Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Tips for Reading the Room Before a Meeting or Presentation

Filed under: Communication,Listening,Networking,Networking Meetings — Larry James @ 8:30 am
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Rebecca Knight, Guest Author

In every conversation at work, there’s the explicit discussion happening — the words being spoken out loud — and the tacit one. To be successful in most organizations, it’s important to understand the underlying conversations and reactions that people in the room are having. But if you aren’t picking up on those subtle cues, how can you learn to do so? What signals should you be looking for? And what can you do to influence the unspoken dynamics?

What the Experts Say ~ “Knowing how to read between the lines is a critical workplace skill,” says Annie McKee, a senior fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, and the author of How to Be Happy at Work. “You need to understand other people — what they want, what they don’t want, their fears, hopes, dreams, and motivations,” she says. “This builds trust. And trust is fundamental to getting things done.”

In addition, you must be aware of your effect on others, according to Karen Dillon, coauthor of How Will You Measure Your Life? “You need to be constantly assessing how other people are responding to you,” she says. “Some people find this easy and intuitive. For others, it’s a challenge.” The good news is that this skill can be learned. Here are some ways how.

Observe ~ The best way to read a room is to pay close attention to people — and not just what they’re saying. “If you’re relying [solely] on their words, you’re only getting half the picture,” McKee says. Upon entering a meeting, she recommends, do “a quick scan of the individuals,” noting “who’s next to whom, who’s smiling, who’s not, who’s standing, who’s sitting, and how much space is between people.” Next, try to pick up on “the almost invisible clues on how people are feeling” by looking carefully at “their facial expressions, posture, and body language.”

Be on the lookout for “quick microexpressions” such as “fleeting smiles, raised eyebrows, or even tiny frowns.” Vigilant observation will give you the information you need to interpret group dynamics. Dillon recommends identifying role models to further improve your social awareness. “Think of people you admire who are great at reading the room,” she says. “Isolate the things they do and try to emulate those.”

Control how much you talk ~ You can’t observe if you’re spending most of your time talking. You need to listen, Dillon says. “Be conscious of how much you are saying.” Whether you’re in a room with a large group of people, a small group, or you’re speaking with a colleague one-on-one, she advises taking frequent pauses “to really think about what the other person is saying” and watching out for the nonverbal cues. Don’t just wait for your turn to talk; there is “no shame” in silence. When the conversation is more intimate, Dillon says, you must strive to “make the other person feel heard.”

Be present. Be engaged. Make eye contact. “Position yourself so that you’re not inviting others to butt into your conversation. Help the other people feel confident that you are all in the moment together.” After the other person says something, paraphrase what they said to indicate that you’re paying attention. Similarly, “if the other person doesn’t seem to be hearing what you’re saying, and you start to realize that you’re talking at them, you should ask a question,” she adds. Try open-ended questions such as “What do you think about…?” or, “What are the consequences of…?” or, “Have you experienced this?” The answers to these questions help you uncover what’s really going on.

Interpret your observations ~ Once you’ve “tuned into the emotions and energy in the room,” you can “try to make sense of what you think you know,” McKee says. She recommends “generating multiple hypotheses about what’s going on.” Consider the people in the group more broadly and reflect on the possible reasons for their individual and collective emotional states. “What’s happening in their lives? What’s going on in their jobs? What do you know about these people?”

If you don’t know much, this can be tricky, but you can still come up with hypotheses for what’s motivating people. At the same time, you shouldn’t project your feelings onto the group. “Keep your emotions in check,” McKee says, adding that this is a feat that “takes tremendous skill and self-control.” If, say, the room is reverberating tension, don’t let yourself “be hijacked by negative energy, and don’t give in to your natural inclination to be frightened and angry.” Remember, too, that the emotions you perceive are not personal. “It probably doesn’t have anything to do with you.”

Check your hypotheses ~ When you’ve developed a few explanations for what’s going on in the room, check your understanding. You can do this by continuing to gather further information — though you should continue to be open to what you’re seeing and sensing so that you don’t fall prey to confirmation bias. You can also ask people directly, in private, McKee says. When you’re in one-on-one conversations, you might say something like, “In the meeting I saw you furrow your brow when discussion turned to the xyz project — how do you feel about it?”

Most likely, your colleagues will be pleased you noticed, she says. When you make note of people’s feelings and reactions, they “feel attended to.” Another tactic McKee suggests is talking with a trusted colleague, mentor, or coach. “Talk about what you’ve observed — not in a gossipy way, but as a learning opportunity,” she says. “You want someone else to check ideas with” so that you can say, “What do you think is going on with that colleague? Or that coalition?”

