Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Building Your Network

Brian Tracy, Guest Author –

Brian Tracy photoWe live in a society, and as a member of that society, it is likely that every change in your life is strongly influenced by other people in some way. The courses you take in school that shape your career are often at the instigation of a friend or counselor. The books you read, the tapes you listen to, and the seminars you attend are almost invariably the result of a suggestion from someone you respect. The occupation you select, the job you take, and the key steps in your career are largely determined by the people you meet and talk to at those critical decision points in your life. In fact, at every crossroad in your life there is usually someone standing there pointing you in one direction or another.

According to the law of probabilities, the greater number of people you know who can help you at any given time, the more likely it is that you will know the right person at the right time and in the place to give you the help you need to move ahead more rapidly in your life. The more people you know, the more doors of opportunity will be open to you and the more sound advice you will get in making the important decisions that shape your life.

Dr. David McLelland of Harvard did a 25-year research study into the factors that contribute most to success. He found that, holding constant for age, education, occupation and opportunities, the single most important factor in career success is your “reference group.” Your reference group is made up of the people with whom you habitually associate and identify. These are the people you live with, work with and interact with outside of your work. You identify with these people and consider yourself to be one of them. They consider you one of them as well.

When you develop a positive reference group, you begin to become a member of the in-crowd at your level of business. The starting point in this process is to develop a deliberate and systematic approach to networking throughout your career.

People like to do business with people they know. They like to socialize and interact with people with whom they are familiar. And they like to recommend people they trust. Fully 85% of the best jobs in America are filled as the result of a third party recommendation. The best networkers are never unemployed for very long.

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when they begin networking is scattering their time and energy indiscriminately and spending their time with people who can be of no help at all. Even if they attend organization meetings, they often end up associating with people who are neither particularly ambitious or well-connected.

When you network, you must be perfectly selfish. You want to become all you can over the course of your career. You want to rise as far as you can. Any success you could ever desire will require the active involvement and help of lots of other people. Your job is to focus your energies and attention on meeting the people who can help you and the only way you can do this is by staying away from the people who cannot help you at all.

When you network, your aim is to meet people who are going places in their lives. You want to meet people who are ahead of you in their careers and in their organizations. You want to meet people you can look up to with pride. You want to meet people who can be friends, guides and mentors. You want to think ahead and meet people who can help you move into your ideal future more readily. For this reason, you must sort people into categories: helpful vs. non-helpful, ambitious vs. non-ambitious, going somewhere vs. going nowhere. Remember, your choice of a reference group in your networking will determine the success of the process.

You begin your networking process at your place of work. Look around and identify the top people in your organization. Make these people your role models and pattern yourself after them. One of the best ways to start networking is to go to someone you admire and ask for his or her advice. Don’t be a pest. Don’t tie up several hours of their time. Initially you should ask for only a few minutes and you should have two or three specific questions.

When you talk to a successful person, ask questions like, “What do you think is the most important quality or attribute that has contributed to your success?” and, “What one piece of advice would you give to someone like me who wants to be as successful as you some day?” You could also ask, “Can you recommend a particular book, tape, or training program that would help me move along more rapidly in my career?”

There is a law of incremental commitment in networking. It says that people become committed to helping you, or associating with you, little by little over time. In some cases the chemistry won’t be right and the person with whom you would like to network will really not be interested in networking with you. Don’t take this personally. People get into, or out of, networking for a thousand reasons. However, if there is good chemistry, if you like the person and the person likes you, be patient and bide your time. Don’t rush or hurry, just let the networking relationship unfold without over-eagerness on your part. If you try to go too fast, you will scare people away.

Instead of asking your superiors for more money, ask for more responsibility. Tell your boss that you are determined to be extremely valuable to the organization and that you are willing to work extra hours in order to make a more important contribution.

There is nothing so impressive to a boss as an employee who continually volunteers for more responsibility. Many people have the unfortunate goal of doing as little as possible for as much money as possible. But not the winners. The winners realize that if all you do is what you’re being paid for today, you can never be paid any more in the future. The person who continually volunteers for extra assignments and does more than is expected gains the respect, esteem and support of his or her boss.

