What is Shameless Promotion and Muffins?
Business networking in Port St. Lucie
Shameless Promotion and Muffins is a business networking group that meets every week, although members can simply attend when they are able to. (There is no mandatory attendance policy.) Everyone is welcome to participate, introduce themselves, and promote their businesses. There are no membership dues to be paid. There is a meeting fee of $5, although first-time attendees are free.
For anyone looking for a way to make connections and promote their business in the Treasure Coast area, Shameless Promotion and Muffins offers an easy opportunity.
How it Started
Shameless Promotion and Muffins was started in 2018 by Barry Abraham and Mark Kovalsky. Having been involved in the Treasure Coast and Palm Beach networking communities for several years, Barry and Mark wanted to introduce a new format for how networking groups could function. Rather than focusing on rules and restrictions, they wanted to allow freedom and flexibility. After all, relationships are what matters most in business. Fostering an environment that is warm, welcoming, and fun helps people let their guards down and connect in a more meaningful way.
Where the Name Came From
From their previous experiences with business networking, Mark and Barry learned that “commercial time” was a key feature for all attendees — i.e., people were always excited to promote their own wonderful products, services, and organizations. In a moment of humorous exaggeration, the words “Shameless Promotion” came up to be of possible use. Then, to create a nice rhythm, the words “and muffins” were added. If a new and more fun networking format was to be established, having a name that was different and funny would be a good start. So, “Shameless Promotion and Muffins” was born. As for the acronym being “S.P.A.M.”, that was by accident. It was months later when the acronym was noticed (to the delight of both founders). A couple of years later, a clever man named Oliver Brown coined the term “Spamily” to reflect the warm vibes and good relations between members.
Goals of the Group
What are the goals of SPAM? In the spirit of fun, the founders like to say that there are two solemn goals:
- To make networking meetings fun
- To make fun of networking meetings
But on a more serious note, the goal of SPAM is to host in-person events that foster good fun, good relationships, and good business. The founders believe (and have seen the proof) that if you start with good fun, good relationships and good business follows.
Accolades and Achievements
In March of 2020, Mayor Gregory Oravec of Port Saint Lucie presented the SPAM founders with a certificate from the Port St. Lucie City Council to commemorate the milestone of having one hundred consecutive networking meetings on one hundred consecutive Wednesdays. The certificate was presented at a special dinner and celebration among SPAM group members.
Since its founding in April of 2018, the group has never missed having a Wednesday meeting. Keeping that streak going has required that meetings be scheduled on Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and other holidays. But as Mark and Barry like to say, “The Shamelessness must go on!” Shameless Promotion and Muffins likes to be known as the most consistent business networking group in Southern Florida. (Beginning with the Covid-19 lockdown in March of 2020, meetings were held on Zoom for about 15 months.)
Format and Approach to Networking
The meetings are one hour in length. After a short introduction, they begin with every attendee having the opportunity to do a 45-second spoken commercial to the group. This is the time to mention the great products or services a business offers or anything else an attendee would like to share.
After the commercial round, the $5 meeting fee is collected (first-time attendees are free) while one of the hosts moderates testimonials. If an attendee would like to recommend another business in the group or share a positive experience they had with them, this is the time for that.
Next, attendees have the opportunity to share information about other events, including other networking events and networking tips. This round is always productive and interesting. Networkers tend to like hearing of other good places to network and tips for doing so more effectively.
Finally, the meetings usually end with an eight-minute presentation given by one of the attendees. Presentations can be scheduled in advance at the request of a member so that they can have more time to inform, educate, and promote their business.
Occasionally there are other features before the meeting concludes, such as a prize raffle or the presentation of the SPAM Awards (see below).
People who frequent more regulated networking groups (such as B.N.I.) might wonder if an open and inclusive group can be as productive. The answer is a resounding “Yes”! In fact, many SPAM members have stated that SPAM meetings have been the best networking events they’ve ever attended for getting new business. There are countless referrals being exchanged every week. The amazing results for business can be attributed to the relationship-building that happens at the meetings. Smiles + laughter + kindness (along with some Shameless promotion) is an excellent formula for success.
The SPAM Awards (a.k.a., Spammy’s)
One of the most fun features of SPAM meetings – occurring at the last meeting of every month – is the SPAM awards. In this segment, Greg Hollen awards three networkers with trophies to acknowledge the admirable ways they promote and represent their businesses at SPAM meetings. He alone is the judge and has complete discretion on who the winners will be. The results are sometimes surprising but always entertaining.
What Makes SPAM Different
Shameless Promotion and Muffins is similar to other networking groups in several ways, but it has a much more enjoyable atmosphere than many others. The funny name, the easy format, and the friendly tone all contribute to creating a positive vibe for building relationships. It’s also very open and accessible. There are no mandatory meetings, no application processes, and no membership dues.
Although the group has a set format and some established customs, there is only one thing that could be called a “rule”. That rule is that no political campaign representatives are allowed to participate. Candidates themselves are allowed, but not representatives of candidates. This is to keep issues of divisiveness outside of the meetings so that a positive tone can be maintained. The official rule is stated as follows:
Because our meetings are intended to foster good times, good relationships, and good business, politics is kept out of the mix. The VERBAL promotion of political opinions, policies, and candidates is not allowed UNLESS done by an actual candidate running for office. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation. Thank you.
Connecting with SPAM Online
The website address for Shameless Promotion and Muffins is https://www.shamelesspromotion.biz/. That’s the best place to learn more about the group, the meetings schedule, and other current happenings.
There is also a Facebook Group called Shameless Promotion and Muffins. The Facebook group is a great place to post promotions for businesses, recommendations for other businesses, helpful tips, and more. Be sure to read and engage with the posts of others. More interaction leads to better networking and better relationships.
Also, there is a Facebook Page:
There is also a page on MeetUp.
For Port St. Lucie: https://www.meetup.com/Shameless-Promotion-and-Muffins/
How to Join the “Spamily”
Joining up with Shameless Promotion and Muffins is easy. Simply show up to one of the meetings. (See the schedule on the website.) Everyone is welcome to attend at no charge for their first meeting. After that, members can simply attend when they want, paying only the $5 meeting fee each time. As stated above, there are no membership dues or applications.