Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Getting to Know You…

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

You’ve probably been told that networking is about building relationships and getting to know people, right? It is. AND just attending a weekly networking meeting and hoping someone brings you a referral is not enough. Networking is much more than that.

We all know that time is a limited resource for most business people, and it’s important to use your time well. The people who take the time to regularly meet with those in their network are the ones who come out ahead. It’s also much more than just a quick “follow-up” after you meet someone new. It requires regular dialogue. That is called smart networking.

NETGetting2KnowU“Engagement is an absolutely critical step in the networking process. It involves a promise and an action. In order to achieve success in your group of networking relationships, you and your relationships must promise to support one another and then take the actions necessary to fulfill that promise.” ~ Ivan Misner

You may recall the line in the song… “Getting to know you, getting to know all about you.” Let’s focus on the second part, getting to know “all about you.” That’s how you develop close business relationships. Getting to know the people in your network must be a high priority. It is basically the ability to connect with like-minded people to share, recognize, create or pursue opportunities not just in the meeting but making time to get to know each other outside of the meetings as well. It leads to mutual trust and respect. You have to cultivate deep relationships with your connections before you can ask them for a favor or expect them to give you business referrals.

High-performing professionals know their careers will be defined by the relationships they build. Reach out and touch someone. That’s when your networking skills really come into play. When someone approaches you to meet and get to know you better, that should get your attention. That’s what it does. It impresses me that someone wants to know more about what I do. That’s also what it does for them. It’s your chance to make a lasting impression. This face-to-face engagement is – in my opinion – the best way to deepen the relationship. Before I leave, I always ask, “What is the best way for use to stay in touch?”

Networking is nothing more than meeting new people and getting to know them better. It’s the art of building alliances. Your goal is to get people to open up about a subject dear to them that helps you develop rapport. A get-together outside of a meeting is NOT about telling them all about you. What do they like to do when they are not networking (families, hobbies and special interests). Don’t be shy to ask questions. Be a good listener.

Get specific. Ask them who would be a good prospect or referral for them, or what resources they might need. Find out what they need. Who do they need to meet. Offer to help them find that someone. You’re there to focus on building a relationship, not trying to get something out of them. Please remember that. Seek out ways to collaborate. This activity is reciprocal: other people get to know you better too. You soon become friends with benefits and remember, most relationships endure because we continue to stay in touch.

If you want an advantage in your career, you need to start building relationships with amazing people others have overlooked. Some of those people may already be in attendance at your local meetings.

It’s important to invest the time and effort in getting to know the people in your network. “Make” some time. Get to know your networking friends and maybe even get to like them too. The time you invest will be paid back many times over. Always send a handwritten follow-up note through the U.S. Mail within 24 hours of your meeting. This is not only a courtesy, it will differentiate you from the many others they may have met, however they will remember you!

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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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/
Visit Larry James on LinkedIn
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Thursday, July 16, 2015

No Close Relationships ~ No Referrals!

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

Relationships! That’s where you begin. People only do business with people they like and trust. No relationships – No referrals! You must KNOW these close relationships! Really know them. Networking is not about how many sales you can make. It’s about starting at the beginning – the introduction to someone new and then working the relationship until you become close business friends. That’s when the business referrals will begin to come to you.

NET-PluggedINWhen you talk to other networkers, make it clear that you want to help in whatever way you can and that their business sincerely matters to you. Every connection has to be heartfelt, or it won’t work.

One thing I know for sure. I know that collaboration between networkers in networking meetings and outside of the meetings is a principle driver of creativity, innovation and, therefore business advantage. Continue to build your network outside of the meeting. Failure to invest in collaborative techniques will greatly hamper your networking productivity.

I also know that to get recognized and noticed as a professional networker you must do things that help others before you can ever expect them to do things like passing along a referral to you. If you help people out when they need assistance, then people will help you out too. When you take the time to build and nurture relationships with the people around you, you’ll build a network of “allies” who will help you when you most need it. You call attention to yourself by paying attention to others.

Do you really know the people in your network? I mean, “really” know them? We all need to dig a little deeper. Be on a crusade to develop closer business and personal relationships with those in our network. Schedule follow-up meetings to visit their office, read their flyers, and really get to know them personally and professionally. Carry their business cards with you in a large business card holder so you can be ready in case an opportunity to share their work with your friends outside of your network shows up. Professional networkers make friends easily… close friends. The closer the connection, the better networking works!