Whenever you do something nice or helpful for others, they feel a sense of obligation. They feel like they owe you one. They have a deep subconscious need to pay you back until they no longer feel obligated to you. The more things you do for people without expectation of return, the more they feel obligated to help you when the time comes.

We have moved from the age of the go-getter to the age of the go-giver. A go-giver is a person who practices the law of sowing and reaping. He or she is always looking for opportunities to sow, knowing that reaping is not the result of chance. You will find that successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, “What’s in it for me?”

The surprising thing is that the more of yourself you give away with no direct expectation of return, the more good things come back to you in the most unexpected ways. In fact, it seems that the help we get in life almost invariably comes from people whom we have not helped directly. Rather, it comes from others who have been influenced by people whom we have helped directly. Therefore, since you can’t control where your help or assistance is coming from, you must establish a blanket policy of giving with complete confidence that it will come back to you in the most wonderful ways.

Whatever your job or occupation, there are trade and industry associations, business associations and service clubs that you can join. Excellent networkers are among the best known and most respected people in the community. To reach that status, they followed a simple formula. They carefully identified the clubs and associations whose members they can help and support and who can help and support them in return. And then they joined and participated.

When you look at the various organizations you should join, you should select no more than two or three. Target the ones with the people that can be the most helpful to you. When you join, your strategy should be to look at the various committees of the organization. Volunteer for the committee that engages in the activities that are most important to the organization, such as governmental affairs or fundraising. Then get fully involved in your chosen responsibilities.

You will find that the members of the key committees are usually key players in the business community as well. By joining the committee, you create an opportunity to interact with them in a completely voluntary and non-threatening way. You give them a chance to see what you can really do, outside the work environment. And you contribute to the committee as a peer, not as an employee or subordinate.

Remember, in any committee 20% of the people do 80% of the work. In any association, fully 80% of the members never volunteer for anything. All they do is attend the meetings and then go home. But this is not for you. You are determined to make your mark and you do this by jumping wholeheartedly into voluntary activities that move the association ahead. And the key people will be watching and evaluating you. The more favorable attention you attract, the more people will be willing to help you when you need them.

Networking fulfills one of your deepest subconscious needs — getting to know people and being known by them. It fulfills your need for social interaction and for the establishing of friendly relationships. It broadens your perspective and opens doors of opportunities for you. It increases the number of people who know and respect you. It makes you feel more in control of your career. And it can be one of the most exciting and fulfilling experiences of your life.

netHQ
Brian Tracy photo

Copyright © 2010 – Brian Tracy – Reprinted with permission. Brian Tracy is the most listened to audio author on personal and business success in the world today. His fast-moving talks and seminars on leadership, sales, managerial effectiveness and business strategy are loaded with powerful, proven ideas and strategies that people can immediately apply to get better results in every area. For more information, please go to: www.BrianTracy.com.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Networking and Selling DO NOT Mix!

Filed under: Networking,Networking Article — Larry James @ 6:00 am
Tags: , , , ,

Networking and selling are not mutually exclusive. Networking builds relationships and relationships always form the foundation to satisfying client and customer relationships. Expert networkers know this and rarely ever use a networking event to demonstrate their selling skills. Networking is an incredible promotional opportunity to talk with others about their business and to do your best to help them make connections to people who can use their products or services.

It’s about making friends before you need them or their services. You do not sell at networking events. It is the time to prospect and build relationships. You can be a savvy connector for others and yourself.

“If (networking is) done properly you meet new people, engage in friendly conversation, exchange business cards, and usually after meeting these same people 2, 3, or 4 times at similar events you agree to meet privately for coffee, where you share greater detail about each others business in hopes that the other wants your product or service or at least knows someone else who MIGHT be able to use your product or service.” – Michael Schuett

salesmanSelling on the other hand requires you having to learn how to really be a salesperson. It is a skill that can be learned, yet lots of people who network prefer networking because they think they really don’t have to sell. These people are part of what I call the “business cards at the ready” brigade.

