Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Say “Thank You!”

Express appreciation when someone offers ideas, business leads, information, support or any of the other many wonderful things that are available when networking. When you are networking, and receive a business lead, stop! Relax. You got what you were after; a business lead. It’s time now to change your focus. Focus on saying “thank you!” Take a few minutes from your busy schedule and offer thanks!

When you say “Thank you” tell the person specifically what it is you appreciate and why you appreciate it. Jot them a quick ‘thank you’ the next day. “I don’t have time to do things like this!” If you are in sales to stay, you don’t have time not to! Only an amateur networker neglects to send a thank you note!

You may want to say it this way. “I appreciate the business referral you gave me at our networking luncheon yesterday. I am grateful for your confidence in me. I’ll let you know how it goes! Thank you!” Make it short and sweet! Remember to keep your word about letting them know how it goes. Follow-up!

Remember to offer thanks when a business lead doesn’t work out. Tell them you appreciate their thoughtfulness and confidence in you. If the business lead didn’t work out because the person wasn’t right for your product or service, look at this as an opportunity to continue the conversation with the person who gave you the referral about what you do and what kind of business leads you are looking for. Be specific. Make sure your friends know precisely what kind of business leads would be most useful to you.

The necessity of sending out thank you notes is something most of us understand, but few of us are very good at. One of my favorite things to do is to offer thanks to someone when they least expect it!

Buy a special card; not your typical pre-printed company business ‘thank you’ card, and in your own handwriting, write them a note they won’t soon forget. Sometimes the sentiments found within pre-printed cards just do not say it right and are perceived to be canned or something you send to everyone. The traditional way of a hand-written note is always impressive. It give your “thank you” a personal touch. Make yours special. Perhaps a “thank you” in another language might be appropriate.

ThankYou

Personal thank you notes must be handwritten! The address on the outside of the envelope should also be handwritten. This includes the return address. Choose your thank you words carefully. Don’t get wordy! Brief is better!

Always write your thank you notes with a high quality fountain pen. There is ink and there is ink. The ink from a fountain pen is special. It commands attention! It will add a touch of class to your correspondence. Anyone can grab a ball point or felt tip pen and write a note. Writing with a fountain pen says that you value the time honored tradition of taking a little extra time to make your correspondence special. It is an impressive way to communicate.

Instead of using the postage meter, stock a colorful supply of stamps. Since I speak on the subject of relationships, I always have a supply of “Love” stamps available. This all demonstrates your attention to detail. They will know you had to have shifted into ‘extra effort’ to accomplish this and will appreciate your note even more.

A sincere thank you to a receptionist or a secretary can make or break a sales appointment! Many of them are trained to screen out people the boss doesn’t want to see. Also make it a priority to know and remember their name. Make a note of it. A person remembered will remember you.

You can say thank you in many different ways. We speak “thank you’s!” We write “thanks you’s!” We have “thank you’s!” delivered. The third party “thank you” is one of the most effective. That’s when you express your gratitude to someone who you know will mention it to the person to whom you are grateful.

Have a gift basket service create a special, customized basket for one of your friends or customers and have it delivered to their office for all to see. Not only will they be the center of attention when it arrives, so will you! Everyone will want to know who sent it and why! Include a brief handwritten thank you note!

Place an unexpected phone call just to say “Thank you.” Connecting verbally adds warmth to your appreciation even if you reach voice-mail.

People like being appreciated, and if they feel you actually notice the nice things they do for you, they’re more likely to give an encore performance.

Say something nice about the recipient of your thanks to someone else when the person you appreciate can overhear you. Don’t make it too obvious. This is especially powerful at a networking event.

Saying thank you for a business lead does not have to be a note. An invitation to lunch, dinner or coffee is always an option.

While there are certainly situations when you will want to keep the referral between you and your client, sometimes going public is a good option. Tweet about the referral, add the client to a page on your Website, send a message out to your e-mail list, or offer a reciprocal link on your Website. This not only increases the visibility of your client, but shows other clients how much you appreciate referrals.