“There is no greater reward then helping others help themselves.” ~ Larry James

We all need to get to know those friends that are in our networking circle much better. We need to focus on “them.” We all need to dig a little deeper. We need to get to the good stuff about our networking friends. We need to get excited about knowing more about the people we are connected to. We need to learn more about their businesses so we can truly get excited enough about them and their business that we can’t help but want to share about them with our friends. After all, isn’t that what networking is really about… building close business relationships that support each other? You can’t do that if you think networking is always about selling “your” services to others and getting business leads. Networking is about giving.

Networking is… using your creative talents to help others achieve their goals as you cultivate a network of people strategically positioned to support you in your goals… expecting nothing in return! ~ Larry James

BONUS Article: “How Can I Help You?”
Out-of-Meeting Follow Up
“Just Makin’ Some New Friends…”

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.

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/
Visit Larry James on LinkedIn
Follow Larry’s Networking on Facebook: https://www.Facebook.com/NetworkingHeadquarters/timeline
Follow Larry’s Networking Pinterest Page @ http://www.pinterest.com/larryjames2012/networking-blog/!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Out-of-Meeting Follow Up

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

If you want to rise and outshine your competition and continually advance and forge mutually beneficial business relationships, I strongly recommend that you fulfill the most critical part of networking: Follow Up!

Example: You attend your networking meeting and like almost everyone who attended, you gave your “30-second” connection (elevator speech), listened to the other members give theirs, listened to the speaker, stayed for a few minutes after the meeting and went back to your office. The next week… it’s the same old thing. Attending the the weekly meeting itself and seeing the same people is not enough. Booooring!

NETFollowUPIt’s time to get off your butt and make some serious progress in networking. If you haven’t met with the others in your group “outside” of the weekly meeting you are missing the point! I submit that you cannot really get to know someone and their business unless you “make” time to arrange a productive meeting with them at their office away from the weekly meeting.

Re-connecting with people in your group or shortly after you meet a new member, sends the message that you serious about a relationship, proactive and willing to invest the time and effort to get to know them. Initial contact is great, but you aren’t really networking if the relationship does not continue. Be clear about your intentions for any meeting beforehand so the other party can prepare accordingly.

Always approach follow ups with a philosophy of being of service. Your intention is to discover how best you can help them. The first face-to-face meeting is about further developing your rapport with your new contact. This important face-to-face will help you learn more about them personally and will give you an opportunity to see their business close-up. I recommend that each personal face-to-face at their business be followed by a lunch where you can continue to learn more about them.

This out-of-networking-meeting meeting should be about them – not you. Discuss how you could be of assistance to them. If they want to know more about you, let them ask, but focus on them. You are there to get to know “them” better. Begin with the newest members of your group and continue to arrange meetings with everyone in your group. Ask lots of questions. Really get to know them. Don’t just talk business, get personal. Ask about their family, hobbies, interests and things they like to do.

Be an information seeker. Informational interviewing gives you a great opportunity to gather the kind of information that will forge a closer relationship and will help you to help them better. If during your conversation you are advised to contact someone in particular or to look at a particular resource, make sure you have all information needed to contact that person or find that resource.

Be certain before you leave that you know exactly the kind of business referrals that would be beneficial to them. (Read that sentence again!) Why? Because that is the specific reason you are meeting with them. Remember to be respectful of their company and their time. Never overstay your welcome. Extend an invitation to meet them again at your office. If you work out of your home, meet them there.

Don’t stop there. Continue to build the relationship. If the connection is great, you may want to meet with them socially. It’s all about making great friends and working together to help each other. There are many different ways to stay in touch. the important thing is that you do stay in touch!

This kind of face-to-face follow up also works well when you meet someone new at a major networking event like Networking Phoenix. The larger events usually lack the structure you find in smaller more intimate networking groups. If you are like me, I network with other people outside of my networking group as long as they are not in competition with someone in my group. Loyalty to “one” networking group is very important. I do not recommend being a member of more than one small networking group for that very reason… loyalty.

Reach out to people already in your network and to your peers in the different organizations you’re part of to find out if there is someone you should connect with.

This is how you start to build great relationships and expand your network. To see them only once a week without effective follow up is the snail’s way to networking success. It’s time to get on the fast track!

“Networking can take time and energy if you let it, or it can be integrated into your daily activities with a simple change in mindset to be more effortless. A small, consistent investment of time each week can pay off huge dividends in the future for you and your network.” ~ Lisa Rangel

BONUS Articles: 18 Ways To Follow Up After A Networking Event
Pay Attention to Others!
What to Talk About at the Follow-Up
Call ________ Before It’s Too Late!

Larry’s NOTE: Click the “Follow Up” link in the article index on the right for more articles about Follow Up!”

netHQ

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

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

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

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

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/
Visit Larry James on LinkedIn
Follow Larry’s Networking Pintrest Page @ http://www.pinterest.com/larryjames2012/networking-blog/!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Call ________ Before It’s Too Late!

