Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James

Friday, August 24, 2012

Put Your Focus Where it Belongs When Networking

Filed under: Connectors,Mix & Mingle,Networking Tip — Larry James @ 7:00 am
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Many people who don’t like to network also don’t like talking about themselves. They find networking difficult or stressful. You are not alone.

If your idea of networking is pitching your product or service to as many people as you can, you’re assuming the “hunter” role. Instead of viewing others in your network as prey, view them as someone you may want to know better.

focusFocus! Stop trying to make a sale! That should cause you to feel a little less stressful. Focus on “quality of connections!” Effective networking begins with a decision to connect. You will feel less pressure, and the experience will be much more pleasant.

The good news is there is a better way. Networking professionals don’t talk about themselves. If you do all the talking, how can you possibly qualify someone that you might like to work with? Networking should be beneficial to both of you.

In fact, spend the first part of the conversation asking thoughtful questions about the person you meet. Spend your time getting to know the other person. Be engaged and engaging. Be friendly and very curious about them and gain as much information as you can. Demonstrate a sincere interest in them. Use their name often in the conversation. Be humble.

If you think that you never know what to say, come prepared with a few questions that will take the focus off you so you can learn more about them. Find out what their issues and challenges are. Think long term. Is this someone I would like to include in my network? Networking is a long term business and contact building effort.

targetothersAsk open ended questions to keep the conversation going. An open-ended question is designed to encourage a full, meaningful answer using the subject’s own knowledge and/or feelings. It is the opposite of a closed-ended question, which encourages a short or single-word answer (yes or no). This is when it is time to be a good listener. Give them your undivided attention and look for ways to connect with them and support them. Find out how you can help them. Networking is not about only getting what you want, it’s about meeting people, building relationships, and supporting others to get what they want.

Give them more questions. This takes the target off you and pins it on the person you are talking with. People love to talk about their business. It’s up to you to give them the opportunity. This sets the law of reciprocity in motion.

“The law of reciprocity sets in motion in-kind responses of individuals based on the actions of others. I like to call this the ‘givers gain®’ approach. It takes the focus off of what you stand to gain from the networking relationship, and in doing so, creates bonds based on trust and friendship. Put it to the test. You’ll be amazed by the outcome.” ~ Ivan Misner

Never allow yourself to be monopolized by one person. Five to seven minutes is an ideal amount of time to spend with anyone.
It will help you discover if the person is a deadbeat and just trying to pitch you. If the person doesn’t turn out to be the right contact you were hoping to connect with, it is perfectly acceptable to excuse yourself politely and gracefully move on.

Don’t focus on yourself. Put your focus where it belongs; on the other person. Doing so will help you increase your chances for networking success.

BONUS Article: Exit Strategies From Networking Bores!

netHQ

Copyright © 2012 – 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 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 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 18, 2012

How to Build a Bridge of Connection

Filed under: Connectors,Guest Author Articles,Networking Tip — Larry James @ 7:30 am
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Jenny Davidow, Guest Author

How do you react to differences in others? Are you curious to learn more, or do you get impatient and put off? Will your reactions build a barrier or a bridge of connection? It’s up to you.

followUPAt work and in all aspects of life, I guarantee that you will meet people who don’t see the world like you do. People who don’t operate the same way you do. They may have very different goals and values. They may dress differently. They may speak differently. They may be from a different culture. Or they may look and sound just like you, but you still notice the differences.

In “The Art of Connecting,” the authors suggest that every individual is a “culture of one.” Because we are each unique, we have our own preferences. And our preferences make us “different” from others. Although much has been said about the value of diversity in team-building and society, still, in practice, I observe again and again that different preferences can get judged as “difficult” in either business or personal relationships.

This judgment gets us into trouble, because we are focusing on the negative, on how someone is not like us. Right away, there is a barrier, a polarization.

Learn how to build a bridge of connection, no matter how different, or difficult, someone is.

When you find yourself in a job, group or relationship with someone who is very different from you, the task of building a bridge of connection may seem daunting. Here is a short list of ways in which you can start:

Make an offer. In terms borrowed from improv performance, whatever words or gestures you make with the intention to make a connection is an “offer.” An offer is an invitation to connect, to find commonality.

connectingAn offer can be as simple as a hello and a warm smile. If it is returned in kind, your offer was accepted. Build on that by making another offer, and another. Each time the connection will get stronger.

