Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Is Silence Killing Your Networking?

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

Have you joined the silent minority? You go to a networking event and stand on the sidelines as if you were watching a football game – not a word is spoken. Networking doesn’t work that way! You have to get in the game!

speakupNot saying “hello” to at least 5 or 6 people means you have probably wasted your time showing up.

Silence is NOT golden when it comes to business networking. Speak up! Be vocal. Free speech is a gift. Talking and speaking builds rapport. Networking has no code of silence.

It’s important to learn how to start conversations – and keep them going. Being nervous and shy doesn’t work. Break out of your shell and break the silence. To get noticed. . . you have to say something. Individual creativity, uniqueness and independent thinking is paramount. Show energy and passion for your business. Have a natural conversation with people instead of pitching them about your business. Don’t jump in and ask tough questions or probe too deeply. Keep the conversation light. Take the first few minutes to make a connection and show that you are interested in them as a person.

Position yourself as a thoughtful and caring person. Say things that get you noticed and keep the conversation going – at least until you find out whether the person you are talking with is someone you think you might be interested in knowing better. You can usualy do that in 3 to 5 minutes – sometimes sooner! If there is a lull in the conversation don’t be to quick to fill the silence. Listen thoughtfully.

peoplenetworkingGo with your momentary impulse. What happened today that you could share that might be helpful. Being silent can kill a personal relationship faster than you can say, “What did ‘I’ do?” It can also stymie business relationships.

Keep the conversation UP! No negative talk at a networking event. If someone says something to start the spiral downward, say something quickly to bring it back up. Think before you speak. Choose your words carefully. Two negative comments from someone and it’s time to silently shout, “NEXT!” and move on to someone else.

Never dominate the topic. Be friendly. Conversation should be give and take. When you talk too much, people feel like they aren’t being heard, and that often leads to an immediate disconnect. Talking too much is boring, especially if it’s always and only about you. You don’t have to be the center of attention. The person asking the questions gets the information and is in charge of the conversation. Soemtimes is it wise to ask questions that you already know the answer to.

Most people love to talk about themselves. Shy people play into this natural tendency. That makes them more likeable. Which makes them more memorable!

Don’t know what to talk about? Share your personal interests. How about sharing information, your expertise, your resources and your contacts. Seek commonalities before you reach out to someone. Networking is about contribution. You do that by talking. Be prepared. Take some time at your office to think about what topics might be good for conversation before you arrive at the meeting. Networking is more about listening that it is about talking. While that is true, someone has to start the conversation.

“The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention. A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words.” ~ Rachel Naomi Remen, Educator and Author

With all the social media that is available today (especially “texting”), we seem to be losing the art of conversation. Please don’t let that happen. The breakdown of communication can become a major factor in determining your success in networking. Become a conversation innovator. Say something or get left behind. People are afraid to speak up because they fear rejection. Be brave. The true art of conversation in a learned skill. Go slow. Read some books on the subject. It will pay off big.

If you want to make sure your networking efforts are a complete failure, keep silent. Better yet. Just stay home.

netHQ

Copyright © 2011 – 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.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Building a Case for LARGE Networking Events!

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

Gelie Akhenblit, Guest Author

Recently, I heard a comment that I’d like to share with you and then address it with my thoughts to see if I can shed some light on the situation. “Gelie, I really don’t like attending the large networking events with too many people because it’s difficult to connect and I’m not sure I’ll be able to network properly.”

Hmmm. . . well here is a question for you. How often do you get out and network? Do you have enough time in the day or month to stay in touch with all those wonderful connections that you have made in the past? If you are a working individual, the answer to this question, generally, is “NO.” You’re busy making money. . . you can’t be having coffee with people all day long, right?

So how do you stay in touch with all your contacts??

One of the best things you can do, and this is what I do, is go to the large events. It is at the large networking events that you are likely to run into people that you know but haven’t seen or spoken in a while. Why is this good? Well…don’t you want them to remember YOU?

Look, we are all human. And as great as you think you are…people will forget about you if you don’t stay on their radar. You have to physically stay in front of people so that they remember who you are and what you can do for them. They’ll be happy to send you referrals. . . if they remember you.

