The Network!Network! Round Table &
Around the Horn
The Network!Network! round-table is divided into 3 segments: Segment one is a twice-around-the-room series of presentations about the participants’ businesses – what they do, who an ideal client might be, who a good lead source would be and like that. Everyone gets 4 minutes. Then we do a 30-45 minute segment called “Around the Horn”. It is loosely patterned on EO’s Gestalt Protocol. At EO one member brings up a business problem and the group seeks to help him/her with the solution, not by giving advice but by recounting an analogous experience. EO conducts a special 4 hour meeting with one person designated to bring the problem to the group and a coach to help him/her present the problem in a compelling manner. We are a bit less formal. The first one to raise a hand gets to present a problem. And finally, we do some thank-yous in the last 5 minutes. The meetings start at 8:00 AM and end promptly at 10:00.
Around the Horn works on a number of levels and is always enjoyable. First, and foremost, somebody always gets her problem addressed. But, it also works on a number of other levels as well. For example: It works as a bonding exercise as everybody is sharing a personal experience. It also enables participants to see how other members think. And, it can be quite enlightening. Finally, and this happens more frequently than I would have imagined, many of the participants pick up bits and pieces of tactics and stratagems that alter the way they approach similar problems. And, I’ve seen it happen where someone will have presented his or her approach to a problem only to hear someone else present an approach that is diametrically opposed in either substance or style or both. And (you can smell the wood burning) the first presenter thinks, “Wow, this suits my style much better than the way I’ve historically approached the problem.”
While I control the meeting fairly tightly during the round-table to assure that everyone gets an equal shot, an equal time slice to present their product or service, I am a bit more flexible during this segment. Unless someone is dominating the discussion, I just let it flow, offering my own experiences along with everybody else.
Over the years we have had a number of compelling problems, many dealing with sales, but also with problems concerning (of course) Networking, Marketing, Process, Referral Fees and even Ethics. I am proud to add that the one ethical issue we had was brought to a virtually unanimous conclusion, one that the person with the problem agreed was likely to bring the best resolution and only served to confirm the approach he had seriously considered on his own.
In this space I will be publishing, over the next few months, some of the more compelling Around the Horn discussions under the premise that if one of the Network!Network! members has the courage to float out a business problem to the group, many others will benefit from the discussion as well.