Set a conscious intention to build a bridge of connection. Your intention is key. Even if your efforts are clumsy, if your intention is friendly, respectful and interested, your offer for connection is still positive.

Find common ground. If you are engaged in a business deal with someone who is very different from you, remind yourself of ways in which you will both benefit from a successful outcome. Find common ground and shared humanity. For example, talk about your kids or your pets. Always assume that you and the other person have something in common. There is always the potential for a bridge of connection.

Whatever you focus on, you get more of. If you focus on differences, you will become polarized. If you focus on commonality, you get more connection.

Be curious and respectful. Curiosity is one of the top five qualities of people who are most satisfied in life. Curiosity creates new pathways and connections in the brain. The more pathways, the more flexibility and creativity.

Search for similarities. Think about interests or experiences you may have in common. Share something that is important to you, such as a love of children, gardening, hiking, etc. Tell a little about your last visit or outing. Ask what the other person likes to do to relax or have fun.Observe visual cues: Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, describes how researchers could make detailed observations about personality and preferences, describing a student they never met, simply because they paid attention to how the student organized and decorated his or her dorm room.

Use your powers of observation to note the other person’s style and preferences: Does the other person seem formal or informal in the way she or he speaks and talks? Is his or her energy level high, moderate or low? Notice choices in office decor and desk accessories (Are the choices personal? Is neatness and organization foremost?). Notice how he or she is dressed (casual or formal).

embracing

More info – Click book cover!

Build nonverbal rapport. To build a bridge of connection, never underestimate the power of nonverbal communication. As much as you can, notice the pace and tone of the other person’s speech. It may not be the style you naturally prefer. Try to modify your style to match the other person’s preference, at least some of the time. This step builds rapport non-verbally.

Build rapport through body language. Notice the other person’s way of standing or sitting. How much eye contact are they giving you? Are they smiling or not? Face the other person without being fully frontal. Let your body position be open and relaxed. Let your gaze be soft and non-challenging.

Shape the outcome. Hold your positive intention to make a connection and let it express through your conversation and body language. Be careful about asking too many questions, as this could seem like domination. Balance your communication with some sharing about yourself, some respectful questions that could find common interests, and some attentive listening, while nodding your head. Listening well gives you what you need to put the right words together.

Most of us go into situations hoping we’ll make a good impression and be liked. Let the other person leave the meeting with the feeling of being respected and liked. Each time you meet, the bridge of connection will grow stronger.

Referenced: The Art of Connecting, by Claire Raines and Lara Ewing
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, by Malcolm Gladwell

JennyDCopyright © 2012 by Jenny Davidow. Reprinted with permission. Jenny Davidow is a Communication Coach and clinical hypnotherapist with 30 years experience. She specializes in training and support to hone the persuasiveness and impact of your presentations – in words, body language, and print. Through subconscious communication, she accelerates change to remove blocks, boost confidence and creativity. She is the author of “Embracing Your Subconscious.” Read Jenny’s articles on her Website and Blog.

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

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: Larry James, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com

NOTE: All articles and networking tips listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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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/

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Connections!

Filed under: Connectors,Networking Tip — Larry James @ 9:00 am

Isn’t that what networking is all about? We are on a continual quest to discover the places we fit into and the people we’ll reach out to. The intent is to turn your connections into trusted relationships. You grow your network connections one new friend at a time.

If things aren’t working out quite like you think they should, perhaps it’s time to push the reset button!

NetpuzzleEvery day and every moment in life is an opportunity to network. People cross our paths for a reason. Networking just isn’t for networking events. Opportunity is everywhere. You have to be ready for it when it occurs. Simply start conversations with people. Engage with other people. The essence of networking is to reach out and connect with people. A few good connections can assist you in piecing together the networking puzzle.

If you desire networking success you must always seek relevant networking groups and connections. A group that is close to your office may not be the most relevant group. Sometimes we need to drive a few miles further to get to the group that can be the most beneficial for us. The more relevant your targeting of groups and contacts, then more useful your meetings and referrals will be.

A valuable business network is a connected system of people within which referrals and opportunities can be passed through several connections, or circulated to all who are connected. Choose carefully. In most networks you will find a few close and “trusted” connections. Focus on the ones you like and trust. Reputations are built according to the connections you hang out with. It is wise to focus your efforts on groups and connections of integrity.

networkingcardObtaining network connections for your business doesn’t have to be a difficult thing to do. When you network you are building a community of people who – over time – become your network of support. That’s why it is important to develop your own strategy for making connections. I’ve been successful in becoming a “solution finder” to my networking friends. They have come to know me as someone who is well connected and who they call when they need to make a connection with a plumber, a photographer, etc. I do my best to connect their needs or goals with the resources I have in my network.

