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26
Apr

Networking for Results

When it comes to networking, size matters. Networking success requires us to build mutually supportive relationships and that requires an investment of our attention, time, and effort. If your network is too big, it becomes impossible to effectively use it; if it is too small, you restrict business opportunities. Like the story of Goldilocks, you want to build a network that is just the right size.

  • What is the maximum number of connections you can comfortably support? If you want to do it yourself, experts believe that most people can handle between 150 and 250 relationships in a meaningful way. If you want to be a super networker and connector, you will need help managing the numbers!
  • Choose a variety of people to add to your network. Go beyond your industry and form relationships with professionals in noncompeting businesses. This gives you access to new resources and new, potential opportunities.
  • Make connections. Malcolm Gladwell in The Tipping Point calls out what he refers to as “Connectors.” They are the six-degree-of-separation people who can connect you to just about anyone. You don’t have to be a super connector like the people Gladwell mentions in his books; rather, just be open and willing to help others by connecting them with people you know. The more bridges you build between the people in your network, the stronger your influence.

Think quality, not quantity when it comes to networking. Visibility counts, so show up and be present. Commit to devoting a certain amount of time to cultivating relationships to ensure your networking is rewarding—and fun!

Hate the thought of networking? See my blog post Networking Tips for Shy People.

28
Apr

Networking for Results

When it comes to networking, size matters. Networking success requires us to build mutually supportive relationships and that requires an investment of our attention, time, and effort. If your network is too big, it becomes impossible to effectively use it; if it is too small, you restrict business opportunities. Like the story of Goldilocks, you want to build a network that is just the right size.shutterstock_120558493

  • What is the maximum number of connections you can comfortably support? If you want to do it yourself, experts believe that most people can handle between 150 and 250 relationships in a meaningful way. If you want to be a super networker and connector, you will need help managing the numbers!
  • Choose a variety of people to add to your network. Go beyond your industry and form relationships with professionals in noncompeting businesses. This gives you access to new resources and new, potential opportunities.
  • Make connections. Malcolm Gladwell in The Tipping Point calls out what he refers to as “Connectors.” They are the six-degree-of-separation people who can connect you to just about anyone. You don’t have to be a super connector like the people Gladwell mentions in his books; rather, just be open and willing to help others by connecting them with people you know. The more bridges you build between the people in your network, the stronger your influence.

Think quality, not quantity when it comes to networking. Visibility counts, so show up and be present. Commit to devoting a certain amount of time to cultivating relationships to ensure your networking is rewarding—and fun!

Hate the thought of networking? See my blog post Networking Tips for Shy People.

29
Jan

Networking Made Easy

Do you hate to network? If so, you’re not alone. Some people hate the thought of walking into a room where they don’t know anyone, but they do it because networking is an important part of professional success. Being connected to others is one of the most valuable tools you have for getting referrals and being top-of-mind. Here are some tips to make it easier.shutterstock_121029922

  • Be selective about where you network. Choose organizations that you like and want to support. Having a shared interest and commitment to an organization makes it easier to attend meetings and mingle with other likeminded people.
  • Take it slow. Don’t set a goal to meet as many people as you can. Instead, decide that you will meet two or three new people and reconnect with someone you already know in the group.
  • Focus on the other person, not your discomfort. Use a journalist’s who, what, where, when, why, and how form of questioning to get to know people, but don’t come across as if you are interviewing them! Ask questions and share your own answers to them, so they get to know you, too.
  • Follow up. When you meet new people, make sure you take time to send an e-mail within a day or two to reinforce the connection. If you meet someone you want to get to know better, schedule a coffee meeting within a week or two.
  • Connect on social media. Add social media to your networking activities. LinkedIn is a great venue to meet people both within and outside your industry. Join groups, check profiles of people you are interested in meeting, and reach out to them. 

Need more help networking? Check out my blog posts Networking 101 and Networking Tips for Shy People.

30
Oct

Networking within Your Organization

Most people think of networking as something you do outside your company; however, this is a narrow view of an activity that is important for your career. Who you know and who knows you can play a major part in your ability to be recognized and get ahead.shutterstock_134649776

Internal networking is an informal process. You forge connections with your peers and colleagues in other areas, get to know them as individuals, and share resources and information.

Here are three tips to help you build a strong, internal network.

  1. Arrive at all meetings early and meet anyone you don’t already know. Find out what they do, exchange business cards with them, and follow up in a week.
  2. Set a goal to reconnect with people you already know in the company at least quarterly (monthly is best!). Don’t rely on e-mail. It’s too cold a communication medium. Pick up the phone and call them just to catch up and reinforce the relationship.
  3. Add a variety of people to your network. In addition to those you work with frequently, reach out to people in departments with which you interact occasionally. This gives you access to additional resources and opportunities.

Numbers aren’t as important as the quality of your connections. Cultivate your networking relationships, be willing to make introductions within your network, and freely share information and resources.