Put your perceptions into practice ~ If in the midst of a meeting or interaction, you notice that things are getting tense or heated, you can “take the opportunity to shift the emotional reality of the room,” McKee says. “Use humor,” she adds. “Or empathize with the group — make them feel okay.” She recommends determining who in the room has “the most social or hierarchical capital” and then focusing on getting that person on your side.

“It could be a person who has the most seniority, or the person who others are sitting closest to. It could be the person who’s telling jokes and has the ability to lighten the mood.” Keep an eye out “for any positive signals” — the executive in the corner who’s smiling, for instance — and concentrate on those. Importantly, continue to pay attention to what’s not being said. “Most people are just waiting to talk,” she says. As a result, “we may catch most of the words, but we miss the music.”

Principles to Remember

Do:

• Consider the people in the room more broadly and reflect on the possible reasons for their individual and collective emotional states.
• Look for microexpressions such as fleeting smiles or raised eyebrows. These offer clues to group dynamics and individual emotions.
• Isolate the behaviors that your socially aware role model exhibits and try to emulate them.

Don’t:

• Be distracted. Maintain eye contact and be present and engaged in conversations with others.
• Make it all about you. Ask open-ended questions to help you uncover what’s really going on.
• Allow yourself to be hijacked by a room’s negative energy. Keep your emotions in check and do what you can to shift the emotional reality of the room.

Case Study #1: Pay attention to people’s body language and facial expressions ~ As the chief human resources officer at Prosek Partners, the global PR company, Karen Niovitch Davis has a good deal of experience reading rooms. “I’ve had a 20+ year career in HR,” she says. “A lot of what I do is about trying to really understand what people are saying when they are not actually saying it.”

Every week, she attends a management meeting at Prosek for senior vice presidents, managing directors, and partners. The company’s CEO leads the meeting, and Karen, because of her role, is often aware of what’s on the agenda.

“Since some of the things that we discuss are sensitive or controversial, I am often prepping for how my colleagues will react,” Karen says.

Recently, for instance, the CEO announced that the company would be expanding and that it had signed a lease for more space in the building. Certain employees and teams would be moving to another floor.

Karen paid close attention to her colleagues’ body language and facial expressions to gauge their reactions. She was prepared for a mixed bag. “I knew everyone in the room was thinking: What does this mean for me? What does this mean for my team? Are we all going to have to move?” she says. “That’s human nature.”

Many of her colleagues seemed “genuinely pleased” by the news, she recalls. “They were excited because the move means we are growing.”

Others, however, gave off a decidedly different vibe. Some people’s faces went blank; others visibly frowned. One — we’ll call her Jane — looked down and scribbled a note to a colleague sitting next to her.

Karen assumed that Jane wasn’t looking forward to the prospect of moving. She thought about what she already knew about Jane. “She does not like to change her routine,” Karen notes.

Shortly after the meeting ended, Karen approached Jane. She told her that it seemed that she was unhappy about the move. “I wanted to make sure she knew I noticed her,” Karen says.

Jane appreciated that Karen noticed. “She said, ‘I don’t want to move because I like where my desk is now,’” Karen says. “She told me that she didn’t want to say anything in the meeting because she didn’t want to come off as not a team player.”

Karen listened attentively to Jane’s reasoning. She empathized with her and asked her open-ended questions about her concerns. She wanted to make sure Jane felt heard. “I told her that the office would be an exact replica of our current space and that the views would be better,” she says.

But Jane was not swayed by the argument. “I told her we would work something out so she would not have to move,” Karen says.

Case Study #2: Don’t assume you know how other people feel — ask them ~ Heather Anderson, an executive mentor at Vistage International, the San Diego–based advisory and executive coaching organization, says that she often speaks to her clients about the importance of social intelligence. “Emotions contain data,” she says. “I tell them that the emotional data they receive in their team meetings, their one-on-ones, and their client calls are just as important to their end game as anything else.”

She speaks from experience. Recently, Heather ran a meeting for one of her peer-to-peer coaching groups at Vistage. One of the agenda items was to provide feedback to one of the newer members — we’ll call her Susan. These meetings happen regularly; their purpose “is to challenge each other to be better leaders.”

“People are candid in these meetings and it can feel harsh if you’re on the receiving end — particularly when it’s your first time,” Heather says. “It’s intimidating.”

Heather first scanned the room to gauge the temperature; it wasn’t particularly tense, but she could tell that Susan was nervous. Next, she listened carefully to what others said. The comments were “frank,” and it wasn’t particularly positive.

