Thursday, October 29, 2009

New member orientations

This morning we completed another of our New Member Orientations and I continue to be impressed at the caliber of businesses joining our Chamber and bringing their time, talent and expertise to help strengthen our local economy.

What takes place at a new member orientation?

We start by learning about facilitated networking, a key way that our Chamber increases the meaninful connections you'll make at our events. Just introducing yourself and your business is basic. We want to learn more about each other so that we build relationships, not just a pile of business cards.

Facilitated networking activities are often disguised as fun and games. You'll find common elements in the variety of facilitated networking activities we do. The goal is to convey information, learn something new about the other person that helps you remember who they are the next time you meet them. Facilitated networking activities help build relationships that are built on trust and mutual interests.

When I hear members laughing while they're doing a faciliated networking activity, I know we've done our job. When you laugh with another person, you bond.

Following the faciliated networking activity (which can take 15-20 minutes) Teri Robinson and I will go through some of the values your Chamber membership offers. Starting with a form that will help you write down your business and marketing goals, we take turns showcasing how to network in the Chamber, how to market, what promotional things are free, what are nominal cost. We take the mystery out of "Where do I begin?" and give you insider tips on what's coming up.

During the orientation we also hear from an Ambassador and a member of the Board of Directors. This morning we were honored to have Johnna Struck, Chamber President and Deb Gordinier, Chamber Ambassador join us in welcoming our new members.

If you missed your new member orientation, or joined prior to when we started offering these events you are still eligible to attend. Contact Teri Robinson at the Chamber office and find out when the next one will be held--and jump on in.

New member orientations are the best way to maximize your membership!

SEE MORE PHOTOS on the Chamber's Facebook Fan Page.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Podcasting from the Clarkston Union

This week the Chamber participated in some podcast recordings at the Clarkston Union with Voices of Detroit.

The idea and opportunity was brought to us by Jason T. Ryan, Vision Fuel Media, a member of the Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and winner of the 2009 President's Award.

Larry Henry, a longtime Detroit radio personality probably most familiar to listeners who follow WWJ sports, and Dave Benjamin co-founder of Voices of Detroit met with myself, Bob Thomas, Michigan Chamber of Commerce; Tim Flynn, Clarkston Legal; Tammy Ullyart, Four Seasons ChemDry and Erich Lines, Clarkston Union for a series of conversations which were recorded and are now podcasts.

Getting Over the Fear Factor

While many of us can be intimidated by a microphone, it helps to think of the colorful sponge covered microphones as friendly clown noses. They're just decorations. Seated at a table with Dave and Larry, we're just having a conversation. A conversation that's being recorded, but you soon forget about that.

What's a Podcast?
The simplest way to understand podcasting is to think of it as radio broadcasting for iPods.

What do you talk about? It's an interview. We provide Larry and Dave with brief bios and some bullet points of interesting facts, tips, knowledge we're comfortable talking about ahead of time. Larry and Dave take that information and create an interview that draws you out, gives you the opportunity to share your expertise and share your knowledge. The charm of Voices of Detroit, is their expertise in making you comfortable, as well as knowing the listener.

Still have some butterflies?
If you asked me to be entertaining, informative and articulate for 20 minutes, I'm pretty sure I'd have a conflicting appointment, need to take this call and . . . oh sorry . . . I'm supposed to be across town right now. How about you? Unless you have a performing career or background, it's kind of scary to think about being "on stage" "on camera" or "on microphone."

The podcast format, particularly with Voices of Detroit, made it comfortable, easy and . . . well . . . I have to be honest. . . . FUN!

We're going to do this again!

Clarkston Area Chamber will be working with Voices of Detroit again. We already have 2 members who've expressed interest in being in on the next taping.

So why should you think about participating in the podcasts?
What's in it for you?
People do business with people they know. People do business with the people they remember and think positively about. Do people remember your name? Are you in an industry where it's hard to differentiate yourself from your competition?

Being part of a Voices of Detroit podcast gets you on their website, you get links for your website, we do press releases and place links on the Chamber's website. Do you already see how YOUR name and business name is rising in a Google or Bing search?

What do you talk about?
Let's be clear. Nobody knows your business as well as you do. Surely there's some aspect of your business that you are passionate about. Talk about that. Talk about new trends. Help educate others about what you do. How do you explain what you do to your mom?

Trust me, there is a lot to talk about.
With over 13 years at the Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce I have learned that members love to talk about themselves, their jobs and their careers. And I've learned that it's very interesting to listen.

Your story is interesting. Your story makes you memorable.

Being memorable increases the opportunity to get the call when someone's ready to do business.

Your expertise is valuable. Your expertise positions you ahead of your competition--IF potential customers, clients and referral partners know about and recognize your expertise. Being published, being interviewed, having articles written about you, increases your visibility and recognition as an "expert".

So does, adding this information to your references, resume and creditials.

Watch for eBlast updates on the next podcasting event.
Members automatically receive eBlasts (if you have an email address on file with us).
Or sign up for eBlasts at

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A little bit about Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce

PURPOSE: To promote and enhance business opportunities in the Clarkston Area for our members.

Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1988 by 42 local business owners. Today, membership is over 550 . Most of Clarkston’s members are locally owned and operated businesses, service providers, retail, banks and health industry related.
The Clarkston Area is a charming hometown community with an historic downtown area.

The Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce is a vibrant resource for your business.
· An Average of 3 networking events monthly. Held at varying times, breakfast, lunch, afternoon or after hours, these events provide every business leader an opportunity to jump in and get connected.
· Signature community events like: Concerts in the Park and Taste of Clarkston provide opportunities to position your business prominently and positively in front of a loyal local community audience.
· Marketing opportunities—monthly mailing to 1000 area businesses and many free online opportunities for members to enhance their listing, add photos and logos to their listing.
· Your first link with social media. Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce utilizes
Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and a Chamber Blog with up to date information and links. Clarkston was the first Chamber in SE Michigan to utilize Twitter, including adding it to the Chamber’s dynamic website. And provides ongoing training and hands on sessions to teach you how to get the most out of social media for your business.
· Access to decision makers and elected officials. With guest speakers like L. Brooks Patterson, Congressman Mike Rogers and local elected officials, the Chamber keeps you in touch with the people making decisions that affect your business and community.

Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce
5856 S. Main St.
Clarkston, MI 48346
PH 248-625-8055
You can also find us on Facebook and LinkedIn: Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce

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