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

I attended a large networking event last evening. I had about a dozen people ask me for my business card. I exchanged cards with them all. Then I waited.

I waited to see how many of them were what I would call savvy networkers. I was curious to see how many would actually follow-up. Other than 2 leaders from the group, only “one” of the dozen actually contacted me today. So… they wanted my business card, but committed one of the biggest mistakes that networkers make – failure to follow-up. I was impressed that the leaders of the group gave me a courtesy call to ask me how things went.

FollowUPcallIn my networking seminars I teach that follow-up must occur within 24 hours otherwise you may have missed the opportunity to ever connect again. Strike while the iron’s hot! Unfortunately more often then not, your card ends up on their desk and you never hear from them again. When will we learn?

One woman gave me her card, told me what she did, then asked me what I did. I told her. She never asked for my card and I didn’t offer it. It was obvious that she wasn’t there to see if she could help anyone, but only there for herself. Opps!

Some networkers have no problem talking to strangers at events, however, getting comfortable talking to them on the follow-up call is just one of the many challenges that an effective business networker must overcome. The real problem – in my opinion is – they either have no interest in following up or don’t know what to say when they do. Boiling it down… the truth is “fear!”

You must have engagement! After your meeting, if you have decided you would like to continue the relationship, it is extremely important to follow-up with them. Follow-up has to be a part of your overall plan. It’s a lost art that must be learned. You have to feel the fear and make the call anyway if you want networking to work for you! One face-to-face contact does not a relationship make.

Sometimes the hardest thing to do and the right thing to do are the same thing!

“It’s simple but proper follow up starts by knowing what you want to accomplish. It’s thinking with the end in mind so that all of your follow up and communication can move things forward in the manner you are seeking. It goes back to making it a part of your plan… but like all things, your plan will only succeed if you work it.” ~ Daniel Decker

Building a relationship with a new contact begins with setting up a time to get together to learn more about each other and each other’s businesses. Notice I listed the personal side first. It’s important to be friends. Friends are people we come to like and trust which is an absolute for successful networking. Without following up to promote another opportunity to interact, a relationship can never develop.

So… Follow-up! This sounds like the easiest part, but is all to often missed by many. If you meet someone you feel you can help, tell them you will call. Be sure to call them exactly at the time you set up. Then arrange a time to get together for another one-on-one, face-to-face meeting. Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Your physical first impression was at the event, this is where you are making your business first impression. This will set the stage as to if your new contact will want to do business with you. Tell them you will call them at a certain time and don’t, will lose all credibility you established with them at the event.

“Networking can take time and energy if you let it, or it can be integrated into your daily activities with a simple change in mindset to be more effortless. A small, consistent investment of time each week can pay off huge dividends in the future for you and your network.” ~ Ashlee Hartwig

Who are you calling today?

BONUS Articles: What to Talk About at the Follow-Up
8 Steps To Build Relationships After A Networking Event
Seven Steps To Building Your New Relationships Through Follow-Up
Your Networking Fortune is in Your Follow-Up!

netHQ

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

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

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

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

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/
Visit Larry James on LinkedIn

Monday, June 23, 2014

You Need More Than a Cardboard Connection

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

Do you attend networking events with the intention of collecting all the business cards you can and giving out as many business cards while you’re there?

That is a big mistake!

Most folks think if you go to enough events and pass out enough business cards the phone will begin ringing. That is seldom ever true. Even if you do get some business that way, you still have to do what is necessary to build and cultivate that relationship so they continue to do business with you and/or send you referrals.

busNETcardHanding out your business card to everyone who crosses your path makes only a cardboard connection!

Haven’t you emptied your pockets, looked at the cards and wondered why you bothered to bring them back to your office. Instead, pour your conversational energy into finding a real connection, a good, solid business reason to exchange cards.

John, who has just started his own business, is looking for an accountant. You are happy to give him your accountant’s name, as well as some tips on record keeping. Ask John for his card and tell him you will call him with the information.

Give him your card, but only after you tell him why he needs it. “I hope that when you need any remodeling, or hear of someone who does, you’ll give me a call.”

Next, follow up and call him with the accountant’s contact information. The follow up is the most important ingredient for effective business networking and will help you solidify the connection. You may want to arrange a time to get together (make an appointment) to get to know each other better.

“Speak to a few people and have genuine conversations rather than rush around the room trying to grab a card from everyone. Show a genuine interest in the other person and engage in conversation rather than trade elevator pitches.” ~ Andy Lapata

I rarely go anywhere without have a few business cards with me. I was at a small event recently and after meeting this woman I asked for her card. I saw an immediate possibility that we could help each other, but when I asked I heard, “Oh, I didn’t think I was going to need any cards this morning so I didn’t bring any with me.” Oh, really? I gave her my card and asked her to send me one of hers, but most often that gets forgotten. So… for her, another missed opportunity. Guess what? I never heard from her again.

