Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James

Monday, April 28, 2014

What to Do If Your Networking Group Isn’t Working for You!

Filed under: Networking — Larry James @ 7:30 am
Tags: , ,

The first and usually the biggest mistake that many people make is they jump headlong into the activity of networking with a complete misunderstanding of what networking really is. Networking is not aways the answer to every business problem. Especially if you are looking for a quick fix.

Many people join many networking groups expecting that to be the answer. I have always advocated that to really build a great network of support, you should focus most of your energy on being in one good group. Investing the time to develop relationships takes time. The first group I ever joined was a group that took nearly four months of weekly meetings before anyone felt comfortable enough to offer me a business referral.

NetGroupNotWorkingWhen others began to realize that I was totally committed to the group, that’s when things began to happen. I started thinking that none of the members really understood what I did so I spent some time working on a better way to tell them what I did and what kind of business leads that would be good for me. I began to confidently and consistently talk about how I could help others in the group which nearly always had them asking more about what I did.

This group only allowed one business classification, e.g., one Realtor™, one banker, etc. I like that idea because if a member has a lead for a banker and there are three banks represented, they have to make a choice as to who to give the referral to. Allowing one business classification causes you to focus on building a relationship with one banker instead of three. I believe in commitment. It’s much easier to build a relationship with one.

I realized that I needed to think of networking differently to make it work for me. I asked myself who else is likely to have access to and have influence in my target market. I started making a list of open classifications and began inviting people I already had a business relationship with to join my group and fill those classifications. The cornerstone of your networking activities should be the people you have worked with or already done business with. The more people you know – really know – the more likely you are to make that important connection that yields the business referrals you desire. Those power partners saved my networking life.

Actively recruiting others encouraged others in the group to start actively recruiting more members because they soon realized that many of the referrals I was getting came mostly from members I recruited. The group suddenly exploded from 27 members to about 60 in about 4 short months. Our group had a waiting list of people who heard about us and wanted to join our group.

People share referrals with people they know, like, and trust. Dabbling in networking doesn’t work. You must spend time with people for that to happen so you may just as well focus all your energy on one group rather than many.

Sorry to say that there are a lot of what I call “networking deadbeats” out there. They skip from one group or event to another with no idea about how to make networking work for them. They often are members of 4 or 5 groups. Those kind of people will never have the loyalty to the members of your group and if they do bring a referral, you can be sure they are probably also giving it to the others in the other groups they belong to. Avoid groups with members who fit this category and carefully screen your new members to determine if they are a member of multiple groups. Networking works best when members are committed to your group.

neverfailfollowupEventually I became a leader and authority on networking that others started to pay attention to. My business prospered and so did the group’s members. Each week I presented a new networking tip that was printed on cards and handed out during the meeting.

My opinion: There should be an unspoken rule that people don’t sell to each other during or after the meeting. Why? Because networking is about getting to know someone better so you can offer them referrals. Do your selling one-on-one outside of the meeting.

If your group has no accountability for encouraging members to bring referrals to the group, suggest that they instigate some ground rules and expectations for each other’s contribution to the group effort. Honor members with recognition who bring referrals. You may want to choose a different member each week to have the group focus on bringing them referrals. Reward those who bring the most referrals with a free breakfast or lunch at your next meeting.

If your group isn’t working for you, you must honor the “networking mandate…” be smart. Don’t quit! Invest your time and energy in it. Begin doing more for the group. Frequently ask others how you can help them and what kind of referrals would be good for them. The wonderful thing about the law of return is that when we help others it almost always comes back to us 10-fold. It is important to work hard to figure out what you can do for someone else when you meet them. Develop deeper friendships with the people in your group. Interact with each member. Be yourself, relax. Become the one everyone knows can be counted on. Recruit new members. Focus on bringing at least one business referral to someone every week. That means you must keep networking and your group a priority everyday by actively looking for business referrals to bring to the next meeting.

Networking is also about the follow-up. If you don’t schedule to meet someone new within 48 hours, (24 hours is much better) then you may have wasted your time. This is a good way of determining people who are really serious about establishing a relationship and those who are just connecting for the sake of connecting.

