Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Be a Network Volunteer!

Filed under: Networking,Volunteer — Larry James @ 8:30 am
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I have long been an advocate of volunteering… especially as it relates to business networking. One of the first steps toward networking your business is to become more visible in the the group and community the group services. It will help connect you with other members who share your passion for networking. By building these trusting relationships with other successful members, you essentially gain publicity for yourself and your business.

One of the smartest moves I ever made was starting my own networking group – The Tulsa Business Connection in 1975. Within 7 months, we had 47 members all in different business classifications. By the end of the year we had 65 members, 45 to 50 of which attended nearly every weekly lunch meeting we had. Dues were $40 per month, not including lunch. No one complained because they are all busy promoting themselves and our group and everyone was actively “looking” for business referrals for other members.

NET-VolunteerAttendance and dues are seldom a problem if everyone is doing their job; bringing at least one business lead every week and if they didn’t 25 cents went into the connection can. At the end of the meeting there was a drawing for those who did bring leads. Whoever’s card was chosen, won the “Connection Can Cash!” What a powerful group. The first year we exchanged nearly $2,000,000 in business leads for our members.

Anyone who had been a TBC member for more than 3 months knew that to volunteer to do something for the group was almost imperative. Those who didn’t volunteer were not that visible and as a result got very few referrals and eventually dropped out. We had many committees with about 5 members each who were responsible for various projects the group had chosen to support. Several were philanthropic. Our most popular committee was in charge of our “Quarterly Connections!” 4 time a year we would plan outside social events just for fun. Nearly member was involved in some kind of group activity.

I taught everyone to reach out to the community. Those who volunteered demonstrated their commitment to our group without concern for personal gain – and that was there too. Volunteering will always present new opportunities to help you spread the word about our group, your products/services and build affinity for our networking brand. Once our new President told me that she was have difficulty trying to do everything that was expected of her. The next meeting I asked for a volunteer to be assistant to the President and 14 hands went up. TBC was the largest, most active and most productive networking group in Tulsa for more than 15 years.

Several times we had special meetings and invited another networking group who was not doing so well to come and visit TBC to see why our group was doing so well. There was a substantial fee if they wanted me or someone deeply involved in our group to visit their group for one quarter to help them get on track and be more productive.

The Tulsa Business Connection established the first “Runaway Hot Line” with Tulsa Youth Services to help parents find their children who ran away. That news made the Tulsa World newspaper, every TV and nearly every radio station in town. We were all over the news and people were calling to join TBC.

For more info, click the book cover!

Volunteers quickly learned that they had to invest something into our group in order to get something out of it. Once the members knew the value of volunteering, hardly anyone said no when asked to help out with a group function. Here are a few of the ways they could volunteer:

• Registration Attendant to sign in attendees
• Greeter – This was a great position. You got to meet and greet everyone who attended
• Quarterly Connections – Party & social time – no networking
• Photographer – Photograph our special events
• President’s Assistant
• Printer – Volunteer to print TBC forms, weekly newsletter
• Videographer – Video our special events
• Special Seminar for newbies – once each quarter we would review our bylaws, help member design a “30-Second Connection” and offer tips that help them better network
• Volunteer Recruiters – Members who were assigned to recruit specific people thought to be good for our group
• Event Managers – Helped plan our special events
• Service Providers – Various professional service providers would come to an event and provide services to the attendees as a way to make the events better and showcase their product/service
• Spokesperson/Interviewer – For media interviews –
• Radio Broadcaster/PR – Helped prepare news releases, etc.
• Exit Interviewer – Our bylaws allowed for asking members who just came to the meetings and never offered business referrals to begin to do so (30 day warning) or they were very nicely asked to allow their business classification to be filled by someone else. (This may sound harsh, however, it was one way we kept the group full of savvy networkers and eliminated the leaches).

“Invest time in a cause that you care about. Volunteering puts you directly in touch with people who share the same values and passions – which can be a good foundation for working together or referring one another. Volunteer for an organization that you really care about. You’ll find new contacts and be making the world a better place at the same time. You may even be able to help your favorite charity with your business. Donate consulting time or manage a project pro bono and you’ll reap multiple benefits – new contacts, a project for your portfolio and contributing to a cause you care about.” ~ Ruben Gamez, Founder of Bidsketch.

Network group leaders: Design some ways you can help people in your group to volunteer to help your group. I promise it will make a terrific impact on the group and the attitudes of your members!

BONUS Article: Want to Stand Out in Your Networking Circles? Get Involved!
Volunteer and Become Visible
Community… Not Just a Buzzword!
Does Your Networking Group Have a “Community” Presence?

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!”