So while large events can be overwhelming – you have to walk in with a strategy and walk out a winner! If you don’t know anyone and are meeting people for the first time, then pick a certain geographical area of the room and stay there. If there are a lot of people, then they will keep moving around and you just have to stay in one spot. This could alleviate your anxiety and create a win for you!

Here is a great quote from Jessica McGee, WriteLogiq, who was an attendee at our recent BIG networking event with 800 guests:

“Congratulations on such a great event last night!!! I know I had a total blast. Amazing how many people I ran into that I already know but it was great to stay fresh in those minds, reconnect with others, and of course gather a slew of new connections!”

Now there is a win! Build your strategy, figure out what you’re going to get out of a big event and then go accomplish it!

Gelie Akhenblit, Founder of NetworkingPhoenix.com, gives some great tips on the following video for people who like to network at large events.

There are a number of reasons why people attend networking events. These include:

• Salespeople looking for new prospects
• Consultants looking for partners on joint projects
• Job seekers looking for job leads
• Entrepreneurs looking for funding sources

BONUS Articles:Networking Events are a Waste of Time. . .
Choosing a Networking Group
Breakfast or Lunch? Getting the Greatest Bang for Your Buck!

Gelie Akhenblit

netHQ

Copyright © 2011 – Gelie Akhenblit. Gelie is the Founder of NetworkingPhoenix.com. NetworkingPhoenix.com is the Valley’s one-stop-shop for professionals, entrepreneurs, small business owners, individuals in transition and anyone else looking to find networking events, chamber of commerce mixers, useful business seminars and leads clubs. The site posts a free consolidated calendar publicizing events hosted by various local groups and organizations as well as a wealth of training seminars, workshops, and other educational opportunities to help you develop your networking skills and expand your business.

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.

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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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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Build Trust Through Intimacy

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

Hmmm. We are not talking about SEX here. You can develop close, personal friends with people in your network without having sex with them. Intimacy is NOT necessarily about sex. It is about building a connection between people. Close business relationships are personal relationships. Over time – for them to to grow and prosper – they need to become intimate. There is a strong argument to be made that intimacy is much less physical and has more to do with the mind, heart, and soul of those who enjoy sharing it together. Perhaps it’s time to create a love affair with your customers.

The most common mistake people make when building relationships for success is treating business contacts differently than personal friends. ~ Keith Ferrazzi, Author of “Never Eat Alone

Intimacy: in·ti·ma·cy – [in-tuh-muh-see]
–noun, plural -cies
familiarity: close or warm friendship, a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group.

Intimacy is not a word that is often used in networking. It helps bring an entirely fresh perspective to every encounter. It helps you discover unsuspected business problems, detect unrealized potential, and create a dynamic synergy with other networkers and with your customers. Intimacy involves becoming best friends, trusting each other, knowing each other, understanding each other. Intimacy is grown and developed, it cannot be rushed. You need to make business relationships more personal. It’s okay to mix your business and personal lives.

The inherent value of a business networking group is to develop close personal relationships. They provide a forum and community within which service providers can share ideas, contacts, and business referrals. Merely “good” relationships are not as reliable as they used to be. They must foster a spirit of cooperation and trust. You must construct a model of relationships based on intimacy. it accounts for the influence of emotion in relationships.

Creating intimacy, therefore, requires two things. First, you have to understand that you need to create it and have the political will to drive a fundamental change in your relationship with your customers. But before you can go there, you must have also built up a bank of political capital and credibility by delivering routine services consistently and reliably. If you haven’t done that, your customers will never have enough trust to allow you to build the relationship you need. Built upon a foundation of trust and credibility, however, creating intimacy with your customer will allow you to become the organization that your customer has always wanted. One that understands their goals, challenges and opportunities and brings solutions to the table that create significant value for them. ~ Charles Araujo

Collaboration is the key to survival and growth for business networkers. By building and achieving collaborative excellence in networking, networkers can achieve greater intimacy with others, leading to a competitive advantage for future business.

All business relationships are personal. Connection means being intimate. Real relationships are intimate. That is how you build the trust that is necessary for your connections to thrive.