She paid close attention to Susan’s body language. “I could see the look of surprise and fear on Susan’s face,” she says. “She shrunk in her chair and her shoulders dropped.”

Heather empathized with Susan’s emotions and reflected on what was happening. “I thought she felt threatened,” Heather says. “I wondered, ‘Should we soften our words?’”

To be sure, she asked Susan how she felt. “I said, ‘How are you feeling? What is it like to get this feedback?’”

Susan surprised her. “She said, ‘Wow. This is intense, but this is exactly what I signed up for.’”

Heather realized that she had projected some of her own feelings onto Susan. “I expected her to feel a certain way,” she says, “but you can’t assume you know.”

Later, Heather asked Susan how she planned to use the feedback she received during the meeting. “Susan was able to recite very specific action items, and she talked enthusiastically about the things she wanted to do and changes she wanted to make,” Heather says.

Heather plans to follow up with Susan in a few weeks.

Copyright © 2018 by Rebecca Knight. Rebecca Knight is a freelance journalist in Boston and a lecturer at Wesleyan University. Her work has been published in The New York Times, USA Today, and The Financial Times.

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netHQLarry James presents networking seminars nationally and offers Networking coaching; one-on-one or for your Networking Group! Invite Larry James to speak to your group! His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”

comment 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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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Are You Easy to Forget?

Filed under: 30 Second Connection/Elevator Speech,Communication,Networking — Larry James @ 7:30 am

To be effective at business networking, people must remember who you are and what you do! When it comes to business networking, it’s not just about making a great first impression – it’s about making a long-lasting one. It’s important to make a genuine impact, and make valuable connections for yourself and your business.

NETEasytoForgetOne of the best ways to be remembered is to “go with giving in mind.” Think about what you have to give to others. Go to every meeting with 3 or 4 business referrals for the people you know. The person you give a referral to will remember you. Others in the group will begin to pay attention to you. Be an example of what networking is really about; building relationships and giving business referrals. Go armed with a healthy stash of business cards to swap with likeminded attendees.

Shy people don’t do very well at networking unless they can break out of their shell. They often wait around the edges of the room, waiting for someone to approach them. When given the opportunity to talk about your business, stand up and SPEAK UP! I hear networkers who remain seated and speak so you can barely hear them when they give their “30-second connection” – often called an elevator speech. When you take your self-introduction seriously, and work on it to have it be an attention-getter, people will begin to notice you. What makes you and your business different from the competition? Speak about your business with enthusiasm, pride and passion. The words you choose to describe your efforts have just as powerful an effect on you as they do your networking friends. You should talk about something that makes you stand out and that might make someone interested to learn more.

Many shy people leave right after the meeting, when, for others, this is a great time to stick around and get to know others in the group. Some of my best contacts have been made by planning to hand out “after” the meeting to visit and meet people I don’t know very well.

“The most successful networkers (think of those you’ve met) are good at making other people feel special. Look people in the eye, repeat their name, listen to what they have to say, and suggest topics that are easy to discuss. Be a conversationalist, not a talker.” ~ Jacqueline Whitmore

Be responsible to get others talking! People love to talk about themselves. Knowing that, you can continue the conversation by using open-ended questions that keep the discussion going. Ask lots of questions. Any question that cannot be answered with a simple yes or no are best. The person who is asking the question is in control of the conversation. Keep them talking by asking thoughtful follow-up questions. Focus only on them. Listen intently to their replies. Show a sincere interest in who they are and what they do. This can be easy to forget when you’re shy or nervous.

When it’s time to move on, one of the best ways to do that is to introduce the person you’re speaking with to someone else in the group or make a comment about how much you’ve enjoyed talking with them, then move on to someone else.

If you want your business to work, you need to get out there, overcome your fears and be confident in selling yourself, your products or services. Plan ahead. Feeling tongue-tied in a room full of strangers won’t do anything to boost your confidence. You must learn how to talk about your products or services succinctly and confidently and avoid rambling. Practice. Practice. Practice.

When you meet someone that you would like to know more about… Follow-Up! Get their business card and arrange a time to get together, preferably at their office. Be sure you keep your word when you say you will follow-up. Failing to follow-up is a big networking no-no!

One of the best ways to help people to remember you is to “volunteer!” Get involved in the group. Make waves. Be seen at every meeting, helping the leader of the group by passing out flyers, or greeting people as they arrive. Out of sight… out of mind!

Networking is a skill that everyone can learn even if you’re not a natural conversationalist. Your connections are an invaluable resource for expanding your business – and only if they remember you!