Building a network up, down, and across your organization is invaluable. It gives you a gold mine of knowledge and expertise to draw on when you need it.

Hate the idea of networking? See my blog post Networking Tips for Shy People.

11
Jul

Networking 101

It’s surprising how many people say they hate to network, especially Generation X and Y. However, networking is a valuable way to stay in touch with existing clients, get in front of potential clients, and meet colleagues for strategic alliances. Here are some tips to help take the pain out of networking. Business people communicating with each other against white

  • Choose networking events carefully. Our time is limited, and we are pulled in a dozen directions daily. Deciding to attend a networking event is an investment, so give it some thought and do some research. Find out who usually attends the event. Can they help you in your business? Are they potential customers and decision makers? What is the likelihood that you will make at least one good connection?
  • Forget the elevator speech. Yes, you’ve probably practiced it a hundred times, but don’t use it. They don’t work because they’re all about you. Instead, note the person’s name on their nametag, briefly introduce yourself, and immediately ask about them. “Hi, Steve. I’m Karen from Organize4Results. Tell me a little about your business.” Or, “Hi, Steve, I’m Karen from Organize4Results. Have you been to this event before?” Then keep the conversation going and stay focused on them. They will remember you positively long after the event is over.
  • Practice the art of the handshake. There is nothing worse than a dead-fish handshake, except the damp-dead-fish handshake. You know what I mean. A limp, lifeless, clammy handshake is unappealing; you just want to rub your palm against something to cleanse it. A good handshake is firm and dry and uses the same pressure you would use to check the ripeness of an avocado or peach.

Networking isn’t for everyone, but everyone needs to do it for business success. Try these tips; you might enjoy your next event a bit more and make some important business connections. See my blog post Networking for Results for more tips.

20
Jun

Networking Tips for Shy People

Networking is an important key for building professional relationships and doing it effectively can positively impact your career. Despite its value for business, networking is intimidating for many people. If introducing yourself to strangers, making small talk and asking for contact information is more than you think you can handle, here are a few tips for successful networking even if you are shy.

Do Some Prep Work
If possible, prepare before a networking event by meeting a few people online or through a connected contact. For example, if you work within a specific industry, you can find a blog or visit a social media group that focuses on your niche. This is one way you often can connect to local people before walking into a room full of strangers. As an added bonus, many of these virtual contacts can offer you an introduction to others who can become beneficial contacts for your career.

Remember to Smile
This tip may seem obvious; however, introverts often take networking so seriously that it may show on their face. To avoid looking overly serious during a networking event, be sure to smile. This one simple move instantly makes you more approachable and interesting to others. If you need a reminder, recruit a friend to signal you by flashing a grin your way.

Carry Business Cards
For shy people, asking for contact information at the end of a meeting may be intimidating. To keep contact with new connections, always carry business cards, even when you are not expecting to meet someone new. This way, you will have a handy way to provide your contact information to the new people you meet while making it clear that you would like to meet again in the future. Offer your card to them and ask for theirs. Make sure you follow up within a day or two to firm up the connection.

11
Mar

Project a Professional Image

I’m not an image consultant, but I do understand the power of image for career success. The adage “Perception is reality” is never truer than in business. We are judged by how others perceive us. If your manager thinks you are sloppy because you have a messy office, he or she may judge you to be less professional than your peers. This can affect your career. So, how can you manage other’s perceptions in a way that demonstrates your professionalism? Here are five tools you can use. 

  1. Be organized and neat.This means you have to get rid of the piles of papers in your office and take charge of your electronic documents and e-mail. Take a few minutes every day to clear up the mess, set up a system for finding filed documents, and clear up your work area before leaving every night. Check out my GO System
  2. Be punctual. Plan your schedule to allow for travel time to and from meetings to ensure you always arrive on time or a few minutes early. If you get to the meeting location ahead of time, you can organize your place at the conference table, review your notes, or network with other attendees. See my blog post Networking for Results.
  3. Be accurate. Take steps to ensure written documents are correct by spell checking, grammar checking, and proofreading everything before hitting send. Double-check numbers, people’s names, and hyperlinks.
  4. Be accountable. Everyone makes mistakes; a professional apologizes and takes corrective action. When you are accountable, people know they can rely on you to do what you say you will do and accept responsibility for making things right. See my blog post Be Accountable Even If You Aren’t Responsible.
  5. Be articulate. To succeed in business, you have to be a good communicator who is comfortable speaking one-on-one and in front of groups. Many people are terrified of speaking in public, but this fear can cripple your career. Start small by speaking up at team meetings, then graduate to speaking in larger groups. Organizations such as Toastmasters can help you overcome speaking jitters and prepare talks that capture people’s attention.

Perception is reality, and you want to ensure you are communicating professionalism to everyone you work with and meet.