You never know when you are going to meet someone useful to you or you to them. Always be sure you have several business cards with you. I “always” carry business cards with me. If I am out to eat (and leave a nice tip), I will usually leave my card. Several years ago, I did that and about 6 months later, the waitress called me and hired me to perform her Wedding ceremony.

BONUS Articles: What to Do With the Business Card of a Loser
Networking is NOT a Card Game…

Larry’s NOTE: A special “Thank you!” to Anne Baber, author of “Great Connections: Small Talk and Networking for Businesspeople,” for the inspiration for this article.

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.

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/

Sunday, June 15, 2014

“Myth-Information” about Networking!

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

There are so many misconceptions about business networking. It is often a misunderstood concept. Have you been assaulted by a business card bombardier who only wanted to sell you something? Attended one of those “grab and gab” and “tell and sell” rubber chicken so-called networking events where you left feeling violated? The purpose of business networking is to forge meaningful relationships that you can rely on – and that can rely on you – for introductions, collaborations and referrals. In this article, checking out the myth-information about networking will help you get on the right networking track!

“Developing a strong network requires making connections that will sustain more than a simple introduction. Those connections, and the support required to maintain them, are the necessary ingredients to developing a network.” ~ Sherri Edwards

Myth-InformationMyth #1 ~ “There’s no strategy to networking – you’re either good at it or you’re not.”

WRONG! If networking doesn’t come natural to you, you better learn the networking tools that the professional networker know. Anyone can be good at it – it’s whether or not you have a desire to learn all you can about networking and then use what works for you.

Myth #2 ~ “People who are shy and are introverts are horrible networkers.”

Networking will bring you out of the shy rut if you are smart about doing it. The tool great networkers know is that more than 50% of a result oriented networking interaction is not talking about yourself – it’s opening the door to a conversation through questions about the other person. Shy people can easily progress quickly when they know that the person asking the questions is in command of the conversation.

Myth #3 ~ “A large networking is a great place to find customers to sell to.”

Horribly wrong! People only do business with people they like and trust. The truth is you must develop the relationship first before others will refer business to you must less buy anything from you. Building relationships takes time. There is never enough time at a major networking event to even consider building a relationship.

Myth #4 ~ “Networking is about giving your business card to as many people as possible.”

Someone once said, “Handing out your business card like it’s free Halloween candy guarantees one thing – you’ve given people something to pick their teeth with after lunch.” I never ask anyone for their business card unless I feel there is a possibility that I might be of service to them or I feel that there is an opportunity for us to support each other in our networking efforts. I never give my business card to just anyone I talk with. I wait for that moment when you know you’ve made a connection worthy of pursuit.

Myth #5 ~ “You must have the persona of a sleazy car salesman to be successful in networking.”

Are you kidding me! Those are the kind of people who are aggressive as heck and after turning everyone off, generally fade into the distance complaining that networking doesn’t work. Trust! That’s one of the keys to networking success. Building trust takes time. Be patient.

Myth #6 ~ “Networking stops when the meeting is over!”

Not true. It’s actually the beginning… the beginning is called “follow-up!” Many networkers miss that point. It’s crucial. I say it’s extremely significant. The follow-up is when you begin to build the relationship. It’s the time when you take the time to get to know each other; exploring all the possibilities of working together in the future. Follow up with a phone call, an e-mail, regular mail, or a meeting over breakfast or lunch. The greatest mistake people make in networking is not having a well-developed follow-up plan.

Myth #7 ~ “Networking is about getting business referrals and leads.”

That’s pure folly! Effective business networking is about giving! It’s not about asking others for referrals and leads, it’s about giving others referrals, leads, ideas, etc. Sometimes it’s clipping a newspaper story or copying an idea that may help others by sending it my snail-mail rather than e-mail. It’s true that preperation of snail-mail takes more time, however it also signals that you thought what you sent is special. Send a hand-written note. When you network, you must always to looking for ways to “give” to others in your network of support. By the way, there is a big difference between business referrals and leads. Read: “Is It a Lead or a Referral?

Myth #8 ~ “Networking about being a schmoozer or smooth talker.”

