Joining the chamber isn’t all about business. There are many incredible friendships that are created in the coming together for the economic betterment of the community. Don’t overlook the potential of deep, meaningful connections with your tribe at the chamber.
We’re all just looking for that spot we belong, aren’t we? Abraham Maslow thought our desire to belong was so important that he incorporated it into his hierarchy of needs as a major human motivation. Individuals will join groups because of perceived commonalities, look for similar ways of thinking, and motivations.
From a relationship standpoint, people often laud significant others by saying, “s/he gets me.” This sentiment is a source of happiness. Even the term “soulmate” springs from the story of one soul, being split in two. When you find your soulmate, you find your “other half.”
Finding Comradery at the Chamber
While there are probably a lot of other reasons why a business person joins the chamber—including networking, marketing assistance, advocacy, and volunteerism—comradery may be one of the hidden benefits. Where else can you find a group of people who are dedicated to the economic success of your community? Here are some of the reasons comradery should not be overlooked.
People Don’t Sit on the Front Porch Anymore
Do you know your neighbors? Most of us don’t. We’re all so busy. We pull into out garages or if we do park in the driveway, our heads are generally buried in our devices. We might acknowledge our neighbor with a half wave but few of us do much more. Porches and front stoops are no longer community congregation sites.
The chamber helps you make friends with people who have similar goals and challenges in business. You can find people in the same industry, complementary organizations, and those who can help you solve your problems. You can get to know them in a way that is hard to do elsewhere because you know you have a common desire, to improve your business.
It’s Hard to Make Friends as Adults
Ever notice how easy it is to make a friend as a child on a playground? Most young kids can spend long periods of time playing with strangers, introduce them to their mom as their new “friend,” and cry when it’s time to leave. All that connecting in such a short time. Adults, on the other hand, can know someone for years and still not consider them their “friend.”
It’s harder as you get older. Where do you meet people?
When you do meet them, say maybe a parent of one of your children’s friends, you quickly realize you have little out of that mutual relationship in common. Not so, with chamber membership. You probably know many of the same people, have the same professional challenges, and want the same things for your business and community. Those type of relationships, built on mutual interests and concerns, tend to last past the situational friendships you establish because you have kids the same age.
What Friends Can Do for Your Business
Networking is important to any business but the relationships where people go above and beyond, are friendships. You can make incredible connections through a chamber membership. You can participate in mastermind groups with people and attend events together. You can be made aware of employment openings before they’re posted because of who you know. Networking is important, but making friends means those relationships will last long past the networking event.
There are many reasons to join the chamber but the one that is most often overlooked is its ability to bring like-minded people together, people who are concerned with the business community and the success of your town. It’s nice to make friends while doing something as important as increasing economic development and opportunities in your area.
Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.
She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.