Express appreciation. Acknowledge others for their contribution to you. Be creative with your gratitude!

Always remember to offer a sincere “thank you.” It goes a long way. However you decide to thank your friends for their referrals, make sure you do it right away. Be prompt! After three days you are tardy. If you do get behind, the three day rule doesn’t mean you should forget it. Send it anyway with no apology and without calling attention to your lateness.

Never let a “thank you” get lost in the shuffle of everyday business! Too busy to stop and say “Thank you!” or write a thank you note is too busy!

Be thankful! The key to receptivity is gratitude. To receive more, be thankful for what you have! Give thanks for everything in your life. Express your gratitude! Stop worrying about what you don’t have and be thankful for what you do have!

Remember, “Thank you!” is a gift to the giver! It allows the giver to see the value in what was given and encourages future generosity.

As my Momma always used to say, “Remember to say, ‘Thank you!’ Larry!”

Post a “Thank You” message for the world to see.A World of Thanks” was inspired by, and pays tribute to everyone who understands the importance of recognizing and celebrating those who are taking positive action to make the world a better place. No matter who you are or where you live, it is free for anyone to include their message of gratitude on this thank you card. In sharing these messages, we not only inspire others to take action, but we provide them with a wide range of ideas and information to help them create their own positive change in the world.

netHQCopyright © 2009 – Larry James. Adapted from the book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. Visit Larry’s “Networking HQ” Website; articles, tips, networking books and more!

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: Larry James, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com

Add Larry James to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com

NOTE: All articles and networking tips listed in this BLOG are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

On Being Memorable…

Filed under: Networking,Networking Article — Larry James @ 11:00 am
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I don’t know about you but some of us have to work on being unforgettable. Networking can be a terrific experience if you do your best to make the occasion memorable – not for you but for others. How will they remember you? What do you do differently than anyone else that will make the experience memorable? Here are a few ideas.

Be fully present. Be attentive. This is the perfect present. Be present to it.

Be fully engaged and totally aware of the people you network with. Never be “half there.” Always be fully there and fully aware. Boring people are rarely ever remembered for their good qualities.

Demonstrate a genuine interest in others. Show sincere passion and enthusiasm for what they are saying. Establish rapport. Factors that influence this initial impact are your handshake, facial expressions, eye contact, interest in the other person and your overall attentiveness.

When you meet someone new, listen carefully to their name. If you didn’t hear them or understand exactly what they say, ask them to repeat it. Use their name as you talk with them. It will help you to remember it. Name tags help if you wear the name tag on the right side so that your eye will easily travel to it as you make the initial handshake. If they hand you a business card, study it to help implant the name in your memory.

Don’t wait for the conversation to begin – start it. When someone asks how you are doing, don’t parrot back your usual response. Think of something positive, unique, and/or funny that you are doing, and give them a one line summary. Be a “Mr. (or Ms.) Feelgood!” No humdrum behavior allowed. You should be bringing smiles to people’s faces, not unloading your baggage or stress.

If you can’t seem to come up with something to say when you meet someone new, ask them questions about themselves. I promise you that is their favorite subject. Come up with something interesting to say about yourself. In your most creative way, tell them what you do for people, how you help, the problems you solve.

handshakes

Differentiate yourself. Come up with something that makes you stand out from the crowd. When saying your name, consider using alliteration or rhyme. I often will introduce myself as, “Larry James, the guy with two first names.”

Focus on developing close personal and business relationships. Suspend the temptation to ask for leads in favor of starting an interesting conversation that can lead to a more meaningful relationship. “In your face” salespeople are never good networkers. Yes, I said, “NEVER!” That kind of behavior turns people off. They are the ones who give networking a bad name.

Be vulnerable. Show a little of your emotional side. There is nothing wrong with being the networker that they remember because you were fun to be around. Talk about your family or an especially close friend. A person’s impression of you as a human being is what will stick with them in the long run.

