Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sam Horn’s Take on Elevator Speeches!

Filed under: Networking — Larry James @ 8:00 am
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elevatorspeechMake your business stand out. “An ‘elevator’ introduction is not meant to be a sales pitch,” says Sam Horn, communication consultant and author of “Pop! Stand Out in Any Crowd.”

“The best way to capture interest in your small business is to ask an engaging, relevant question,” she says.

Thanks to Karen E. Klein for interviewing her on why “Elevator Speeches are NOT Supposed to Be Sales Pitches” for BusinessWeek.com. In this short podcast, they discuss a way to introduce yourself that leads to meaningful conversations and connections.

Take some time and click on the following link to listen to this interview. Click here! – (Requires QuickTime 7 or iTunes)

Bonus Resource: “Do You Have an Effective “30 Second Connection?”

Copyright © 2009 – Sam Horn. Sam Horn is an award-winning communication/creativity consultant with a 20 year track record of results with an international clientele including Fortune 500 Forum, Young Presidents Organization, Hewlett-Packard, NASA, Kaiser Permanente, National Governors Association, KPMG, Boeing, Intel and Capital One. She was selected (along with Tom Peters, Seth Godin and Jim Collins) to be a featured speaker at INC Magazine’s annual 500/5000 convention honoring the top entrepreneurial organizations in the country. Visit her Website.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

What Is the #1 Trait of a Master Networker?

Filed under: Networking — Larry James @ 8:39 am
Tags: , , , ,

Ivan Misner, Guest Author –

When I ask people what they think the #1 trait of a master networker is, most people think it’s that master networkers, above all, give referrals to others.

However, according to a survey of more than two thousand business people from four countries that was published in Masters of Networking, a book I co-wrote with Don Morgan, the number one trait of master networkers is that they follow up on the referrals they are given. “Giving referrals” didn’t even make the top five!

The reason for this top ranking is that if you present opportunities to someone who consistently fails to follow up successfully – whether it’s a simple piece of information, a special contact, or a qualified business referral – it’s no secret that you’ll eventually stop wasting your time on that person. He’s an embarrassment to you, as the referral giver, and to the prospect, who ends up wondering if he did something wrong.

So, if you strive to be a master networker, always remember: when it comes to business referrals, following up is not an option; it’s a life-or-death requirement.

Larry’s Note: “An educated person is not necessarily the one who has the knowledge, but the one who knows where to get it when needed.” – Napoleon Hill

NOTE: To order a copy of Ivan’s newest book, “Network Like a Pro” click here!

netHQ

Copyright © 2009 – Ivan Misner. Reprinted with permission. Called the father of modern networking, Dr. Ivan Misner is the Founder of BNI and the senior partner for the Referral Institute. He has written nine books, including his recently released New York Times best seller, Truth or Delusion? Busting Networking’s Biggest Myths. Adapted from the article, “Attending Networking Events.”

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

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Networking Collaborative

Filed under: Networking Article — Larry James @ 8:00 am
Tags: , , , ,

Networking groups are growth machines. The good ones assist in your business and your personal growth. In networking groups people of all skills and occupations come together to share information and to help each other.

There you will most likely find your mentors. A network of “go-to” people you can support you with what you need and are capable of serving as an informal group and as personal mentors.

Networking is not just about getting “leads,” it’s also about helping others. There are many learning opportunities if you are paying attention. The more you collaborate, the faster you will develop a trusting, long-term relationship. The rewards are obvious and many, and the risk is virtually non-existent. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by developing a collaborative mentor.

A networking mentor is someone with more business experience than you who serves as a trusted confidante over an extended period of time, often free of charge. Why do they do this? First and foremost as a way of giving back to their community and to society at large. It’s a two-way street. You learn from them and they learn from you. Usually this requires someone who is knowledgeable, compassionate, and possesses the attributes of a good teacher or trainer and who takes a personal interest in the mentoring relationship.

Collaboration is a recursive process where two or more people or organizations work together with common goals – for example, an intellectual endeavor that is creative in nature – by sharing knowledge, learning and building consensus with one another.

The collaborative method of interacting in groups is said to allow for full immersion into the process thereby helping all who are willing to share. Networking groups whose members really get that are the ones worthy of your attendance. They are designed to promote collaborative thinking that enhances your business and personal growth as well as encouraging collaboration with each other regarding business referrals.

