Jethro and I went to a business networking meeting yesterday. I have dreaded going to those things for two reasons. The first is that I hate speaking in public. I mean really hate it. I tend to get clammy and turn bright red and I can't think of a thing to say.
The second reason is that all my observations of business networking events have found them to be pretentious, humorless, brown-nosing affairs, the worst of which was run by a televangelist whose idiot, televangelist wife sang the Star-Spangled-Banner after tantalizing the crowd with a Christian pop medley.
This group was completely different. I actually enjoy it very much. They are laid-back, realistic, concise with their points, and have an actual sense of humor. No one snickers when the plumber gets up to speak, but the plumber isn't such a douche that he doesn't realize there is some humor associated with his profession.
There are probably a few more men than women in the group, but it isn't a good-old-boy network at all. Even the interior designer gets full attention when she's speaking, and if the men can't use her services, they acknowledge that their wives can.
I realize I'm speaking from the perspective of one who now owns a business that will be largely dependant on referrals, so there is the possibility that I'm being more open-minded. But I simply can't ignore the fact that at no time during these networking events has a woman in a backless, peach pants-suit ensemble sang "This Little Light of Mine." This has to be a good sign.