Monday, April 30, 2012

Networking For Real by Nelson Davis

If ever a business buzz word has been mashed and hammered into something unrecognizable, it is "networking." Some people see a networking event simply as a hundred-yard dash to give and receive as many business cards as possible in one hour or less! And then they wonder why no meaningful connections have been made. Then there are those souls who talk more than they listen while asking for more than they offer during a networking opportunity. Let me tell you what the bumps, bruises and benefits of hundreds of those encounters has taught me.

In my world, the three basic tools you need are these: The most fundamental is a sincere interest in other people and their businesses. Without that, your moves have a hollow ring. The most necessary trait is having a real interest in helping others. Your physical tools should include lots of well-designed business cards plus a stack of good stationery note cards back at the office. Yes, you should have a well-sharpened "elevator pitch" to effectively tell people what you do in 30 seconds or less. Here's what I say: "In this digital era, every company needs to see itself as a media company and my business is to help you make video one of your most effective communication tools."

Those note cards are very useful in our email-saturated world. Each day I find myself wishing for a special shovel just to dispose of the deluge of incoming emails and I presume that a lot of other people have the same problem. If you really want to follow up with someone who has met you just once at a crowded event, an email may be the worst way to break through the daily clutter. The counterintuitive thing to do, then, is send a handwritten note or letter on nice stationery. Handwritten notes get read while emails are often victims of the delete button. That simple step has enabled me to build relationships with the presidents of two Fortune 100 companies who now do business with us!

At networking events I suggest you listen more than you talk. My favorite question to business people I meet is, "What is your most persistent business problem?" The goal is to have them give me a clue as to whether I can help them or suggest someone I know who may be able to help them. Yes, you should exchange business cards. There are phone apps now that will take a picture of the card and add the information to your contact list! If you promise someone to follow up with information or a web link, do it within 24 hours. Nothing says you are serious and noteworthy like timely delivery on a promise.

If you feel a connection has been made, going into the intelligence mode is an important next step. You should have some sort of software to allow building a Customer Relations Management (CRM) system. There are several, some of them cloud-based. Quick Base, Netsuite, Salesforce and ACT are among the most popular. They allow you to make detailed notes about people you've met and to track any further contact. I feel pretty good when I can tell a prospect in some detail what we discussed last year, know that her husband's name is Bill and that she enjoys reading Danielle Steel.

Of course, no system works well unless you use it well and regularly. Calendar reminders prompt what I call "KIT" calls. That means "keep in touch" outreach via the phone or email. Before calling or sending, I Google their name, company name and their industry category to see if there are new developments that can be mentioned. Of course you'll check Facebook and LinkedIn to see what's listed there for them. You have to show you care if you want them to care. Today's electronic tools can give you access to volumes of information that only a spy agency could have a decade ago.

If you are now networking with a capital "N," the benefits start to show up pretty quickly. That doesn't always mean that your order basket fills up instantly, but that your network of prospects and fellow business people will grow exponentially. Every successful person I've asked says that you are only as good as your network. There are two books on the subject that I give people. They are Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty by Harvey Mackay and Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi. Like a great fisherman, what every business owner wants is a well-stocked lake to toss their hook into.

Networking for Real by Nelson Davis for the Huffington Post 
Follow Nelson Davis on Twitter:

Monday, April 23, 2012

Cake Push-Ups

Remember the Ice Cream Push-Ups from the 70's?  I remember them with orange ice cream in them and of course we bought them from the ice cream truck.  So nostalgic! 

Amazing Cake Creations and Amazing Acrylic created these unbelievable Cake Push-Ups and served them in several flavors at the OC Brides Bridal Networking Event last Wednesday at Astor Classics Event Center.

Being the hostess with the mostess that I am, I didn't have time to try one that night but brought this beautiful raspberry one home.  I finally got around to trying it last night and ....  WOW!  It was better than ...  well you know.  It was unbelievable.  What a great combination for these two AMAZING companies.  Looking forward to seeing and tasting more of the creations from these two OC Brides members.

The Secret To Successful Networking Is A Four Letter Word



This is the first of a three part series exploring the professional words we use. Over the next three weeks we will cover our words related to: networking, interviewing and just around the office. The words we choose have been proven to impact our personal brand and how quickly we move up or down the professional ladder. Here’s to keeping our words and our future on the up and up!

A Harvard University study shows that 15% of the reason a person gets a job, keeps a job, or advances in a job is related to technical skills and job knowledge… 85% has to do with people skills. Due to our current employment rate and downsized companies, working this 85% is never more important than when networking. Whether it’s official business or social, making conversations can make or break how we build a network of people to call on as we make our journey up the professional ladder.

As the old saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Likewise, what comes out of your mouth can never taken back.  Remember – working a room is work. It’s exhausting, and it can be overwhelming, but with a few conversation skills you can be sure that you’ll be communicating with 100% of your people skills.

Work Your Name: Enunciating your first and last name is the single most important aspect of networking, because if those you’re connecting with don’t know your name…they can’t contact you. When saying your name, say it slowly and clearly. In the world of self-introductions, Mindy easily becomes Cindy, and more difficult names can become nothing more than a mumble… especially in a sea of people working hard to make their names known and remembered.

Work to Remember Names: Ninety percent of the clients I ask say they are terrible at remembering names. But remembering names is the key to creating a strong network. After all, it’s hard to call on “What’s his name” or to engage with “Hey, YOU,” for an entire conversation. A quick tip to remembering names is to make sure you hear it and know it right away by adding it to the conversation, “Nice to meet you, Jim,” or “Tell me about what you do for XYZ bank, Jim.” And if you didn’t catch it the first time, ask again. “Please, tell me your name again,” and this time stop, look at the person in front of you, and truly listen!

