Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James

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.

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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.

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

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
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/

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What to Talk About at the Follow-Up

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

In my many meetings with individuals and groups as a networking coach, it has been my experience that those who complain most that networking doesn’t work are those people who fail to follow-up. They get excited at the event, collect a handful of business cards that end up in a stack on their desk. None of it means anything unless you follow-up. Many have a love/hate relationship with networking. No follow-up is the number one mistake made by most networking underachievers. These people often give up on networking without ever investing enough time to make it pay off.

FollowUPI say, why bother going to a networking event, if you’re not going to follow up? It’s the follow-up after the event that can really pay dividends.

The lifeblood of a profitable business is strong, healthy, and mutually beneficial relationships. Following up with new contacts within 24 to 48 hours after a networking event will make you standout among the majority of networkers and keep the momentum going. Why? Because most networkers don’t do it effectively. The longer you wait, the less interested you will appear to them.

When I meet someone at a networking event who sparks my interest and I would like to know better, I immediately write the date, name of the event and something to help me remember them on the back of their business card. I also carry small, white labels to stick on the back if the card is too slick on which to write. Follow-up starts when the conversation starts. I do my best to set the foundation for follow up when we first meet, provided I think this is someone that might be a good contact, then I initiate the follow-up.

When you follow-up promptly you enhance your personal brand; demonstrate your competency, and you cause them to remember you favorably above others.

Before you follow-up, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the purpose of the follow-up; to know what you should talk about once you have the opportunity to sit down with someone face-to-face. The goal in networking follow-up is to discover how you can work together to the benefit of both! Profitable relationships, formed between like-minded visionaries, are built on trust, and developed over time.

This first meeting is never about you! Never! This is the exploration stage. Never ever make it about selling your product or service. I usually try to visit their office rather than have a lunch or dinner. I make it very clear that I want to see their business and learn as much as I can about them and what they do. You must build a relationship with your new contact before you ever start talking about doing business together or exchanging business leads. I’ve heard some people describe these first follow-up meetings as informational interviews.

I will often skip an e-mail follow-up and pick up the phone to arrange a time to get together. I suggest you do the same. Often trying to come up with a subject line in an e-mail will not get their attention. Following-up with a personal connection helps you differentiate and solidify the relationship. I’ll use e-mail to follow-up after the first meeting when we have something to talk about.

BrianTracyQUOTETo refresh their memory of me, I will:

• Mention the meeting where we met and the conversation.
• Refer to something specific that came up in the conversation, especially a mutual interest.
• Suggest a visit to their office to determine how we might work together and to continue the conversation.

I want them to know that I want to get to know them on a personal level, then business with each other may come from that or not. The quickest way to turn off someone that you just met is to view them as a prospect. Be aware that not everyone is a match nor will everyone be receptive to you no matter what you do or say. If not, just move on. Let it go and don’t take it personally. If that happens to me, I will send them a nice handwritten note with my business card wishing them well and a suggestion of staying in touch.

Another great way to stand out from the crowd is to ask the “right” questions about them and their business because most people like to talk about themselves. Remember to “listen” to their answers. Listen more than you talk. I ask open-ended questions designed to avoid a yes or no answer. It’s important to be sincere and truly interested in them and what they do. My purpose is to leverage the relationship to something more than networking. If we click and are like-minded, I want them to be a friend first. The possibility of a referral partnership comes later.

That kind of attitude, the right posture, and an engaging smile usually goes a long way in attracting an ideal contact. I want to know their business, and listen for ways we can effectively work together. I offer my assistance. I have yet to find anyone who does not appreciate an attitude of sharing. You will be appreciated for generously sharing what you know and what you do, giving others just one more reason to recommend you to those who are in need of the service your business provides.

Establishing long-term relationships by following-up will allow your new contacts to know, like and trust you. That makes you someone that people will love doing business with. Schedule time to stay in touch with your new contacts by commenting on their social media status; sending them articles or information that might be useful to their business; sending them holiday, birthday and anniversary cards; or getting together again.

Watch what my friend, Kathy McAfee, has to say about follow-up:

BONUS articles: Are You Fouling Up in Your Follow Up?
Seven Steps To Building Your New Relationships Through Follow-Up
Your Networking Fortune is in Your Follow-Up!
5 Ways to Use Follow Up to Achieve Results

netHQ

Copyright © 2013 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Networking Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”

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

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

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

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Networking: Here’s a Novel Idea!

