May 16th, 2013
This week I’ll examine a minute’s worth of benefits from the team networking approach.
It increases value for time and dollars spent. Companies expect double/triple the benefits when they pay for multiple employees to attend an event. It is imperative each choose a different table at a sit-down meeting with food.
I remember in my early entrepreneurial days sitting with four, yes four, employees from the same bank. As the only outsider, I found their water cooler talk a waste of my precious time and money. That same bank’s top management team later hired me to do an effective networking workshop. Bet you know one example I used … not to do!
What is also regretful … and embarrassing … is when two employees from the same company sit together, and one of them is obviously shy, uncomfortable or the underling. At introduction time, s/he says, “I work for “x” company, and my boss will tell you what we do.” or “X” just told you what we do. I don’t have anything to add.” I want to suggest a program on raising self-esteem and confidence.
Next week, I’ll share how a Fortune 500 copy used this concept successfully at a trade show.
May 9th, 2013
Many of you know how to network successfully as an individual. For the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing one-minute hints about how and why to do it as a team when your goal is “all for one and one for all.”
My rule is to “divide and conquer.” I’m not sure who first said the phrase as it is attributed to sources varying from the Bible and Philip II of Macedon to Julius Caesar, Louis XI and Sun Tzu … and probably a few others! No matter as it is applicable here.
When I was part of a foursome comprising the Speakers Roadshow in the Chicago area, three of us attended a networking event that attracted about 400 people. We arrived together, split up and reconvened two hours later. Conservatively, we spoke in aggregate and exchanged business cards and information with at least 35 people. That’s far more than each of us could have successfully connected with solo! Plus we got business from this approach!
It works for companies, associations and small businesses with more than one employee at conferences, trade shows and chamber and other professional meetings.
Next week I’ll examine more benefits of this approach.
May 2nd, 2013
There are three kinds of Verbal Business Cards: company, generic and industry. Company and industry are the easiest to compose because you can use jargon. Generic is used when introducing yourself to people who do not know you or what you do. It’s the hardest one to create because every one of the 10-20 words has to sell by describing succinctly in lay terms what you do and the benefit to others.
• First, last name
• What you do
• Benefit to others
• Active verbs
Probably not Included:
• Company name
• Company location
• Adjectives, adverbs
• Company title
• How you do it
• Business label (attorney, trainer, etc.)
• Industry jargon
Good luck! It’s a vital networking tool you must have at the tip of your tongue in every business environment.
To learn more individual coaching or workshops on the topic, contact me at email@example.com or read about the process in detail in Breakthrough Networking: Building Relationships That Last.
April 24th, 2013
Creating an elevator pitch without a front-end Verbal Business Card (VBC) is like fishing without bait: You may have your pole and hook in the water; however, you will discover that fish don’t bite on bare metal. They are waiting for the tasty bait.
That’s what your VBC is: the tasty morsel(s) that reels others in to talk with you.
You need a VBC to
• Interest people in talking with you.
• Let people know quickly WIIFT (what’s in it for them).
• Share what you do in easily understandable language so others can refer you.
• Help to get your message across easily and quickly since people are also assessing your image (appearance and body language) plus planning what they will say.
Refer to last week’s blog for what a VBC is. You can also follow the process at your own pace in my book, Breakthrough Networking: Building Relationships That Last.
April 18th, 2013
Imagine you are fishing. You have your line and hook in the water. All you are missing is the bait. Chances are slim you will catch anything. The same is true when you create an elevator pitch without a front-end Verbal Business Card (VBC).
If you haven’t heard about the VBC yet rest assured you will! It’s a networking tool I created, and it is gaining more recognition daily.
The VBC is the bait on the elevator pitch hook. It reels the other person in to want to talk with you. Or for those not into fishing, envision your VBC to be the tines on a fork. Imagine trying to pick up a piece of steak if your fork had no tines.
In summary, a VBC
• Is the front end of your elevator pitch.
• Lasts about 10-15 seconds.
• Contains benefits.
• Informs and intrigues.
• Makes you more memorable.
• Sells you.
Next week, we’ll examine in more detail why you need a VBC.
Click here if are interested in knowing more about my “Create an Effective Verbal Business Card” workshop.
