Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Now That’s What I “Don’t” Call Networking!

Filed under: Guest Author Articles,Networking Article — Larry James @ 7:00 am
Tags:

Andy Lopata, Guest Author

This article originally appeared in The National Networker

Networking is constantly growing in popularity but yet people still make the same mistakes, have the wrong idea or fall into the same traps. Here are ten commonly held networking myths:

1. Networking is selling

Most businesses will attend generic networking events, such as BNI or Chambers of Commerce, to generate more business. That is fine; the problem is that they limit their scope to generating business from the people at the event, rather than looking to build the relationships that could lead to referrals.

That’s not to say you can’t allow people to buy from you, but they will make that decision based on your conversation, not from being sold to.

If everyone attending an event is there primarily to sell, can there be a worse environment to do so? After all, no one is in buying mode. Networking is an essential part of any business development strategy, but you should always look to sell through the people present, not to them.

2. Networking is easy

It’s easy to fall into the trap of attending a large number of events, contributing actively to social networking sites and believing you are a good networker. If you are comfortable in other people’s company and enjoy the interaction, it can be great fun.

That doesn’t necessarily mean it will lead to new business though. It’s not enough to enjoy the process, you need to have a clear idea of what your objectives from networking are, understand your commitment to your network to make that happen and communicate your needs clearly to those who want to help.

If you undertake the necessary planning, networking can be fun and feel simple. You do need to put the thought in first though, and keep tracking results.

3. Networking is manipulative

Many attendees on my workshops have a negative perception of networking. They feel that it is about using people for personal gain, putting on a false front at events and only viewing people for what they can offer you.

Effective networking is completely different. Networking is the collaboration between people and businesses to enable all of us to achieve a greater potential than we can achieve on our own. I have expertise, experience, ideas and contacts which could help you achieve your goals, and you can support me where I am weak.

There is nothing manipulative about networking if you are as willing to give as you are to take. And people putting on a false personality will struggle to build the deep relationships that lead to people wanting to support and connect them over a sustained period of time.

4. Networking is about events

Think of networking and most people will picture a room full of people wearing name badges and swapping business cards. Networking events are not “networking,” they merely help facilitate the process by presenting opportunities for people to build their network, develop deeper relationships and learn from each other.

Networking is the system of connections within a wider network, including work colleagues, suppliers, clients and (controversially for some) family, friends and social contacts. It is from this bank of relationships that true support will be freely offered.

5. Networking is about the size of your network

It’s not what you know or who you know, as many people believe. Instead, it’s who knows you and what they say about you.

Modern networking culture has been driven by numbers. Bosses will ask their staff how many business cards they collected at an event, not what they have done to follow up the people behind the cards and build the relationships. Online networkers will boast about the number of connections they have on LinkedIn, friends on Facebook or followers on Twitter.

Connecting with someone on a superficial level, by exchanging cards or accepting an online request, holds little long-term value. If networking is about supporting each other, the motivation to do so comes from liking and trusting people. That comes from building relationships, not adding extra notches to your networking bedpost.

6. Networking is not scaleable

There is a belief among many larger organisations that networking is a pastime confined to small and micro businesses, that once you reach a certain size, networking is no longer relevant.

If you sell a product to millions of people then you won’t look for them at networking events, that is fair enough. However, we have established above that networking isn’t about selling anyway. Larger firms still understand the power of word of mouth and “Buzz” marketing, with endorsements from friends and peers having more leverage than advertising. That means they need to tap into the networks of their customers and prospects to get their message across.

Networking also provides access to introducers, trusted suppliers, relevant expertise and market knowledge, all of which have an essential role to play in the success of any business…of any size.

7. You don’t meet anyone influential at networking

Another myth born of the “networking is selling” school. First of all, you never know who you might meet when you are networking. I have met some amazing people and some who are in very influential positions.

Secondly, never forget the power of “Six Degrees of Separation.” People don’t just bring themselves to events, they bring their networks; their family, friends, clients, colleagues and neighbours. Reading someone’s name badge may invite you to dismiss them as not of interest to you. Instead, get to know the people you meet, show a real interest in them and focus on building the relationship.

You will never find out to whom they are connected and who they might be happy to introduce you to if you don’t get to know them first.

8. Networking is hugely time consuming

Yes, you have to commit time to your networking. But if you plan it effectively it will both help you avoid attending events which don’t add value and also save you time elsewhere. After all, if you can get a steady stream of referrals from your network, recommendations for suppliers and access to new ideas and feedback for your business, you’ll make fewer mistakes and need to invest less time and money in other initiatives.