When I make a new connection I never move the conversation to me. You would be surprised at the kind of responses you will receive when you ask, “What do you like best about what you do?” It helps them understand that I think they matter. This question creates much better conversation than, “What do you do?” I focus completely on them and by showing a genuine interest in what they do, what they need, who they need to meet, etc., I build a relationship faster than if I immediately began to promote what I do. At the same time I leave a lasting impression. Eventually they usually begin to ask about what I do and “POW” we’ve made a connection.

Don’t forget their name. Say it several times during the conversation. People like the sound of their own name, so by acknowledging that you know their name is often a very good way to end a conversation, “Very nice to meet you Barbara”.

It’s important to connect with the people you meet as quickly as possible after the meeting, so that they remember you. If you don’t follow up, ask yourself, “Why not?” Not following up can be the death of a salesperson.

When networking with professionals, you have to be persistent and you must be patient. It takes time to build long-lasting connections, but with much effort, your hard work will always pay off.

When diligently building connections that serves others as well as yourself, your ability to serve others quickly becomes part of your personal brand. Remember: Not everyone wants to have a chat with you and not everyone wants to network. You cannot be all things to all people. Let’s face it, some connections don’t “click.” If that happens to you, silently shout, “NEXT” (to yourself, of course) and move on to someone else.

netHQCopyright © 2011 – Larry James. Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. Larry James presents networking seminars nationally and offers Networking coaching; one-on-one or for your Networking Group! 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!”

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: Larry James, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com

NOTE: All articles and networking tips listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Authors & Speakers” BLOG at: http://www.AuthorsandSpeakerNetwork.wordpress.com/

Saturday, October 1, 2011

We Are All Connected? Yes! By Six Degrees of Separation!

Filed under: Connectors,Guest Author Articles,Networking — Larry James @ 9:00 am

Jonathan Peters, Guest Author

The first reference to the concept that everyone on the planet is separated by six degrees was in Frigyes Karinthy’s 1929 short story Láncszemek. One of the characters claimed he was connected to everyone else through, at most, five acquaintances.

sixdegreesThe urban myth was established some time between Karinthy’s Hungarian short story and the appearance of John Guare’s play Six Degrees of Separation in 1990. Various sociological and mathematical studies popped up along the way to try to prove our connectivity, but it wasn’t until 1998 that we had computers large enough and networks defined enough to study. We finally were able to scientifically study how connected humans are.

In his book, “The Tipping Point,” Malcolm Gladwell labelled those who are especially linked as connectors. Connectors are responsible for making humanity so connected. They have a “knack” for “curiosity, self-confidence, sociability, and energy.” They draw many times more people to them, and they are able to make introductions across vast geography, social groupings, industries, and so on.

More important, our business and our success depends on having these people in our networks, because it is only then that we can bridge into other niches, sub-groups, and communities.

handsSo it is our responsibility to get off our butts, and interact with others to discover connectors in our markets and industries. Simply liking people on Facebook, or sending out LinkedIn requests is not actually connecting. Yes, we are linked, but we aren’t truly connected until they know us or know of us.

Which is why so much of the hype of social media, email marketing, video blasts and so on is often misguided or misleading. We must establish real connections with people for them to know enough about us to actually buy us or buy from us.

For those of us who are not natural connectors, don’t believe that if you build it they will come. Know that you have to find connectors, and make sure they are aware of your existence and what you have to offer other people in their network.

BONUS Article: Twitter Shortens the Six Degrees of Separation to Five

JPetersCopyright 2011 by Jonathan Peters. Jonathan Peters, Ph.D is a recognized trainer and writer with an emphasis in business communications, and a Co-founder of BEvents.biz. If it involves words, it involves him. He has trained thousands of people across the country and his audiences have learned better presentation skills, improved their business communications, and beefed-up their writing and document designs. During his doctoral studies, Dr. Peters became interested in how the new sciences influence our culture. He is excited about what the emerging science of networks says about how we conduct our social lives and our businesses. Visit Jonathan’s Website.

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

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: Larry James, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com

NOTE: All articles and networking tips listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

letsbefriends2

Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Authors & Speakers” BLOG at: http://www.AuthorsandSpeakerNetwork.wordpress.com/

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