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Chamber to host ‘networking’ brown bag lunch


Raeus Cannon, CEO of Referral Exchange Organization LLC, will host a Brown Bag Lunch for Farragut West Knox Chamber of Commerce, Wednesday, Oct. 14.

The lunch seminar will focus on networking effectively.

“Networking is the number one reason people join a Chamber and the fact they haven’t done it is the number one reason they leave,” Cannon said.

“Chambers are kind of like gyms: you go, and you think, ‘I’m going to use all the weights and I’m going to lose weight and I’m going to do this religiously and be good,’ and you just never get there.

“We’re hoping to capture a few folks who signed up for the Chamber thinking they would go to the networking events and kind of have never come,” she added.

Topics at the networking seminar include which networking events to attend, when you should attend and what to do once you’re there.


The topics especially will target introverted and shy networkers.

“Because I think that’s the big reason why people don’t come. They’re like, ‘I have to walk into a room with 50 people I have never met before,’” Cannon said.

“It’s very intimidating. No one likes to do that. It’s one of the big excuses people use not to go,” she added.

Cannon said she understands just how those shy networkers feel.

“I started networking for business … in 1997. And I was just terrified, to the point of tears terrified.

“But I kept doing it because I loved my business. After years of forcing myself to go … I got a reputation somehow, people call me the ‘Networking Queen,’” Cannon said with a laugh.

“I was very shocked by that, and I realized looking back, that I had learned some skills and felt comfortable in a place that, two years prior, I didn’t,” she added.

Following that success, Cannon founded REO.

“There was a need for a networking and referral organization that was more relationship-based than transaction-based,” Cannon said.

“We focus more on the relationships than the referrals … we know the referrals will come if we build good, solid, strong relationships with people who trust you,” she added.

REO is now operating throughout Tennessee, with business-to-business, business-to-consumer and women-targeted teams.

“We’re expanding quite a bit,” Cannon said, adding she hoped to be “well-seeded” in at least three states in the next few years.

The Brown Bag Lunch will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 14, at New Country Inn and Suites at Cedar Bluff, 9137 Cross Park Drive.

Lunch is free and open to Chamber members; bring a brown bag lunch.

For more information, call the Chamber at 865-675-7057 or visit www.farragutchamber.org

 

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