BONUS Articles: Be Seen!
Be an Information Hub
6 Tricks for Staying Top of Mind With Your Network
Overcoming Networking Nerves

netHQCopyright © 2015 – 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, March 26, 2015

Power Your Connections ~ Give Them Something to Talk About!

Networking is always about communications. You power-up your connections by giving them something exciting and different to talk about. What you say is important.

You should aim to attract people by being visible. Show up and shine. Dress well. When you dress well, you exhibit self-respect. Wear your best smile. Smiles are contagious. Be confident to inspire confidence in you. Be interested and interesting.

NET30SecondsIf you are truly interested in meeting people and are open to learning about who they are, they will get this in a first impression. There are two sides to networking: getting to know other people, and getting other people to know you. When you are meeting people for the first time approach them with a genuine interest in who they are. Be memorable. The first impression you make on someone is very important.

Invariably someone will say, “”So, what do you do?” Those five words are on the minds of everyone you meet. Or, you will be given the opportunity to introduce yourself at a networking meeting. For this, you must practice, practice, practice. Practice so that the delivery is natural, conversational, and effortless. It has to roll off your tongue. Do it well and it enhances both your image and your results. Create a script that conveys who you are, what you offer, your market, and the distinctive benefits you provide.

Work to make your self-introduction exciting and informational. Add some excitement. If you aren’t excited about what you do, there’s no reason anyone else should get excited either. There was some sort of passion that lead you to get involved with your business; let it show through. If you’re not passionate about your topic, how do you expect anyone else to be? Be creative. Use props. Give them something to talk about! Do not take this step lightly.

Most networkers call this introduction your elevator speech – some are 30 seconds and some are limited to one minute. (By the way, we no longer call this an elevator “pitch.”) Your elevator speech is more appropriate if you are attending a networking meeting, not a networking event. It’s not exactly a speech that you memorize, an elevator speech is a couple of refrains that you remember that you can build around, given the situation. I recommend what I call the “30 Second Connection” (your statement of introduction). It’s a concise, carefully planned, and well-practiced marketing message about your professional self. It allows you to succinctly and positively position yourself in the mind of the listener.

Edit your 30 second connection until you can introduce yourself and your business in less than a minute, which is how long most prospects will give you to win their interest. Shrink your introduction even further so you can tell your story in 20 words or less or 30 seconds or less. Focus your 30 second connection on who you are and what you are looking for. I recommend that you repeat your name twice in your introduction, at the beginning and at the end.

Have your facts on hand about your business and services and give them something to talk about when you explain what sets you apart from the rest. Ask yourself, “What makes you different than your competition?” Begin by making a list of as many things as possible. Talk to your friends. Ask them what they think makes you stand out. What’s unique about you? What can you do for others? I cannot stress how important it is to be prepared. Write them out. This will get the juices flowing. Practice talking about them “out loud” in front of a mirror. Set yourself apart by thinking before you speak.

Take stock of interesting things going on in your own life. In my case, if given the chance I always mention that my Networking Blog has more than 500 free networking articles. If you or your company have won an award, include that. This will help you build your credibility. There is no need to ramble on listing all your achievements, just pick the top one or two rock star moments of your career. These things can be hard to think of on the fly when someone asks what you’re up to, so it’s good to give them some thought ahead of time so they are fresh in your mind when someone asks. Always deliver your 30 second connection with enthusiasm and a little “attitude” thrown in. Be empathetic, be knowledgeable and get them hungry for answers. Always leave them wanting to hear more.

Your 30 second connection should not be carved in stone. If you come across a better explanation of what you do, include it in your introduction. It’s even worthwhile to test out multiple versions of your elevator pitch and make changes based on the result. It’s never one size fits all. I have three or four 30 second connections depending upon where I am and whither it’s a networking meeting or a large networking event. You can more easily adapt to the situation if you’re flexible that way. Over time you will discover that your audience will be a determining factor in what specific message you want to convey. Be willing to ad lib.

“Ultimately, you’re going to want to deploy your pitch everywhere – in your conversations, on your website or Blog, in your brochures. As in a game of “telephone,” you better be crystal clear in delivering your message upfront, so it survives subsequent iterations intact — and can turn into real business and real money for you.” ~ Dorie Clark

Be flexible. If you hear a problem stated in someone else’s 30 second connection, shine your light on a solution. The end of your introduction is a priceless opportunity to leave embed brand in the mind of other networkers, teaching them how to talk about you and solidifying what you want to be known for. Look at the real benefits to people who are listening to you – not what you think the listener wants to know – what they actually need. Remember your 30 second connection is perhaps the most important thing that you created in your networking marketing package.