Have great communication skills certainly helps, however being a good listener is key. You can never learn much about the other person if you are doing all the talking – especially if all you talk about is you. A schmoozer is a person skilled in the art of ingratiating small talk – talk that is business oriented, designed to both provide and solicit personal information AND who avoids overt pitching of their product or services. Unfortunately many schmoozers have earned a reputation that has people looking at them as people who overtly pitch their products or services without allowing time to learn anything much from the person with whom they are talking. Focus on asking sincere questions and on being a good listener. Networking is a dialogue in which both people should contribute. If you want to call attention to yourself, you must pay attention to others!

StayConnectedMyth #9 ~ “Networking takes so much time. I don’t have the time to network.”

Think of business networking as marketing and promoting your business and brand, meeting new people (who may become customers in the future) and cultivating new relationships. Networking is a reciprocal relationship. You never have time to do the things you don’t want to do. Networking should be a part of everyone’s business plan. The people who skip around from one networking meeting to the next, and attend four or five events each week would do well to network with a plan or strategy. They become exhausted and have no time or don’t take the time for follow-up or are in it only for what they can get out of it. Your time is precious. To me the very large groups are all about social networking and in many cases the people who attend know very little about the collaborative etiquette of networking. Pick and choose one group, and stay with it. I hear people leave groups because they don’t get any referrals. My first question to them is, “How many referrals did you ‘give’.” Networking events may be in themselves intimidating or misleading. Calling a large event a “networking opportunity” may create unnecessary pressure for the inexperienced networker. Attend a large group once in a while to keep your conversation sharp, to visit with friends and have a soda. Attending one “highly targeted” networking event makes a lot more sense than going to 10 generic networking groups or events.

Myth #10 ~ “Networking is all about who you know.”

Networking is all about who knows you, who likes you, who trusts you and who respects you. Pete Leibman once said, “Before working with you or referring you to someone else, a successful person is consciously or subconsciously asking himself, ‘Do I like and respect this person enough to put my reputation on the line by working with her or by introducing her to someone I trust?'”

Myth #11 ~ “You have to memorize an elevator pitch.”

Memorize? No. I will say that knowing how to tell others what you do in a creative way helps. The “elevator pitch or speech” (I call it a 30-second connection), is especially good when you are at a networking “meeting” (not a large event) and are asked to stand and introduce yourself. Attending a large networking event and randomly rattling off your 30-second connection to everyone you see is not the right time or place. There is a time and place for everything. I wouldn’t suggest that we should “kill” the “elevator pitch” altogether. Perhaps we should kill the word “pitch!” The purpose of crafting a 30-second connection is to help you be totally clear on your core identity and message. Clear in a way that could fit easily into the time it takes to go from one floor to the next in an elevator AND it should never be a pitch. A pitch has a negative connotation that rarely arouses the interest of the person you are talking to. Once you decide what your 30-second connection will be, play with it. Be flexible. Learn to adapt it to any situation you may encounter.

Networking is such a popular contact sport that you would think that after a few unsuccessful events – meaning: no significant change in business or no one seems to be wanting to contact them – that they would learn from the errors of their ways and seek some support from someone who knows the ins-and-outs of business networking or, at least, stop and observe how the winners are doing it. Yet, they toil on, soliciting business, collecting business cards and hoping at the next event things will improve. That’s insane!

“I believe your [networking] goal is to #1. Show up authentically; #2. Know your value proposition (what do you have to offer?); #3. Be able to articulate how your experience relates to the goals and needs of others in your network; and #4. Have a clear follow-up strategy ready to go after the event.” ~ Lida Citroën

Business networking is about “giving!” Professional networkers give to other networkers whenever they can because it causes them to feel good to give, not because they expect to be rewarded later.

Networking is… using your creative talents to help others achieve their goals as you cultivate a network of people strategically positioned to support you in your goals… expecting nothing in return! ~ Larry James

One of the most common places you express your personal brand, your values, and your style is in networking. Whether you’re at a business event, job fair, or standing in line at Starbucks, there is always in a potential opportunity for networking. Networking doesn’t just happen at business events. Opportunity is everywhere! Be prepared to take it! A robust and well-curated network is the most powerful tool in your professional arsenal. Don’t let bad advice and the preconceived notions of others stop you from using it to your fullest advantage.

BONUS Articles: Building a Case for LARGE Networking Events!
Shop for a GREAT Networking Group… Then STOP!
Networking Events are a Waste of Time…
Demonstrate Your Commitment to Networking ~ Here’s How
8 Steps To Build Relationships After A Networking Event
NEVER Start a Networking Conversation With, “What do you do?”
Networking Events — Which Event Or Organization Is the Right One for You?

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

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, January 2, 2014

Setting Your Networking Stage For Success In 2014

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

Thomas Camarda, Guest Author

Everyone makes New Year resolutions and seldom stick to them, but what really is a resolution? According to the Merriam-Webster’s dictionary:

Res·o·lu·tion, noun \ˌre-zə-ˈlü-shən\ ~ the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem, etc., the act of resolving something, an answer or solution to something.