The time commitment needed to effectively use social networks, such as LinkedIn and Twitter, also puts a lot of people off. However, if you invest some time at the beginning building your profile and connections, you can then target your time and activity to the result you want to achieve. I believe that, for example, after you have laid the initial groundwork, ten minutes activity a day, or even a week, on LinkedIn will produce great results.

9. Networking is awkward, difficult and embarrassing

Having co-authored a book based on the premise that people are frightened of walking into a room full of strangers, I can understand and sympathise with people’s reticence to do so.

The nerves are no reason not to attend events however. People don’t have the same trepidation about going out socially and meeting friends of their friends. They don’t put on an act, plan their conversation in advance or exchange elevator pitches.

If you act naturally and “be yourself” networking events can be very enjoyable. Think of it as mixing with like-minded people, relax and find something in common to talk about. There may be some discomfort when initiating a conversation, but from there, more often than not, it should be plain sailing.

10. There are industries that don’t network

“Networking is fine for small, B-2-B businesses, but it doesn’t work for our industry”. Such comments are common when I talk to different groups about networking. But if I explore further I often find that the opposite is true.

This belief, like many of the others, comes back to the perception of networking as a room full of people trying to sell to each other. Yet most industries have professional bodies and associations who put on events for their members to learn more and to connect. Everyone, irrespective of their industry, needs to have networks of suppliers and buyers (formal or otherwise) and know to whom to pick up the phone.

Niche networks are growing, both online and face to face. Networking is becoming more prevalent in all types of business and all types of industry. Those who don’t believe it is for them are the ones who will be left behind.

netHQ

Copyright © 2010 – Andy Lopata. Reprinted with permission. Labelled “Mr Network” by The Sun, Andy Lopata was called “one of Europe’s leading business networking strategists” by the Financial Times. The co-author of two books on networking, Andy is a featured columnist the US magazine “The National Networker,” as well as being regularly quoted in the national press. Previously, Andy was Managing Director of UK network Business Referral Exchange. Andy has since worked with companies from one-man bands to organisations such as NatWest Bank, Merrill Lynch and Mastercard to help them realise the full potential from their networking. He is a former vice-president of the Professional Speakers Association. Visit Andy’s Website and BLOG.

Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. Larry James presents networking seminars nationally and offers Networking coaching; one-on-one or for your Networking Group! 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!”

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.

letsbefriends2

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
Follow Larry’s “Authors & Speakers” BLOG at: http://www.AuthorsandSpeakerNetwork.wordpress.com/

Advertisements

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Filed under: Happy Holidays! — Larry James @ 7:00 am

I would like to take this opportunity to let you know how much you are appreciated. Let the spirit of love gently fill your hearts and homes. Have a wonderful Holiday Season, with happiness and prosperity throughout the coming year. May the Holiday Season bring only happiness and joy to you and your loved ones.

Because the good will of those we serve is the foundation of our success, it is a real pleasure at this Holiday season to say “Thank You” as we wish you a full year of Happiness and Success!

My continuous gift to you is my writing. For those who do not know, I have 4 very different BLOGS and a Website to go with each BLOG. One for personal relationships, one for those interested in Weddings (brides and grooms and wedding vendors) and a Business Networking BLOG. Something NEW is posted on each BLOG every 4th day.

BLOG: http://www.CelebrateLove.wordpress.com
Website: http://www.CelebrateLove.com
BLOG: http://www.CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Website: http://www.CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com
BLOG: http://www.NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Website: http://www.TenCommitmentsofNetworking
BLOG: http://AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.wordpress.com
Website: http://www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com

If you are active in any of these areas you are invited to contribute to my BLOGs as a “Guest Author.” You are welcome to send your thoughts, ideas, observations, insights, commentary, suggestions and tips to Larry James. E-mail: CelebrateLove@cox.net. We will gladly provide copyright, brief bio and a link to your Website or BLOG if we use your stuff.

Perhaps one of the most inspiring ideas of the decade is to “Pay It Forward.” Pass these BLOGS and Websites along to your friends!

Here is a special Christmas message from my friend, Willie Jolley:

Have a Merry Christmas (or Happy Holidays or Seasons Greetings, etc.) and a Prosperous New Year! I wish you peace, love and prosperity!