Work to Know Others: Creating a solid network of people that you can call on for advancement or professional collaboration comes from getting to know others. Networking conversation works best when you exercise a 30% responding to questions about you and 70% actively try to learn about others. Ask open-ended questions such as “Tell me about how long you’ve been with Bank XYZ?” rather than “How long have you been with Bank XYZ?” Using “Tell me about . . .” actually requires your conversational partner to reply with more than one word. A conversation of one-word answers is, in a word, awkward.
Networking conversation should always be inclusive. A potential business associate should never try to enter your conversation with someone else only to feel the cold shoulder. Bring others in with a warm welcome like, “Mary, so great to see you.  We were just discussing Jim’s recent trip to Paris,” or “Hi, my name is Mindy and this is Jim. We were just discussing his recent trip to Paris. Have you been?”

Work to Help Others Connect: Remember that working a room is all about staying in motion. Sometimes,  a chatty Cathy corners us and won’t let us go. Prepare for these situations by crafting an exit strategy. You might say, “I really enjoyed meeting you, Cathy! I see my colleague Jennifer has just arrived and I promised to introduced her to our new client.”  Or you could introduce your new friend to someone who has something in common with her. “Cathy, I’d like to introduce you to Steve. Steve just moved to the area from your hometown.  I’m sure he would love to hear how your transition went.” Thus, you free yourself up to meet new people and help Cathy connect with another potential new friend.

Using your words wisely and truly engaging with people will set you apart from the rest of the room. Not only will you be remembered, but by asking intelligent questions of others, you will build a strong network of people you can call on when researching, fact-finding or pursuing a job or advancement. Remembering that 85% of job success comes from successful people skills, work a room with confidence and you’ll find yourself with a 100% return on every conversation.

Mindy Lockard is a nationally recognized etiquette and personal branding expert. Through her writing, speaking and as an on-air television segments, Mindy strives to uphold the values of tradition with a modern twist. Keep intouch with Mindy, The Gracious Girl, on TwitterFacebook and The Gracious Girl blog.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Coming Soon to Tiato in Santa Monica

Awesome Organic lunch at Tiato in Santa Monica -- the site of our first Bridal Networking Event in May. This was Grilled Eggplant and Tofu in Black Bean Sauce, Truffle Mac n Cheese and Green Goddess health drink. Mmmm good! Can't wait for our event!

May 22nd will be our first OC Brides event in LA.  Join us for some great networking contrived of bonding and new relationships!  You'll surely leave with more friends than you started.  Check OC Brides for more info.  Registration will be open around April 19th.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

3 Networking Rules You Should Break

Some people are naturally great networkers – they have a million stories, know what to say and to whom, and they can tell a joke with perfect timing. They are great at meeting new people and making small talk, and by the end of a function they will leave with a pocket full of business cards to prove it.

If this isn’t you, learning to be like that can be a challenge. Even worse, there is no exact formula for being a great networker. Yes, there are certain rules and etiquette to follow, but in the end, it’s not a guarantee. It takes practice – and not just in the beginning stages. Networking continues throughout one’s career.

If you are struggling with networking, then let’s take a different perspective to explore what you might be doing wrong in networking situations, and stop those habits first. Take a look at the this starter list of 3 rules that you should consider breaking:

Rule 1: Networking to Achieve Personal Gains
Think you’re being sly about promoting yourself for job leads or for your “game-changing” startup? Think again. Self-promotion is easy to spot, and as a result, others will avoid you. Shameless self-promotion can only come off as insincere. Treating people like business prospects devalues the rapport you’re trying to build. Instead, talk less about yourself and listen to others for ways that you can be a valuable connection.

Rule 2: Never Asking for Help
Note that there is a time and place for everything. While you should not ever solely reach out to your contacts because you need something, it’s perfectly fine to speak up when you could really use some advice or a favor. If you’ve been able to be of value to others, your connections will have no problem helping you in return. Reciprocity is the name of the game.

Rule 3: Handing Out Business Cards to Everyone You Meet
This doesn’t mean everyone you meet isn’t a potential connection; they very well could be. However, rather than handing out business cards, make sure that you’re establishing a relevant and mutually beneficial connection first. Then make a plan to connect at a later date to have a deeper discussion and exchange your contact information It also makes it easier for you to follow up with five people you got to know really well, than it is to contact 25 people about whom you know nothing because you only exchanged your card with them. By all means though, if they ask for your card instead, don’t hesitate to give them one (it’s a good thing!).

The key difference between a great networker and a bad networker is that the latter will see networking as a chore, while the former will see it as furthering or nurturing an ongoing relationship with peers and opinion leaders in their profession. ​Networking isn’t necessarily about the people you know or how many LinkedIn connections you have. It’s more about how well you know the people with whom you are connected and whether or not you can offer valuable advice, skills, or be of service to them in some way, and vice versa.

Tony Morrison is the Vice President of Business Development at Cachinko, a unique professional community where social networking and job opportunities come together. His roles include sales, marketing, and business development. He brings passion to Cachinko where he focuses on helping job seekers to find their ideal job and employers to find, attract, and engage their next rock star candidates. Find him on Twitter and Talent Connection. And, connect with Cachinko on Facebook or Twitter.

Source: A Hire Calling
Photo: bepsy/


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...