FreshStartSo in layman’s terms a resolution is setting a goal and resolving to accomplish it. Now is the time to set your networking goals for 2014 and resolve to making this year your most successful networking year ever.

There are 3 parts to a networking event

1. Preparation
2. At the event
3. After the Event

Here are 12 resolution/goal suggestions:

Preparation.

• Who do you want in your network. ~ Before you venture out into the networking world, think about who you want to meet and what industry you want to build your network in. With so many different events to attend you can easily stray to an event that may not fit your networking profile. It is important to be choosey and pick the ones that fit your networking needs and that align to your goals. Identify your highest-value networking events and attend them , this will allow you to focus more on what matters most to you.

Search Your Top Online Connections. ~ Do some research on the people you are connected to online, or the people you want to be connected to. See what events they are going to, even ask them what events they like best. Networkers always like to help other networkers succeed. They will be happy to offer their advice.

• Dress for Success. First impressions are the most lasting, make them count. At a networking event , dress the way you want to be seen in the business world, and most importantly how you want to be treated. Also pay attention to where the event is being held. If you are going to an event at a ballpark you wouldn’t wear a suit and tie, but if you are going to restaurant or hotel event you may consider wearing business attire. No matter where the event, dress to impress.

• Business Cards. All to often, I attend events where people do not bring, or say they do not carry business cards. If you drive a car, you must carry your license, and if you are doing business you must have a card. I am not concerned with people getting in touch with me through my business card. I view a business card as a simple tool to allow me to ask for other’s business cards. I know that they may not contact me, but I will certainty contact them. Be sure to bring plenty of cards to every event you attend. Always keep extra in your bag or car, so you do not run out. Also choose a designated place on you that you keep only your cards, and do not mix them with the cards you take. This will stop you from accidentally giving someone the wrong card.

At The Event.

• Arrive early and stay late. ~ Get to the event about 15 minutes before it begins. This will give you a chance to meet the organizers and key people from that particular network, ask the organizer to introduce you to the key influencer at the event, get some key tips on who you should meet, and ask some questions. Usually, the event is scheduled to end at a certain time, key members of the network will stay and mingle with each other, this is where the magic happens and relationships are built.

• Don’t stay with people you know. The whole purpose to networking is to create new relationships. That’s not to say you don’t want to briefly say hi and acknowledge them and move on, keeping in mind that they are there for you to introduce to others, what I like to call secondary networking.

• Find the center of influence. ~ Who, in the room is the most connected person? This is a question you should ask everyone you network with at the event. Once you know the answer, introduce yourself to him/her and congratulate them on their accomplishment. Getting to know the center of influence will help you tremendously in your networking efforts. They may never do business with you, but they will know people that will, and when you build your relationship with him/her, they will be happy to help you.

• Don’t Answer Questions, Question Answers? ~ All to often people like to introduce themselves, and then proceed to give their life story. Have you ever noticed speaking to someone and they look at their watch or over your shoulder as your speaking? That’s because you are speaking at them, not to them. Everyone’s favorite subject is themselves, and their favorite sound is the sound of their own voice. When meeting someone at a networking event ask questions about them, ask who they most want to meet at the event, about their business, their family, where they like to vacation, and most importantly, do not let your eyes stray from theirs, and listen attentively.

arrows missing targetYou might ask yourself, “So how do I know what to ask?” That’s simple, Question Their Answers. Get to know who they are and the next thing you know they respond with, what I like to call, “Networker’s Gold;” So what is it that you do? Now they start asking about you and they truly want to hear what you have to say.

• Set a time to call. ~ Because you are at a networking event, the initial contact should take no longer that 8-10 minutes at most. After all, you are there to meet new people and so are they. At that time, even if you haven’t had the chance to talk about yourself, ask if it would be of if you gave them a call. When they say yes, and they always do, take out your smartphone right in front of them and ask, Is tomorrow or the next day better? Morning or Afternoon? If Morning…Great 9:30 or 11:15, Afternoon…2:15 or 3:45.

Always set the call at 15 minute intervals, and never on the hour. Doing this infront of them will let them know you are serious about your business. On this call is where you use the information on the back of their card that you wrote down. Your goal here is to make an appointment for a breakfast or lunch meeting. Everyone is always busy, but everyone has to eat.

• Take notes. ~ This is a very simple task and will be a huge asset to your follow up. When going to a networking event, you are not going to remember every conversation. After each conversation, and when you walk away, on the back of their business card jot down the 3 things most important to them. Example: set of 3 yr old twins, going to Bermuda in March, adding another location this quarter. People don’t care what you know until they know that you care. This information will be used in the follow up and will show how carefully you listened to them.