Many actually fear selling. You’ll hear them say, “I just don’t want to be pushy.” They haven’t learned the art of persuasion. People like this just don’t know any better. They become pushy and aggressive, self-serving idiots at networking events.

They hope that the contacts they meet will like them and automatically buy from them and they won’t have to do any selling. These people are misinformed. My friend, Tom Hopkins, once said, “People will only do business with people that they like and trust.” We are talking relationships here. Building relationship takes time. Networking is important but it is not the end-all – you still have to finish the process with follow-up and by closing the sale.

Networking is a business activity and not a friend-trolling activity. It will help you keep the focus on why you’re really there; to help others. Selling requires proactive activity by the person wanting the sale. It’s not passive, which networking tends to be.

Top sales people support their client or customer’s buying decision, give them the information they need to make the right decision and build trust in order to do business with them.

After networking comes the follow-up. During the follow-up is where the selling starts – where it is understood that you are selling your products or services.

I love people and networking is fun but unless you ask for the order after you have developed the relationship, you are just having fun and not selling. Many business owners and sales people today are simply hiding behind their networking activities, their Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook accounts. Remember, face-to-face contact is where the sale is made.

If you attend a networking event and become just a card collector and never follow-up you will become an undesirable addition to the “people to avoid” list at networking events. Being in sales mode at a business networking event is not only inefficient and stupid; it is a big turn off.

netHQ

Copyright © 2010 – 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! Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”

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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.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Referral Is a Referral, Right? Wrong!

Ivan Misner, Guest Author –

A referral is better than a cold call because you have the name of the prospect and, if you’re fortunate, you can use the name of the referral source to open the door. What more could you hope for? Actually, there’s quite a bit more you can expect from referrals that have been properly developed by their sources.

ivanmisnerYou see, all referrals are not equal. Referrals come in many different grades and they vary in quality according to how much involvement your referral source has invested in preparing the referral for you.

Here are the first three levels of referrals:

1. Name and contact information only. This isn’t much better than having just a name to call. It only indicates that your referral source has done just enough work to provide you with a phone number, address or some other way of contacting the prospect.

2. Literature, biography and company information. When a referral source offers to give a contact your marketing literature or other information about your business, all you can be certain of is that the prospect will see the materials. The prospect’s interest in your product or service will depend solely on the impact of your marketing message.

3. Authorization to use name. Once a referral source has authorized you to use her name, you can feel fairly certain that you’ve established a good level of credibility with her. By allowing you to say that she endorses your product or service, your source has given you valuable leverage with the prospect; however, the problem with this level of referral is that the burden of developing the prospect still rests on you. Once you’ve conveyed that your referral source recommends you and your business, the task of selling really begins.

Think about the referrals you’ve gotten over the past couple of months. Now, think about which referrals fall into each of the three categories above.

The more time and effort your source puts into qualifying, educating and encouraging the prospect before you become involved, the higher the quality and level of that referral. In level 4 through level 6 referrals, the quality of the referral is higher than level 1 through level 3 referrals. Here’s why . . .

4. General testimonial or letter of recommendation. Getting a referral source to say or write nice things about you is a major accomplishment. His willingness to communicate positively about you and your business shows that you’ve built a moderate level of trust with him. Of course, testimonials and letters of recommendation are fairly common in the business world, so their impact on the average person is limited.

5. Letter of introduction and promotion. This is the first level of referral that truly involves a modicum of effort on the part of your referral source. Unlike the letter of recommendation, which requires little more than a written endorsement, the note or letter of introduction implies a more substantive relationship between you and the referral source, and it usually includes background information and a description of your product or service as filtered through the lens of the author. It also implies that the prospect will be hearing from you.

Adding the element of promotion increases the effectiveness of your referral source’s effort on your behalf. Promotion is advocacy–an outright recommendation of your product or service with a description of its features and benefits.