You can collaborate in groups to solve business related problems. It can be interesting and fun. When it is, there is a connection and the sense of a shared goals. Collaborative group thinking often occurs only when you request it. Be a request for the assistant that you need. Being shy about asking can only limit your potential.

When you begin generating ideas and in trying to select the right ideas that work, you don’t need consensus, you need diversity of thought. This will allow your thinking to expand and will give you more than one idea to put into practice.

You can collaborate about job searches. According to BH Careers International, 80 percent of all available jobs are not formally posted. Landing a position is more easily accomplished through word of mouth networking. Tell people what you are looking for.

Networking demands relationship building. It’s a process and it can be a deceptively complex one. It must be strategic and focused and it takes time. Be patient. You cannot rush a close friendship.

No one gets to the top of the mountain alone. Why would we want to when the view is so much better when surrounded by friends? – Kristen Marie Schuerlein

When you share information intended to help someone else, you transcend all differences. Your own greatness expands with the collective power of the group.

Yes, it’s true. There are those to choose to keep their strategies close to the vest. Having said that, I watch for people like that and avoid them like the plague. It has been my experience that the more successful you are the more inclined to share what others need to know and ask you for.

It is important to mingle with people who are committed to understanding each others business goals, target markets and value statements in order to assist in marketing each others business through quality business referrals and assistance to each other. The synergy of the group is key to its success.

In networking you must have clarity of intention, faith, trust and a team of amazing people in your support group that are committed to sharing some of their secrets to success without reservation.

If there is no collaborative spirit in the group I recommend that you move on to another group. I have discovered that some of the very large networking events are often places where people – who know very little about networking – come to hand out a bunch of business cards and meet as many people as possible. There are so many people there that you cannot possibly have the time to truly develop a relationship, ask questions or offer assistance. Those who attend are so excited about all the people there that they become scattered in their efforts and end up with a ton of business cards on their desk and not much else.

These kind of groups are rampant with people who subscribe to the notion of “what’s in it for me.” In spite of what a networking group might call itself many business networks are little more than loose associations of companies who barely know each other – these are networking’s loose cannons – and have not invested in learning to collaborate with one another.

These kind of opportunistic business networks believe that when they make the first contract that will be time enough to learn to collaborate. Not! I look to see if the group is constantly forging new connections to enhance value for its members.

Networking is not about the quantity of people who attend, it is the quality. To get the most out of your networking experience, you need to build a relationship with people who you want to have contact with.

Opportunity isn’t always obvious. That’s why it is important to seek out and contribute to a networking group where each person gives willingly to the others. There you will find find something very powerful at work and a treasure of close business associates that know that contribution is what networking is all about.

Another supportive BLOG post: Read, “The Joy of Collaboration” by Ian Percy.

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! Can’t find my book in your bookstore, order a signed copy from Larry James. 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/
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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, November 13, 2009

Audioapathy. . . What is it?

Filed under: Networking,Networking Tip — Larry James @ 8:00 am
Tags: , , , , ,

The best business networking groups operate as exchanges of business information, ideas, and support. The most important skill for effective business networking is listening; focusing on how you can help the person you are listening to rather than on how he or she can help you is the first step to establishing a mutually beneficial relationship.

Empathic listening is a choice. Audioapathy is a word I coined to describe the condition often experienced when people become apathetic about listening when other people are talking. It is a dreaded dis-ease that can poison your relationship. Although it appears that men are more affected than women, some women also get it.

Hearing is involuntary. You can be sound asleep and still hear something or someone, but listening is voluntary. It is an intellectual and emotional choice. It implies effective communication between the sender and the receiver, which hearing does not.

Learn to listen. You don’t learn anything from hearing yourself talk. – Leo Buscaglia

It is a wise person who, when someone is talking, stops what they are doing, makes eye contact and truly listens to what they is saying. Very wise. It may be difficult to listen to what a customer or client have to say, however, if the truth hurts – be grateful. When someone is talking to you, listen for the truth about what they are saying instead of going on the defensive. That only keeps you stuck.

If you are apathetic about what others are saying and focus only on talking about “your” business in a networking group you will only drive business away. Networking demands that you increase your listening skills. One of the most important things in listening is also to “hear” what “Isn’t being said?” This is especially true in personal relationships.

In business as in personal relationships it may take courage for a customer or client to express their feelings if they haven’t been used to doing so. To immediately defend your own position (or to disagree or argue) invalidates their feelings and usually serves to turn off future sharing possibilities.