We must reinvent customer and client relationships. We must create intimacy through partnerships with one another. Focus on the long-term effect of each partnership. Customer intimacy leads to customer loyalty. You already know that. The same is true for your networking connections.

As other networkers get to know you and your lifestyle, they develop a level of intimacy that enables them to understand your attitude toward business, your behaviors and your personality. With this level of intimacy, they are able to spot things that may be causing you problems. At that point they become your trusted partner that you rely on to help manage your career. They become a part of your network of support.

The desire to connect is understandable. As new products and services enter the market with lightning speed, and social networks and applications vie for customers’ attention, the customer seems more elusive than ever. The good news? Businesses can enhance customer intimacy in ways that simply didn’t exist until recently, capitalizing on the very factors contributing to the complexity. This is a perfect storm: Customers’ desire to engage is fulfilled by new communication channels and tools, and companies now have the technologies to make sense of it all in a continuous listen-learn-innovate-improve loop. This alignment finally makes it possible to reap the benefits of becoming a truly customer-centric company. ~ Carolyn Heller Baird

It’s time to blur the boundaries! Make close friends; intimate friends while networking. You’ll have more fun, enrich your relationships and do more in less time for your success and happiness in all areas of your life.

READ: Create a Love Affair With Your Customers by Drew McLellan.

netHQ

Copyright © 2011 – 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.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Shop for a GREAT Networking Group… Then STOP!

Filed under: Choosing a Group,Networking Article,Networking Events — Larry James @ 7:00 am

It has been my experience that eventually it will be time to settle into a single neworking group and focus all you networking energy there. Hard-contact networking groups are groups that are very structured and play by the rules.

In other words, you “must” attend “weekly” meetings where the group’s leader calls the meeting to order, goes over housekeeping stuff, and then everyone gets a chance to do a 30-second connection (some call this an elevator speech) of themselves. Once people know who everyone is and what they’re looking for, then you can get up and network at will. A little structure never hurt anyone. As a matter of fact, my belief is that it is required for the group to function effectively.

netFUNIf you haven’t already found a group that suits you, visit as many groups as possible that spark your interest. This may take some time to determine your interest in them and their interest in you.

Notice the tone and attitude of the group. Mix and mingle with as many members as possible. Do the members of the group demonstrate a support for one another? Does the leadership appear competent? How often do they meet? (Weekly is always BEST). Ask lots of questions from lots of people there to get a feel for the group. This means questions that ask who, what, where, when, and how as opposed to those that can be answered with a simple yes or no.

Do they feature outside speakers with relevant networking topics? Do they feature a member each week for 5 to 7 minutes to help the membership to get more acquainted with their business? Networking should be for fun & profit. Some groups will allow you to visit several times before joining.

Are their meetings at breakfast, lunch or evenings? People who get their day started on a positive note with a breakfast meeting are often the most serious networkers. Lunch is next on my list and evenings are low on my list. I’ve noticed that people who are not doing well, seem to gravitate to the evening meeting and will often head to the bar and are really not that serious about networking. There are exceptions, so choose carefully.

You may want to call a few members and schedule a time to get together to determine their success with the group and overall impression of the members. Look for groups and contacts relevant to your aims and capabilities.

It’s important to note that I am not talking about the ulta-large groups where hundreds attend and few actually now the ins-and-outs of networking. The more relevant your targeting of groups and contacts, the more useful your meetings and referrals will be. A group of 30 to 60 works well because you actually get to know the members faster and can get down to some serious relationship building. Networking is about relationships.

directionAsk yourself, “What can I contribute to this networking community which people will find truly helpful?” Next, work hard to extend that help – whatever it is – to as many relevant people as possible. When the group’s intentions are not so much sales-oriented, but more focused on making long-term relationship, these groups are much more successful.

The goal of the your networking group of choice is to bring together a group of business owners and professionals who are truly best-in-class in their respective business categories, and create a sense of responsibility for each member’s growth and success. The members should make every effort to learn about each member’s business, gain trust and confidence, refer high quality prospects and enthusiastically promote each other whenever possible. These ideas would be a great mission statement for any effective networking group.

Once you find a networking group that fills your needs and whose members you may be able to contribute to, stop and get busy networking. You choose! Take your time and make sure the group (and you) is headed in the right direction.