After The Event

• Follow Up. This sounds like the easiest part, but all to often missed by many. Be sure to call them exactly at the time you set up. Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Here your physical first impression was at the event, this is where you are making your business first impression. This will set the stage as to if your new contact will want to do business with you. Tell them you will call them at a certain time and don’t, will lose all credibility you established with them at the event.

• Strengthen Your Bond With Social Media. ~ Connect on Linked In, Facebook, Twitter and other social media. Not only connect, but also suggest connections to them from your network. Share articles of common interest, invite them to other networking events you are going to. This is a tool that will explode your networking efforts if used properly.

“Networking is using your creative talents to help others achieve their goals as you cultivate a network of people strategically positioned to support you in your goals… expecting nothing in return!” ~ Larry James

BONUS Articles: What is Networking?
Keeping Score is for Sports, Not Networking!
What to Talk About at the Follow-Up
Your Networking Fortune is in Your Follow-Up!

Copyright © 2014 – Thomas Camarda. Reprinted with permission. This article is adapted from “Becoming The Ultimate Networker” at http://BecomingTheUltimateNetworker.wordpress.com Thomas Camarda is a professional networker and speaks at networking events and seminars nationally. Thomas offers networking coaching, both one-on-one or for your Networking Group. Invite Thomas Camarda to speak to your group. Contact Thomas Camarda @ Thomas@TheUltimateNetworkingEvent.com – 732-744-4719.

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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!”

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

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

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
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Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Networking Personality Examined

Diana Bourgeois, Guest Author

In networking events all across the country, from Chamber After Hours to professional luncheons to business mixers, there are always those people to meet and greet everyone. Often referred to as the “movers and shakers,” the truth is these people are in possession of the networking personality. You know, the networking personality is that set of charismatic characteristics that turns everyday business people into born promoters and marketers to help grow their contacts and enhance their connection based.

NeverFailFollowUpWhile this may seem like good fortune for those lucky few, the truth is the networking personality is only a matter of practice of these few simple rules:

THIS IS NOT PROM – GET OVER YOURSELF: This is perhaps the hardest rule for people to overcome. Many people stand on the outside of groups during networking events waiting for someone to come up and speak to them. In truth, the only person who ever talks to them is the servers passing around food or drinks. The purpose of a networking event is meet people. It is expected. Every time you approach someone and extend your hand, you are taking a risk, but most people receive an approach very well and appreciate the effort.

“NO” CAN BE GOOD: In most people’s minds, hearing NO is the ultimate failure in networking; however, in some cases, hearing NO can be a ground breaking opportunity to disengage early and move on to an introduction that will lead to businesses. In this case, it is very much like buying a house. You will know quickly if the person in front of you is a good contact for you. There is no tragedy if both of you disengages and moves on to new connections. Be professional, ask for their business card, and move on!

TAKE INSTEAD OF GIVE (Business cards): There are two problems with giving out a business card without being asked. First, you are spending money with every business card you give. Save your business cards for the people who are great leads. Second, if you give someone your business card, this means they are responsible for the contact. Receiving a business card gives you the opportunity to stay in contact and makes your responsible for the correspondence. Even in cases where the person is not a good contact, ask for a business card for net-weaving (see below).

PRACTICE NET-WEAVING: INTRODUCE (3) AND CONNECT (2): At any business event, the goal is always to make connections and introduce yourself to other decision makers. Net-weaving is a great way to keep your placement in the minds of those who are currently contacts as well as make new contacts by connecting people around you. At every event, make it a habit to introduce three current connections and connect two new connections to others. Why? It is simple – when you are interested in other people’s business you stay in their mind.

YOUR NAMETAG IS YOUR FRIEND: There are three very common mistakes to wearing a nametag. First, most people with pre-printed name tags tend to forget to wear it. Just like wearing a shirt or shoes to a networking event, your nametag should always be in the right place. The second most common mistake? Putting your nametag on the wrong side. Your nametag should always be on the right shoulder because people’s eyes travel up your arm when you extend your hand to shake hands. Third and final note about your nametag? Invest a few dollars in a pre-printed nametag. Often times, writing your name on a white tag is hurried and looks unprofessional as you try to squeeze your name and company into the little 5×7 sticky paper. It is worth a few dollars to have a clean, branded nametag that is easy to read and associate.