Be a giver! People are obsessed with knowledge. Offer some brain candy; thoughts, ideas, observations, insights, commentary, suggestions and tips about business networking that will contribute to the relationships of others. Inspire people. Plant seeds of good. Offer encouragement. Give sincere compliments. Givers gain. Give selflessly regardless of what’s in it for you. People remember someone who offers assistance without the need to receive anything in return. Provide honest feedback. Helping others is the cornerstone of effective networking.

memorablenetSay to others, “Tell me about your networking activities and the types of people you usually help.” Talk about what small steps you both could take to move the relationship forward or help each other in some way. Ask good questions. Give interesting answers.

Collaboration works! Collaborate with others in your network about creative promotional ideas.

Albert Einstein once said, “A successful man is he who receives a great deal from his fellow men, usually incomparably more than corresponds to his service to them. The value of a man [or woman], however, should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive.”

Make eye contact. Never be preoccupied with getting to the next person by glancing over the shoulder of the person you are talking with. That’s called, “rude!”

Listen well and respond promptly. Pay attention. When you are truly present in the moment, those things pretty much happen naturally.

Be visible. Don’t blend in with the crowd. The more visible you can be on their radar, the more likely they are to call on your services when they need help. Dress smartly. You must make a good impression to be remembered. Make it distinctive and memorable – but make sure it feels right for you. Be well groomed. Look sharp!

If you make a promise to followup, keep it. Deliver on your promise in a way that provides them the value they expect. Assuming you’re good at that, once word of mouth kicks in you’ll be on your way to achieving your networking goals. The last thing anyone wants is empty promises or pointless next steps. Keep your word. Be known for the integrity you represent in your business.

peopleBeing fully engaged helps you stand out. Create the buzz that people will talk about.

Let others see that you are someone who “walks their talk.”

Be yourself. Be real or go home. Never try to be someone you are not. Learn to be comfortable with yourself.

Rob Steen has been quoted as saying that memorableness is about impact and resonance: contemporary memory and the ripples that pass that memory on.

There is an art to being memorable. Practice, practice, practice. Networking is one of the most profitable activities in which you can engage. You get more proficient at it with practice. Just like any skill, being memorable in networking needs to be learned, practiced and improved on a regular basis. You may have heard, “Practice makes you perfect.” This not true. Practice makes you better than you were.

Break out of your comfort zone and do something a little different than everyone else and you will be amazed at what can happen. You will find that others in your network will begin to gravitate to you on a regular basis.

Networking works! It produces results. If it didn’t work, have you ever wondered why there are so many networking events? Unfortunately, many business professionals treat networking much like the other areas of their business, they wing it. That doesn’t work. Often there is no set plan, execution or follow through to get the best and most predictable results. Networking is it’s own self-development course – if you let it. Networking and career advancement go hand-in-hand.

Networking is also about making an impression on others. Staying visible and memorable is the key to turning ideal prospects into paying customers or clients. Create ways of being unforgettable. Make that connection with people so that they will remember you.

The most influential networker is someone you know and trust. Great relationships are based on trust. Are your actions, products, and services enhancing trust?

To sum it up here is a quote from Maxine Hurt: “Because people remember experiences far more clearly than they remember details, it’s the combination of your appearance, your words, your actions, and your spirit that will make you memorable. If you’ve left someone thinking, ‘Wow, I like being around that person,’ then your job is done.”

netHQ

Copyright © 2009 – Larry James. Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Visit Larry’s “Networking HQ” Website; articles, tips, networking books and more!

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: Larry James, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com

Add Larry James to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com

NOTE: All articles and networking tips listed in this BLOG are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Become a “Resource Hub!”

If someone in your network wants to make a connection, are you the one they will call?

I believe that a big part of networking is helping others make the right connections to the people you know and the people they need to know. Are you that person?

Do whatever you can to become known as a powerful resource and support for others. Be a resource hub. It will open doors for you and assist others in the process.