BONUS articles:Networking Events are a Waste of Time. . .
Choosing a Networking Group
With Wallet or Purse in Hand. . .
Does Your Networking Group Have a “Community” Presence?

netHQ

Copyright © 2011 – 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.

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

Friday, January 14, 2011

Introducing Yourself With Humor – Make Your Networking Payoff

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

John Kinde, Guest Author

I conduct workshops on Business Networking Power – “How To Introduce Yourself in 60 Seconds for Business Success.” Although the focus of the workshop is on “Getting Attention, Making It Remembered and Making it Sell,” we have a short discussion on using spontaneous humor to brighten your introductions. Humor is a powerful tool to let people know who you are both at formal networking events where you stand before a group to speak, and also at mix-and-mingle networking events.

Here are some thoughts on the subject of introducing yourself with humor:

1. When you go to a formal networking function, especially at a format where you will have an allotted timeframe to introduce yourself to the group, plan and prepare your introduction before you arrive at the event. This will give you the time and confidence to relax and LISTEN to the introductions of other people. If you want to use spontaneous and observational humor in your introduction, you must pay attention to what is happening and what is being said around you. This is difficult to do if you are preoccupied with the basics of your own introduction. You prepare in advance so you can truly be present. Your most powerful humor will come from observations in the present moment.

2. Look for connections and twists with what other people do for a living and what you do. If you are unable to come up with a direct connection, maybe you can just fabricate one. I was at a networking meeting with someone who owned a business called Melissa’s Puppy Tub. She explained that you could bring your dog to her establishment and she would help you give it a bath. I opened my introduction with “Hi, I am the owner of John’s People Tub. If you know someone who needs a bath, give me a call.” Silly. Funny. Got their attention. Then I continued with my introduction. One of the keys is breaking people’s preoccupation so that they focus their attention on you, remember you, and talk about you afterwards.

LOL3. If someone says something funny during their introduction, it is an opportunity for you to piggyback on that laugh by weaving the theme of their funny line into your introduction by repeating or twisting the humor they used. Keep your radar tuned for group laughter. What was said or done to make them laugh? How can you link that to your own introduction?

4. Don’t be afraid to exaggerate. It’s usually a safe form of humor.

5. Don’t be afraid to look silly. Let your hair down. The rewards are great. I remember wearing fake teeth and a hair-hat to a networking meeting. I felt the butterflies. It was a bit out of my comfort zone and I hadn’t done it before. You need to work past that and take a few chances. In the long run it will be worth it. And it will be a learning experience too.

6. If they don’t laugh, pretend that you never expected them to. If you thought something would be funny and the audience does not, it’s your secret. It’s not a big deal.

7. If you are really courageous, sing or rap. It will almost always be a sure laugh. Here is a tip from improv comedy. If you are not a singer, then sing loud. The key is your commitment. If you are committed to the performance, the audience will love you. And they will remember you. And they will be alert the next time you stand to make an introduction.

8. In mix-and-mingle networking, consider having an introduction partner work the room with you. It’s sometimes easier for someone to use a humor line about you as they introduce you. Or sometimes it works well for them to set up a humorous line for you as they introduce you. You then follow the humor line with your punchline.

9. Wear something humorous. People love my denim shirt covered with cartoon characters. Wear a funny name badge. Carry a small pocket-magic trick. The possibilities are endless. Look for something that makes a great ice breaker and conversation starter.

10. Related articles. The keys to observational humor are Preparation, Observation, Courage and Practice. Check the article “Using Spontaneous and Observational Humor.” Another related article is “Why Spontaneous Humor is Powerful.”

johnkindenetHQ

Copyright © 2011 – John Kinde. Reprinted with permission. John Kinde is a Humor Specialist. Sign up for his Humor skills newsletter. Visit his 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.

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

Monday, January 10, 2011

Make Mine Green Eggs and Ham, Please!

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

Settle down children. . . it’s time for reading class! 😉

If you are in sales and haven’t read, “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss (real name: Theodor Seuss Geisel) before or if you have read it and haven’t read it again lately. . . it’s time to read it again. This timeless Dr. Seuss classic was first published in 1960. Short on words (only 50 words), but an unlimited exuberance of illustrations in full color. A book about the value of persistence and much more for you networkers.