BONUS Articles: 8 Tips for a Great Elevator Speech
Click here for lots of articles on the importance of an effective “30 Second Connection!”

netHQCopyright © 2015 – 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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Monday, September 15, 2014

Are You Letting Hurtful Words Sabotage Your Success?

Michael Hyatt, Guest Author

We all know our words are powerful. We can slice someone to pieces with just a few syllables. That’s bad enough, but what happens when we turn that power on ourselves?

As a young man, the writer Peter Leonard showed a short story to his famous father, novelist Elmore Leonard. Instead of encouraging his son, Elmore Leonard wrote a lengthy critique saying his characters were flat and lifeless.

NETsabotage“I didn’t write another word of fiction for 27 years,” Peter recalled. But as sad as that story is, we do the same thing to ourselves, don’t we?

How many potential writers, artists, athletes, speakers, and performers have chopped themselves off at the knees with self-criticism?

Not long ago, I was playing golf with a friend. Every time he hit a bad shot, he berated himself. “Ugh,” he said when he really duffed one, “I’m such an idiot. I never hit it straight.”

What do you think that did for his game? Exactly! It got worse the longer we played. It got so bad in fact, I started paying more attention to his words than the game. They were:

Accusatory: “You can’t hit anything!”
Abusive: “You idiot!”
Self-defeating: “I knew I was going miss that.”

Thinking about the game now, I’m stuck on this question, and I wish I had stopped things long enough to ask my friend: “Would you ever talk like that to one of your children?”

Maybe some, like Peter Leonard’s father, would. But we usually strive to protect our kids. We recognize that words like that are harmful. So why don’t we protect ourselves the same way?

Some self-criticism is useful. But accusatory, abusive, and self-defeating criticism is useless and destructive. If we wouldn’t say it to our kids, it’s best to steer clear of saying it to ourselves.

Proverbs says that “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Our language reveals our thinking, and if it’s the deadly kind, we need to change the way we address ourselves.

There are some pretty deep psychological and spiritual reasons for this, but it also affects practical questions of accomplishing our goals. Our words can set us up to fail if we’re not careful.

Here are three steps I’ve found helpful in my own life for controlling my words:

1. I record disempowering words and sentences I catch myself using. Awareness is crucial to controlling our words. Whenever I catch myself saying something negative, I make a note of it. If there’s a pattern, I can address it.

2. I craft words and sentences to use in place of negative ones. We all know the best way to eliminate a bad habit is to replace it with a good one. It’s the same here. When I default to a negative thought, I now have phrases and affirmations I can use instead. It makes a huge difference.

3. I ask an accountability partner to call me on it. I felt odd calling my friend on his words when we were playing. I was’t invited to. Instead of letting that stop someone in my life, I’ve let certain people know I want them to hold me accountable for my words. Sometimes it hurts, but it’s worth it.

Our success is too important to allow hurtful words—especially our own—to derail us. We have to learn how to do for ourselves what Elmore Leonard was unable in that instance to do for his son: Use the power of words to encourage and give life.

Language shapes our perception of reality. It’s a powerful tool we can use for good or bad. It only makes sense that we would give ourselves the best advantage imaginable with the words we use.

MichaelHyattCopyright © 2014 – Michael Hyatt. Michael Hyatt, one of the top business bloggers in the world, provides down-to-earth guidance for building and expanding a powerful platform. Michael is the former Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, the seventh largest trade book publishing company in the U.S. I have worked in the book publishing industry for most of my career. He is the author of Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World (Thomas Nelson). It is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestseller. Recently, Forbes magazine named me one of the “Top 10 Online Marketing Experts To Follow In 2014.” Visit Michael’s Blog @ http://MichaelHyatt.com/

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netHQLarry James presents networking seminars nationally and offers Networking coaching; one-on-one or for your Networking Group! Invite Larry James to speak to your 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!”

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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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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Too Busy to Listen?

Focus! If you are too busy to listen, your probably shouldn’t be networking.

Many people start with a networking group by looking for immediate gains, for favorable results for themselves. If this is what you are trying to achieve, you are networking for the wrong reasons and will be sticking out like a sore thumb. When you help others – you get helped.

LousyListenerWhen you meet someone new at a networking event be sure you focus all of your attention on them. If you are too busy to listen, they will notice. Act like you are interested. Be sincere. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted. Create a favorable image when you show up by calling people by their name. Not using names, says, “I’m not interested in you.”