6. Introductory call and promotion. Another level up in terms of effort is the referral source who makes a personal phone call on your behalf. It takes preparation and effort, but a telephone call from your source is more effective than a letter for paving your way to communicate with the prospect. Including a promotion makes it even more favorable.

If you’re given a level 1 referral, you still have to do 95 percent of the work to close (which is not much better than a cold call) so the referral levels listed above are definitely more desirable than level 1, 2 & 3. However, what you really want to get is a level 9 or 10 referral because with those, the person giving you the referral has already done most of the work for you.

One thing we know about referrals is that it’s easier for your referral source to close the deal than it is for you because your source already has a relationship of trust with your prospect. A referral where your referral source has already closed the deal for you before you even contact your prospect is the absolute best kind of referral you can get; it’s considered a level 10 referral.

7. Arranged a meeting. When your referral source arranges a meeting, she moves beyond the role of a promoter to that of a facilitator, taking the responsibility of working out the details of getting you and the prospect together. This is a big-time referral effort.

8. In-person introduction and promotion. At this level, your referral source is making a serious commitment of time and energy in support of your business. By agreeing to serve as an intermediary in a face-to-face introduction, your source becomes an active business agent. This demonstration of deep trust in and approval of your product or service substantially raises the referral’s effectiveness with the prospect. Adding promotion further enhances its power, because your source is then actively engaged in selling your product or service instead of just facilitating a meeting.

9. Assessment of need and interest. In this level, your referral source has done the work of assessing the need a prospect may have for your product or service and has gauged the prospect’s interest in learning more about it. This enables you to focus your selling effort on needs you know the prospect has an intention to fill, and it allows you to select or tailor your products or services to provide specific benefits.

10. Closed deal. At the top level, the sale has been closed before you even contact the prospect, soley on the strength of your referral source’s efforts. Nothing else is required from you except to deliver the product or service and collect payment

netHQ

Copyright © 2010 – 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 New York Times best seller, Truth or Delusion? Busting Networking’s Biggest Myths.

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Are You Shooting Yourself In The Foot?

Filed under: Guest Author Articles,Networking Article — Larry James @ 6:00 am
Tags: ,

Jeff Glaze, Guest Author –

Have you ever been at a networking function talking to someone when during the conversation you felt very self-conscious trying to say the right thing? Were you afraid that maybe if you said the wrong thing the person might not find you likeable, and therefore not want to do business with you? If you have, I am about to tell you why you should not worry about it.

Like the obnoxious song “Don’t Worry – Be Happy” from years ago, I want to share with you the reason why being careful about what we say works against us in the networking environment.

shootingyourselfinthefootOur goal in business networking should be to establish new relationships and through the process of follow-up develop them over time. As with any relationship, being honest plays a very important role in that development.

When we meet someone for the first time, we want to make a good impression. Often we put on our “party face” so that we do. This can often cause us problems that we do not expect. One problem is that when we try to appear to be something that we really do not feel inside of us, we often have a fear that we are going to be “discovered”. This fear causes us to feel uncomfortable about the situation and though we may be smiling, we are really cringing inside.

Most people worry that if they just be who they are, that no one can accept them. I argue that if we do not just be ourselves, sooner or later who we really are will slip out and then we will have to deal with the consequences of being discovered. This then leads to a feeling of distrust between people.

Have you ever been in a relationship with a person of the opposite sex where you did not tell them something important early on and later had to reveal it or even worse it was revealed by accident? It leads for difficult times after that and a lot of shuffling and apologizing.

In my opinion, it is better to risk being who I am up front. To let people know exactly how I feel. People, for the most part, have a forgiving nature. They actually want to forgive. If you make a mistake and say something that can be potentially embarrassing, you can always apologize for it and be forgiven. But if you say something that is not necessarily true and are discovered later, your credibility may be permanently damaged.