A short Christmas concert, all done with iPads and iPhones from a bunch of Apple geeks! Enjoy!

Say “Merry Christmas in 150 Languages!”

santanetHQ

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!”

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.

letsbefriends2

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
Follow Larry’s “Authors & Speakers” BLOG at: http://www.AuthorsandSpeakerNetwork.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Trick Question

Filed under: Guest Author Articles,Networking Tip — Larry James @ 7:00 am
Tags:

Greg Peters, Guest Author

pencil_testWhat follows is a story problem. It will count for 10% of your grade.

You find yourself at the Chamber of Commerce networking lunch. As you walk in, you see a number of people you know and several more who look to be new to this event. What do you do?

A. Go up and chat with the new people, or
B. Catch up with your old acquaintances

OK, times up. Pencils down. The answer, of course, is C — it depends. Either activity can benefit your networking. The trick is, before you even walked in the door you should have had a plan for your attendance at the event.

Now, in general, you’ll want to meet the new people. They are the way to expand your network. Still, there will be times when chatting with old friends is more than just a pleasant pastime.

Whichever way you choose, you should always have a goal and a reason for reaching for it.

So, which do you tend to do when you go to a networking event? Is it part of your plan?

gregpeters

Copyright © 2010 – Greg Peters. Reprinted with permission. Greg Peters built a thriving Web development business over the last fifteen years using only the networking skills he developed during that time. A computer programmer by training, he was the original reluctant networker. Through study, practice, and lots of trial and error, however, he has been able to transform himself into a networking superhero — a transformation he would like to help all entrepreneurs make.

Greg now has a coaching practice helping people develop their skills to build better connections and stronger networks. In addition to his blog, “The Reluctant Networker“, he also speaks to groups regularly on the topic of good networking practice

Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. Larry James offers Networking coaching. 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!”

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.

letsbefriends2

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
Follow Larry’s “Authors & Speakers” BLOG at: http://www.AuthorsandSpeakerNetwork.wordpress.com/

Friday, December 17, 2010

Don’t be on Time. . . Be EARLY!

Filed under: Networking Tip — Larry James @ 7:00 am

Going to a networking event? Arrive early!

Get there early when the group is small and manageable. Enter the room with a smile. If you have a smile on your face, you will be perceived as approachable, enthusiastic, and friendly. Your self-confidence will begin to soar.

Make a goal to arrive 15 to 20 minutes early. (Hint: You’ll get a better parking spot!) 😉

beearlyMake sure you begin to mingle as soon as you arrive. Never isolate yourself with only your friends or colleagues you know. Move around. Spend no more than 3 to 5 minutes talking with any one person. Listen more than you talk.

One of the advantages of arriving early is you get to meet and greet people as they arrive. Act the part of the host. Make introductions to others. Be the connector. It also gives you the choice of whom you might like to approach later and get to know better. With this tactic, it is possible that, at any given time during the event, you will see more familiar than unfamiliar faces. If the event will have a speaker and there is seating, remember that early birds have an advantage in placing themselves by important and well-connected people in the group.

If you feel a little nervous, shake it off and extend your hand to offer a firm handshake. Networking doesn’t come naturally to most people. Introduce yourself. Once they say their name, repeat it immediately. You might say, “Great to meet you, Sally Smith.” This will help you remember their name.

Networking is not about bragging about your accomplishments and other shameless self-promotion. It is about finding out more about other people and what they do, letting them know about your skills, and suggesting areas where you can help their projects and businesses.

Stay late!

Don’t be in such a rush to leave. You have to plan ahead to stay late. Some of my best networking has been hanging out with those who are serious about meeting new people and making long-term relationships. That is often done when the meeting is over and the pressure is off. Mingle with the leaders. Networkers who stay late will let their guard down a bit and be more natural. That’s when you can get to see who they really are.

Some of the most successful networkers I know always linger until there is no one else to talk with. Some of the most important “schmoozing” takes place after the meeting. If you meet someone new and they catch your attention, invite them to have coffee or a drink after the meeting away from the crowd. Ask them to suggest someone you should know. Networking doesn’t have to end when the meeting is over.

BONUS Article: “Come Early and Stay Late!

netHQ

Copyright © 2010 – Larry James. Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. Larry James presents networking seminars nationally and offers Networking coaching; one-on-one or for your Networking Group! 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!”