BONUS Articles: Do You Have an Effective “30 Second Connection?”
What to Talk About at the Follow-Up

netHQ

Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Networking Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”

Subscribe to “Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James” and receive a fresh networking article or tip every 4th day by e-mail. Click on the “Email Subscription” link on the right under the “search” box. You can unsubscribe anytime!

commentSubscribe 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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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Delayed Gratification

Filed under: Delayed Gratification,Networking — Larry James @ 7:30 am
Tags: ,

I’ve been actively networking for many years now – since 1980 – and I can say honestly that business networking will definitely teach you patience. So many people get involved in networking when they really need business right away. Sorry. Networking doesn’t work that way.

delayedgratification1Begin actively networking now and reap the results later. That’s called, “delayed gratification!” Deferred gratification, is the ability to resist the temptation for an immediate reward and wait for a bigger reward later.

Would you rather have a bag of chips now, or tickets to an Arizona Diamondbacks baseball game in three days? Rachel Barclay concludes that in order to choose the game tickets, you don’t just have to resist the short-term gratification that the chips would give you. You also have to be able to imagine the baseball game – the excitement, the roar of the crowds, the smell of beer and hot dogs – in order to decide that the game is more fun than eating the bag of chips you can see right in front of you.

I’ve witnessed many people who join a networking group only to make fast money… and, if they don’t make money or get any results in the first few months, they become frustrated and quit. They prefer not to wait, and to have it now. This has also resulted in a mentality that if results are not seen immediately, then it is best to give up and try something else. Networking is not a quick fix. Delayed gratification is much harder than it sounds. Networking is not for those people. It’s for people who have vision; those who can see into the future and can wait for networking to start working. It’s about learning to see the big picture down the road.

Success in networking doesn’t happen overnight. First comes the relationship with other networkers, and gradually – over time – you will earn their trust and respect and business will begin to come your way.

“The delayed gratification in [networking] is a sign of higher emotional intelligence. In a recent study of emotional intelligence, it was found that people who could delay gratification often led more successful lives than those who could not.” ~ Jeng Cua

delayed-gratification2By developing a network of support – people working toward a common goal, you can ensure a strong residual pay-out that will last for many years to come. I am where I am today because I didn’t quit networking when I was discouraged. I began to learn impulse control. I became familiar with delayed gratification when one of my mentors encourage me to stick with it for another 6 months and asked me to promise not to quit. Amazing things began to happen, slowly at first, but when people began to understand my business and got to know me better, and recognized my willingness to help others before expecting any results of my own, things began to click! Thank you, Keith Belknap! You are my hero!

“The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by cracking it open and poking around inside to see what’s holding things up.” ~ Arnold Glasgow

It seems that a person’s ability to delay gratification may depend on how trustworthy the person perceives networking to be. If they attend a group where they seldom observe anyone giving or receiving business referrals, the conclusion could be that networking doesn’t work. In my work as a networking coach I often get asked to speak to networking groups. I alway observe the way the people work together, whether they are exchanging business referrals or if their group has become only a place to meet once a week, do their “30-second connection” (so they get to plug your business, hoping someone will buy their product or service), and during the week there is no focus on looking for business referrals to bring to the meeting. Those kind of groups do not work! They have become nothing more than a weekly social gathering.

If you are involved in business networking… be patient. Learn all you can about the skills necessary to make it work and be patient as you apply those skills. Delayed gratification pays off big when can allow yourself the patience to win big in the end!

“Attend each [networking] event with a sense of wonder; ‘I wonder what magical opportunities will come from the connections I meet today?” ~ Mindy Selinger, Author of “Face-to-Face Networking Skills

BONUS Articles: Thinking Cap: Delaying Gratification

netHQ

Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Networking Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”

Subscribe to “Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James” and receive a fresh networking article or tip every 4th day by e-mail. Click on the “Email Subscription” link on the right under the “search” box. You can unsubscribe anytime!

commentSubscribe 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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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Effective Networking Takes a Little Action!

Filed under: Networking — Larry James @ 9:30 am
Tags: , ,

Networking is more than just showing up at a networking meeting or event. Sometimes it’s what you “do” before and after the meeting that will get you the most attention and the most networking results.

Always remember: A person remembered will remember you. Something awful will happen if you are out of touch with the people in your network who count… NOTHING!

White clock with words Time for Action on its facePeople appreciate appreciation. Develop an attitude of gratitude. Acknowledge others with a handwritten note for their contribution or for their referrals to you – regardless of whether if results in a sale. Saying thank you is giving recognition and recognition is one of the strongest motivators.

Follow-up takes action. If you wait more than 24 hours to follow-up on a referral you may have missed your chance. Turn interest in you or your business into appointments.