Think of a hub as a bicycle wheel hub that connects the spokes and sustain the physical integrity of the entire wheel; it’s the center of activity or focal point. It’s the same in networking.

Being a resource makes you more valuable to your prospective and existing clients and to their network of contacts and other resources.

Some of the most active networkers I know are becoming increasingly savvy about “being in service to others” without being obvious that they are expecting anything in return.

Being a “hub” denotes the utmost in practical utility and places the solo networker in the effective company of people who are looking for people who can help them.

How do you do that?

You may need to retrain yourself or seek out a mentor who already does what you want to do. Become someone who works to join individuals or groups together, acting like interpersonal glue, to get them to communicate, interact and ultimately do business together.

(“Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one with Larry James!)

Another way is to always remember to ask, “How may I help you?” Make notes if you must, but work to help them find whomever they need. When you are known as a powerful resource others in your network will turn to you for business contacts, ideas, tips, leads and much more.

Develop a knack for making friends and acquaintances, especially those who occupy slots in various worlds and niches and are themselves endowed with a special gift for bringing people and ideas together.

Be visible and accessible. Brainstorm with others. Be a “connector.” Networking means making connections with and for other people. It’s the most important thing you can do to achieve professional success.

Actively introduce your favorite contacts to others. Build rapport by contacting people when you don’t need anything. Eventually you will develop an intuitive grasp of teaching others to become resource hubs as well. By becoming a good listener you will learn to diagnose their needs, and intervene with your creative ideas when necessary. You will become know as a problem solver and excellent resource.

I don’t think anyone would doubt that giving a needy prospect or friend the name of a reliable and reasonable plumber, Realtor, CPA, etc., would create the kind of goodwill that subsequently might steer the recipient’s business or referrals to you. Adapt your existing personal preferences for reputable business contacts and pass them on. This will help you to achieve the goal of becoming a valuable resource hub.

Become known as a powerful resource for others. When you are known as an excellent resource, people will remember to turn to you for suggestions, ideas, names of other people, etc. This keeps you visible and memorable to them.

Always remain professional and ethical. Only refer to others those with whom you have done business or you know has the level of integrity that defines you. Your reputation ultimately depends on it.

netHQ

Copyright © 2009 – Larry James. Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Visit Larry’s “Networking HQ” Website; articles, tips, networking books and more!

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: Larry James, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com

Add Larry James to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com

NOTE: All articles and networking tips listed in this BLOG are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Don’t Be a Wallflower!

Filed under: Networking,Networking Tip — Larry James @ 11:00 am
Tags: , ,

I once invited a women banker to one of my networking groups. When she found out that she might have to stand up and tell everyone her name and a little about her business. . . she freaked out and almost decided on the spot not to come. With a few helpful tips, I helped her construct her “30-second connection” and she eventually she became more comfortable speaking about her business and letting everyone know what kind of business leads she would like to have.

Many people are not natural networkers. They become wallflowers. They stand to the side or chow down at the snack table and hope they won’t have to talk to anyone. You cannot stand and simply watch the action and expect any good to come from it. You have to get in the game.

If you are an introvert you better snap out of it. Wallflowers and introverts usually drop out of networking groups and blame everyone else for their failure. When you are networking it’s no time to be shy.

To be a successful networker, you need to be seen at networking events shaking hands, introducing yourself to anyone who will listen, handing out business cards (if it’s someone you want to include in your circle of friends) and generally being friendly and introducing your friends to other networkers.

Maybe networking seems fake to you, or you think it means using people to get ahead. Believe me, it isn’t. Perhaps it would be wise for you to know what is expected of you. Networking is not a time to peddle your wares. It’s not about selling your services to other members although it does work that way sometimes.

Networking is about using your creative talents to help others achieve their goals as you cultivate a network of people strategically positioned to support you in your goals. That’s it!

Networking doesn’t have to be a cold, corporate activity. Good networking etiquette supports you in simply being yourself and being a good friend to everyone you meet.

Inquire about how others are doing. Take a sincere interest in their life, their work and their concerns. These kind of friends are much more likely to refer business to you if you are their friend first and business associate second.

