Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James

Monday, July 21, 2014

There are Networking Advantages…

When a motivated group of business owners come together there is an abundance of advantages and opportunities! When you arrive 10 to 15 minutes early for your networking meeting you have several advantages over those who choose to arrive late!

The benefits to being early include exchanging business referrals with other members, getting to know them better, talking over new business ideas, taking a few moments to select your choice of breakfast (or lunch), asking for advice, scheduling a breakfast of lunch with another member to get to know them better and much more. Being visible and getting noticed is a big benefit of networking.

NETAdvantagesOh, yes! …And most important, arriving early demonstrates the value you place on your time, the importances of the meeting, and the time of others.

Myth: Better late than never!

Reality: Better never late!

I understand that there are times when being late is unavoidable, and I also understand that if being late is a constant problem, being aware of the problem will help you look for and implement a solution. Want to raise your business profile in the group? Suggestion: Leave for the meeting early! Arrive early – stay late! If you make this a part of your plan for the day… problem solved!

Good attendance at your networking meeting is consistent with getting good business referrals. A “hit & miss” approach simply doesn’t work! Networking takes effort… much like all the other things you consider important to the success of your business. The seed to achievement at your networking group is being there consistently. Most people will only refer business referrals to people they like and trust. Building a trusting relationship with someone requires being in touch with that person and seeing them on a regular basis.

I also understand that business comes before business clubs. And if business is so good you have no need to attend, maybe you should consider creating an opening in your business classification so that someone else can benefit from “active” membership. OR call the leader of your group and let them know that you are: busy, not interested, or whatever. Any member who misses any meeting should extend the courtesy of calling in an excused absence.

And while I’m on a roll… the purpose of the “30-second connection” (often called your elevator speech) at the beginning of the meeting is to help you to learn more about other member’s businesses and the type of business referrals they would like to have. Consider the possibility that you can learn a lot more about them when you actually “listen” than when you are talking while someone else is speaking.

When I am asked to speak to networking groups around the Greater Phoenix area, I enjoy watching how the group responds when members are giving their “30-second connection.” Often there are quite a few private conversations going on during this very important part of the meeting. I know, you’ve heard it all before, however, as a courtesy to the member who is telling you about their business, let’s remember to give them your full attention.

When you give your “30-second connection” at the beginning of the meeting, please remember to speak louder than normal so everyone can hear and remember to talk slower than normal so everyone can understand what you are saying. Remember, this is a time when we all learn more about other member’s businesses. Please: No talking, other than the person speaking to the group.

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!”

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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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Friday, March 8, 2013

Gonna Be Late? Please Call Ahead!

Recently I met someone at a networking event that I wanted to get to know better. I was happy we met. She said she was excited to get together. The next day I made a follow-up call and we agreed on a time and place to meet. She said, “You’re on my calendar. I’ll see you on Wednesday.”

late2I almost always try to arrive at least 10 minutes early. When the time came for her to arrive, I waited and waited and continued to sip my soft drink, waited some more and after about 25 minutes I decided to leave.

She never showed up.

My whole attitude about her changed in that 25 minutes. I decided that I would wait for her call to see what happened.

She never called.

I know now that I would never refer a lead to her or refer her to any of my networking friends. What a shame. I saw great potential in working together.

It is so important to be reliable. It’s so important to keep your word.

When you and a friend agree to meet somewhere, don’t be late, and do not stand them up.

HOT TIP: If you’re not going to make it on time or make it at all, call them as soon as you realize it. Apologize and ask to reschedule. Don’t make them wait for you unexpectedly; it’s rude, and it is certainly not a good way to launch a potential networking friendship.

When you say you’ll do something, do it. Be someone that people know that they can count on.

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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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

When You Shake Hands. . . Really Shake Hands!

Filed under: Handshakes,Networking Etiquette,Networking Manners — Larry James @ 7:00 am
Tags: ,

There is great power in expectancy. When you show up at networking events, expect great things to happen. When you walk into the room, brighten it with your smile, extend your hand to everyone, and make your remarks uplifting and positive. You should be seen and heard. Show your strengths. Send positive signals. Demonstrate who you are.

