Networking is more about farming than it is about hunting.– Ivan Misner (Founder & CVO of BNI)
Networking is a term that we might have come across throughout our life but under different contexts. But when in Business, when you first enter the MBA classroom that’s where you get a completely different intention behind networking and its usefulness.
Though it sounds like a normal way of communicating and making friends, Networking is way different from it, starting from having deep value and goal behind it. Networking, as simple as it sounds for extroverts and as terrifying as it sounds for introverts when you step into the business arena, it is always believed that one can’t thrive without making valuable connections.
Personally, despite being paced down by introversion, I have been to conferences, volunteered and attended NGO events and visited fairs, for the sake of observing and meeting people. And from past experiences, I have made one or two valuable friendships too. But, I have never been to a Networking event, that is driven by its purpose in connecting people of skills & talents who have shared goals or purpose in making a new relationship that is capable of uplifting and adding value to one’s professional and personal life.
While getting close to the end of 2022, I was able to experience it during “The Underdog of Madras” event because of my friend Nithin Alexander who is also the founder of Xander Media(his new marketing venture) and The Underdog Community (a community for Entrepreneurs and Creators). I have been a silent observer of his growth and have heard about and rooted for his passion and seeing it coming alive was indeed a very proud moment.
Learn More About Why Networking Is Important In : Forbes & HRB
The Underdogs Of Madras: Experience
To be honest, a part of me wanted to attend the event and another part of me was a bit anxious so, I almost missed the chance to attendting the event. But thankfully, Nithin opened the registration portal again and I signed up for the event that happened on 26 Nov 2022 from evening 3:00 PM-8:00 PM and ended up getting a new experience.
When I entered the venue Villa 77 at Adyar after a 1hr travel through various modes of public transport, I was actually a bit freaking out as I didn’t know anyone except Nithin who I haven’t met for years. The situation was more like you are attending a wedding where you don’t know anyone but your only friend who is actually the bride. Very awkward at first and thought it would continue that way. Still, I realised it must be the same for many of the participants who came alone.
At first glance, with all the decorations, settings, and props, I could immediately get the impression that the event was planned well and really structured well with the help of event organiser “Melam Thalam“. I don’t know whether it’s intentional or not, even if someone is introverted, this event has been structured in a way that is capable of giving a platform for networking effectively.
At first, I approached one random friendly-looking person and conversed with her. Naturally, I was at ease. Starting from the icebreaking session among the 50 participants, and the guests’ introduction to the final networking sessions that enabled us to converse with each other even one on one, the networking session is favourable no matter what your intention to attend the event. One thing is that, during the guest session instead of breaking into two groups of guests and having participants Q&A session separately, it could have been done in one go. Other than that, it was absolutely fun.
Though I haven’t been able to interact with everyone, I was still able to get to know some of the change makers, listened to the stories of talented entrepreneurs in Chennai and even conversed with some wonderful people who I couldn’t have met anywhere else. I felt like this event added value to the course of the journey I am going through. And I am glad that despite being anxious I made it to the event and stuck till the end.
The Underdog of Madras: Takeaways
During this meet and greet event, not only did I get to notice the effort that necessarily went behind the event planning but also the execution. Since I am the kind of person who usually learns faster by putting myself in context, I could able observe a lot there. Apart from that, during the guests’ introduction and panel discussion, I learnt a lot and there are indeed valuable takeaways the session offered.
- Getting to know and listen to some of the young, influential and passionate entrepreneurs such as Vinusha MK (Founder of Four Season Pastry), Venu Srinivasan (CEO of Leo Coffee), Richie Richard &Aravind Suresh (Founders of Meen Satti), Shyam Prasad Rajasekaran (Founder of Veg Route), Sriram (Founder of Prime Fort), Vasanth Tamilselvan & Nisha Ramasamy (Founders of Ariro Toys & Winners of Shark Tank India), Sudarshan Babu (Founder of Jinglebid), Deepak Kumar (Founder of Scrollme, Habitate), Sudharsanan Ganapathy (Founder of The Social Company), Edwin J Robert (Founder/CEO of Ping Us), Somasundaram Mahesh (SDE – Disney+ Hotstar), Priyanka Chandramouli (Head of partnership – APAC @Freshworks) and Niranjana Krishnakumar (Founder of Cittaliving)
- This made me realise that even though I have seen most of these people in my LinkedIn feed, I have hardly tried to get to know them or their brand. To be honest, meeting these people gave me more intent to learn more about them, their business and their plans and curiosity to see how they are going to grow. And bam, that’s when I realised, how effectively they are branding themselves and their business by participating in this event.
- Moreover, it also proved how much I am lacking in terms of knowing people like these and researching these growing businesses and startups in Chennai and Tamil Nadu. Because when I spoke with other participants each of them were having someone on the panel as their inspiration. It indeed seeded me an interest to look up more entrepreneurs and be aware.
- As I am always interested towards stories, listening to the journey of the above-mentioned guest, their beginning, and the decisions that carried them to where they are at present felt nice. It did motivate me to some extent.
- Besides, I have got to speak with a few of the talented CEOs, budding entrepreneurs and creators from whom I was able to get more inspiring insights while exchanging my ideas and interests. This way it provided the utmost inspiration, satisfaction of learning and productivity. Finding people with shared interest is always a wonderful thing and definitely Networking session like this gives us these opportunities.
- At the end of the day, I was flooded with more ideas like who and how I can collaborate with in future.
- Lastly, it gave me a go-go tap on my shoulder to actively participate in events like this in future without doubt or fear.
The main reason for me to write this blog post is to bring awareness to all, but most importantly to my dearest introverted friends out there who are giving up on opportunities like these, and to give recognition to Nithin and his team who made this event happen. I am pretty sure it’s just the beginning and I hope there will be many such future events that will be organized by them without losing their purpose. If you are a creator, enabler and entrepreneur make sure to check out the Instagram page “The Underdog Marketers“.
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