What Does Intimacy & Business Have in Common?
Yes I know it’s a provocative title. And one that has a lot of innuendo associated with it given the culture and times in which we live.
But that’s not the focus of this post. For the word intimacy has a much deeper – even spiritual – meaning than what the world attaches to it.
According to dictionary.com, the noun intimacy is initially defined as “the state of being intimate”. And intimate has a slew of meanings, including the following:
1. associated in close personal relations:an intimate friend.
2. characterized by or involving warm friendship or a personally close or familiar association or feeling: an intimate greeting.
3. very private; closely personal: one’s intimate affairs.
4. characterized by or suggesting an atmosphere conducive to privacy or intimacy; warmly cozy:
an intimate little café where we can relax and talk.
5. of an association, knowledge, understanding, etc. arising from close personal connection or familiar experience.
And that relates to business how?
Let’s see what the experts have to say!
Last week I talked about the fact that in business, especially networking to build our businesses, “small” is often better. Small as in “intimate” gatherings designed first and foremost to develop personal relationships in which we have an opportunity to get to know, like and trust another – or others. Such advice is contrary to “think big” which would encompass a flurry of activity on the gargantuan social media networks, i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.
In the article from Entrepreneur, “Small Is Beautiful. How to Make the Most of an Intimate Networking Event: 7 Rules”, the author Briana Elefant states:
“In reality, however, large networking events and conferences are often disappointing: People stand there, nervously sipping cocktails, hoping to spark an interesting and productive conversation, all the while scheming how to bump into just the “right” contact in a noisy, overcrowded room. In that context, you quickly come to realize that “more” isn’t always better; sometimes it’s just more.
That’s why there’s been a rise, lately, in smaller, more industry-targeted events and communities. A growing number of female-only clubs for instance are hosting intimate networking events.”
“In these groups, Women have started their own power circles. In the digital space, marketers frustrated with the void of social media are looking toward micro-communities to find an audience. Even educational companies and coworking spaces, like General Assembly and Galvanize, are offering members-only meetups to better foster connections. And of course, there’s my own company, Voray, created specifically to cut through the noise and help people build more authentic relationships.“
Note the use of the word “intimate” in describing a growing shift in how one networks – ultimately growing her business by making connections with others. Connections to “build more authentic relationships.” And doing so using an intimate approach that is more personable, often more comfortable and engaging and more likely to provide an opportunity to develop and grow a more authentic relationship. Both personal AND professional!
So an atmosphere conducive to privacy or intimacy; warmly cozy where we can relax and talk is coming into vogue. In the marketplace of ideas – where business-growth strategies are put into practice.
Will it work for me?
If you’re a bit on the introverted side as I am; then it’s a sigh of relief to learn that what makes me comfortable is also the coming-to-pass in the world of networking. I hate large networking events. I hate large events as a whole; but the thought of entering a room filled with a hundred or more folks all seeking the same thing from each other is a source of sweaty palms and other extremities too numerous to mention.
Even if you thrive on the large packed banquet hall filled with glad-handing business folks; you may be disappointed to learn that you are less likely to make authentic significant connections than your counterpart who hangs out in a small cafe’ across the hall with a handful of like-minded folks just getting to know each other personally – as well as what we do in the world of commerce!
The short answer to the question “will it work for me” is “who knows?” You won’t know unless you try it. And you have little to lose for doing so. In fact, you are more likely to gain more than just a great connection. You may have the beginning of a great friendship that nets you (and your friend) an ongoing stream of qualified referrals leading to more business than you could ever hope for – or imagine!
So what’s next?
You have nothing to lose by giving the small intimate approach much of your attention. It doesn’t mean you give up Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or the other giant social media moguls. It does mean that you search out and find the smaller folks where you can be found; as well as find others seeking the same things you are.
It also means you consider some of the much smaller, more intimate face-to-face meetups similar to our own AWI COFFEE in the NEIGHBORHOOD (Indianapolis and Southport, Indiana for now!). Designed to be small (really small I might add), intimate and specifically for Christian women in business. Look in your home area for something similar and give it a try. As I said, you have nothing to lose.
And you just might find an authentic connection that leads to a great personal friendship that leads to business one way – or the other!
NEXT WEEK: Finding “small and intimate” online in a ‘niche’ built just for Christian women looking for a safe place to connect, interact, learn and grow. In others words. . . looking for success among those who share the same values, desires and destinies!
Linda S. Fitzgerald, M.S.Ed, CEO & Visionary Partner
A Women’s Place Network, Inc. dba
Affiliated Women International
Building a Community of Christian Business Women
You’ll find us at the following locations-Come Join Us!
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Image Credit: Career Addict