Whenever I read a magazine or newspaper I’m thinking to myself, “Is there anyone in my network that would appreciate knowing about this article or information. If so, the scissors come out, I clip the article and send it to them through the mail, not e-mail. If someone writes an article for a magazine or newspaper, jot him or her a quick note to let them know how the article contributed to you. Send them an extra copy and a business card. Always send clippings from newspapers and magazines that relate to or affect your networking friends. For the next part, a little extra effort is required. I always send a letter on my letterhead that says something like this:

Dear Doreene, Congratulations, Doreene! I see you made the news! It’s always good to see good friends making good news! Enclosed is a copy of the article that appeared in the April 18, 2014 issue of the Arizona Republic. Keep up the good work!

If I have written something similar on my blogs, I may add a link to the blog. What makes this kind of connection especially noticeable? You had to “do” something that took a little extra effort.

Use the telephone to stay in touch. Having a good reason to call is better than having lots of people to call. Before you pick up the phone, make a brief list of what you want to communicate. Have a specific idea to discuss and be sure that the reason you call is important to the person called.

Keep the call brief. Say hello, establish the relationship again, then get to the point, say what you want to say and get off of the phone. One reason people hesitate to use the phone is because they are afraid they will get hooked into a long, drawn-out conversation. If you know what you want to say, this won’t happen. Be prepared. Let them know it is a business call and you have other calls to make. Respect their time and they will respect your time. A brief telephone connection is better than no connection at all.

When meeting a networker for the first time, spend 99% of the conversation asking questions about them and their business. Remember this: they want to talk about their business, not yours… so listen.

10CsCan’t assist? There will be networkers you cannot help because their needs don’t fall within the scope of the services you provide. Do your best to provide a good referral source. Provide a reference to someone else who might be able to help if you can. This simple gesture continues to position you in a place of value.

Visit people in their office. Get to know them one-on-one. It’s a great opportunity to see what they do. Ask them for a tour of their office if it’s appropriate. Take this opportunity to ask them to define precisely what kind of business leads they are looking for. When you are making your calls and happen to be in the neighborhood of one of your networking partners, drop in. I usually carry a business card booklet in my car with everyone’s business card and address. If they are busy and can’t talk, leave your card. Since it’s a “drop-in,” I recommend that you spend only a few minutes with them, unless they have more time.

I once sent everyone in my networking group a postcard while I was on vacation, just to let them now I was thinking about them.

When I founded the “Tulsa Business Connection” many years ago, I volunteered to write and print a weekly (1 sheet) newsletter welcoming new members, listing the top referral givers, any upcoming social events, etc. Yes, it was a little more work than I bargained for, however, my name was in front of everyone in the group every week for about 6 years.

Create your own effective follow-up system for keeping connected. People will go places, do things and go out of their way to associate with people who make them feel special, important, cared for, worthwhile and in control of their lives. Your challenge is to stay connected and provide those needs for the special people in your life. Keep your name in front of people. Send them a brochure. Mail them a flyer. Always include a business card.

“A little less conversation, a little more action, please!” ~ Elvis Presley

The point is… when you network, be in action! Go far beyond what people expect. Give your networking friends more than they expect. Invent new ways to be in touch and to stay connected. Brainstorm with your friends. Make “staying connected” a topic at a networking meeting. Trade ideas about staying in touch.

Stay in touch with your friends, business associates, your customers and clients and all of the people in your life that matter. Don’t let your relationships smolder. Keep the flame lit by connecting with them often and helping them connect to others. Never forget the people in your network and never let them forget you.

Be in ACTION!

Larry’s NOTE: A special “thank you” to my friend, Bob Burg, for inspiring a few of these ideas!

netHQCopyright © 2014 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Networking Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”

the-archives2Click for Archives! ~ commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

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, April 16, 2014

How to Avoid Networking Overwhelm!

In today’s business landscape a networking plan must be carefully managed or it can very quickly become overwhelming and non-productive. You don’t have to attend every known networking event to be successful. I’ve found that if you “focus on a few,” you will be much better off and avoid networking burn-out.

AvoidNEToverwhelmThere is no simple formula to answer this question: “What is the best networking group for me?” The question boils down to this: How much time, money and commitment to you have to give? How can you expose yourself to the widest segment of the business community?

This could include; a weekly referral group, industry associations, Women’s Groups and a local Chamber of Commerce. Also in the mix are online communities, service clubs and a possible charity.

Choose a mix that gives you the broadest exposure, suits your passions and utilizes your talents. Never ever over commit.

You will get more out of your networking efforts is you arrive 15 minutes early for meetings. If the group has name tags on a table as you enter, look over the name tags for anyone that looks interesting and approach them or sit with them at the meeting.