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

Do you have a plan for keeping in touch with the billions of business cards you have laying in a stack on your desk that you collected at your last networking meeting? You do need a plan if you intend to keep in touch.

FollowUpSo, you met some great people/businesses that you’d like to keep in touch with, now what? The next step is reach out via social media, or e-mail to stay connected. Here are some guidelines:

• Follow businesses you liked on their social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest) business pages.

• Connect on LinkedIn with folks you met and make sure to include where you met them and maybe even something you talked about. Also, make sure you have a updated picture on your profile.

• Follow up with people when you say you’re going to and with the information you promised. Nothing’s worse then an “I’ll call you” and then never hearing from them again (sound familiar?)

“Disturb the comfortable. Get intentional. Let’s live life on purpose.” ~ Daniel Decker

• Don’t use the wrong name when you e-mail or connect with the person on LinkedIn. We have to admit, we’ve done this before when we were in a rush, but we try to never repeat that mistake.

follow_up2• Compose a quick response – one that you can adjust depending upon the circulstance – to send to anyone. Next time copy and past (with adjustments, of course) and send. Keep it short. No one ever said paragraphs must be 4 or 5 sentences to be effective. Shorter paragraphs work well and can be easily digested. Cut the fluff. Be clear. Wordy is not better. It’s confusing.

• Better yet… pick up the phone! I use to be afraid to make the call. Remember, this is not a cold call… you already met them at the networking event. There is absolutely nothing to be afraid of. Ask yourself, “What is the worse thing that could happen?” Hmmm. They may not want to meet with you. If you can handle that… make the call. You can’t win them all and if you don’t make the call, you’ll never know. That, I can’t handle – not knowing does not serve me well. 😉

It’s not always comfortable to follow-up… and if you want success with networking, you have to do it anyway.

“People who ask confidently get more than those who are hesitant and uncertain. When you’ve figured out what you want to ask for, do it with certainty, boldness and confidence.” ~ Jack Canfield

Larry’s NOTE: Thank you to Jenny Klimisch, Marketing Specialist at VerticalResponse.com for the inspiration for this article. I’ve used VerticalResponse.com for many years and have always been satisfied with their excellent service!

BONUS articles: Are You Fouling Up in Your Follow Up?
Seven Steps To Building Your New Relationships Through Follow-Up
Your Networking Fortune is in Your Follow-Up!
5 Ways to Use Follow Up to Achieve Results
Easy E-mail Follow Up Plan for Networking

netHQ

Copyright © 2013 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Networking Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”

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

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

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

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Friday, May 31, 2013

Are You an Overly Assumptive Networker?

I’ve heard the “always give two business cards” trick several times. The idea is to give two cards so the other person keeps one and can pass one on to another person. I disagree. When I have two business cards forced upon me by someone I just met, it feels overly pushy and much too assumptive for me. Others have told me it’s a big turn-off.

OneCardThere are times when I want several cards from my contacts, as I plan to give them away. The rule for me is that in order to give someone else’s business card to one of my friends, I have to know them “well,” have used their services or they have been highly recommended by one of my networking friends. No relationship… no referrals (no business card).

Never give someone 2 of your business cards when you first meet. It infers “keep one and pass the second one to someone else,” a right you have yet to earn. One business card in the beginning is quite enough. First of all, if we are meeting for the first time, I don’t really know you and if you assume that I will pass your card to someone else, having just met you… you are very wrong. We don’t have a relationship yet. We just met. It’s too soon to assume such a task.

I never give anyone more than one business card, if that, unless they ask for more. As a matter of fact, I don’t just give my card to anyone. Sometimes after a brief conversation I can instantly discern that they are not someone who I would like to get to know better.

Hand out your business card only after you determine that there has been a connection; that this person is someone you really would like to stay in contact with. Immediately after we have spoken, I jot a quick not to myself about why I should follow-up with this one.

Obviously, the next step is to follow-up the next day; more than two days later in my opinion, is too late to follow-up. By then, they may have forgotten meeting you. When you “call” (not e-mail or text) remind them of where you met and request a time to get together so that can learn more about what they do. It’s best to meet them at their office.