Ask questions about them. Broadcast a few of your most recent accomplishments and ask about theirs. Toot your own horn. Let them toot their horn. Be proud of what you do. Don’t get too carried away with the tooting. Avoid becoming a bore. A bore is a person who has more answers than there are questions. Temperance in all things. You don’t want to come across as an obnoxious braggart. Be interested in what others do. Practice listening.

Never overlook the importance of a warm and friendly handshake. A good handshake can help solidify a new relationship or detract from an otherwise good first impression. If it is well-executed it conveys self-confidence, trust, and a genuine interest in the other party.

Limp handshakes are out. It’s limp and apathetic and very awkward for the other person. It signifies disinterest. Bone-crushing and dead fish handshakes are really lame. You’ll need to avoid the wet handshake (sweaty palms) too. Careful not to go to far the other way and overdo the firmness of a handshake. Make it firm, but not firm enough to cut off blood circulation. You are not trying to bring them to their knees. The best handshakes are firm, brief and accompanied by a warm smile. When holding a cold drink, hold it in your left hand to avoid cold handshakes.

Believe it or not, you are often judged by the quality of the handshake. Greg Stewart, a business professor from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa says, “”We probably don’t consciously remember a person’s handshake or whether it was good or bad. But the handshake is one of the first nonverbal clues we get about the person’s overall personality, and that impression is what we remember.” Etiquette rules for shaking hands are the same for men and women.

handshakeOnce at a business networking meeting I encountered a man who only shook the ends of my fingers. No handshake is as uncomfortable as having the ends of your fingers squeezed together and pulled. This was a one-sided handshake. He had total control and I had no grip of any kind. I politely grabbed his hand with my free hand, pulled free and said, “Let’s try that again.” I then extended my hand until the web areas between the thumb and forefinger touched, firmly gripped his hand and offered my name.

A lazy handshake makes you appear disinterested, sort of like a “five-fingered yawn.” If you’re overzealous, however, it’s distracting and annoying. A meaningful handshake usually lasts from 3 to 5 seconds. A release of pressure by either party is a signal that the handshake is over. A good handshake has a nice up and down motion, not a back and forth one.

Gary Pittman says that a good handshake is in the hand of the beholder: if it feels good, it is good. Rarely will you remember a good handshake, but you will remember the bad ones. Handshakes matter.

UPDATE: Here is what Emily Post has to say about handshakes:

Most people are sizing you up as they shake your hand. In order to make a positive first impression, you must first master the proper handshake. As straightforward and simple as this everyday gesture may seem, be sure to take into account the following:

• When to shake. A handshake is in order not only when you’re being introduced but also when you welcome people into your office, when you run into someone you know outside of work, when you say good-bye, and whenever another person offers his or her hand.

• The gender question. Until recently, it was considered polite for a man to wait for a woman to extend her hand before extending his own, but this is no longer customary–especially in business. Furthermore, women should shake hands with other women, even if hesitant to do so. Today a handshake is usually expected, regardless of one’s gender.

• The proper grip. Your grip speaks volumes: A limp one suggests hesitance or timidity, and a bone-cruncher can come across as overly enthusiastic or domineering-not to mention painful. A medium-firm grip conveys confidence and authority. Also make sure your shake is palm-to-palm (not fingers-to-fingers), and keep your hand perpendicular to the ground. An upturned palm may subconsciously signal submissiveness; a downward palm, dominance.

• The two-hand shake. This involves clasping the outside of the greeter’s hand with your free hand. While this kind of handshake signals warmth, it can seem presumptuous or insincere when used in a first meeting. Take care: Some people consider the two-hand shake too intimate for business, while others see it as a “power” move, intended to subtly intimidate the recipient.

• Gloved handshakes. When winter gloves are worn outdoors, common sense prevails: You needn’t take them off to shake someone’s hand. A woman attending an event that calls for formal attire leaves her gloves on when shaking hands, but she takes them off when it comes time to eat.

BONUS Article: The Perfect Handshake: How to Shake Hands Like JFK and Make an Impression

netHQ

Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. Larry James presents networking seminars nationally and offers Networking coaching; one-on-one or for your Networking Group! 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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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Exit Strategies From Networking Bores!