When you hear someone’s name, repeat it if need be to be sure you heard it correctly. A person’s name is their most important possession. People want to know you are interested in them. Calling them by name helps accomplish this. Insert their name in the conversation immediately. It will help you remember it. Keep the conversation going with questions that cannot be answered “yes” or “no.”

Networking – if you do it right – will teach you patience. Why? Because one of the primary reasons you network is to build long-lasting, close business relationships. That takes time. Networking is certainly no “quick fix” if you or your business is about to go down for the count. I hope you have learn that by now.

The reason some people aren’t very good listeners is because during most discussions, they are too busy thinking about that they are going to say next, rather than on the conversation at hand. When their words become a gentle, persistent buzz in the background of your life, you’re not paying attention. That is not a good time to let your mind drift.

listenNo matter how interesting you are, it is wise to avoid the I, Me and Mine syndrome. You will never relate to others if you go on talking only about yourself.

At your next networking event, make it a point to “block out” everyone else in the room and focus your mental attention on what the other person is saying. Looking over someone’s shoulder to scan the room for someone more important to talk with is a networking no-no. Your focus must be 100 percent.

It is a sure fire way to demonstrate your respect and help them feel their message has value.

Networking works. It is an effective way to build supportive personal and business relationships. It is consistently meeting new people and making new friends. Just make sure you don’t fall into the “Lousy Listener” category!

BONUS Article: When Listening Isn’t Enough

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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Monday, March 3, 2014

Ask For What You Want!

“When you want something from someone else, ask. You’ll be OK if they say no. Asking is being true to yourself.” ~ Cherry Hartman

Ask for what you want. Winners are skilled at getting help. Successful people are askers. They develop a network of support. They are not afraid to learn from the experts. Their support system consists of people in the community and even throughout the country that make themselves available to them when needed. They regularly communicate with other business professionals who are experts in their fields of endeavor. They are not subtle or indirect. They speak clearly about their needs and ask.

Don’t drop casual hints. People cannot read your mind. It is a mistake to assume that people know what you want. This kind of assumption stymies possibility. Be adventurous in expressing your needs. Ask. If you don’t ask, you become a victim of your own inability to communicate. This is not a guessing game. People appreciate honest candor. If you don’t ask for what you want you haven’t earned the right to have it.

JustAskMost people are not willing to admit they need help, so they withhold. They resist asking for assistance and in the process refuse others the opportunity to contribute to them. Withholding causes one of life’s biggest and most damaging problems. Keeping things to yourself is not healthy for you or anyone else. Share your needs. Ask for assistance. Can you see that withholding doesn’t work?

On the other hand, there is a danger in constantly presenting yourself as someone who is always in a position of needing something or of expressing yourself as needy. We are not talking about being a whiner. We are not talking about being a complainer. Whiners and complainers come across as weak people who are needy.

Sharp people can spot them a mile away. We are talking about always asking and never doing. It is one thing to ask for someone’s assistance and another to never do anything with their advice! If you are interested in knowing and doing. . . ask. Some people ask only to call attention to themselves. Avoid being one of those people. Ask for assistance when you need it and ask people who are in a position to assist you. Then do something with what you have learned.

At the risk of sounding sexist, it’s been my observation that men particularly have a problem in this area – women too, but mostly men. Many men were brought up to believe that we have to do it all by ourselves. We have to be totally responsible. If we ask for help, it’s a sign of weakness. Hogwash! I personally believe it to be a sign of strength. It takes courage to admit you don’t know and ask for help. Asking is accepting responsibility for not knowing and trusting yourself to be courageous enough to ask for someone’s help.

Successful people love to help others. Ask them for help. It is one of the most sincere compliments you can give. Asking a successful person for assistance is an acknowledgement of their expertise, wisdom, knowledge and experience. Asking successful people for advice allows them to contribute to you. It is one of the keys to success. It has been my experience that the more successful a person is, the more he or she is willing to share their good fortune with others. It is a life skill worth duplicating. Capitalize on their generosity. Caution: Be aware of and respect their time limitations. Know what you want to ask for, ask for it, say, “thank you,” ask if there is anything that you can do for them and move on.

Although this is great advice… it is important to be known for “giving” referrals, business info, ideas, etc., before asking for something from anyone else in your network! All “ask” and no “give” will not work!

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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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Networkers! Pay Attention!

Filed under: Communication,Networking,Pay Attention — Larry James @ 7:30 am

In my own experience, I have found that since I am learning to pay attention, I find myself more interested in other people. I say learning, because I probably will always be learning this lesson. Until I no longer have the problem of not listening, I will always be learning to pay attention. Some of my greatest lessons in life were learned “by accident” because I was paying attention.

