Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James

Friday, November 18, 2011

Community. . . Not Just a Buzzword!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

netHQCopyright © 2011 – Larry James. Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. Larry James presents networking seminars nationally and offers Networking coaching; one-on-one or for your Networking Group! Invite Larry James to speak to your group! His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”

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

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

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/

Advertisements

Monday, March 8, 2010

Does Your Networking Group Have a “Community” Presence?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

netHQ

Copyright © 2010 – Larry James. Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Visit ” Networking HQ!”

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

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

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

Blog at WordPress.com.