Important: Resist the urge to talk about your business or to attempt to sell them anything if your meeting them at their office. You are there to learn more about them. Generally speaking they will ask about you and your business. They have given you a green light, however I usually tell them a little… just enough to whet their appetite to know more – then once I have determined that they are someone I would like to have a business relationship with, I invite them either to a lunch or a visit to my office.

REVIEW the many other articles on this Blog about business cards: https://networkinghq.wordpress.com/category/business-cards-2/

BONUS Articles: Networking is NOT a Card Game…
What About Business Cards…

netHQ

Copyright © 2013 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Networking Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”

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

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

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

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Thursday, May 23, 2013

8 Steps To Build Relationships After A Networking Event

Deborah Shane, Guest Author

Headed to a networking event? Keep these tips in mind…

We spend considerable time networking in person because we know it’s still the most important way to build relationships with colleagues, peers and potential new customers. We pick the events we want to go to and we prepare.

exchangingCardsFor bigger conferences, we spend even more time preparing for the sessions and events we want to attend, people we want to meet and build in time for random hook ups.

When you return from a conference you had been planning for, sorting it all out in an organized, timely process is the key to beginning the conversion from connection to relationship.

I talk a lot about the importance of blending in-person networking with social media. The importance of Integrating your personal marketing and branding activities to build reach and impact. I delivered this very content recently at XPO NYC, the largest B2B conference in the northeast.

There is the planning to go, being there and the follow up, probably the most important way to leverage your RON-return on networking.

There are three important things to consider after going to any in-person event but especially bigger conferences.

• Prioritize contacts
• Customize follow-up messages
• Timeliness

brightIDEAHere are eight steps for converting the information and connections into actionable relationships after a big conference.

1. Sort Through Your Cards And The People You Met

Hopefully, every card you got was a person you owned a moment with, or had a meaningful exchange with. I like to write a word or two or note on the card to remind me of what we exchanged.

2. Review All The Sessions You Attended

Take the program and review all the sessions you attended and what was presented. Add notes to the notes you actually took during the session while reviewing it.

3. Review All The Notes You Took

Go through all your notes and highlight the key ideas from the speakers and that you wrote down.

4. Review The Handouts And Information You Got

Take the time to review all the handouts, leave behinds, worksheets, post cards you took home with you. Take advantage of any incentives offered to you by the speakers and conference presenters.

5. Prioritize And Define Who To Follow Up With And Why

Although we gather cards at these events, prioritizing the warm connections and ones that make the most sense to follow up on should be followed up on first. Qualify why, and be specific about what you will follow up with them about.

Deborahcover

Click cover for info

6. Draft A Customized Follow-Up Letter To Each Group

Divide your connections into groups and customize a follow-up letter to them, that makes sense and is appropriate for why you should continue. Being thoughtful about this to them will make a big difference.

7. Invite Them To follow Up On Social Media

This is the bridge that can help you get into people’s communities, stream, conversations and get you started in building commonality. Use LinkedIn as a starting point, add Twitter and then if appropriate Facebook. Comment on their blog, or invite them to yours.

8. Create A 30-Day Follow-Up Plan

For the contacts you make you want to develop, make a 30-day plan for each person, or the group of contacts that you met. Be consistent, and interact as regularly as possible. Show up, be a part of and join.

Relationships don’t happen in a week!

These eight steps should be started and worked through immediately. The timeliness of follow-up is critical. You will want to get back to people while you are both fresh in each other’s minds.

DeborahCopyright © 2013 – Deborah Shane. Deborah Shane was named a Top 100 Small Business Champion for 2012 and Top 100 Small Business Podcast 2013 by SmallBizTrends.com! She is the Author of Career Transition-make the shift, a personal branding strategist, social media catalyst, writer and speaker. She hosts a weekly blog and a small business radio podcast with over 240k downloads. Deborah’s articles are featured on and regularly quoted in SmallBizTrends.com, Forbes.com, Entrepreneur.com, PersonalBrandingBlog.com and Monster. Engage with her @DeborahShane and visit her at DeborahShane.com.

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

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, May 3, 2013

Are You Fouling Up in Your Follow Up?

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

Connie Kadansky Let her know when posted!!

Connie Kadansky, PCC, Guest Author

Recently, I had a woman tell me that she had attended a networking event and met someone who was very interested in her services. I asked her what her next step was going to be. She replied “Oh, I’ll probably call in about three days – I don’t want to appear desperate.”

rememberI believe that 70% of the sale is engagement and uncovering a need. This woman had engaged a prospect and uncovered a need – she was 30% away from making a sale!