What can you learn about networking from a children’s book?

Persistence pays off. Be relentless in your pursuit of things. In “Green Eggs and Ham,” it was through persistence that Sam-I-Am finally got the unnamed character to try the green eggs and ham. Sam is not fazed by the noes he receives. He simply offers the same item in a different package (with a goat, with a boat, with a box, with a fox, etc.). Smart!

In real life, Dr. Seuss’s first children’s book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was rejected 27 times before being published by Vanguard Press.

Try it. You just might like it. In “Green Eggs and Ham,” when the unnamed character was surprised to find out that he actually likes green eggs and ham once he tried them. You just never know until you try. Hesitating about diving into the deep end of the Networking pool? Some people are determined not to have a new experience. Don’t let that be you.

greeneggsA few more of the major themes of this book are:

• Trying new things
• Peer pressure
• Tenacity
• Respect of others’ opinions
• Diversity
• Friendship
• Patience
• “No” doesn’t necessarily mean “No.”

If you need an increase in sales, focus on the sales skills learned in this short but powerful book. Here is little ole Sam trying to “sell” Green Eggs and Ham. He runs into obstacle after obstacle. . . actually about 14 obstacles during his sales process. Every “no” gets you closer to yes. As a matter of fact, everything you do either moves you closer to what you want or further away from it. FOCUS! And in the end persistence pays off.

“Kid, you’ll move mountains! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So. . . get on your way!” ~ Dr. Seuss

What are green eggs and ham? They are ideas and opportunities. The same ones your colleagues had that got shot down. The same ones you had but were also dismissed. Next time someone has an idea or opportunity, try it! Try them and you may, I say.

While “Green Eggs And Ham” may be about not letting first appearances deceive you, there’s actually a deeper truth in that parable. Yes, realizing that we shouldn’t let our preconceived notions influence all of our decisions is important, but even more important is that persistence pays off.

“Running east all day looking for a sunset shows persistence; it’s also really stupid.” ~ Tony Robbins

Always remember, persisting ineffectively is worse than giving up a useless strategy and looking for a better one.

Although I have focused on sales in this article. . . I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you that business networking is NOT about making sales. It’s about building long-term relationships that may eventually lead to sales.

Next, get a copy of this book and read it out LOUD again and again. It’s a quick read (50 words), so don’t tell me you don’t have time. Surprise your sales group and read it to them in a sales meeting. If you have children. . . read it to them.

Now. . . proceed with vigor and persistence.

BONUS Article: Read, “Lessons Learned from Dr. Seuss

“Green eggs and ham. . . A day’s work for a chicken, a lifetime commitment for a pig.” 😉

netHQ

Copyright © 2011 – 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.

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

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Choosing a Networking Group

Filed under: Choosing a Group,Networking Events — Larry James @ 7:00 am

Networking in the wrong places won’t help you or your career contacts. When deciding which networking groups to join, consider how much time is actually available to network. There are so many different types of networking events to choose from. Any place where people gather offers a potential networking opportunity. Chosen carefully, an effective networking group can generate business in ways traditional marketing and advertising alone cannot.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself when considering a networking group.
Choices
• What are you trying to achieve through business networking?
• How long as the group been in existence?
• What is the depth of commitment at the leadership level?
• What is the format of the meeting?
• Is there a structure or are you just left to your own devices to introduce yourself to people?
• How often are the meetings?
• What steps have been taken to develop a structure that encourages the kind of business relationships necessary to build a successful business?
• Do you enjoy spending time with these people?
• Is there chemistry and opportunities to develop real friendships?
• Who else attends the group and will they be the right people for you to team up with?
• Are members obliged to pass Referrals at every meeting or is it a more relaxed affair?
• Are you required to attend every meeting?
• Does this networking group have a “community” presence?

Decide what time of day you are at your best! Are you a morning person? Or do you prefer to meet for lunch or an evening meeting? Most groups will allow you to attend at least one meeting before asking you to commit financially. When you visit for the first time, observe the level of comfort the group members have with each other. Loyalty within the group is very important.

