Recently I was in Cleveland Ohio for speaking event at the Northern Ohio Human Resource Council. It was a quick trip. I flew in from Boston on Thursday morning, spoke on Friday and flew back to Boston Friday evening.

During my trips, I always want to be sure I am connecting with folks in town and build deeper more meaningful connections.

To do that effectively I built a software tool that allows me to locate my contacts within a reasonable range and then reach out to them to meetup up. (The software if free if you want to use it as well, www.zipitconnect.com)

During this trip, I was able to meet in person with two fantastic people.

Lisa Ryan – a fellow speaker, member of the National Speakers Association, and native of Cleveland and

Jennifer Garder –  a fellow podcaster, host of the Yes…And Podcast, and native of Columbus., Ohio

On my way from the event and to the airport on Friday I met with Jennifer. We met at a very cool local brewery that served great sandwiches. Jennifer drove almost 2 hours to meet with me. I was very honored that she would do that.

Lesson One:
When someone drives over an hour to meet with you…recognize the value that they are putting into this specific relationship!

Jennifer and I had a few hours to chat and network. I explained to her during our conversation that I was checking my phone to be sure I wouldn’t have any changes in my flight. Sure enough, the flight was delayed and delayed again, and yet delayed one more time. While normally that is frustrating, it afforded Jennifer and I a few more hours to chat and dig deeper on our lives.  It was incredibly valuable for both of us.

As time wrapped up, we got our bill, chose to split it down the middle even, and put our credit cards on the table.  We completed our bills, said our goodbyes and headed our separate ways.

It was a great trip, a great event, a great speech on word of mouth referrals, and great conversations with two great people. I arrived home super late Friday night walking into my house just after Midnight. I awoke the next day at 3 am in order to catch my early morning flight out to Las Vegas.

As I checked into my hotel in Las Vegas, almost 24 hours after leaving Cleveland (and going home to Boston), I presented them with my ID and my credit card (standard practice) at which point I realized…that I had Jennifer’s credit card! 🙂

Now that’s how you know you are connecting and networking the right way!  You take home someone else’s credit card!

Turns out, when we decided to split the check the day before, we both put down our credit cards and never realized that we both carry the exact same business card from Chase, the Chase Ink Business card. They both looked exactly the same!

I called Jennifer from my Las Vegas Hotel to let her know that we ended up swapping cards inadvertently.  We both had a great laugh at this and we both agreed it was quite funny.

If your conversations in networking are going so well, that you miss the details like who’s credit card is whos then I think you are doing it all RIGHT!!!!  🙂

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