Approach events as if you are the host rather then a guest. Carry an ample supply of business cards. Have a pen handy to make nots on business card you get from people you think you might like to follow-up with outside of the meeting.

Spend time with a few people rather than rushing madly from person to person collecting as many business cards as you can.

Follow-up the next day with a phone call to anyone you feel you might be able to help.

Always remember, it’s not what you know, but who you know that counts. By making the right contacts, networking can be a vital element in your success. Some people are naturals at networking, however, most are not. If rubbing elbows with people you don’t know makes you feel awkward, you may need to brush up on your people skills.

Networking can work to your advantage for years to come if you do it right. You never know when a casual conversation you have today may be vital to your success tomorrow. Just remember when the opportunities arrive, be yourself, show a genuine interest in the people you meet and follow up with any significant contacts. You will never regret having made the effort.

netHQ

Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Networking Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”

Subscribe to “Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James” and receive a fresh networking article or tip every 4th day by e-mail. Click on the “Email Subscription” link on the right under the “search” box. You can unsubscribe anytime!

commentSubscribe 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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Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
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Saturday, April 12, 2014

An Underlying Benefit of Networking

Filed under: Networking — Larry James @ 8:30 am
Tags: , ,

One of the underlying benefits of business networking that is not generally talked about is the opportunity for leadership development and personal growth. These are but two of the positive effects networking can contribute to you. The most successful people I know place networking as a very high priority.

NetworkingSuccessWhen people really get the concept of networking and make consistent contributions to others, it works that way. It always works better if everyone is working together as a team. One of the best ways is to focus on spending time looking for business referrals you can share with others in your network instead of trying to find someone who will give you a referral.

Let’s face it. Most everyone gets involved in networking because they want their business to grow. We want business referrals. But in our everyday business we get so busy only thinking of what “we” want, we forget that everyone else is there for the same reason. Many networkers learn to late that if everyone is there only and always trying to “get” business referrals… everyone in the group suffers because no one is actually receiving any business referrals.

Everyone in your network must be pulling in the right direction; doing lots to contribute to others, Many people are resistant to purposefully making contributions to others. We forget about others because we are so busy trying to keep our own head above water. Always be prepared to offer something in return for the help you receive.

You make a contribution to your group when you volunteer to step up to a leadership position or by pitching in to assist the leader of the group. Donate your time to making your group the best networking group around. Another way is to introduce new members to the other people in the group. You grow as an individual when you inspire others to do more than seek out referrals for themselves. That’s the “what’s in it for me” mentality and that doesn’t get you very far when networking.

Look for someone different each week that you can get to know better. If you want people to pay attention to you, you must first pay attention to them. Show an interest in them and their business.

I discovered very early that my purpose in life is to help others help themselves. I’ve been a teacher and networking trainer since 1987 and it has served me well. I began to seek out people who were doing well and requested time with them to see what they were doing and how they were doing it… then I passed this information on to others.

There is no shame in admitting that you need help. Brainstorm with others in your network of support. You cannot be successful in networking by yourself. I’ve made many “best friends” while networking. These kind of friends and your involvement in networking can propel you in your career far beyond business as usual. Getting involved with others stimulates new ideas. I found that the most successful people were the ones who were most willing to share their ideas with me. Believe me, this will increase your productivity and profitability.

Networking challenges you as a person. It requires that you to be the best you can be and in the process continually work to help others be the best they can be too. Reach out to include others in your network. You amplify your own efforts that way. Learn to develop new contacts that will enhance your own achievements. Unleash your enthusiasm. Get excited about helping others.

If you need help, ask for it. If not, prove it!

netHQ

Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Networking Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”

Subscribe to “Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James” and receive a fresh networking article or tip every 4th day by e-mail. Click on the “Email Subscription” link on the right under the “search” box. You can unsubscribe anytime!

commentSubscribe 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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Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Are You Supporting Your Network of Support…

The primary purpose of any small, organized networking group is to work together as a team to support each other. However, many networking groups fall apart at the seams because not everyone is doing their part. A winning team works together. Taking for granted that others in the group will automatically give you business referrals is a big mistake.

A networking group IS a business support group. Are you doing your part? Once again… A winning team works together!

NetDefinedThat means that every member has an important task. When you have others in your network who are people who are aways pitching their product of services to others, someone in leadership needs to have a conversation with them to let them know that networking is not about selling, it’s about giving. Usually people who don’t get it will fall by the wayside. AND… that’s a good thing! Dead weight can discourage others from maximum networking performance.

Here is my definition: 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!

