.

If my friend’s business focuses on international trade, no matter how much I love it, the local Chamber of Commerce probably isn’t the best match no matter how much I recommend it. Similarly if my friend is a restaurant owner, they probably won’t be interested in the local tech users group. Of course, maybe I know them so well, that I know that one of their driving passions outside of their business is learning about all kinds of technology. In that case, maybe they’re a good fit after all.

The point here is, before you recommend that someone join a group or even invite them to attend a meeting, make sure that you’ve done your homework to verify that they are a good fit. It will show that you really do know and care about their success if you don’t waste their time with a venue that just really isn’t appropriate for them.