If a friendship doesn’t seem to be developing naturally, silently shout, “Next” and move on to someone else. Don’t be a wallflower.

Stay connected. Occasionally drop by their place of business for a visit, not to try to sell them on your services but to ask how you can help them with their business. Most will reciprocate and ask you how they can help you. A large part of networking is simply keeping people informed about what you’re up to in life. . . not just your business.

The best way to get rid of your fear is to do the thing you fear. That works! Become involved in the group. Be brave and run for office. Become a leader.

The women banker I spoke of earlier only became an effective networker when she took the first step while she was still afraid. She knew she needed to break out of the shyness shell so she enrolled in the Dale Carnegie course and eventually became a graduate assistant for the course. It wasn’t long after that when she received a big promotion, became vice-president of the bank and later became an officer in her netwroking group.

Networking can do a lot more for you then help you in your business. It can help you become a better person by playing a big part in you own personal growth. Everyone can use a little help in that area.

You can do it too. Let go of your fear. It takes no strength to let go. . . only courage. The thing that you fear owns you. It drains you of your precious energy and keeps you stuck. Break free. The best is yet to come.

netHQ

Copyright © 2009 – Larry James. Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Visit ” Networking HQ!”

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: Larry James, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com

Add Larry James to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com

NOTE: All articles and networking tips listed in this BLOG are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Networking Defined

If you attend a networking event to sell your services, do everyone a favor and leave!

If you have dollars signs in your eyes, you are very easy to spot. Many people misunderstand the purpose of networking. If you think that networking is about selling your services, you are wrong.

It’s about building solid business relationships! You are there to build and cultivate referral relationships.

Let’s review my definition of networking:

Networking is. . . using your creative talents to help others achieve their goals as you cultivate a network of people strategically positioned to support you in your goals. . . expecting nothing in return! – Larry James

So. . . what’s this about expecting nothing in return? Often we expect people who we help to help us. That would be nice. And it doesn’t always work that way. Some people are in better positions to help some than others. Just give. That’s the key! Just give. Willingly.

To use networking as an effective business tool; to use it to help you make productive business links, you must first grasp the true concept and engage in it relentlessly. Network all the time.

Give of yourself for the simply joy of it; what you cast upon the waters is multiplied abundantly in return! – Michael B. Beckwith

It will come back to you. Help people and you get helped! Have no expectations about where your assistance should come from. Just give. And keep on giving. It will come. . . often when you least expect it and when you most need it.

Here is the bottom line. Answer this question from Mac Cassity: What would you rather have, 100 sales, or 100 people referring your business on a regular basis?

Never stop networking.

netHQ

Copyright © 2009 – Larry James. Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Visit ” Networking HQ!”

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: Larry James, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com

Add Larry James to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com

NOTE: All articles and networking tips listed in this BLOG are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Networking: How to Get Past the Myths & Benefit from the Reality

Susan RoAne, Guest Author

So, you think “networking” is a new phenomenon? A growing trend? A buzzword? Well, it has existed since time immemorial. Proof: “No room at the inn? Can you recommend a barn…with a manger?” Sound familiar?

Referrals, recommendations, and shared information create the foundation for civilization. The community concept is built on communication. We just need to remember that civility is crucial in networking. How we behave is as crucial as knowing the unwritten rules that must be followed.

As one of my clients, raised on a farm, said, “Susan, we always networked. We just called it being neighborly.” Historically, barn-raisings are the ultimate networking event. You hammer a lot more than your point across.

And careers have always depended upon networking: the assistance of others.

But certain myths about networking must be confronted. Networking is not a work style; it is a lifestyle that can help us personally and professionally.

Myth: I don’t have a network.

Truth: Everybody has a network. We are born into one, went to school with several: elementary, high, college, religious. Lived in neighborhoods. Served in armed forces. Belonged to clubs, bands, teams, fraternities/sororities, service organizations.

