on socializing with strangers

“People think a spa is an indulgence,
but it really is about wellness.
You  need to take care of yourself.” 
~ Asha Spa Manager 

Tuesday I attended the monthly Spa & Cupcakes at Asha Spa in the Felix Hotel. I’d never been in this corner of the loop before, and enjoyed the quirky statues greeting me.

photo copyright Maike's Marvels

I had to take a break from the Women’s Innovation Network events in May due to my project schedule, so it was nice to see everyone again, and also meet new people in quite an intimate setting. Designed for relaxation, the small room forced us to literally rub elbows as we navigated mingling, getting treatments, and savoring cupcakes.

“How to network in a room full of strangers” was the topic du jour for Valerie Beck. Her tips include:

  1. Go to give, not to get. By taking the focus off yourself, and thinking of how you can help others, your nerves will settle too.
  2. Survey the scene calmly. Take a deep breath and say: “let me meet the people I need to meet.” This will help you calm down.
  3. Reach out: Walk up to the people you’d like to meet, particularly the ones who seem to be having fun.
  4. Smile. Survey the people and align yourself with the cheerful types.
  5. The fortune is in the follow-up (not just financially but also from a relationship perspective). Ask for a business card or handwrite contact information, so you can keep in touch with those you met and continue to build the relationship.

photo copyright Maike's Marvels

We enjoyed putting these new tips into practice right then and there. Meanwhile, Asha Spa provided hand-massages, body balancing, mini-makeovers and eyebrow design. Asha has “a collection of spas” throughout Chicagoland, including the suburbs.

Swirlz provided the yummy cupcakes, made with a special Italian buttercream recipe. In six years, Swirlz has created 600 flavors. You might want to take a cupcake tour to learn more about them!

WIN is celebrating its one-year anniversary this month, and will host an anniversary luncheon on June 19. We’ll have good food, a recap video of the past year, select vendors, and an award ceremony.

Erica Thomas also gave a lovely overview of the upcoming WIN summer retreat in Geneva, which I look forward to attending even more with her catchy enthusiasm. Maybe we’ll be greeted by a nice valet there too.

ADDENDUM: As of March 10, 2013, I no longer support the WIN Board and its actions. However, I do support small business, women-owned businesses, and the gracious hosts of past WIN events.

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