If you go into a networking environment prepared to be relaxed and genuine, you will find that it is a lot more fun to be there. If you have a plan of action to really get to know people, you will be much more productive in a shorter amount of time. People will feel comfortable talking to you and you to them. In an environment of truth, more people will want to do business with you and to be around you.

Authentic enthusiasm is contagious. You will always appear to be more attractive when you are excited about what you are doing. When you are not worried about making mistakes, you will appear to be happier. Being happy about the situation will help you to smile more, and the smiling face is a natural human attractor.

So next time you attend a networking function, just be yourself. Your results will improve and you will feel better when you leave to go home. Over time, the difference will be measurable in more ways than just your income. You will find that you have more friends than you had ever imagined possible. When it comes time for the referral, your friend will remember you because friends really do refer friends.

netHQ

Copyright © 2010 – Jeff Glaze – Reprinted with permission. Register for his FREE newsletters, the monthly NewsWire and the weekly NewsFlash. Subscribe now and get the NEW E-Book “A Fire Within: Passionately Transfer Your Message to Others for Greater Success” for FREE. www.AtlantaEvent.com where you can order it securely online.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Star Gazers of Networking: Who They Are and How to Handle Them

Emmy M. Vickers, Guest Author –

Many entrepreneurs and professionals who attend networking events tend to take pride in “working the room” to see how many people they can meet; how many business cards they can collect in the shortest amount of time. This can lead to the unintentional condition that I like to call “star gazing.”

Like an amateur astronomer scanning the night sky for recognizable star patterns, the “Star Gazer” in networking terms is that person who is half-heartedly involved in a conversation while scanning the room to see who else they would like to talk to before leaving the event. “Star gazers” do not realize how rude and disrespectful this behavior actually is. More importantly, it may be counter-productive to the extent they are at the event – ideally to meet people who can help them grow their business by word-of-mouth marketing; by being a resource or even a client.

networkinggroupIt is rather easy to recognize “star gazers.” They have wondering eyes while you are talking to them or sharing with them what you do. They give half-hearted answers to your questions because they’re simultaneously scanning the room. Worse case, they give you the impression that you’re in a monologue because they are not responding to your questions (not listening to you), therefore leaving you to feel like you are being ignored, as they continue to scan the room. In short, “star gazers” are incapable of giving you their undivided attention.

As a strategic networking specialist, I want to share with you several options you can use to counteract the rude behavior of “star gazers.” First of all, you remind yourself that you want to be a good referral source and that first impressions are very important. This awareness should serve as a reminder to not retaliate by becoming rude.

Option #1: Bring the behavior to the other person’s attention by asking them if they would like to finish the conversation a little later during the event, as it appears that they are focused elsewhere in the room. Sometimes this awareness brings the “star gazer” back down to earth long enough to see the rudeness in their behavior.

If the “star gazer” persists after your attempt at raising their awareness, then it is time to simply end the conversation.

Option #2: “John (use the person’s name here), it appears there are other people you would like to meet, it was a pleasure to meet you. I wish you much success this evening.” At which point, you both move on separately to continue networking.

Option #3: “John (use the person’s name here), it was a pleasure meeting you. I apologize, but my time is limited and there are a few other people I need to catch up with before I leave. I wish you much luck in making new connections this evening.”

The difference in the three options is that option #1 puts the ball in the “star gazer’s” court and gives them an opportunity to apologize for their rudeness and a choice on whether they would like to continue the conversation. The second and third options allow you to take control over the situation and make your graceful escape.

In closing, remember that strategic networking is about building positive, long-term, trusting relationships. It is about listening. And it is very difficult to trust your business to someone who is incapable of focusing on the human being standing in front of them.

