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Raise a glass, gain a Client?

By Melissa Willett
Staff writer

Adam Johnson knows how to network. And better yet, he’s experienced the payoffs of mingling. So it’s no wonder he continues to go out for drinks once a month with other business-minded people.

According to a study released this month, Johnson should be earning more money than his colleagues who don’t drink.

The study, published by the Journal of Labor Research and Reason Foundation, says drinkers earn 10 to 14 percent more money than nondrinkers. And men who drink socially, visiting a bar once a month, tend to bring home about 7 percent more than those who don’t go at all. For women it made no difference.

“It doesn’t surprise me,” Johnson said. “That’s probably accurate because it’s probably increased our business that much.”

Johnson is one of three designers who own ARC Design in downtown Fayetteville. Since joining the Cumberland County Business Council and attending its after-hours functions, the Web site design company’s client list has increased from nil to 80.

The CCBC co-sponsors the events with member businesses for networking purposes. Usually, beer and wine is served with some finger foods.

More than 16,000 people have attended the after-hours events, which range from coffee clubs to botanical garden themed events.

The events are open to all members of the CCBC, not just the main representative, and are usually hosted at the co-sponsors’ businesses.

“If a company has 50 people, then all 50 people can come,” said Kristie Lozano, vice president of communications for the CCBC. “It’s one of the perks we offer.”

The study said that social drinking builds social capital, meaning more numbers in the Rolodex. And by having those numbers, you’re more likely to know someone who can get you what you need.

While Johnson attends the Fayetteville events, he also frequents the same business council events in Raleigh once a month. His Web site design isn’t limited to Cumberland County. He says his options are endless.

“There’s business opportunities there,” Johnson said. “That’s where I’m going to catch business decision makers. It’s tough to catch them during business hours. It’s more one on one time.”

He knows his night’s been a success when he has a couple of business cards in his pocket and he has met someone new. And if it’s been an especially good night, he’s made an appointment with a potential client.

“Business is all about relationships,” Johnson said.

He says he’s outgoing, and admits it might be tough for a shy person. But there is hope.

 “The chamber has ambassadors,” Johnson said. “It’s usually a business person who knows a lot of people. They will take you around and introduce you. They did that with us at first.”


Networking is a vital part of business, but should be done in the proper way, says etiquette expert Cindy Grosso. Grosso is the owner and founder of the Charleston School of Protocol and Etiquette in Charleston, S.C.


“Networking is social interaction on a business level,” Grosso said. “In business you should have no more than two drinks.”


Drinking is not essential to be successful at networking. If you’re uncomfortable with alcohol, then carry a mocktail, she said. And if you’re drinking beer like Johnson, make sure it’s in a glass and carried in the left hand. It’s important to keep the right one free for shaking hands.


“You don’t want to have a wet, cold hand,” Grosso said, adding that it makes the person you’re meeting lose focus.


“I teach people to have an agenda,” she said. “Have a goal. Meet five people, then go over to the food and drinks.”

After all, you’re there to meet new people. And those who are good at it, are usually successful in their business. And Johnson has learned that.


“I’ve lived on the concept of it’s all in who you know,” Johnson said. “Once you meet clients you need to know, they’ll introduce you to others like them.”


Staff writer Melissa Willett can be reached at or 486-3574.



Author: Melissa Willett

Source: Fayetteville Observer

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