Listen for the opportunity to assist the relationship by taking responsibility for what you may be doing that trips their trigger and causes them to make a choice to feel the way they do.

Empathic listening gets inside your partner’s frame of reference. You see their world the way they see it, you understand their paradigm, you understand how they “feel.”

Apathetic listeners breed contempt, resentment and often the person who desperately needs to be heard eventually shuts down. A lack of effective communication is the number one problem in all relationships.

Listen more and talk less. You can’t learn anything when you’re talking. How do you spell success in a business relationship? Be wise. Listen. L-I-S-T-E-N.

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! Can’t find my book in your bookstore, order a signed copy from Larry James. 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.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Does Your Brand Pass The Ginsberg Test?

Scott Ginsberg, Guest Author –

1. What are you doing to become even more visible?

Anonymity is the adversary of success.

I wear a name tag 24-7. In fact, today is my 9-year anniversary. I literally have zero anonymity whatsoever. (Except on Halloween, when I change my name tag as part of my costume.) Other than that, anyone who sees me at any given moment can say to herself, “Well, I guess his name is Scott…”

Now, I’m not suggesting you do the same. In fact, I strongly suggest you DO NOT wear a name tag 24-7. What I AM suggesting is that you consider the adverse relationship between anonymity and profitability. And maybe a good start would be to throw away your marketing plan and begin writing a visibility plan. Because it’s NOT who you know. It’s NOT who knows you. It’s whose life is significantly because they know you.

2. How can you turn your unique personality into a marketing weapon?

Branding is the inevitability of identity.

It’s got nothing to do with marketing and everything to do with the natural extension of your core selfhood. The best, highest version of yourself – paired with the way other people experience themselves in relation TO you.

That’s branding. And it was born about five thousand years before those sleazy advertising jerks starting brainwashing you. Read The Gita and The Tao De Ching. If that’s not branding I don’t know what is.

3. Is your business a friend of simplicity?

Eloquence is the byproduct of simple.

Complexity generates contemplation, and contemplation kills sales. On the other hand, simplicity induces relaxation, and relaxed customers buy. It’s your choice. Sure, it takes more time, energy and courage to create and deliver something simple.

But isn’t it all worth it when your idea is SO simple that a kindergartner runs home from school to tell their parents about it? Stop creating riddles that take too long for impatient customers to solve.

4. Are you drowning in a sea of sameness?

Failure is the destiny of boring.

Nobody buys boring. Not any more. There are too many choices and too little time. So, there’s a direction correlation between how successful you are and how boring you are. Your challenge is to become the most interesting person you know. Which isn’t just some vague platitude – you can literally increase your level of interestingness.

Try this: Amuse people or lose people. Choreograph attention. Build curiosity and expectation into everything you do. Position yourself so, moment-to-moment; people want to see what happens next. And finally, be abnormal, yet relevant to humanity. Remember: If you want to maximize noticeability and spreadability, you need to create a widening circle of interest around it.

5. Are you talking your ideas into the ground when you should be building your ideas into the sky?

Hype is the camouflage of quality.

I used to work in the promotions department for a radio station in St. Louis. And I’ll never forget what my boss told me on the first day of work. “When we record a spot for a new movie release, here’s the rule: The more promotional stuff the production company sends us, the crappier the movie probably is.”

He was right. Box office bombs like K-PAX, Corky Romano and Freddy Got Fingered sent our station truckloads of key chains, t-shirts, posters and other worththless hype. They were compensation for quality. On the other hand, cinematic classics like Memento, Donnie Darko and The Royal Tannenbaums didn’t send a thing. Not even a press release. The quality of those movies spoke for itself.

6. What is your plan for reaching the world with your unique message?

Platform is the artifact of attraction.

While a resume is what you’ve already accomplished, a platform is what you’re currently accomplishing. Think that makes it more relevant than some piece of paper? You bet. Interestingly, the geological definition of the term platform is: “The ancient, stable, interior layer of a continental craton composed of igneous or metamorphic rocks.”

OK. Let’s unpack that scientific idea as it pertains to your Thought Leadership world:

(1) Ancient, meaning long-term viability, of your expertise, that is.

(2) Stable, meaning a solid foundation of value, which refers to your body of work.

(3) Interior, meaning deriving from your core, aka, speaking your truth in whatever you publish.