As a strategic networker you should question how likely is it that the “Star Gazer” will get your order correct, deliver the service they promise, or serve as a dependable referral source later in your relationship if they can’t even stay focused through a brief introduction. So, the next time that you attend a networking event, leave the “star gazing” to the astronomers and give your undivided attention and respect to the person in front of you. Happy Networking!

emmy2Copyright © 2010 – Emmy Vickers. Emmy Vickers Enterprises, LLC would like to help you “raise your net worth through strategically networking TM.” Teach you how to create and cultivate your business relationships. We listen, motivate, encourage, educate and guide you. Emmy M. Vickers is a national corporate trainer and speaker specializing in teaching others how to strategically network for business success. She is also the creator of the country’s first entrepreneur network kit. Please visit her at www.emmyvickersenterprises.com. To schedule a consultation contact her at 301-593-2072.

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Pay it Forward

What a concept! It is thought-provoking and it will inspire you. Choose someone in your network who needs help. Help them. Their only obligation is to “pay it forward” by helping at least one other person who must agree to help one other person, etc. In other words you don’t “pay it back” to the person who helped you, you extend to others the kind of help you have experienced, but in a way that helps them.

When you “pay it forward,” you deliver a “deliberate” act of kindness. Intentionality is key. Contribution is the result.

Hopefully you got involved in business networking because you want to help people and people want to help you. You meet someone new and once you find out what they do and what then need, you immediately think, “Oh, I know someone who sells Ricoh products, you should meet James Casey!” A great networker is on automatic. When they know someone else who can help, they help make the connection. Likewise, when you mention that you have a particular need, they mention several people you might consider and offer to connect you with them.

PayItForwardThe most important thing to remember is that networking is all about building long-lasting relationships and adding value. The more you find ways to help others around you, the more opportunities will inevitably come your way.

Never be self-serving. It’s easy to sound that way sometimes. Create buzz by (1) introducing yourself to someone without sounding like you’re selling something and (2) you have to somehow get them to feel compelled to mention you to others. It’s really more important to focus on helping others first. Always be sincere with your help.

Interview the person for your blog, Website or podcast. If they have written an article recently, offer to review it and post it as something from a guest author. By reaching out in this way, the other person will actually look forward to learning more about you and your business. If they enjoy talking with you, trust you and like who you are, they may take the time to mention you to people in their network.

Remember, people are more than willing to help you if you help them. Most entrepreneurs are acutely aware of the value of networking, and the successful ones understand that networking is all about helping others.

Pay your leads forward. When you support others in their success whether that takes the form of you providing valued connections for them, or using their service or product, you create the opportunity for reciprocity. They have an unspoken obligation and most will reciprocate.

Paying it back is okay too, but in networking it doesn’t always happen that way. Sometimes there is simply nothing you can do to “pay it back.” However, you should be forever watchful for those opportunities.

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

Recently I was told by one of my wedding vendors that she had booked a wedding because her contact information was on my Website links page. About a week later, I received a written “thank you” with a $50 bill enclosed. The next time I saw her, I shook her hand with the $50 bill in my hand and said, “I am grateful for the gratuity, however I do not accept money for business leads.” She understood and was a little surprised that I would give the $50 bill back to her. However, within 30 days, she had the opportunity to return the lead by referring a couple to me who were getting married and I booked the wedding.

Read my review of the movie, “Pay it Forward.” If you haven’t seen the movie you owe it to yourself to see it. Available at most DVD & Video Stores.

netHQ

Copyright © 2010 – 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!”

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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.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Does Your Networking Group Have a “Community” Presence?

Filed under: Community,Networking — Larry James @ 6:00 am
Tags: , , , ,

I believe it is important for networking groups to play an active role in the community they serve. As networkers work to help each other they should combine their efforts by making a difference in the community. It is important so that you can become a presence in your area. I can this social entrepreneurship.

Members of a community have a responsibility for being involved in that community. By doing this you become more connected. This connection gives you a chance to make an impact. Be transparent and proactively honest in your community. When you are involved in your community, your are one of them, an insider. Community involvement can help your business grow because it promotes trust, builds solid relationships and puts a personal face on your business that can’t be duplicated any other way. When you are a good neighbor, a known and respected member of the community, your business will prosper.

Volunteerism is a great way for networkers to have fun and feel closer. Make sure your motives are pure.

needideaApart from being a good samaritan and lending a helping hand, being a positive member of your community can result in increased business, better public relations and free publicity for your networking group.