Action: Know who you know. Even I don’t have a 100 percent grasp, but as events happen, I add to my list of people I know. Make your own list. Go through the periods of your life, the class photos and yearbooks. Visualize your neighborhoods and neighbors. Write down the names of people you remember.

Think about the jobs you’ve had. Who were your colleagues, co-workers, competitors, vendors? You may want to do the activity on your computer. Go through old address books, Christmas card and holiday lists. And don’t forget the people who are in the periphery of your lifecleaner, barber/hairstylist, mechanic, computer consultant, carpool cronies, local merchants.

You will not remember everyone at the first sit-down, but once the list is plugged into your truly personal computer (your brain), you will begin to remember more.

That list is a reference tool. How you use it is as important as when and for whom. It may be to connect a nephew with a potential mentor. Or a colleague with a great mechanic. In time of need, people band together and help. We see it after earthquakes, fires, floods, when friends are stricken with illness. It is not always about us.

Myth: People should know what I need and offer to help.

Truth: Most people don’t know what they themselves need. How smart can it be to assume that they know what you need? A tenet of life and networking: If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.

Action: Remember that how you ask may make the difference between yes and no. The best networkers ask in a way that allows people to say yes and gives them room to say no.

One of my favorite cartoons had a character explaining: “What I lack in know-how, I made up for in know who.” Who we know, and who knows us, is key. How we relate to and converse with those people determines the quality of our connections.

People want to be treated as people, not as contacts. The best networkers don’t even know they are networking they just refer, match, recommend, bring people together.

Myth: Networking is using people.

Truth: Networking is a reciprocal process. It is mutually beneficial to share ideas, information, leads, referrals, and tickets to cultural and sporting events, as well as laughter, enthusiasm, support, and joy. Science has a term for it: interdependence. Our grandparents had a better word: helping.

Action: Assess the postings in your “favor bank.” List the people for whom you have done favors. This may be tough because many of us give our favors without strings, and it could just feel unseemly. Do it anyway. Why? Because most people want to clear the slate.

Also list the people who have done favors for you. Whose advice have you sought? Called to check out someone or something? Who’s taken you out for beers or lunch, or offered an extra ticket to the Giants game or symphony? Or like Ben Franklin when he wanted to make a friend, who has loaned you a book? By the way, did you return it?

Know who you know. Know who you owe.

“Networking is not using others; it is a process of utilizing sources and resources and being one yourself,” according to the late Sally Livingston, “femtor” and a pioneer networking advocate.

Myth: I don’t have much to offer, so I can’t get involved.

Truth: We all have something to offer. Our skills, interests, knowledge, avocation, hobbies. While no one has ever asked me for a recipe, I can provide information on great restaurants and take-out! And tips on the publishing and professional speaking world.

Action: List the things that you do well in your job. You may be an ace at Internet research, or a whiz at strategic planning, drafting proposals, or organizing the after-work bowling team or relay teams for corporate games. Have you mentored others? How?

List your hobbies: quilting, fly fishing, rappelling, hiking, biking, car renovations, woodworking, antiquing, gourmet cooking. Maybe you are a great wordsmith or brainstormer!

Knowing what we do well allows us to know what and how to contribute and gives us the confidence that we can.

The Ten Commandments of Connecting

1. Acknowledge the gifts from others leads, presents, ideas, information, support. Send handwritten thank-you notes. We all want recognition and to be appreciated.
2. Stay in touch when you need nothing from others: phone, fax, e-mail, U.S. mail, and…in person.
3. Be generous; share ideas, thoughts, support, time, and laughter with others.
4. Be involved; be seen on the scene.
5. Pick up a tab and treat someone to lunch or latte!
6. Observe the etiquette of and (un)written rules for networking (The Secrets of Savvy Networking).
7. “Good-mouth” others; pass on praise you have heard.
8. Keep your sources in the loop; let them get the news from you.
9. Follow up, follow up, follow up in a Timely and Appropriately Persistent (TAP) manner, and
10. Have fun! Life is too short and too long to do otherwise.