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.

letsbefriends2

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
Follow Larry’s “Authors & Speakers” BLOG at: http://www.AuthorsandSpeakerNetwork.wordpress.com/

Monday, December 13, 2010

So You Say You’re an Introvert? Then Be a SHY Connector!

Filed under: Networking — Larry James @ 7:00 am

Shyness keeping you from networking events? Can’t seem to make yourself “put yourself out there?”

Sacha Chua has some great encouragement for you. Sacha says, “Here are 7 tips for connecting with others if you’re shy. (No need to fake being an extrovert!)”

There are 17 slides in the following slide show. Be sure you have a few minutes to scroll through and carefully read each slide. If you don’t have time now, book mark this page and come back when you do. It will be worth it!

If your perspective doesn’t experience a major shift after you view this slide show, you are probably dead and they just haven’t buried you yet. 😉

Take a look at The Shy Connector from collaboration evangelist, Sacha Chua!

netHQ

Copyright © 2010 – Sacha Chua. Sacha Chua is a collaboration evangelist, toolsmith, storyteller, geek at IBM Toronto, Canada. Visit her very Techie BLOG.

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!”

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.

letsbefriends2

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
Follow Larry’s “Authors & Speakers” BLOG at: http://www.AuthorsandSpeakerNetwork.wordpress.com/

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Get Out of Your Own Way

Filed under: Networking Article — Larry James @ 7:00 am

I watch lots of people at networking events chase their own tail. The get in their own way because they flat don’t know what they are doing!

I often invite people to a networking event and hear a lot of “I don’t network because (fill in the blank)!” They’re fearful, they make excuses.

“Many small business owners think that networking is useless and avoid it at all costs. Even if some small business owners do not see networking as useless, they still avoid it for various other superficial reasons, such as lack of time or other issues. Under these reasons, the true reason remains hidden deep inside their conscience. But the real reason is the fear of networking. Face down the fear.” ~ www.MoreBusiness.com

Excuses often camouflage fear. There are excuses and there are reasons why. The reasons why are usually because of a lack of networking knowledge which causes the fear. Fear is most often based on misinformation about what networking is or can be.

NOfearA common barrier to effective networking is a fear of talking to strangers. Fear is the greatest inhibitor of networking success. Fear stops the activity of networking. It keeps you stuck. . . like your foot is nailed to the floor. Fear is what keeps us from maximizing our contacts with other people.

I know, you’ve heard this before. . . Fear is “False Evidence Appearing Real.” It’s true. We make up most of the stuff we fear. And most of it never happens. Fear is always worse than reality. It’s so natural to assume the worst case situation any time we do something unfamiliar, but reality bears the truth again and again that the worst case scenario is so unlikely that it’s not really worth worrying about. As Seth Godin puts it, “Worry is the act of experiencing failure repeatedly in your head before it ever happens.”

WinnersIn networking you have to go for it and believe in yourself. If you can’t do that, then you should stay home, watch TV and eat raspberries!

If your are paralyzed by these questions:

• What will people think when I want to start a conversation?
• Will they think I’m successful?
• Do I look like someone they might like to network with?
• Will they think I’m pushy?
• What happens if I “freeze up?”
• If I hang out by myself, will they think I’m antisocial?
• Will they know that I am nervous?
• Will I just make a fool of myself?
• Will I be embarrassed?
• and the list goes on and on.

. . . then you really need to break out of your shell and know that if you want to break free, you must do the thing you fear. You MUST kick fear in the belly. If you are afraid, shy, and bashful around people at networking events, I have 3 words for you. . . “Get over it!”

One way to get over it fast is to take a friend with you when you attend a networking event and network as a team. I don’t recommend doing this everytime, but two or three times will help as you begin to learn the nuances of networking. Be yourself. Never try to be someone you think someone else thinks you should be. Relax. Just be yourself.

Another tip would be to connect with the group members before you walk into that room. If the group has a Website, go to it and see if you can find someone that you already know or whose business interests might compliment yours. Give them a call and see if they might be at the next meeting.

Another idea is to network face-to-face with people you already know. Invite them to lunch. Find out what makes them and their business tick. Discover ways you can help each other. You don’t always have to attend a networking group to network. You can network anywhere! Picnics, cocktail parties, fundraisers, school functions, golf outings, office parties, coffee shops, gyms, alumni associations, class reunions, and local business associations all present great networking opportunities. Wherever there are people, you can network. You have to give up being shy and actually talk about your business and seek information about their business before you can expect any results from networking.