Check out several groups to find the best chemistry and perceived value. You may have to pay a small fee for lunch or breakfast, but by attending these meetings it will give you an idea of what to expect and whether or not its members are those you can benefit from and whether they can benefit from your business.

Call the networking event leader and find out what businesses and professions have attended their business networking events in the past. Your goal is to identify the best ways to develop relationships with those who are in the best position to introduce you to potential customers.

I will often go to hear a speaker or topic which interests me or to catch up with a number of business associates and friends in one place. Sometimes trial and error works. You might begin by compiling a list of different networking groups that are currently in your area, or areas where you would like to do business. If the group has a Website, take a look.

Ask your friends what groups they attend and ask if they will invite you as a guest so that you can find out more about the group.

Some people thrive in a structured environment. Others of us find lots of rules to be a drag. Depending on the group you decide to join, make sure that you understand the rules. Some networking organizations are very strict and you can find yourself ousted if you don’t play by the book. My experience shows me that the more structure a group has the more seriously the members take their commitment to get to know each other better and the more “qualified” business leads are exchanged. By establishing this “formal” relationship with other business professionals, you will have the opportunity to substantially increase your business.

If you join a business networking group where you don’t already know the existing members, you have to allow some time for the membership to get to know you and trust that you are honest and capable before you can expect to receive any referrals.

Many groups fall under one of 4 main categories.
choose
• Social Networking
• Business Networking
• Leads Groups
• Networking with a Program, speakers, training, etc.

I prefer the groups that have speakers on various business topics. Each has it’s own unique benefits and can help you with a well rounded presence in the business community. Often the speakers are members of the group given an opportunity to tell others about their business and the kind of business leads that work best for them. For me, education is a high priority.

I also have noticed that groups of between 30 and 40 members – only one member in each category – works best for me. I find it much better to have a lot of time to talk to people about my business rather than have a brief period to talk and then have to sit down and listen to a program. I want to get to know the members and have them get to know me. They will often know most of the others and can help to expand your network quickly. Your involvement in a networking group doesn’t necessarily mean quick returns. I strongly encourage you not to sit next to anyone you had met before.

That is difficult in larger groups because business does not always come in the first contact or meeting nor do they usually have speakers or programs. To me the very large groups are all about social networking and in many cases the people who attend know very little about the collaborative etiquette of networking. They are usually non-structured gatherings set in a social setting like a bar or party. The social business networking group is all about “mingling” or “schmoozing”, you “work the room” and meet various others that may or may not turn into business leads.

I stay away from speed networking events. This is where you have a rapid succession of three-minute one-to-one meetings during the course of a morning or afternoon. It’s fast-paced and usually you collect a lot of business cards but there is seldom much time to develop a real relationship. Collecting a large number of cards from people you can barely remember the next day (and who may well have forgotten you), may be far less valuable in the long run than taking time to get to know a few people better. Don’t waste your time on groups and connections that lack integrity or relevance.

A Chamber of Commerce can be a local, statewide, national, or international organization with separate memberships for each. They are also an opportunity to meet people. When looking for networking opportunities within a Chamber Of Commerce, most people think only of leads groups or the common after hours. The reality is that any function hosted by a Chamber Of Commerce holds opportunities for networking with other business owners and business leaders.

confusedkidFinally, what is the policy about exclusivity to selected market sectors? Some groups will only allow one member from each market category therefore creating sense of exclusivity and again this has its pros and cons. On the one hand, having exclusivity will breed a sense of loyalty between your group members, conversely if there’s more than one of you in a particular market category then sometimes you can build on one another’s particular niche offerings.

Picking the right networking activities and groups and applying a few basic principles can lead to huge benefits for businesses. If you’re confused about what group you should share your expertise with, visit several groups. Ask lots of questions. Then make a decision. The hardest part is making the decision. Once you have made your choice, stick with it. Remember, building long-term business relationships takes time. Be patient. And most of all, be loyal to the group and give it and its members your very best.

Networking is all about reciprocity. No matter who you’re dealing with, you should always try to give more than you receive. Always remember, networking is also about building trust, and seeing how your relationship can genuinely help others.