Copyright 2009 – Susan RoAne – Reprinted with permission. Susan RoAne is a speaker and author who has worked trade shows, conventions, planes, and the bleachers at Wrigley Field, and taught others to do the same. Her latest book, How to Create Your Own Luck: The You Never Know Approach to Networking, Taking Chances, and Opening Yourself to Opportunity, is out and her other books include How to Work a Room and The Secrets of Savvy Networking. To learn more call 415-239-2224. For further information: www.SusanRoAne.com, or e-mail @: Susan@SusanRoAne.com

Sunday, September 6, 2009

What About Business Cards. . .

Filed under: Business Cards,Networking Tip — Larry James @ 11:00 am
Tags: ,

Do you attend networking events with the intention of collecting all the business cards you can and giving out as many business cards while you’re there?

That is a big mistake!

Most folks think if you go to enough events and pass out enough business cards the phone will begin ringing. That is seldom ever true. Even if you do get some business that way, you still have to do what is necessary to build and cultivate that relationship so they continue to do business with you and/or send you referrals.

Networking is about building long-lasting relationships!

Business cards are valuable and should be treated as such. Keep your business card to yourself until someone asks for it or unless you feel it is someone you would like to keep in touch with. Only ask for cards or contact information from people with whom you intend to follow up.

Write notes on the back of the other person’s business card. It will help you to recall the conversation later. This demonstrates a sincere interest in the other person. If you can’t take notes during the conversation, then jot down whatever you can remember from your chat immediately after you leave. When attending a networking event a useful thing to take with you is a “Sharpie” pen. It can be difficult to write on many business cards because thay have a laminate finish on them. A “Sharpie” will write on almost anything.

There has been some buzz lately about the demise of the business card. For some it has become trendy to announce to people that you do not carry business cards, as they are “so yesterday” or that you are doing this to save the environment. That is a truckload of “you know what!”

Business cards make it easy for people to contact you. Most are inexpensive and can become your office mini-billboard. If it takes an effort to locate you, they may simply turn to your competition. Not having a business card could lead to a missed opportunity.

When someone offers you their card; the courteous thing to do is to thank them. Take it and and immediately begin to read it. Reading what is printed on it, enables you to make a connection with the person giving it to you. It also says that you care and respect the card that has been given to you.

If you establish common interests on the spot, exchange business cards and ask whether they prefer being contacted by e-mail or phone. That is a common courtesy.

By the way, some find it handy to carry a mini-appointment calendar. That way, if the opportunity presents itself, you can arrange a time to get together on the spot. This eliminates saying, “Call me Tuesday and we can set up a time to get together.” In other words – “strike while the iron is hot!”

Carry lots of business cards! Never leave home or the office without them. Saying, “I just gave out my last card!” smacks of poor planning.

On your way to a networking event? Before leaving home, put some extra business cards in your pocket, purse or show a little class by having a beautiful shiny business card case. It’s a great habit to have. Be prepared.

It really doesn’t matter whether you are on the way to a networking even or stopping for a soda at the local Quik Trip®, professional meeting, social gathering, party, wedding, or anywhere. . . carry business cards with you. You never know when you may have an opportunity to network. I have a special water-proof plastic pouch that I carry with me if I’m at the pool.

I repeat. . . never go anywhere without business cards. Never! I keep a stack in each of my suit jackets and coats, in my wallet, in my briefcase, in my home, and a plastic case with about 100 extra business cards in my car.

Hot idea: The next time you have business cards printed, ask your printer to give you a .jpg image of your business card to add to the bottom of you e-mail as a signature.

Never run out of business cards. Always order before you need them. I don’t recommend printing your own cards. Most look cheap and do not leave a good impression.

Remember to always follow-up by asking someone you have just met how YOU can help THEM!

Have a favorite vendor? Professional networkers carry a supply of other people’s business cards with them as well. Why? Because other people’s cards can assist you in helping your friends spread the news about their business. Remember the 3rd party referral is usually a terrific way to demonstrate your own creativity as a networker. Find a need and fill it. Carrying a selection of other people’s business cards gives you a much greater opportunity of being able to converse about something that’s important to your potential contact.