(4) Layers, meaning multiple levels of content, which denotes intellectual diversity and depth.

(5) Igneous, meaning produced under conditions involving intense heat, i.e., your unique philosophy is fueled by passion and fire.

(6) Metamorphic, meaning specific shape or form to your thoughts, which means you’ve taken a side, picked a lane and put a stake in the ground.

That’s a platform. And without it, the media won’t seek you out. Without a platform, Google won’t develop a crush on you. Without a platform, unsolicited referrals won’t make their way to you. Without a platform, your expertise won’t be validated. Without a platform, your credibility won’t be authenticated. And without a platform, your following won’t grow exponentially. Start building today.

7. Are you a fad or a movement?

Sticky is the start of spreadable.

But that doesn’t mean it’s enough. Sticky doesn’t mean viable and shtick doesn’t mean substance. Sticky literally means “adhesive,” whereas spreadable means, “to stretch out and send in various directions.” Your mission is to prove to people that you’re worth hanging in there for. That their long-term investment in you will pay dividends eventually.

scottginsbergAs George Carlin reminded us, “You want people to know the accumulated record, not just a spotty shot.” Otherwise you’ll be dismissed as inherently remarkable, yet ultimately inconsequential.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Does your brand pass The Ginsberg Test?

Copyright © 2009 – Scott Ginsberg. Scott is an Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur. He’s “That Guy with the Name Tag. Visit his BLOG.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Networking: A Crash Course in Personal Development

There is a multitude of things you can learn about yourself, others who network and personal growth when you are an active networker. How is networking a crash course in personal development? If you pay attention, you can learn to be a better you. You can also learn from others how “not” to network.

Your business will only grow as fast as you grow! If you have spent some time on your personal growth, you learn very quickly to look for a solution to a problem rather than giving up. Personal growth is about expanding your horizons and enjoying what you do so you can achieve more of what you want. Personal development and growth is rarely thought of in terms of business, but this is changing.

Personal growth is not something that can be rushed. It is not a technique or tool to make a quick fix. Personal growth is the attitude you have that you are constantly improving your life. Personal growth is driven by your desire to constantly improve yourself and to become the person that you were meant to be.

Many people think business networking is just about mailing out brochures or circulating around a meeting room and handing out business cards, but it is really about building long-lasting, personal relationships over time. Because networking is about building and maintaining relationships, credibility is a key element. Helping others is one sure-fire way to establish credibility. New contacts won’t necessarily start sending business your way or give you referrals until they know you better. Networking will teach you patience. Networking like personal growth cannot be rushed.

Networking requires you to grow personally and get out of your comfort zone. I challenge you to hold in high regard the value of personal development.

Becoming the best you can be so as to accelerate with impact your business and personal growth should be high on your priority list. The brief ideas listed below will assist you to fulfill several objectives to improve the quality of your life and to help your achieve maximum results when networking and. . . we have only scratched the surface.

I suppose we could begin by saying that you must treat others like you like to be treated. Networking and personal growth are intertwined. One supports the other. The better person you become, the better the odds of being more successful, not just in networking but in relationships and everything.

What you seek with these methods of personal development is to create a new way of living. To be happy. To make new connections and to grow your business. But your mind deceives you. It convinces you to stop trying to create change because its happy in it’s misery. It knows that cherished self deceptions will have to be released. The process of personal development and growth will help.

Networking with other people is a powerful process, and can be an integral part of your success. I believe it is important to seek out groups that not only give you the opportunity to network but offer educational opportunities as well as support from other members. Does your group encourage personal growth?

Get the support and validation you need. Find a mentor; someone who will take you under his/her wings and teach you the networking ropes. Book a breakfast or lunch with someone who has been effectively networking for a long time and pick their brain. Learn the do’s and don’ts from the experts. Without the necessary support, it’s very easy for individual differences and preferences to come in, thereby diluting the correct way to network and even corrupting it. Hire a networking coach.

He that won’t be counseled can’t be helped – Benjamin Franklin

Look for the people in the group who lean more to the positive side. As my friend, Zig Ziglar said, “Beware of those with stinkin’ thinking!” It is no longer possible to deny the fact that positive thinking benefits everyone, regardless of their goals. If “know how” is one of your weaknesses, follow people who know how. People who complain, who are always looking at the dark side of things eventually will pull you down to their level. Not good.

