By Jill McCubbin

The global economy is changing at break-neck speed, causing CEOs and their management teams to look for new ways to build business to keep their companies healthy. Networking for business opportunities and promoting your company at every opportunity is back – bigger than ever!

Michael Wakim, the founder and CEO of Fidus Systems, an Ottawa-based electronic product development company writes about networkers' "sincere desire to meet new people (potential customers, suppliers and business partners)." Wakim gives some excellent tips on networking in the Ottawa Business Journal and also points to a great networking-enabler-organization located in Ottawa, Ontario: Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation (OCRI). Wakim’s most valuable tips include:

• Give some thought to where you’re networking and who your “target audience” is
• Prepare yourself mentally and remember: with practice you’ll improve – a lot
• If possible display your product as well as present your service
• Unlike when you’re on the phone, at an event you have a potential client’s undivided, in-person attention and that’s a rare thing
• Be enthusiastic and friendly and even subtle as a networker because networking is an art form – don’t be an in-your-face salesperson

OCRI hosts monthly technology executive events with some interesting speakers who are often well-known names in the technology community. Nathan Rudyk, our CEO and networking-for-business expert, has participated in OCRI initiatives and networking opportunities for over 15 years and has worked closely with every OCRI President since its founder, Michael Caughey, who remains a very close friend.

Since 2005, Nathan has produced and co-hosted the OCRIRadio.com tech business podcast with OCRI’s current President and CEO, Jeffrey Dale. On the podcast, Nathan and Jeffrey speak with many of the minds that drive the global and highly competitive technology industry, including Crossing the Chasm author, Geoffrey Moore; Cisco Systems Inc.’s CEO John Chambers; Microsoft Corp.'s chief, Steve Ballmer and University of Toronto Professor and economic cluster expert David Wolfe.

For the November 2008 OCRIRadio.com podcast, Nathan interviewed CEOs from QuadraSolar Corp, Spartan Bioscience Inc., Triacta Power Technologies Inc., and WideEyes Inc., while they attended and networked at the Ottawa Technology Venture Summit (OTVS), in October. There, market2world flew its banners at our OTVS podcast interview booth – following Mike Wakim’s advice to display your service in action. We offer podcasting services to several of our clients as part of our PR and product launch offerings. And the event – populated by both start-up and later-stage companies as well as angel and VC investors is a heartland for new clients. (Click here to download an mp3 file pf Nathan’s OTVS podcast interviews with Purple Angel Irving Ebert and Great Northern Capital’s Bernie Zeisig.)

Member-based economic development corporations and organizations – like OCRI’s and others – are found in every major city in North America. In Ontario alone, business people can hook-up with organizations such as the Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance, Waterloo Region’s TechnologyTriangle, the London Economic Development Corp. or the Niagara Economic Development Corp. to name a few. Also, the newly launched Ontario Technology Corridor (branded and launched by market2world just last month) can steer networking CEOs to all of the above organizations from one site (and offers interesting Ontario tech business success stories, blogs and videos).

market2world’s work with the Ontario Technology Corridor is the direct result of our OCRI networking. And with a market2world PR campaign, the Ontario Technology Corridor’s trade mission to the UK was featured in seven publications, including IT in Canada and the UK’s Business Weekly. Canadian delegates were also interviewed on two CFRA/CHUM Ottawa programs (Ottawa’s business radio station) – all during the week of the event.

Other business networking events in which market2world has participated include an awards event at the International Development Research Center (IDRC) Canada and the Red Herring Canada 08 conference. Nathan has presented at a variety of venues, such as the University of Ottawa, speaking about “21st century marketing techniques for service-based organizations” and the 2008 Forum for International Trade Training (FITT) Conference, where his speech topic was “Your Brand Is Whatever Google Says It Is: Why Web 2.0 Marketing Matters Right Now.”

In response to the current business climate and because we know that networking leads to business-building, every market2world team member takes time out of the office to meet new clients and business partners. My newest networking channel is the Ottawa, Ontario, chapter of the Canadian Marketing Association (CMA). CMA has a monthly networking seminar and there I’ve introduced myself to many new faces and struck up some interesting business-building conversations.

So, crank up that networking. And when your networking efforts turn into sales successes that you need to promote to attract still more business, market2world is here to build your PR and marketing efforts to the next level.

(Jill McCubbin is a conversation architect with market2world communications inc., Ottawa, Canada's tech PR and product marketing agency.)

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