I should point out here that I have a belief that there are no “accidents.” I believe that everything happens for a purpose. I mentioned earlier that one of the reasons we continue to experience the same problems over and over again is because we haven’t learned the lesson yet. Pay attention and learn the lesson the first time. Life will just keep on happening to you until you learn to pay attention and begin to happen to life.

Utalk2MUCHSome of us just plain talk too much! Could it be? “Nah! Not me!

Me? Talk too much?” We talk ourselves out of business. We talk ourselves out of relationships, both personal and professional. We talk so much we don’t notice that the other person stopped listening a long time ago. A winner listens.

We have all been around people who talk too much. Most of the time we have to wait until the other person’s mouth gets tired before we can get a word in. Do you continue to hang around these people? Not usually. I avoid them. If people are avoiding you, or you are not walking away from a customer with the information you need to make the sale, stop and survey the situation.

If this is happening to you when you are networking, time to change your behavior. There is no chance to build a meaningful relationship with anyone if you are the only one talking. Are you paying attention or talking too much? Do you really hear what people say when you listen?

It has been said that when people talk too much it is a sure sign of insecurity. The last thing you want to do if you are insecure is talk too much. Listen. You might learn something that will help you with your insecurities. We all know people who try to dazzle you with their brilliance and generally end up only blasting you with their bad breath. You are less likely to say something that demonstrates your ignorance when you are engaged in effective listening. A closed mouth gathers no foot!

There are times when we are so excited about the conversation that we forget common courtesy. We step on other people’s words. We want to let them know that we are on track so we interrupt whenever they take a breath. This is called “rude.” Nothing is more annoying than a person who, by demonstrating their impatience in this way, gives the appearance of not being interested in what you have to say.

It is not possible to pay attention and talk at the same time! It is also extremely difficult, if not nearly impossible for the person talking to stay on track. Slow down. You can tell them what you think when they are through talking. If you want to slow the conversation, keep stepping on other people’s words. You can then become known to your friends as “irritating.”

How can you possibly hear what the other person is saying if you are talking most of the time, or if you are thinking about what you are going to say next, while they are talking?

“It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one, than to have opportunity and not be prepared.” ~ Whitney Young

If you monopolize the conversation, minds will wander. Remember to hold the conversational ball briefly. Then give it a toss and let someone else have an opportunity to play in the conversation. Remember, “Take turns?”

Shakespeare once said, “Let thy speech be short, comprehending much in few words.”

“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

My good friend and sales trainer Don Hutson says, “If you can say it with ‘Blah!’ don’t say ‘Blah, blah!'”

Listen more and talk less. You can’t learn anything when you’re talking.

netHQ

Copyright © 2013 – 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!

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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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Talk in Elevators

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

Talk in elevators. We don’t do that very often, do we? I do. It’s fun. Make it a game. I once got in an elevator with a group of four gentlemen. I listened to their conversation for a couple of floors and it became apparent they were attorneys. I was standing at the front of the elevator facing them. When there was a break in the conversation, I told them one of my attorney friends died recently.

TalkInElevatorsI told them that when he arrived at the gates of heaven, Saint Peter greeted him. The attorney said, “Saint Peter, there must be some mistake!” to which Saint Peter replied, “No mistake, you made it! You really are in heaven!” “Oh, no” the attorney replied, “I didn’t mean that. I’m only forty years old. I’m too young to die. I shouldn’t be here yet.” Saint Peter looked through his papers to see if there had been a mistake. He found the attorney’s name on the roll and told him, “Sorry, there’s been no mistake. According to your billable hours, you are eighty years old.” They all laughed, the elevator door opened and we all got off on the first floor.

When I speak, I often tell this story.

Several months later, I spoke at a regional meeting of the American Marketing Association. When the meeting was over, a man came up to me and said he had heard me speak before. I asked him if he remembered where. He was one of the attorneys in the elevator.

He put me in touch with the meeting planner of an state-wide organization he belonged to and they later hired me for a seminar.

Networkers! Be friendly. Have something nice to say to everyone. You never know what can come from it. Do something more than watch the numbers go by or look at your shoes when you are in elevators! It can be profitable.

netHQ

Copyright © 2013 – 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!

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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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Every Interaction Counts!

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

I repeat… Every interaction counts!

It doesn’t matter whether your interaction in face-to-face, social media, etc., because every interaction counts you must always present yourself in a professional manner.