Local schools always need a helping hand. Perhaps while you are helping the school you can mentor or coach the students about the importance of networking. That’s something we are not teaching our kids in school. It teaches them about their responsibilities as citizens of the world and of our nation. It is our responsibility to pass down this legacy to our children.

Sponsor sports teams. Volunteer to help in local and state elections. Become involved in Special Olympics.

Many companies give back to the community as well. Community involvement includes mentoring, volunteering, being active on boards of organizations, and sharing your time and talents to improve your community. When you really truly look at all of your options, you will find that they are endless.

Join local business organizations and network with others. This is especially useful if you provide services to other businesses. Networking is a proven way to gain new clients.

Here is one of the perks. Creating a community presence for your networking group will almost always create opportunity to promote your group and your own business. It helps you expand your social circle not only for yourself, but for your networking group. It helps build new friendships and relationships.

Surround yourself with people who are like-minded; who are interested in helping to brand your networking group as a community-minded group.

greatideaFind a need and fill it. Here is a great example.

I started one of Tulsa’s most successful networking groups called The Tulsa Business Connection in 1985. Not long after the group was organized, a prospective member was invited to visit our group for possible membership. The day after the meeting, I received a call that her daughter and her daughter’s friend had run away from home. She had called the Police to report it but was told that they could do nothing until she had been missing for 24 hours. The mother was beside herself. She didn’t know what to do.

I quickly call our members – about 60 – and rounded up a $500 reward for the safe return of both girls. Next, I began calling the Tulsa radio and TV stations to see if they would run a story. They did. KRMG Radio was especially helpful. I did a radio interview where I noted how frustrated the mother was and said it was a shame that a city as large as Tulsa had no place for her to turn. They took parts of the interview and ran SoundBytes on the news.

runawayhotlineBy the time I returned to my office, I received a call from the radio station telling me that the Director of Tulsa Youth Services was trying to reach me. When I called her I was told that counselors at Youth Services were available. I told her that I was curious why they didn’t have a run-away hot-line for parents to call. My mind was spinning with all kinds of ideas to help and came up with having The Tulsa Business Connection band together to offer this service to the Tulsa area.

The newspaper was a different story. I was told that run-aways were not news and the answer was an emphatic, “No!” I’ve never been one to accept the first “No.” I told them that instead of focusing on the run-aways that maybe they should focus on the fact that there was virtually no resource to help parents in their time of need and that The Tulsa Business Connection was considering funding a run-away hot-line in the Tulsa area and we were looking for donations of money and vendors who would help us promote the idea.

TulsaWorldThe next day, The Tulsa World ran a “front-page” story – a full half-page – that talked about the mother’s frustration, the hot-line idea, a short blurb about the girls and with photos of both girls. Success!

Within 12 hours both girls were found and a $500 reward was paid to the women who just happened to see both girls in her apartment complex. She was invited to attend one of our meetings where I presented her with the reward check. She was unemployed at the time and was grateful for the $500.

The fact that both girls were found gave me the success I needed to start the buzz about a run-away hot-line and I called the newspapers, radio and TV to tell them the news.

Why am I telling you this story? The Tulsa Business Connection became known in the Tulsa area overnight. Our membership grew. The hot-line (1+RunAway) was up and running and we continued to have a community presence and continued to raise money for over a year and a half to fund the phone line.

The printer member of our group volunteered to print more than 15,000 fliers. Another of our members who owned an office supply store donated the paper. My name, The Tulsa Business Connection and all the other members of our group who actively participated in this project were given credit in the flyers. Our networking members distributed the flyers in their businesses and in other businesses all over town.

Not only did The Tulsa Business Connection get lots of publicity and praise from the community, the Board of Directors of Tulsa Youth Services voted to eventually take over the funding of the hot-line and continued to print thousands of brochures. The Tulsa Business Connection continued to receive credit for the hot-line idea. We tracked more than $2,000,000 in business leads between our 60 members in only the second year of our existence.

