How to increase the chances to be found on the Internet?

December 30, 2006

A part of networking is about being found when someone is looking for you or your expertise. Especially when you are a small business owner, freelancer or sales professional.

How can you increase the chances that you are indeed being found when someone uses a search engine like Google or MSN?

By having a profile on one or more networking websites !

One of the side effects of having a profile on one or more online networking websites is that it helps to increase the search engine rankings of your websites.

How does this happen and what do you have to do for it?

First, let me explain a little bit about the results in the ranking of search engines.

The rankings are influenced by many things, but amongst the most important are the references by other websites.

Of course you can exchange links with people and organisations you know (and you should do this as well!), but the problem is that most of them have a low “page rank”.

“Page rank” is a term by Google that indicates how popular your website is. This “page rank” is influenced by the amount of visitors you get on your website, but also by the amount of links from other websites. And more importantly by the page rank of those other websites.

Because online networking websites like LinkedIn, Ecademy, OpenBC/Xing and Ryze have thousands of visitors per day, they have a high page rank.

By mentioning the URL’s of your websites in your profile on these online networking websites you get a link from websites with a high page rank to your websites. And this increases the page rank of your website, which increases in turn your visibility on the Internet and hence the chance that someone finds you.

So what are you waiting for? Go and make your online profile and mention your websites !

Good luck !

Jan

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Let’s connect at an event: Spotme

December 23, 2006

A few weeks ago the Creativity World Forum was held in Gent, Belgium.

At this event the Spotme device was used. This is an electronic handheld device that supports networking.

Since I already heard a few years ago about Spotme, but haven’t had the opportunity to see it in action, this was the perfect moment.

It would take me too far to explain all the functionalities of Spotme (if you want to know more, visit www.Spotme.com), but there are a few nice features I want to share with you.

1) You can see who is also on the event. The whole attendance list can be consulted via your handheld device together with the picture of this person (pictures are taken when you register at the event)

2) You can invite people to have a one-on-one meeting with you via the device.

3) You can be alerted when one of the people you want to meet is in a 10 meter radius around you.

4) You can electronically exchange your contact details via the device. So you don’t need to input the business cards you gathered. Especially when you were on a conference where you met 80 people in a few days, this can be a huge timesaver !

5) After the event you receive an e-mail with the V-cards (electronic business cards) of all the people you met at the event. This is also a huge opportunity for the organiser to start the follow up and build the relationship with the attendants.

Spotme also comes with real-time surveys, real-time voting, broadcast messages from the organisation and other interesting features.

If you are an event organiser this is certainly a tool you have to consider to increase the networking between the attendants !

Have a great networking day !

Jan


Don’t be a celebrity stalker

December 16, 2006

A caution about the post of last week concerning approaching speakers: don’t be a “celebrity stalker”. If she has no time for you, don’t push it. There are still other people in the room that are also interesting.

Another variant of “celebrity stalking” is focusing on Mr. Big Shot that is in the room. Chances are that he is difficult to approach. And chances are even higher that you are not the only one wanting to talk to him. If you are so focused on this one person, you might miss other interesting contacts. And if you are talking to them, but constantly looking over their shoulder to see if Mr. Big Shot has ended his conversation, you might jeopardize your existing relationships. How would you feel if somebody did this to you?

“OK” you might say. “But I really want to talk to Mr. Big Shot. What do I do?”

The answer is quite simple: have yourself introduced. Via a common contact. Or via the organiser of the event. Make clear to the person who is going to introduce you what you have to offer to this person and what you would like to get.
Especially when a “celebrity” or “Big Shot” is involved, people are very protective about their contacts. The only way to “have them open the gate” is to show them that it is beneficial for the “celebrity” (and preferably also for the one who is going to introduce you).

Have a great next (networking) event !

Jan


Talk to speakers

December 9, 2006

Why should you talk to speakers at events?

Speakers are not invited to give a presentation by coincidence. They are the experts. If they weren’t, it would not be them on stage, but somebody else. Experts are always good to know to update your knowledge. And more importantly in the context of networking: they are most likely people with a large and interesting network.

Because of their expertise they are invited by several organisations. So they probably know the presidents or chair(wo)men. They have customers, suppliers and partnerships too. They also attend meetings and conferences themselves. And because of their status as a speaker they are likely to come in contact with the so-called “higher profiles”. To have them in your network and be welcomed in theirs is definitely a recommendation. So talk to them.

Many people ask me: “But who am I to talk to this expert speaker?”

Let me tell you a little secret about speakers. They are asked by many organisations they don’t really know. And they speak at events they never would have visited if they weren’t invited to give a presentation. Not that they are not interested, but they also have only 24 hours per day.

As a consequence lots of speakers feel a little uncomfortable once they get off stage. And because many organisers are so busy with the practical details of the event, many speakers feel left alone. And although some of them are (or have become) good networkers and feel at ease, lots of them still have the same issues at starting, maintaining and ending a conversation.

So the next time you are at an event where there is a speaker, talk to her. She will be a great asset for your network. And make sure that you are perceived as a valuable contact too. Remember “Give and Receive”. Maybe the only thing you have to offer is some minutes of your time or an introduction to someone else. But that’s OK, maybe you will have made the difference just by doing this.

Have a great next (networking) event !

Jan

PS: this is an excerpt from my network book “Let’s Connect!” (www.letsconnect.be)


Improve your visibility and be a speaker

December 2, 2006

One aspect of networking is having some visibility. And preferably in the field where you want to have some contacts.

One way to do this is to write articles for the magazine or website of your trade union. This really helps a lot to improve your visibility to the readers of the magazine or website.

But not everyone likes to write. An alternative is to speak at events. If you are already giving presentations to customers, suppliers, partners or for your co-workers, then you can easily move on to the next step: speak for your trade organisation or local network club.

Many people tell me that they are never asked to give a presentation. My answer is always: “Did you tell the organisation that you were available?”

If you want to achieve anything in networking or in life in general, don’t wait for others to come to you. They may not know what you like to do or what your goals are.

Tell them. Involve them. And help them by giving your best presentation ever.

To your success !

Jan


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