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

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

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

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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Volunteer and Become Visible

Filed under: Community,Guest Author Articles — Larry James @ 8:30 am
Tags: , , ,

Dr. Ivan Misner, Guest Author

One of the first steps toward networking your business is to become more visible in the community. Remember that people need to know you, like you and trust you in order to refer you. Volunteering can position you to meet key people in your community. It connects you with people who share your passion. It gives you opportunities to demonstrate your talents, skills and integrity, as well as your ability to follow up and do what you say you are going to do. It instantly expands the depth and breadth of your network.

volunteer2People who volunteer demonstrate their commitment to a cause without concern for personal gain. Thus, you should be volunteering with organizations or causes for which you hold genuine interest and concern. If administrators or other volunteers perceive that you are in it primarily for your own gain, your visibility will work against you, and you will undermine your own goals.

Volunteering is not a recreational activity; it’s a serious commitment to help fulfill a need. To find an organization or cause that aligns with your interests, you need to approach volunteerism with a healthy level of thought and strategy.

Start by asking yourself the nine questions below.

1. What do you enjoy doing for yourself in your spare time?

2. What hobbies do you enjoy?

3. What sports do you know well enough to teach?

4. What brings you joy and satisfaction?

5. What social, political or health issue are you passionate about because it relates to you, your family or your friends?

6. Based on the answers to the first five questions, what are three organizations that you can identify that appeal to you? (Examples: youth leagues, libraries, clubs, activist groups, church groups, homeless shelters) Choose the one that most appeals to you, and research the group online and in the community.

7. Now that you’ve researched this group, will it give you an opportunity to meet one of your professional or personal goals? If so, visit the group to “try it on.”

8. Now that you’ve visited this group, do you still want to make a final commitment of your time?

9. Are other group members satisfied with the organization? (To learn this, identify three members of the group to interview in order to assess their satisfaction with the organization. Consider choosing a new member, a two- to three-year member, and a seasoned five- to six-year member to interview.)

Once you’ve done the research required to satisfactorily answer these nine questions, join a group and begin to volunteer for visibility’s sake. Look for leadership roles that will demonstrate your strengths, talents and skills. In other words, volunteer and become visible. It’s a great way to build your personal network.

BONUS Articles: Does Your Networking Group Have a “Community” Presence?
Community… Not Just a Buzzword!

MisnernetHQCopyright © 2013 – Ivan Misner. Called the father of modern networking, Dr. Ivan Misner is the Founder of BNI and the senior partner for the Referral Institute. He has written nine books, including his New York Times best seller, Truth or Delusion? Busting Networking’s Biggest Myths. ljspacer

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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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, November 18, 2011

Community. . . Not Just a Buzzword!

Filed under: Community,Networking — Larry James @ 7:00 am
Tags: , , , ,

I don’t know about you, but I’m really big on giving back. In my career as a professional speaker and author there have been many people who have helped me along the way. As a result, I’ve been on a mission to do my best to live up to my purpose in life: “Helping others, help themselves!

huddleWhen I network, I look for a group that is involved in activities that supports the community in which they thrive. They huddle, then come up with ideas that can make a difference in the cities where they live. Or they rally around and support projects already underway in their community and offer group assistance.

In my many years (not saying how many) I have enjoyed the many blessings of sharing and giving to others. I have built my business through networking and over the years I have discovered what works and what doesn’t. Giving back to the community works!

puzzle word CommunityCommunity is not just a buzzword. It should mean something to you. First of all, there are the people in your networking group. They are your community. That is where your giving should begin. Every member must be dedicated to helping each other succeed.

Give what you know about networking to those in your group. Give tips, information, advice, business referrals. Give the gift of yourself. Share your expertise. This could be a special project, a service, time spent together, and more. You and your network will benefit through others’ thoughts, opinions and feedback. Always give without expecting anything in return – it will come back multiplied! That’s the key. If you “give” because you want to “get” referrals, you are simply “bartering.” To give, you must act without the expectation of recognition or reciprocity.

ThinkCommunityMost of us know that what you put out to the Universe always comes back to you. You do people in your network a disservice by not giving them the gift of giving. Giving is much more than an obligation. It is an opportunity to contribute to someone else.

“The manner in which it is given is worth more than the gift.” – Lynn Johnston

Second, I look for a group who uses their networking brand to identify itself with the community, town, city, etc. It’s time that we take our community – the one we network in – seriously. Give! Give! Give! It’s the human connection with it that serves the community and you. Promoting business in the community takes a stand for responsible business relationships with each other. It can help transform our communities by stimulating growth to help make them better places to work and live.

If your networking group is a hotbed of entrepreneurial talent then put it to use. Design a project for your community that everyone can support, promote it and your group and watch the results begin to show. Be creative. Make sure it delivers. Challenge others to “Be The Change You Wish To See In The World!”

“It is more blessed to give than to receive!” – Acts 20:35 Many of us still have a hard time with that one. Giving generously is a win-win-win proposition.

I wish for you a networking group that has participants who are committed to giving to each other and your community!

BONUS Article: Does Your Networking Group Have a “Community” Presence?

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
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Monday, March 8, 2010

Does Your Networking Group Have a “Community” Presence?

Filed under: Community,Networking — Larry James @ 6:00 am
Tags: , , , ,

I believe it is important for networking groups to play an active role in the community they serve. As networkers work to help each other they should combine their efforts by making a difference in the community. It is important so that you can become a presence in your area. I can this social entrepreneurship.