Networking is NOT about being pushy. It’s also not about “faking it till you make it!” It’s about finding a common ground on which you can communicate. Always remember, networking is about building long-term business relationships. A recent Carnegie study showed that 85% of a person’s career success depends upon his or her ability to effectively relate to and interact with other people. And yet the thought of networking sends chills down people’s spines.

Building your networking skills will help you create business relationships, which can help to open doors and give you access to career opportunities. Networking is also about gaining access to skills and expertise that you do not possess. Networking is a learned skill. There is a right and a wrong way to network. Natural networkers are in the minority. They studied networking techniques and practiced them until they found the ones that worked for them.

Hardly anyone wants to be in a room full of strangers they don’t know and try to strike up a conversation. Coping with face-to-face contact with strangers is the first fear that many have to conquer. You can overcome this fear by being the first to speak to them. Try this: Replace fear with curiosity! Make small talk. Ask lots of questions (and be a good listener). Be interested. The person who is asking the questions is in control of the conversation. When you focus on finding something you have in common with the other person, the quicker the connection will occur.

“By being interested we lessen the fear concerns. By being interested we become less self conscious. By being interested we form relationships. Being interested means remaining interested and following up with people afterwards. You will be seen as a person of your word, but you will reinforce your interest in the other person.” ~ Kevin Eikenberry

Ask questions about their business, how they got involved, what sets them apart, and what they love about it. Ask about their perfect client or customer, their interests and their family. As you listen see what connections you can make for them to help them reach their goals.

surrenderyourfearIt helps if you will prepare a unique way of introducing yourself that is different and catchy. Smile. Look people in the eyes. Eye contact is important because it shows that you care and also shows self-confidence. Always use your full name. Most of the time people will think you are professional by saying your full name and they may ask what you do as a result. Write a 4-line funny poem about who you are and what you do.

I will often say, “Hello, my name is Larry James, the guy with two first names.” I know. It’s kinda silly, but it gets their attention, makes them “think” about my name and helps them to remember it. Depending on the event, I may add: “I’ve married more than 440 women!” That ALWAYS gets their attention. I go on to explain that: “I am an award winning wedding officiant and perform the most “romantic” wedding ceremony you will ever find anywhere.” 😉

The first impression a person has of you will stay with them for a long time. When you let others know what you do, what your skills are, you spread the word about yourself. One of the best ways to make a good first impression is to find creative ways to introduce yourself to others.

One Kansas City Networking Group offered points toward winning your dues paid for a year if you created a new jingle (must be at least 3 lines) for your business and were willing to come to the meeting dressed in a costume and sing or perform it for the group. That should help you move past your fear and get people talking about you.

“At that moment when your mind goes blank and your mouth is dry, think about what they might want. Do they need a drink? Is there someone that you could introduce them to? If you are just thinking me, me, me then you will panic. Remember, everyone feels difficult in these scenarios but people will always like you if you are nice.” ~ Caroline Parry

NEVER try to sell your product or service to someone you’ve just met. That is a BIG networking “no-no!” Instead find out if there is anyway that you can help them. If everyone attending an event is there primarily to sell, can there be a worse environment to do so? After all, no one is in buying mode. Ask, “How can I help you?”

“Networking isn’t selling; there’s a strong perception that you go to networking events to sell as hard as you can and find clients. That’s not how it works. Occasionally you might meet someone who later becomes a customer, but the majority are there to sell themselves – so I can’t think of a worse place to try and sell because no one’s there to buy.” ~ Andy Lopata

Avoid asking, “What do you do?” Most uninitiated networkers only ask it as a conversation starter and most don’t care about the answer. All they want if a change to talk about themselves and give you their “30-second connection.” Most conversations at large networking events are like two TVs facing one another. Talking seems to be the primary focus of our communication. However, effective listening is more powerful. Place a generous listening attitude high on your list of things to remember.

Use the following phrases to listen generously and expand a conversation (Compliments of Kimberly Wiefling):

stopfear• That’s a great idea!
• Say more about that.
• Interesting! What else?
• What would that make possible?
• What would that allow for?
• Tell me more . . .
• What would make that possible?
• Help me understand . . .

Get out of your own way! Fight the fear and do it anyway! When you do, your self-confidence will increase and your business will prosper!

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!”