Watch how the “movers and shakers” network. Emulate their style and actions. It may feel awkward at first, however the more you hone your skills the better you will become at accomplishing what you need to do to be an effective networker. By the way, contrary to popular belief, practice does not make you perfect. It only makes you better.

Build rapport by connecting with people when you don’t need anything. It makes it easier to be as ease when talking with them and will help you develop a much closer business relationship. Not good at building rapport? Learn how. Watch others. Read books about it. Do a Google search for “How to Build Rapport” and see what comes up. After you’ve met someone knowledgeable and interesting, send a quick e-mail or a handwritten note saying how much you enjoyed meeting them. If you want to learn more from him or her, propose lunch or coffee and remember to follow up.

Many years ago the Dale Carnagie course taught me that if you do the thing you fear the most, the death of fear is certain. Some say it takes 21 to 30 days to develop a new habit. Afraid to speak in public? Get over it. Feel the fear and do it anyway. When networking you “must” learn to speak in public! You need to tell how you can assist others, talk about your business and more or you are likely to become a wallflower and nothing good will happen.

Develop a good “30-second connection,” often called an “elevator speech.” It’s a brief summary of who you are and what you do professionally. Practice in front of a mirror until you feel comfortable enough that you can deliver it without stumbling, becoming distracted or getting off track. When given the opportunity to introduce yourself, jump up first. Put yourself out there. The second time you introduce yourself in this way will be a little easier.

Learn how to recover from your mistakes. Everyone makes them. Just remember to never put yourself down when you do. Look for a solution that will make it work next time. Mistakes can be the very things that lead you in the new direction that turns out to be the better way than you had previously believed. What is inspiring about life is that we always have the choice to learn from our past mistakes as well as our successes.

Be creative. Ask yourself, “how can I make networking fun?” then go about coming up with creative ideas to make it fun and make others smile. Look for the funny side of things and reward yourself with laughter. Laughing opens up both your mind and your heart and restores the quality of your thinking.

If you have not quite got the hang of setting effective goals, begin now. Set some networking goals. Occasionally revisit your “why.” Why am I doing this? What do I want to accomplishment? How many new friends can you make in 30 days? Having a specific intention makes it easier. The very concept of intention implies that you are intent on doing something. It’s a statement of fact to our own subconscious mind that you are ready and willing to take action. New directions unfold when you exercise the power of intention. Getting clear on who you are and what you really want is a requirement for business and networking success.

“To understand the Heart and Mind of a person, look not at what they have achieved already, but at what they Aspire to do” – Kahlil Gibran

Learn persistence. If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Learn the difference between being persistent and being aggressive.

Master self-confidence. If you continue to loathe and belittle yourself, others are going to do and believe likewise. Personal growth is not “just” about achieving confidence, although that is a big part of this process. This new freedom and confidence are like a snowball that keeps growing as you continue to roll it. You will start to see personal development in many other areas of your life. You will begin to appreciate yourself and as a result and others will appreciate you. There’s no quick fix. Be patient. Do something everyday that will help you to build your self-confidence.

When you’re feeling insecure, write down a list of things that are good about you. Identify your successes. Then read the list – out loud – in front of a mirror to yourself. Watch yourself smile! Everyone is good at something, so discover the things at which you excel. You will be surprised at all the good stuff you can come up with. Recognize your insecurities. Work to overcome them. Remember, no one is perfect. Even the most confident people have occasional insecurities. If you don’t believe in yourself, find someone who does and hang around them until what they have rubs off on you.

When you’re following your passion – what you truly believe in – not only will it have a therapeutic effect on you, but you will feel special, unique and accomplished, all of which can help build your self confidence.

“Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.” – Mark Victor Hansen

Accept compliments gracefully. Don’t roll your eyes and say, “Yeah, right,” or shrug it off. Learn to say say “Thank You” when someone says something good about you. Never say, “Oh, it’s nothing. Anyone could have done that?” Practice accepting praise sincerely without adding excuses. A simple “Thank you” will do.

If you’re smart you will find that networking will sharpen your listening skills. Opportunity isn’t always obvious. Watch for it and listen for it. Stop talking so much and begin listening more.

Read good books. Not a reader? Become one. Don’t just read books about your business. Read networking book, books on self-promotion, marketing, personal development and more. If you only read for about 15 minutes each day you can read at least 15 average sized books a year. Don’t tell me you can’t spare 15 minutes a day to become a better you. Reading will help you develop a strong belief system. Become a self-help junkie!