Members of a community have a responsibility for being involved in that community. By doing this you become more connected. This connection gives you a chance to make an impact. Be transparent and proactively honest in your community. When you are involved in your community, your are one of them, an insider. Community involvement can help your business grow because it promotes trust, builds solid relationships and puts a personal face on your business that can’t be duplicated any other way. When you are a good neighbor, a known and respected member of the community, your business will prosper.

Volunteerism is a great way for networkers to have fun and feel closer. Make sure your motives are pure.

needideaApart from being a good samaritan and lending a helping hand, being a positive member of your community can result in increased business, better public relations and free publicity for your networking group.

Local schools always need a helping hand. Perhaps while you are helping the school you can mentor or coach the students about the importance of networking. That’s something we are not teaching our kids in school. It teaches them about their responsibilities as citizens of the world and of our nation. It is our responsibility to pass down this legacy to our children.

Sponsor sports teams. Volunteer to help in local and state elections. Become involved in Special Olympics.

Many companies give back to the community as well. Community involvement includes mentoring, volunteering, being active on boards of organizations, and sharing your time and talents to improve your community. When you really truly look at all of your options, you will find that they are endless.

Join local business organizations and network with others. This is especially useful if you provide services to other businesses. Networking is a proven way to gain new clients.

Here is one of the perks. Creating a community presence for your networking group will almost always create opportunity to promote your group and your own business. It helps you expand your social circle not only for yourself, but for your networking group. It helps build new friendships and relationships.

Surround yourself with people who are like-minded; who are interested in helping to brand your networking group as a community-minded group.

greatideaFind a need and fill it. Here is a great example.

I started one of Tulsa’s most successful networking groups called The Tulsa Business Connection in 1985. Not long after the group was organized, a prospective member was invited to visit our group for possible membership. The day after the meeting, I received a call that her daughter and her daughter’s friend had run away from home. She had called the Police to report it but was told that they could do nothing until she had been missing for 24 hours. The mother was beside herself. She didn’t know what to do.

I quickly call our members – about 60 – and rounded up a $500 reward for the safe return of both girls. Next, I began calling the Tulsa radio and TV stations to see if they would run a story. They did. KRMG Radio was especially helpful. I did a radio interview where I noted how frustrated the mother was and said it was a shame that a city as large as Tulsa had no place for her to turn. They took parts of the interview and ran SoundBytes on the news.

runawayhotlineBy the time I returned to my office, I received a call from the radio station telling me that the Director of Tulsa Youth Services was trying to reach me. When I called her I was told that counselors at Youth Services were available. I told her that I was curious why they didn’t have a run-away hot-line for parents to call. My mind was spinning with all kinds of ideas to help and came up with having The Tulsa Business Connection band together to offer this service to the Tulsa area.

The newspaper was a different story. I was told that run-aways were not news and the answer was an emphatic, “No!” I’ve never been one to accept the first “No.” I told them that instead of focusing on the run-aways that maybe they should focus on the fact that there was virtually no resource to help parents in their time of need and that The Tulsa Business Connection was considering funding a run-away hot-line in the Tulsa area and we were looking for donations of money and vendors who would help us promote the idea.

TulsaWorldThe next day, The Tulsa World ran a “front-page” story – a full half-page – that talked about the mother’s frustration, the hot-line idea, a short blurb about the girls and with photos of both girls. Success!

Within 12 hours both girls were found and a $500 reward was paid to the women who just happened to see both girls in her apartment complex. She was invited to attend one of our meetings where I presented her with the reward check. She was unemployed at the time and was grateful for the $500.

The fact that both girls were found gave me the success I needed to start the buzz about a run-away hot-line and I called the newspapers, radio and TV to tell them the news.

Why am I telling you this story? The Tulsa Business Connection became known in the Tulsa area overnight. Our membership grew. The hot-line (1+RunAway) was up and running and we continued to have a community presence and continued to raise money for over a year and a half to fund the phone line.

The printer member of our group volunteered to print more than 15,000 fliers. Another of our members who owned an office supply store donated the paper. My name, The Tulsa Business Connection and all the other members of our group who actively participated in this project were given credit in the flyers. Our networking members distributed the flyers in their businesses and in other businesses all over town.

Not only did The Tulsa Business Connection get lots of publicity and praise from the community, the Board of Directors of Tulsa Youth Services voted to eventually take over the funding of the hot-line and continued to print thousands of brochures. The Tulsa Business Connection continued to receive credit for the hot-line idea. We tracked more than $2,000,000 in business leads between our 60 members in only the second year of our existence.

It’s call giving back. Use your imagination. Get creative. Brainstorm with other networking members. Find a need and fill it. Be social entrepreneurs. As active networkers you are encouraged to become more committed to the community that supports your businesses. Everyone benefits!

netHQ

Copyright © 2010 – Larry James. Larry 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! Visit ” 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

Add Larry James 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

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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