Anyone who knows me knows I love to talk about commercial construction trends and share the latest commercial construction news. Still, even I get a little nervous when it comes to networking events – especially if it’s an event I haven’t been to before.So as I entered the recent Construction Writers Association awards dinner (in San Antonio) to accept Hard Hat Chat’s award for 2011 best blog, I kept the following in mind:
Everyone wants to network, so don’t forget your business cards and don’t feel bad about giving them out like candy. We all want to meet people who will help us grow our business – whether that’s learning about new construction projects, successful commercial construction blogs or ways to reduce restaurant construction costs. At CWA, I learned about a great association called the Society for Marketing Professional Services that I think would be good for Englewood Construction.
Small talk can turn into big talk. When I was breaking the ice by asking people where they were from, I couldn’t believe how many people were from the Chicago area. I now have a rolodex full of new contacts from Chicago that I can easily meet in person for lunch, or have them tour our office as we discuss new projects or the latest Chicago construction news. And they now have me on their short list of Chicago commercial construction firms.
Look for an educational take-a-way. Surrounded by the best construction writers in the business, I knew I would get great ideas for an upcoming commercial construction blog or hear interesting commercial construction tips. I wasn’t wrong. The winning video from Bill Wilson at Roads & Bridges for the “Construction of the New San Francisco Bay Bridge” was inspiring. Why aren’t there more commercial construction blog videos discussing commercial building trends, answering commercial construction questions on green building retrofits or even showing the time lapse of a construction project from start to finish? All I can say is look for more Englewood Construction videos in 2012.
Go to the after-hours party. After the awards dinner, most of the CWA attendees decided to move the celebration from our conference room at the hotel to Howl at The Moon. It was a great opportunity for me to meet the other attendees that I wasn’t able to talk to at the dinner and congratulate fellow winners, such as Tudor Van Hampton, Chicago Bureau Chief of Engineering News Record. Tudor and I talked about 2012 commercial construction trends and I also found out about an upcoming story in ENR that would be perfect for Englewood Construction.
Don’t book the earliest flight the next day. That 5:30 a.m. wake up call was too early after Howl at the Moon.