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.

letsbefriends2

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
Follow Larry’s “Authors & Speakers” BLOG at: http://www.AuthorsandSpeakerNetwork.wordpress.com/

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Spread Yourself Around

Filed under: Networking Tip — Larry James @ 7:00 am

Don’t spend the entire time at a networking event talking with one person, unless of course this was your sole purpose for attending the event in the first place.

Generally 3 to 5 minutes with each contact is long enough to acertain if you want to establish a long-term business relationship with them. Be quick at getting them to talk about themselves.

When meeting someone for the first time, focus on the potential relationship you might form. As hard as it may be to suppress your business reflexes, at this point you should not make it your goal to sell your services or promote your company. You’re there to get to know someone new.

Be selfless. Networking is not about you. It’s about the people you meet. Focus all your energy on them. Put all your attention on the quality of the contact. If there is a connection, they will get around to you later. Be patient.

Make small talk. Ask lots of questions (and be a good listener). Good questions not only get the ball rolling, but they also take the pressure off you to carry the conversation. Be interested and interesting. The person who is asking the questions is in control of the conversation. When you focus on finding something you have in common with the other person, the quicker the connection will occur.

If a fairly quick connection doesn’t seem likely, silently shout, “NEXT!” and spread yourself around the room to be constantly meeting new people.

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!”

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.

letsbefriends2

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
Follow Larry’s “Authors & Speakers” BLOG at: http://www.AuthorsandSpeakerNetwork.wordpress.com/

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Matchmaker, Matchmaker. . .

Filed under: Networking Article — Larry James @ 7:00 am

networkingmatchFinding the right match when you are active in networking is just one of the goals. You are looking for people of like mind to get to know on a personal level to develop the kind of business relationship you need to have networking work for you.

First, the correct match-up, next you develop the relationship and eventually you might exchange business leads and even do business together.

When connecting to others always remember. . . there are no perfect matches – (There is no man or woman on a white horse, as in personal relationships), etc. Never get in a hurry. Building long-term business relationships takes time.

If you need a special service or product. . . get matched. If others in your network need to be connected with someone special. . . be the matchmaker.

It is very wise to know what kind of people you would like to connect to and help connect to each other BEFORE you attend a networking meeting or event. Go with a specific goal. Network with a purpose. Ask the leaders of the group if those kind of people might be present and ask for an introduction.

Help connect others. In other words, BE a matchmaker. Be specific with each person you connect about why you’re connecting them and how you see the relationship potentially working out. Offer suggestions, tips and ideas that have worked for you.

Business networking is a team sport. You must be in the game, not just sitting on the sidelines hoping networking works. Take it from me. . . Networking Works! AND you must work it.

TheChampionIt is not always confortable to be active in networking. You must get out of your comfort zone. Do the thing you fear to do the most and the death of fear is certain. No more hanging out with your friends. You are there to meet new people. Learn to approach people with an attitude of “How may I help you?” Be the one asking the questions. Everyone has a story, so make it your job to find out what it is.

“It is easy to do – before someone else is finished sharing a thought or answering a question, you interject or answer. This is not only potentially embarrassing, but it is a telltale sign that you might not be terribly interested in listening.” ~ Frank Agin, author, “The Champion: Finding the Most Valuable Person in Your Network

Next, be sure to take the time to listen to their answers. A good question is one that gets the person talking about theirself while helping you understand their business. It’s not an opportunity for you to vet this person as a client. Allow people to talk about themselves and interject when only necessary to keep the conversation interesting.

qualityYour objective is to schmooze and mingle (some have called this “schmingling”). It’s to develop a professional rapport with others that will deepen over time into a trusting relationship that will eventually lead to a mutually beneficial and continuing exchange of referrals and business. New contacts open future doors. The more networking friends you have, the larger interactive community you can develop within the space of your own personal network.

“When it comes to building contacts, quality trumps quantity.” ~ Ivan Misner

The quantity of contacts you make in networking means nothing. The important thing is the quality of the relationships you develop. Talk to lots of people and when you find someone that you click with, spend some quality time getting to know them. Always remember, it is better to find one person that you can help and who may be in a position to help you, than to talk to 15 or 20 who can’t.

Networking isn’t about closing business deals or meeting hordes of new people; it’s about developing relationships in which future business can be closed. It’s about matching others to the experts that you know and who can help them. Networking is about giving – doing things for people around you. . . matchmaking!

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!”

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.

letsbefriends2

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
Follow Larry’s “Authors & Speakers” BLOG at: http://www.AuthorsandSpeakerNetwork.wordpress.com/

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.