April 11th, 2013
Some of you love walking into a roomful of people. Others … not so much. One of the ways you can start building relationships is by watching for those who are alone.
Introduce yourself and help put them at ease. Chances are they are introspective and perhaps introverted. Slow down your speaking rate until you make sure. If they are the quieter type, continue to speak more slowly. When you ask questions, give them time to answer. They like well-thought-out responses. If you interrupt that process, they need to start over. And don’t finish their sentences. They will do so at their own rate.
A second way to be helpful is to introduce them to people who will be potentially good fits. If you are the gregarious type, you probably know many of the other attendees. And, of course, you know what they do and their preferred referrals. Connecting people is one thing; connecting those who fit is ideal.
Repeat the “welcoming” process throughout the event. It helps you continually meet new people and will help others mesh into the group or event much more quickly. They will remember you!
For more networking tips and techniques, read Breakthrough Networking: Building Relationships That Last.
April 4th, 2013
This is the second of a two-part post recapping the need to network while you still employed. I am covering the broad strokes we work on in coaching sessions.
After you have done the soul-searching we discussed last week, it’s time to:
• Attend trade shows. (People have a lot of time to talk on “booth duty.” Also plan to “catch” one or two of the executives after they finish keynote addresses.)
• Join a horizontal (within your industry) professional organization.
• Join a vertical (same profession) organization.
• Become involved in the groups. Committee work shortens the time it takes to build relationships.
• Offer to speak (overcome the number one fear!) for no fee to groups whose membership is comprised of companies for which you want to work.
• Reconnect with people who left your company, this time for the purpose of building solid relationships.
• Strength relationships at your place of employment.
• And … don’t let this happen again!
March 27th, 2013
When I left the corporate world 20 years ago, networking was not the way of life it is today. Or is it?
I am still amazed at the number or people who contact me with “help” as one of their first words. They have been in the same job for 8-10 years or more and while they haven’t been given a pink slip, they are beginning to feel uneasy. They have not taken the time to build a substantial network.
Cradle-to-grave job security is a thing of the past. Plus with the plethora of people in transition, a huge percentage of the good jobs never hit the public market. They are filled by someone who knows someone who fits the bill. The goal is to be that someone.
This is the first of a two-part post recapping the broad strokes we work on in coaching sessions.
Do some soul searching:
• If you were to change jobs, what would you like to do … the same or different responsibilities?
• Would you move geographically?
• Would you accept the same amount of money? Less?
• What are your future aspirations … to be an employee, manager, president?
• How much longer do you feasibly have to climb the ladder? Is age a hindrance?
• Do you want to do your own thing?
March 20th, 2013
Another reader writes: Is red a powerful color? I’ve heard conflicting reports.
Good question as the answer is not a simple “yes” or “no.’ A touch of red is powerful as in men’s red ties and pocket hankies and women’s blouses, vests or accessories.
Women, beware of wearing red suits as a symbol of power. Men still set the power standards in business, and there’s only one man who wears a red suit. He visits only once a year, and he doesn’t attend business meetings in his garb!
Another interesting fact is that men’s natural instincts prefer yellow-based reds while women’s prefer blue-based reds. It’s the only known natural disagreement for the same color among the sexes. So if an important male in your life doesn’t like a red blouse or accessory you bought, this could be the reason.
To check out more about the responses you evoke through the colors you wear, check out my Don’t Wait Another 10 Seconds CD and workbook.
March 12th, 2013
A reader wrote: I want to network through business and professional groups to grow my business? How many do you recommend I join?
Less is more! Join fewer groups and get more involved. Start out with two, one professional/industry group and one civic.
Then get involved immediately. Volunteer to serve on a committee, agree to head a project, serve as a greeter and welcome everyone who comes in the door. Just attending monthly luncheon or dinner meetings will not build a foundation quickly. In fact, it may be months before you even see the same people again.
Relationship building happens much more subtly and quickly as you meet with the same committee members and develop common interests. Get people to know and enjoy you for you before you start looking for referrals or job leads.
One last piece of advice: Do a thorough ROI (return on investment) annually. If you followed the advice above, you will know in a year or two if the organization is worth your time/dollars.
Read many, many more networking tips in Breakthrough Networking: Building Relationships That Last.