Although using another member’s product or services may count as a business referral, if those kind of referrals are dominating your group, your group is doomed to eventually fail. Business referrals must past back and forth to members for it to work. Your creative talents can be defined as actively and consistently looking for business referrals for others. Few people are willing to put themselves on the line like that.

stop-sellingA professional networker’s purpose must be to help others by spending a few hours each week actually looking for business referrals to give to others and to report to the group. That’s how you support your network. Encouraging others to do the same should also be part of your mission.

Developing the trust with other members needed to help you feel “safe” in giving a referral is a process that takes time. To cultivate a network of supports takes work. You must be able to learn the kind of referrals that other members need. That also takes time. Do you frequently schedule meetings outside of your group to get to know other members better? If not, why not? It’s an important part of the networking process.

You have to be responsible for doing your part to make it positive and productive. If “everyone” in your network would learn to do that, I’m sure you and the other members would be surprised at how much better the group would work together.

Business networking is NOT about selling… it’s about “Giving” to others! If you really want to stand out from the crowd, get to know others in your network of support much better, actively search for ways you can offer support to them either by giving business referrals or referring people that they may need e.g., a quality plumber, etc.

netHQ

Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Networking Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”

Subscribe to “Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James” and receive a fresh networking article or tip every 4th day by e-mail. Click on the “Email Subscription” link on the right under the “search” box. You can unsubscribe anytime!

commentSubscribe 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, April 4, 2014

Don’t be a Networking Wallflower

Filed under: Overcoming Fear,Self-Image,Shyness — Larry James @ 7:30 am
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If networking is to work for you… there is no time to be shy! It’s a social phobia you cannot afford!

WasllflowerWallflowers can blossom even in networking meetings. Some adults are truly crippled by timidity. They blend in with the wall. Others I call, “shy extroverts.” They are the shy people who push ahead and even though they may be a little fearful or anxious, make themselves known by masking their shyness by putting their hand out there, offering a firm handshake, and introducing themselves to strangers. Many are anxious because they are afraid they won’t meet expectations of others in some way. At extremes, anxiety can cause palpitations, excessive sweating and an occasional panic attack.

The networking jitters when you are on wallflower duty can cause your nervous system to ruin your career. Put yourself out there. This seems obvious – the best way to meet people is to actively seek places out where you can meet people! Here are a few tips that may help.

Stop saying your are shy! That is the recommended first step. It’s debilitating and often causes the situation to be more negative than it really is. You must change your mantra. Recite positive messages to yourself before engaging in situations you dread. See yourself being calm and in control.

Take a moment to look at yourself. Do you look like someone who others would like to meet? Some professionals recommend that you Wear brighter clothes by brightening up your wardrobe.

Remember to breathe. Take an oxygen break. Taking deep, measured breaths before you enter the networking meeting or event can help you to literally calm your nerves long enough to stay focused and in control. I recommend breathing in your your nose and out through your mouth. Breathing this way has a calming effect because it short-circuits your brain and causes you to think about something other than what you’re nervous about.

One of the most important aspects of shyness and social phobia is to focus your attention outward… not on yourself. Always be interested and interesting by paying attention to others. If you see something or someone that you can compliment sincerely, say so.

Look for others that may be standing on the sidelines. Dare to strike up a conversation with them. Most likely they will welcome the company. Share a few personal things about yourself, e.g., hobbies or something interesting that you have done, etc. Avoid controversial political issues or your resent divorce. Such topics are too emotionally charged to make for productive small talk. Need some ammunition? Be up on local issues or the latest score of the Arizona Diamondback game.

My friend, Susan RoAne, another networking professional and author of “How to Work a Room” says, “I’ve heard so many people denigrate small talk but small talk is how we learn about the little things that help us decide whether or not we want to pursue a relationship with someone.” Small talk often results in bid rewards.

Begin the conversation by asking questions. “How may I help you?” is a good one to ask after you’ve commented on the hors d’oeuvers and introduced yourself. Be more assertive and be approachable. Always wear your best smile. People tend to avoid people with a sour expression on their face.

What do you do in your personal life to bolster your confidence? You can overcome shyness. The quickest way is to feel the fear and do it anyway! Join Toastmasters or enroll in the Dale Carnegie course. That will help you to come out of your shell and be more at ease.

BONUS Articles: “How Can I Help You?”
Do You Fade Into the Wall?
Networking for Introverts – Video
How Will They Remember You?

Larry’s NOTE: A special “Thank you” to Lisa Cahn for contributing ideas to this article.

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Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Networking Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. 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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