Filed under: Networking Etiquette,Networking Manners — Larry James @ 7:00 am

Be careful not to get stuck in a conversation at a networking event that won’t benefit you or the person you’re speaking with. Here are a few tips on how to stop a boring conversation with someone and move on to someone else!

Have you ever been to a networking event and got stuck talking with someone who insists on trying to sell you their product or service? Ever try to get away from this boring individual gracefully? Have you wondered how you could easily and painlessly remove yourself from the conversation without hurting their feelings? Did you ever notice how some people seem to spend a lot of time speaking without actually ever saying anything? Do they talk exclusively about themselves and/or their business? Hmmm. Guess everyone has to kiss a few frogs.

Sometimes the first inclination is to be as rude as they are and to consistently look over their shoulder for someone better to talk with. Maybe the’ll get the hint, know you’re not really interested and move on. The problem is, most boring people don’t realize they are boring. So, that probably won’t work.

Often I just want to shout, “Next!” and move on. Hanging out with a networking bore is not anything that any of us want to do. . . so, don’t do it. While I don’t want to appear rude, I also don’t want to waste my precious networking time with someone who obviously doesn’t care about me. Most bores are self-centered and networking bores are generally not very polite and are the worse because most are usually in a high-level “sell” mode. They haven’t learned to ditch the sales pitch at a networking event. They don’t know about the “Help, Don’t Sell” mode.

These are the phony bolognas who pretend to care, but who only reach out when they want something. Their talking is just noise. Nothing is more boring than someone who constantly talks without giving anyone else the chance to contribute to the conversation. Others are whiners; business is horible, etc., and some begin to rehash a litany of gripes and complaints. They dis their competitors, their colleagues, their boss, their wife, their kids, or their neighbors. Most are spinning their wheels and just don’t get it. Misery does not love company.

Your at a networking event because you are looking for people who are intelligent, emotionally mature, stable, successful professionals. No cry-babies. Successful networking is all about finding common ground and establishing ease of conversation as quickly as possible.

As long as I’m learning something, I’m listening. The moment the conversation morphs into a sales pitch, I’m outta there! My objective is to learn what’s important to them – a common point of interest – and talk about that. Networking is all about giving. Speak and deliver. First you connect and in the process, create worth. Focusing on connecting, listening and giving of your expertise and resources will always generate better results.

“Consummate networkers give the “gift of time” to those with whom they engage to provide them an escape route from the conversation.” ~ Mark Jeffries

I might add that staying in the conversation also wastes the bore’s time. Time to create some space between the two of you. Stop listening and switch to Mr. or Ms. Smooth. The goal is to connect with people you can assist and who are in a position to help you. Now you can stop “trying” to move on and really move on and seriously work the room.

Are you spending time and money on networking events without seeing measurable results? Maybe you’re conversing with the wrong networkers. Here are several exit strategies that have worked for me. Hopefully you’re savvier than the average bear when it comes to networking. Feel free to adapt them to your conversation closers repertoire. Do this well, and trust me, they will learn something from you.

You might say, “It was nice to meet you. Have a good evening. Don’t ever darken my path again you freak. You’re boring. Enjoy the event. Goodbye and good luck. That was 15 minutes of my life I’ll never get back, I hate you. I’ll follow up with you by the end of the week.” Or fake a heart attack! Or NOT! (just kidding!) 😉

Knowing how to ditch a bore requires skill and finesse. You have to think about what you might do if you find yourself in a boring senario before you get stuck in it. In other words. . . be prepared.

lyingI often will walk around with a glass half filled with soda. When I feel cornered, I simply say, “Looks like I need to freshen up my drink, hope you find what you’re look for. Have a great rest-of-the-evening.”

boringI might cut the conversation short by saying, “Dave, it was nice to meet you. I’m going to move around the room and mingle a bit to meet some other people.”

I also might pretend I’m looking for someone by saying, “Stan, thanks for your business card (or thanks for stopping to chat). I going to find my friend, Chris and hang out with him for awhile. Enjoy the event.”

“I’m sure you must have other people that you want to meet. I need to move around the room now to see if there are others here that I can help. Feel free to mingle with others.”