I once told a joke in an elevator with four total strangers. Three months later one of those men heard me speak at an American Business Association regional meeting and 6 months later he hired me to present a keynote address to a group of attorneys.

NETinteractionBe at your best at all times. Networking is about developing close personal and business relationships. It may be a 3 minute joke in an elevator, but every interaction counts; you participate in someones life with even a brief encounter.

A reference to being at a bar on Facebook, or seen with a drink in your hand at a networking event, can, for some, be enough to have them dismiss you as someone they want to get to know. Your website, your interaction with other networkers, your social networks, your entire communication strategy, needs to come from the same place.

A bad interaction represents a fork in the road. How you present your brand is always given a thumbs up or a thumbs down. A large part of your life is interactions with other people, not only people you physically meet every day but all your digital interactions.

Whether the conversation is just saying hello to someone you don’t know in the hallway, posting a “thank you” for re-tweeting on Twitter or telling a joke in an elevator… you are being looked at and judged in every single interaction… like it or not.

You can avoid becoming a statistic by always being award of how you present yourself. You do not have to be perfect, but you do need to be at your best. It is important to make a good impression and spread positive energy. This is a most wise marketing strategy for you and your brand.

Here are 5 key tips to making the most of every interaction from Tracey Arnish, Vice President of Talent Experience, SAP:

1. Be genuine – no one wants to interact with someone pretending they are someone they are not and most people can smell a fake a mile away.

2. Know who you are and what you stand for – in every conversation there is a chance to make an impression. Be clear who you are, what you value and be able to articulate what impact you can make and what you aspire to. This will differentiate you from others.

3. Be intentional – what is the impression you want to make? As mentioned more times then I wish I walk away from conversations wondering if the other individual has any idea as to the impression they have just left with me. Think about how you want to show up to the other individual and plan for this in advance.

4. Be considerate – considerate of the other person’s time, show up on time and conclude on time, be open to their ideas and their opinions.

5. Be curious – treat every conversation as an opportunity to learn something new from someone else. By being interested and asking good questions you form a good impression with the other person and you will likely learn something new that will benefit you in the future.

Make every interaction count. Offer to be of service. Exceeding your networkers expectations should be one of your primary objectives. Allow any networking interaction to become an integral part of your branding strategy.

“Communication, interaction, and the desire to forge stronger connections through mutual benefit are the underlying building blocks of good networking. Any activity which counts on the one-way flow of information from you to the faceless masses really isn’t networking. It’s interrupting. Be aware of it and also be aware that, like other interruptions, the end result is you just might be ignored.” ~ Greg Peters

“It’s your job to be helpful!” 😉

Contact Ty Bennett on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tybennett

BONUS Article: Reach Out – Connect – Engage

netHQ

Copyright © 2013 – 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!

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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Friday, July 26, 2013

Networking is NOT About Prospecting!

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

Networking is not about swooping into the room, collecting lots of business cards, or tossing them like confetti, then doing a vanishing act. It’s about building close personal relationships one day at a time. It’s offering your hand to a stranger to assist them in any way you can.

handUPHow about letting the other person speak first? Then ask questions. The person who is asking the questions is in control of the conversation. Knowing what the other person is all about will help you tailor your message and deliver it with more relevance.

Identify possibility in every conversation. When you intentionally look for it, you will almost always find it. Communication enables people to connect. Keep the conversation on a positive level at all times. It opens people’s minds to opportunity.

Make observations. Share some trivia. Listen for things you have in common. Make small talk. Remember your purpose is to look for people with which to develop mutually beneficial, long-lasing relationships. Make your first hello upbeat, positive and friendly. If you don’t like your line of work, don’t talk about it. Be prepared. They will generally get around to asking what you do. Have your 30- second connection ready.

Have fun. Smile and talk to lots of people. Do not play it safe by mixing only with business colleagues and good friends. Make good eye contact. Mix and mingle. If you have “minglephobia,” get over it quickly by doing what you fear. Relax. Remind yourself that you are not the only one at this event who may be a little nervous. Expand your horizons. Move past your fears. Speaking positively helps you conquer self-doubt and energizes your spirit.

What should you say at a networking event?

Asking, “What do you do?” is a mistake. That brings up a topic you most likely know nothing about. Do some research. Be tuned in to what’s happening in your city. Read the paper, look for humorous articles or movie reviews you could talk about. Develop some preplanned, interesting conversation starters.

You can greatly increase your conversation confidence by developing specific questions to help you begin and by designing answers to the questions most frequently asked about your business. Trust your instincts. Be yourself.

netHQ

Copyright © 2013 – 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!

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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