It’s call giving back. Use your imagination. Get creative. Brainstorm with other networking members. Find a need and fill it. Be social entrepreneurs. As active networkers you are encouraged to become more committed to the community that supports your businesses. Everyone benefits!

netHQ

Copyright © 2010 – 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
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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.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Treat “Everyone” With Respect. Period!

Filed under: Networking,Networking Article — Larry James @ 6:00 am
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Treat everyone in your network well. Never discount someone as unimportant. One of the foundational principles of business networking is respect. There are no exceptions to the rule. The fruit of respect is listening, hearing and learning. Respect is a platform to build strong relationships on and business is all about relationships and trust and respect. Respect and trust are the basis for just about everything.

Some might argue that at the core of all business problems is a lack of respect for each other. Decency is in short supply in the competitive world of business networking in some circles. While it should be common sense to show respect to others, some people need a constant reminder. We must be careful not to give off a negative impression to anyone. What you give out always comes back to you.

First, respect your networking group. If you don’t, move on to another one.

It is respectful to honor people’s time. If you say, “I only need five minutes of your time,” keep your word. Networking often gets a bad rap because people don’t respect the time of the person on the other end.

Here are some other thoughts to consider: Listen to others when they speak. Value other networker’s opinions. Never talk about people behind their backs. Be sensitive to other people’s feelings. Be on time for networking meetings. Make eye contact when someone is talking with you. Never ignore requests from other networkers hoping they will be forgotten. Respect others by noticing that they exist. You feel better when you treat others with respect. Respect is how to treat everyone, not just those you want to impress.

Remember, you don’t have to actually respect someone in order to treat that person with respect. Treating others with a certain amount of respect and manners has nothing to do with their actions; it has everything to do with how you have decided to live your life.

You want to be identified as respectful and polite at all times, and by everyone.

My friend, Desiree Rose Ford (Business Card Chronicles BLOG), tells of a situation that happened to her at a networking event:

“There he was, standing in the middle of a very crowded room. He was 6’4” tall, dark and handsome. Even if he wasn’t holding up a notepad with money symbols on it, you couldn’t help but notice him; he was far too good looking.

I stood up straight, fixed my dress, put on my best smile and walked over to him.

“That’s a great way to get people’s attention.” I said to him as I walked over to introduce my self. After telling him my name and shaking his hand, he went straight for the kill. “What is your business?”

A little thrown back by the immediate interrogation, I replied “Print and media branding for …” I didn’t get to finish my statement before he said “You don’t need my service” as he sneered at me, turned and walked away.”

respectHad that story happened to me, I would have been embarrassed for this jerk!

If you run into a Disrespectful Danny. . . first, calm yourself. second, refocus on your networking goal. And third. . . let it go.

In an 1879 address by West Point Commandant, John McAllister Schofield, he said, “He who feels the respect which is due to others cannot fail to inspire in them regard for himself, while he who feels, and hence manifests, disrespect towards others, especially his subordinates, cannot fail to inspire hatred against himself.”

Canadian icon Anne Murray has shared both the stage and friendships with many people of note. But the country’s legendary singer says she has always held fast to her parents’ urging to respect people no matter what race, religion or station in life. “Respect is treating everyone with dignity,” Murray said.

Don’t spend a lot of time and energy trying to make sure people like you. Instead, work hard on being the kind of person that others respect. Respect will take you a lot further. – Larry Winget

Commit yourself to genuine respect, and then make that commitment apparent. Make today the beginning of a journey back to respecting everyone you meet. Without showing respect to others in your network, proper networking would not be possible. People only want to help you if they know you, trust you, respect you.

Always treat yourself with the love and respect you deserve! Respect is reciprocal. Respect others and they will respect you.

I hope that when it is my time to go, my epitaph will read, “He treated everyone with respect!”

For another video about “respect,” click here!

netHQ

Copyright © 2010 – 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

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.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” 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

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