I may introduce them to someone else I know in their same industry. Once they begin to chat with one another, I politely excuse myself.

If they are boring, after a reasonable time. . . “Please excuse me, I’ve enjoyed speaking with you.” Then smile and move on.

When you close the conversation politely – and with a smile – even though there is no invitation to speak or meet again, at least you don’t have to continue to suffer through a boring sell job and you’ve been nice about it.

A prospect turns into a lead when you start an interesting conversation with them. Great conversations are two-way. The best conversation is an exchange of ideas that benefits both parties.

netHQ

Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. Larry James presents networking seminars nationally and offers Networking coaching; one-on-one or for your Networking Group! 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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Saturday, April 16, 2011

“I’m going to freshen my drink,” and Other Little White Lies

Filed under: Networking Etiquette,Networking Manners — Larry James @ 7:00 am
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Arden Clise, Guest Author

Have you ever wondered how to end a conversation with someone at a networking event? Or, have you ever pondered whether someone is ditching you or just getting more food? Here are the answers.

The other night at a networking event I ran into someone I had met at another event. We were chatting, when during a somewhat awkward pause he looked at his plate and said “these stuffed mushrooms are really good. I’m going to get some more.” He walked away, went to the buffet and started filling up his plate. I stood there for a minute wondering if I should follow him, stay where I was and wait for him to return or find another person to talk to.

After standing there for a few more moments, feeling rather stupid, I realized he was not coming back. I wondered if I had said something wrong or maybe, horrors, I had halitosis. I felt foolish for standing there thinking he would return.

What went wrong here? As I reflected on this, I realized this man, I’ll call him Chris, was finished talking to me but had no idea how to gracefully end the conversation. He attempted by giving a plausible excuse, but he did not make it clear the conversation was over.

shawquoteThe most important rule when ending a conversation with someone, whether at a networking event, party or out and about, is to be gracious and kind to your conversation partner. Even if the person was the biggest bore or had the worse halitosis it’s important to not communicate displeasure with them. And, you must clearly end the conversation so you’re partner isn’t wondering if you’re coming back.

What could Chris have done differently? At the very least he should have said to me, “wow, these stuffed mushrooms are really good. I’m going to get some more. It was great seeing you again. Enjoy the event.”

Or. . . “I’m going to freshen my drink. I enjoyed our conversation. May I have your business card? I’d love to stay in touch.”

Or. . . “It’s been really nice talking to you. I don’t want to keep you from mingling with others. Enjoy the event.”

Or. . . “Arden, have you met Mary? She is also into biking. I bet you two have a lot in common.”Then make the introduction and exit the conversation.

All of these options are kind and clearly convey the conversation is finished. I would have known immediately Chris did not want me to follow him, nor wait for him to return after chowing down.

We really shouldn’t expect to talk to someone for more than five minutes at a networking event. That’s usually about how long we can sustain small talk with a stranger. So, expect to enter and exit several conversations at an event. Just be sure to exit conversations graciously, so that the person saves face and doesn’t wonder if they said or did something wrong.

A few other tips. When you’re talking to someone, give them your full attention and never scan the room looking for your next conversation partner. Even if the person you’re talking to isn’t a potential client or doesn’t offer what you’re looking for don’t just give up on the conversation. You never know who they know or if there might be partnership opportunities in the future.

If you’re walking into a networking event or party and you don’t know, anyone look for groups of three or more, because they tend to be more casual groups open to newcomers. Or introduce yourself to someone standing alone. Most likely this person doesn’t know anyone either and will be grateful you reached out.

Make networking about others not you. Be gracious and kind, and you will have much more success.

BONUS Article: Exit Strategies From Networking Bores!

ArdenClisenetHQ

Copyright © 2011 – Arden Clise. Reprinted with permission. Arden Clise, President of Clise Etiquette, is a business etiquette consultant, radio show host and columnist. As a speaker and corporate trainer, Arden is an expert in the field of business etiquette. Her business etiquette column is a regular feature in The Puget Sound Business Journal and her radio show is featured every Monday on KSER. She has been quoted in several local and national publications, and has been a featured guest on TV and radio shows. Visit Arden’s Website and Blog.

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

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

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

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