13
Dec

Enhance Your Leadership Skills

Leadership is all about having a can-do attitude. Good leaders are high achievers that look for opportunities to succeed while also inspiring others to succeed. Here are five tips for cultivating leadership in 2020.

  1. Take calculated risks.Leaders must be good at assessing the risks and rewards of opportunities. Weigh the options, analyze worst-case scenarios, identify mitigation strategies, and understand the consequences of a decision. Once the pros and cons are vetted, act decisively and confidently.
  2. Develop high emotional intelligence. This means you need to cultivate empathy for others, understand your own strengths and weaknesses, be aware of how others respond to you, and know how to act appropriately in challenging situations. Leadership isn’t being in command of others; it’s being in command of yourself so that others want to follow you and emulate you.
  3. Build a network you can rely on. Leaders are connected; they create networks both within and outside their organizations. Having a network gives you a pool of people you can call on for advice, information, and consultation. See my blog post Networking for Results for more tips.
  4. Be a perpetual learner. Leaders know they will never know it all, so they keep learning and growing. Take more classes, read and listen to more books, talk to people who are experts in areas you want to develop.
  5. Don’t turn mistakes into failures. Leaders have a realistic view of situations and realize that mistakes aren’t failures; they are valuable feedback! If you get off track or make a mistake, take action to rectify the situation, but don’t stop there. Analyze what went wrong and what you can learn. As baseball great Babe Ruth once said, “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”

Set an intention for 2020 to enhance your leadership skills by focusing on these five areas. Much success to you!

15
Mar

Project a Professional Image

I’m not an image consultant, but I do understand the power of image for career success. The adage “Perception is reality” is never truer than in business. We are judged by how others perceive us. If your manager thinks you are sloppy because you have a messy office, he or she may judge you to be less professional than your peers. This can affect your career. So, how can you manage other’s perceptions in a way that demonstrates your professionalism? Here are five tools you can use.

  1. Be organized and neat. This means you have to get rid of the piles of papers in your office and take charge of your electronic documents and e-mail. Take a few minutes every day to clear up the mess, set up a system for finding filed documents, and clear up your work area before leaving every night. Check out my GO System program.
  2. Be punctual. Plan your schedule to allow for travel time to and from meetings to ensure you always arrive on time or a few minutes early. If you get to the meeting location ahead of time, you can organize your place at the conference table, review your notes, or network with other attendees. See my blog post Networking for Results.
  3. Be accurate. Take steps to ensure written documents are correct by spell checking, grammar checking, and proofreading everything before hitting send. Double-check numbers, people’s names, and hyperlinks.
  4. Be accountable. Everyone makes mistakes; a professional apologizes and takes corrective action. When you are accountable, people know they can rely on you to do what you say you will do and accept responsibility for making things right. See my blog post Be Accountable Even If You Aren’t Responsible.
  5. Be articulate. To succeed in business, you have to be a good communicator who is comfortable speaking one-on-one and in front of groups. Many people are terrified of speaking in public, but this fear can cripple your career. Start small by speaking up at team meetings, then graduate to speaking in larger groups. Organizations such as Toastmasters can help you overcome speaking jitters and prepare talks that capture people’s attention.

Perception is reality, and you want to ensure you are communicating professionalism to everyone you work with and meet.

14
Dec

Enhance Your Leadership Skills

Leadership is all about having a can-do attitude. Good leaders are high achievers that look for opportunities to succeed while also inspiring others to succeed. Here are five tips for cultivating leadership in 2015. shutterstock_97221119

  1. Take calculated risks. Leaders must be good at assessing the risks and rewards of opportunities. Weigh the options, analyze worst-case scenarios, identify mitigation strategies, and understand the consequences of a decision. Once the pros and cons are vetted, act decisively and confidently.
  1. Develop high emotional intelligence. This means you need to cultivate empathy for others, understand your own strengths and weaknesses, be aware of how others respond to you, and know how to act appropriately in challenging situations. Leadership isn’t being in command of others; it’s being in command of yourself so that others want to follow you and emulate you.
  1. Build a network you can rely on. Leaders are connected; they create networks both within and outside their organizations. Having a network gives you a pool of people you can call on for advice, information, and consultation. See my blog post Networking for Results for more tips.
  1. Be a perpetual learner. Leaders know they will never know it all, so they keep learning and growing. Take more classes, read and listen to more books, talk to people who are experts in areas you want to develop.
  1. Don’t turn mistakes into failures. Leaders have a realistic view of situations and realize that mistakes aren’t failures; they are valuable feedback! If you get off track or make a mistake, take action to rectify the situation, but don’t stop there. Analyze what went wrong and what you can learn. As baseball great Babe Ruth once said, “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”

Set an intention for 2015 to enhance your leadership skills by focusing on these five areas. Check out my e-learning course Lead4Results for a convenient way to enhance your leadership skills in your own time and at your own pace.