Joining your local Chamber of Commerce is a bit like joining a gym. You do it with the best intentions but you never really make full use of all the benefits. Aside from networking with Chamber members, we were attracted (like many) by the special rates on health insurance and free legal cover. But we have since discovered a more valuable benefit that some members might have overlooked.
This ‘secret’ benefit comes in the form of the free Chamber Sessions. These short talks typically last an hour or so and can be a good way to learn new skills or keep up with business developments. However, they can be much more than that – if you are willing to deliver a talk, rather than just listening to one.
That’s because Chamber Sessions give you an opportunity to engage with local companies who specifically want to understand a particular aspect of business. Why else would they spend valuable time sitting through your presentation? Done well, this can be a great way to build your brand reputation by sharing your knowledge and expertise.
Learning about your audience – from your audience
But the benefits of running a session go further than simply raising your profile. They are also a great way to find out more about your potential customers and the issues that are relevant to them. The more interactive you can make each session, the more opportunity there is to understand their concerns, the challenges they face – and where you might be able to help.
That’s why I’m glad I accepted the Norfolk Chamber’s invitation to run a Better Business Blogging session in August 2015. Despite the nerves, we have now run two sessions and so far the feedback from our guests has been overwhelmingly positive. As a result, the Norfolk Chamber team have kindly invited me to run more sessions (starting in May 2016) – and we have won two new clients.
Here’s the link to my blog on the Chamber website, which will give you a flavour of what we cover in these sessions. If you have any questions about how to run a Chamber Session, please post them below and I will try to answer them. If you are interested in joining one of our sessions next year, be sure to book early because places fill up fast.
We’re blogging for charity
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Thank you for reading
This post is part of an occasional series on business, social media and communications. If you found it interesting or useful, please share it with others.
Huw and Wendy