You can listen to tapes, CDs, read articles, watch videos of people who may inspire you and motivate you. The internet has an abundance of books and videos you can watch and read for free. Do a search on YouTube.

If you watched “The Secret” DVD a few years ago, you would know something about the Law of Attraction. Some think this is “woo-woo.” I know it works. The law of attraction states “that which is like unto itself is drawn”. This means we all get whatever we think about, whether it’s something we want or something we don’t want. If you read more about this law and learn more about getting what you want, this could lead you to becoming more successful in all areas of your life.

If you think that business networking is all about the money, think again. Most of those who have succeeded in networking find that they gain more from learning new skills and meeting new people than anything else. Personal growth will make you a better and more confident person who feels comfortable with yourself. Once you feel comfortable with who you are then you will start to attract those people who will help you and support you in building your business.

And finally, reflect often on your successes. It helps develop your sense of well being.

BONUS Article: Read, “Personal Development and Growth for Business and Higher Pursuits.”

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! Can’t find my book in your bookstore, order a signed copy from Larry James. 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.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Networking: An Opportunity for Shameless Self-Promotion

Self-promotion begins with promoting and helping others first. Recommend others you trust and would do business with. Networking is about building long-lasting business relationships, trust and credibility and if you’re authentic, the promotion is a natural evolution; good things will come to you.

There is a fine line between relationship building and blatant self-promoting. If you remember to always be helpful in your promotional efforts, you should be able to avoid ever being too shameless. If you reach out to someone and they choose not to reach back, thank them for their time and move on.

To increase credibility, you must invest in the relationship, demonstrate ability and authenticity and persevere over time proving that you seriously interested in the other person, not just looking for quick personal gain. The main rule of self-promotion is to be the best version of yourself.

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others – Mahatma Gandhi

Be shameless but professional in your approach. Be considerate of your fellow networkers. They are there for the same reason you are. Give them the opportunity to shamelessly self-promote themselves. Equal opportunity works.

Since childhood we have been taught that it’s not polite to brag about ourselves and our accomplishments. Hogwash! Doing this not only makes other people aware of our accomplishments and expertise, but shapes their perceptions of us. Talk about your accomplishments in a confident way.

There is a chapter in my book, “Ten Commitments of Networking” that is titled, “Be Yourself!” So many people who network don’t do that. They try to be someone that they think someone else thinks they should be.

Some think they need to be forceful, aggressive, and pushy to get what they want. What they need to learn is that doesn’t work. Be yourself. If, by your own nature, you are forceful, aggressive, and pushy you better back off a little and soften your approach otherwise you will make more enemies than friends.

Shameless self-promotion is a concept every online business owner needs to understand. Self-promotion is pretty easy to understand. It’s the act of spreading the word about yourself and your services. You just have to learn to be a little shameless with your self-promotion. It isn’t about being annoying, disruptive, arrogant, loud or brash. It’s about being assertive, persistent and confident.

If you think it’s beneath you to promote your business, then you’re in for one long and lonely ride. Get over yourself! Come out of your shell. Each time you muster the courage to promote yourself it becomes easier the next time. If you are struggling with the fear that you have nothing valuable to offer that is something that you must work on. Consider hiring a networking coach.

You must be a shameless self-promoter, but do it with finesse. Self-promotion is not a dirty word. It is not a bad thing. Bring out the trumpets. If you don’t toot your own horn, who will toot it? Be your own cheerleader! If you won’t talk about your achievements, don’t expect anyone else to do so, but remember that your goal is to be savvy in your approach and leave the brainless techniques to someone else. Don’t be forgettable! Let your passion for what you do drive your efforts rather than your ego.

Effective self-promotion is a learned skill that takes practice. Some feel self-promotion is selfish. It is not. Only and always talking about yourself and your accomplishments is being selfish. Self-promotion shines a light on the things we want to share with the world. It’s about seizing every opportunity to present yourself and your services in a way that people can handle, without overdoing it. Learn to know the difference between being a pest and being persistence. You are the best person to tell others about what you offer and you should take advantage of situations that allow you to do so.

It’s important to let others know about your achievements, but don’t do this at the expense of bad manners. Find the balance. Know when it’s appropriate to talk about your accomplishments and when you should keep your mouth shut. A good self-promoter knows the value of listening to others.