BE KNOWN FOR SOMETHING – A DISTINCTIVE SIGNATURE: Establishing a moniker for your appearance or a staple that people can lock in their mind is vital to the networking personality. In a place where everyone is wearing a golf shirt with khaki pants or a simple black dress, it is easy to be “the person who always wears __________.” For women, it might be a scarf or a hat. For men, it might be a bowtie or a cleaver shirt pattern. Either way, connecting something about your person to your brand makes people remember you all the more.

NETpurseIF YOU JUGGLE, YOU LOOK LIKE A CLOWN: Over and over again, business struggle with the presentation of their materials. Especially true of women with purses or bags, digging for a business card or, worse, giving someone another person’s business card is incredibly unprofessional. If you have to dig for a clean, crisp business card, then it says that you do not have your act together. HINT – keep your business cards in your right pocket and the business cards of others in your left pocket. With this habit, you will automatically be able to produce a business card at moment’s notice.

SOCIALIZE LATER – MEET THE PEOPLE YOU DON’T KNOW: It is easy to fall back into the waiting friendships of people who you know and feel comfortable with at a networking event; however, socializing is not the goal. Your goal is to get out there and meet the people who you are not connected. Take the time to gather your senses and really get comfortable with those who are not in your business circle while using those opportunities to connect with familiar people through net-weaving.

EVERYTHING IN YOUR HANDS ARE OBSTACLES: At many networking event, food and drinks are supplied as part of the entrance fee. Although this is done with goodness to allow people to relax, everything in your hand presents an obstacle to shaking hands, giving business cards, and interacting with others. If you have set down a drink or ask someone to hold a plate of food, then you are not presenting the most positive professional appearance before those people who are thinking of doing business with you. Clear your hands and streamline your interactions.

THE BIGGEST FAILURE – FOLLOW UP: Many times, when people leave networking events, the handful of business cards end up on a desk or thrown away. The most important thing about the networking personality is the plans for how you will connect with the leads you develop during the event. All of the dynamic character and outreach of the networking personality will be wasted if you do not follow up immediately with people while you are fresh in their minds.

There are many reasons to work on building the networking personality. If the cliché is true about first impressions being the best impressions, then creating a dynamic lasting connection relies on claiming a unique presence in the mind of each person encountered at the event. After all, there is no point going to a networking event if people don’t remember you have been there.

BONUS Articles: At a Networking Event, BE the Host!
The Art of the Follow Up! ~ 19 FREE Articles

DianaBourgeoisCopyright 2013 – Diana Bourgeois. Diana Bourgeois presents Marketing – That includes everything from social networking to blogging to articles to web design. We call it “Leave Your Mark” Marketing. Every where that your company is… that is where you leave your mark for others to follow you back. It’s marketing that works smarter… not harder. Visit Diana’s Website!

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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!”

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/
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Friday, September 20, 2013

Business Cards Pack a Wallop!

Filed under: Business Cards,Follow Up — Larry James @ 7:30 am
Tags: ,

Business cards are small, weigh less than 1/4 of an ounce and are one of your most effective pieces of marketing literature you can invest in, provided it is used effectively. Your business card is the second most important thing to have in place when you show up. Your business card will help people remember who you are and what you do. They create your first impression, so be sure to design them with as much attention as you give to your personal image.

busNETcardNecessary info for your business card includes your name, company name, title, phone, fax and cell numbers, e-mail and your Website address. Make sure your business card is explicit about what you do. If your company name does not accurately describe what you do, add additional information. Use the back of your card to post a detailed description of what you do. Many people will call the first phone number listed on your card, so prioritize your office number or your cell.

Don’t be “business card thruster guy (or girl),” ready to force-feed your card on anyone who will take it. Something that helps me get more mileage out of my business card is by being selective about who I offer my business card to. I don’t stand there with a handful of business cards. Unless I am really interested in them, I will usually withhold my business card unless they ask for it.

10CsBe selective about whose card you take. Remember, networking is about developing close, personal and business relationships. How can you possibly build a relationship with a person when your objective is to get out there and be a business card collector? If I do not see a connection in how I might help the other person, I do not ask for their card. If they offer it, I will take it and put it in a special pocket for designated for throw-aways.

Remember to take notes on the back of the business cards of the people who you will follow up with to help you remember what was said. When you get back to the office, put all this information into your PDA or contact management software. If you tell someone you will call to follow up, keep your word. Follow up within 24 hours. Strike while the meeting is still fresh in their mind. Networkers have long memories when they are given false promises during casual conversation.

The experienced networker will often take notes about the conversation on the back of your card if they are interested in your product or service. I watch for that. When someone writes on the back of your card while you are talking to them, be sure to get their card and follow up with them because they could be very interested in you or your business.

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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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Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
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Follow Larry’s “Authors & Speakers” BLOG at: http://www.AuthorsandSpeakerNetwork.wordpress.com/

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