Sales call reluctance is the emotional hesitation to prospect and self-promote. Any time someone is coming from a “don’t want” they are coming from a fear perspective. Sales Call Reluctance is nothing to be embarrassed about, living with it needlessly is.

When at a networking event, take time with people. If you uncover interest with someone, it’s highly recommended that you both agree on specifically how you will re-connect to continue your conversation.

Time is of the essence!

BONUS Articles: Seven Steps To Building Your New Relationships Through Follow-Up
Your Networking Fortune is in Your Follow-Up!
5 Ways to Use Follow Up to Achieve Results

Connie Official PhotoCopyright © 2013 – Connie Kadansky. Connie Kadansky, Sales Call Reluctance Coach, helps salespeople get their “ask” in gear. Visit Connie’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/
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Authors & Speakers” BLOG at: http://www.AuthorsandSpeakerNetwork.wordpress.com/

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Networking Requires Accepting Responsibility

To be responsible has been defined as “involving personal accountability;” “being the source or cause of something;” and “able to be trusted or depended upon;” “reliable.”

coveyWhat do you suppose would happen if you made a commitment to be totally accountable to yourself for every aspect of your life? What would happen if you accepted the fact that you are the source and the cause of everything you do? What if you were able to be trusted and depended upon? What if you were absolutely reliable? What if you were count-on-able? Would this make a difference in your business, in your relationships, in your life? How would it make a difference? Think about it. This is a serious commitment, isn’t it? It is one you should consider.

Most everyone would agree that on the surface, you are honest, trustworthy, count-on-able, and reliable. You try hard to project that kind of image and yet perhaps life doesn’t seem to be working for you like you think it should. If you are lying to yourself; if, deep inside, you know integrity is lacking, then quit being a phony, and do something about it. Where is your commitment to be true to yourself? Where is your commitment to total integrity?

We are talking about the kind of commitment that you stand on. One that becomes a part of who you are. There can be no wavering in this commitment. Your actions demonstrate your commitment. From this kind of commitment you gain strength, support and power.

Be honest with yourself. Only when you are completely honest with yourself, can you be completely honest with other people. What’s your integrity level? Integrity has been defined as “the quality or state of being complete; unbroken condition; wholeness; entirety.” When you have integrity, you can have anything you want. Integrity allows you to live life at its fullest. Integrity isn’t about being good or bad. It’s about keeping your word to yourself only because you said you would. Integrity is living your life as your word, like your life depends on it. It does, you know. The foundation of power is integrity. There is power in having personal integrity.

Sometimes we have a tendency to try to pull one over on life; to lie to ourselves; to not totally tell the truth to others; to slide by; to cut corners; to withhold; to not give our all in our relationships with our family and friends and your networking support system; to sleaze-out on our promises; to coast; to not follow-up; to make excuses. There are only “results” or “reasons why.” The reasons why are called excuses. Excuses rob us of accomplishment.

NeverFailFollowUpResponsibility is two words. Response and ability. Think about it. How do you rate your ability to respond? What is your response ability? Choose a response that will empower you. Responses that come from anger and resentment disempowerment you! If you consistently find yourself responding in this way, you can use some work in this area.

Accept responsibility for a bright future. If things aren’t happening for you the way you want them to, you must accept responsibility that you may be spending too much time thinking about what you don’t want. You can’t win if you are always thinking about losing. Change your thinking, change your behavior and you change your life! What gets your total concentration gets you. Give up worrying about your circumstance and do something about it.

When you network with others, you have a responsibility to always be operating at your highest level. You consistently look for business referrals because you know it’s expected. You acknowledge that you must give referrals if you ever expect to receive any. You request one-on-one meetings with people in your network that you would like to know better. You follow-up immediately on the business leads that you do receive because you know that a lack of immediate follow-up is one of the biggest mistakes people in networking and salespeople in general make.

If you want business networking to pay off big for you, you must accept responsibility to be accountable to yourself for your own success. All it takes is a decision to stay on top of the game; to make yourself some new promises to yourself that from now on you are in it to win it; that you will do whatever it takes to make networking work better than it ever has. And you know that it is only and always up to you.

Do you have what it takes? What are you willing to do differently? Can you do that for yourself?

netHQ

Copyright © 2013 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Networking Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”

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

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

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

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

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