You gotta “LOVE” what you do to be successful at it. The same applies to Networking. You gotta “LOVE” to Network to make it work for you. Download Gail Sussman Miller’s free article (pdf) called, “How to Love Networking.”

BONUS Articles:Using Networking for your Business” by Jack Roberts
Shop for a GREAT Networking Group… Then STOP!”
Does Your Networking Group Have a “Community” Presence?

netHQ

Copyright © 2011 – 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.

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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/
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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Don’t Let the Door Hit Your Butt on the Way Out!

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

If you cannot work within the “rules of collaboration” for networking, you should stay away from networking events!

STOP! Quick. . . push the “pause” button! If you continue to attend networking events without really knowing why you are really there or what you can expect to accomplish you will continue to wonder why all the fuss about networking being such a wonderful contact sport because it won’t work for you.

What are the “rules of collaboration?” There is a certain collaborative etiquette that must be followed for you to experience networking success.

Collaborative, n.
1. The act of working together; united labor.
2. To work together, especially in a joint intellectual effort.

Etiquette, n.
1. The practices and forms prescribed by social convention or by authority.
2. The customs or rules governing behavior regarded as correct or acceptable in social or official life

Collaborative etiquette is: The act of working together within the practice of mutually beneficial social convention. Put another way, it is networking in a way that subscribes to the idea that networking is about using your creative talents to help others achieve their goals as you cultivate a network of people strategically positioned to support you in your goals. . . expecting nothing in return. Collaborative etiquette is the lubrication that makes things run smoothly. Without it, you may permanently alienate others.

And yet another way. . . it’s practicing the “Go Giver” mentality not the “give to get” mentality. In other words, the “give to get” mentality is giving with an expectation of receiving something from the person you gave to. Not good. This is a set-up for disappointment because that is not the way it usually works. When you give it “always” comes back to you but not always from the person you contributed to.

First – Stop trying to pitch your wares at networking events! It only pisses people off. When you walk through the door to a networking event, say goodbye to the “sales” mode. Networking isn’t about closing business deals. The quickest way to make enemies is by trying to sell your services to someone you just met. That’s really stupid. People do NOT do business with anyone until they know they like them and trust them.

Solution: Get to know others in your network. Exercise patience! Building the kind of relationship that allows people to like you and trust you takes time. It’s true that sometimes there is “love at first sight.” In other words, there is an instant connection, however this happens rarely. Take your time getting to know someone. You can’t push a chain. You can’t rush a relationship. Delayed gratification is worth it.

Second – The 1st rule of getting is “GIVING!” not taking! Asking others for business leads is futile when you first meet them. It’s also frivolous and can bring you no useful result.

Solution: You must make your primary concern be to find out how you can assist others in discovering ways to first help them so you can help each other. One of the first questions you should ask someone you meet at a networking event – obviously after a little small talk – should be, “How can I help you?”

Third – Keep your business cards in your pocket or purse. Ask yourself, “If I were them, why would I want my business card until I have established that there is a good reason for us to be connected?” You will always meet people who you know there is no logical reason for you to follow-up with. Don’t be so quick to hand out your cards.

Solution: Establish rapport. Once you have determined that there may be a harmonious connection and they are someone you might like to stay in touch with, ask for their business card and offer yours. There must be a sense of noticable camaraderie otherwise you should move on and meet someone else.

These are only 3 things that networkers stumble over. There are many others, however these are the 3 that can truly get in the way of your networking success. There are rules for everything. You must know what the rules are before you can determine whether breaking them might be to your advantage. Don’t break these rules! When you follow the rules of collaboration, amazing things can happen.

Stay in the learning mode. Neworking is not that difficult. Having common sense helps. Practice the “Golden Rule.” If you don’t already know what that is, you may be beyond help. 🙂 Read everything you can about business networking and be a good teacher as well. Teach others by example.

If you don’t. . . you are quite simply wasting your time and the time of others and you would be better off staying home, eating popcorn and mindlessly watching TV.

If you are at a networking event and breaking the rules of collaboration. . . leave! Don’t let the door hit your butt on the way out!

netHQ

Copyright © 2011 – 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/

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