When your life is out of balance, nothing works. Too much pressure at work, too much pressure at home and not enough time to take care of either. Balancing your life is not about time it’s about your values. Some people believe if they could add a few more hours to each day, they could balance their life. Your life will never be balanced until you determine what you truly value and live in harmony with them. – Mack Newton

Learn the difference between selling and telling. The best salespeople never appear to be selling anything. They connect with you on a personal level, ask about your life and dreams and then offer to assist you in any way they can.

Never apologize for promoting yourself. If you’re going to promote yourself, at least do it without excuses and disclaimers. You will most likely have to endure criticism from others. It has been my experience that those who criticize do so out of jealousy and insecurity. Be respectful of others and accept criticism with class.

As long as you are serving others and have the courage to speak up for what you believe in don’t let criticism bother you. Telling your personal story with finesse and creative flair will only lead to more opportunities. Look for fresh ideas that work for others. Become involved in conversations and be ready and willing to present your information and your services when the opportunity presents itself.

When you are creative with your self-promotion it will become more attractive and will be more palatable to everyone. You must not run from person to person just long enough to talk about your business. This is the quickest way to alienate yourself from others.

Write an article or report that will educate others about your services (of something about how you can help others) without having the focus be all about you and give it away. Add a line about something you’re proud of to your e-mail signature. Put it at the bottom of every e-mail you send.

There is a sign in my office that says, “Do something everyday to promote my business!” Sometimes – in the busyness and daily grind of activities and routines – I need a reminder. I will often brainstorm with others in my related field about effective ways to work together to self-promote each other.

If people aren’t seeking you out from watching your interactions with others, you need to rethink your self-promotion plan and change your strategy. First impressions count big time. How you approach a potential contact is the key to developing a path that will produce meaningful dialogue and become mutually beneficial.

shameless2My friend and Shameless Self-Promotion Diva, Debbie Allen says, “Natural self-promoters are those people who don’t hesitate to show the world what they can do and have done, and for which they receive recognition in the form of money, fame or service to others – their rewards for many sales. We can emulate what works for them, regardless of our goals.”

Never put down your competition. This only distracts from your integrity. Focus on your triumphs and resist the temptation of making other people or companies look bad. Success without integrity, joy, and connection simply doesn’t make sense. People like to do business with people they trust; people who are authentic; people who are confident but not overbearing. Learn the difference between conceit and confidence.

Integrity is also doing everything you say you’re going to do. Keep your word!

“What is integrity? Integrity means words and behaviors match. There are people we know we trust and people we know that we don’t. The people we trust have words and actions that match and the people we don’t have words and actions that don’t match. It’s that simple. A lapse of integrity means a betrayal of your own values and is a direct assault on your self-respect. You won’t like yourself and won’t know why.” – Mack Newton

A healthy balance of work, pleasure, business, social, family, etc., promotes and gives off a feeling of well-being, which is very helpful for networking. Trying to define life balance is not easy, however we usually know it when we see it in others, and – if we are smart – we respond to it.

You can bring a level of enthusiasm to the party without being pushy. Be like the Energizer Bunny. We all need to work on being energetic but not aggressive; tolerant without compromising yourself. Being more understanding and having consideration for others are other qualities to work on.

“The key to self-promotion is persistence. You can’t start and stop. Building relationships with people is a constant seed-planting and watering process. So if you consider yourself introverted or shy, get over it – at least during the time you spend promoting yourself. The message you must convey is this: I have something of value to offer to you. Sit right down so I can tell you all about it.” – Ilise Benun

Self-promotion with authenticity is one of the most generous things you can do. To understand why this is, let’s look at what’s behind much of our discomfort with self promotion. We avoid self-promotion to the extent that we fear what we (and everyone else) will see in the harsh light of reality. No one is perfect. You most likely will not do it right or please everyone all the time. Just do your personal best.

When we accept the challenge of putting ourselves out there as a call to deeper engagement rather than shallow manipulation, we are putting ourselves on the line for the sake of something bigger than we can imagine. Self-promotion must be part of your overall marketing mix. The opportunity to talk about your business should be the root behind every marketing effort you undertake.

NOTE: Read, “Self-Promote or Disappear!: A Discourse on the Propriety of Puttin’ on the Blitz! ” by Larry James from Debbie Allen’s book, “Confessions of Shameless Self-Promoters.”

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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! Can’t find my book in your bookstore, order a signed copy from Larry James. Visit Larry’s “Networking HQ” Website; articles, tips, networking books and more!

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