Take your business cards with you e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e you go!

Want to get real creative with your cards?

BONUS Articles: Read, “51 Creative Business Cards That Will Make You Look Twice.”
50 Killer Business Cards That Put Yours to Shame
40 Cool Business Cards to Enliven Your Creativity

Here’s Joel Bauer’s take on business cards. Love him or hate him, he’s got his opinions.

netHQ

Copyright © 2009 – Larry James. Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Visit ” Networking HQ!”

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: Larry James, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com

Add Larry James to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com

NOTE: All articles and networking tips listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

At a Networking Event, BE the Host!

Filed under: BE the Host!,Networking Events — Larry James @ 11:30 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Although you may not be the official host of the event, you do further your own career and networking goals by taking charge and becoming the host. Work the room. . . for yourself and in the process, help others. Or. . . at least play the part of a greeter. You don’t need permission to do what everyone should already be doing when they network!

Enter the room with the right mindset. Don’t be shy. Let your personality show. If you meet someone and know they might be a good connection for someone you just met across the room, help make the introduction. Greet each new acquaintance with an openness to learn more about that person, a willingness to help, and an offer to stay in touch.

Acknowledge others: Seek eye contact. Greet people with a simple “hello” or “how are you?” It is a lost courtesy. And if you smile then you will invariably receive a pleasant response. I found this to be the best and easiest opener. Then I listen. People say things on their minds. And then the conversation is off and running.

Be a friendly and cheerful greeter with a genuine smile when you meet other guests. Start conversations without fear of rejection. Ask questions that will get you noticed. A good question is: “So where else do you normally network?” Or. . . “So what do you like best about what you do?”

General George Patton, no shrinking violet, said it well: “The most vital qualities a successful person can possess is self-confidence – utter and complete heart, spirit, and audacity. You can have doubts about your good looks, your intelligence, about your self-control – but to win, you must have no doubts about your abilities.”

Be a regular at networking events. Networking is one of the most profitable activities in which one can engage. To get the most out of your networking experience, you need to build a relationship with people who you want to have contact with.

Show interest. Pay attention. Keep in mind that your goal is to gain and exchange information. You can solicit the information you want by talking and directing the conversation, but then you need to listen. Bob Burg sez: “When you meet someone new and hope to establish what could be a very mutually beneficial business relationship, let them talk… about themselves.”

Spending too long with any one person defeats the purpose of networking. Your objective is to take advantage of the entire room. Spend most of your time and effort with people who can help each other out, for the long term. However, you will be better off with only talking with 5 people than to try to say “hello” to everyone in the room. Take the time to cultivate a rapport.

Leverage your existing contacts by sharing them with others. Accelerate your networking results by sharing networking tips with new attendees. Networking isn’t about the quantity of contacts you make; it’s about the quality of relationships you enjoy.

Introduce those you know to others attending the group. Talk to them about how you can help them. Learn how their business can help you. Any business owner is appreciative when they are introduced to various potential customers.

There is more to networking than greeting people. Develop a step-by-step plan for how you’ll build relationships and how you can effectively tell your story at the next event.

Don’t tell others of the referral you require; “show them” with a story.

Networking is less about meeting new people than having them remember you. If at networking events you’re listening while they’re talking, and then you ask a good follow-up question based on the information you just heard, you’re going to be more likely to stand out in their minds.

When networking salt conversations with tidbits about yourself and your business but always end your self-introduction with a question directed to the person you are talking to. They will get excited about their own answers and associate that excitement with meeting you.

At least once a month, introduce two people to each other without any immediate expectation for personal gain. They will remember you!

netHQ

Copyright © 2009 – Larry James. Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Visit ” Networking HQ!”

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: Larry James, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com

Add Larry James to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com

NOTE: All articles and networking tips listed in this BLOG are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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