Christmas and birthday cards

December 29, 2007

If you are a long-time reader of this blog, you know that I’m not a big fan of Christmas Cards (you can for example read the article “Don’t send Christmas cards“).

What I am a fan of is to keep in touch with people. Someone from my network who also knows the importance of this, sent me a link to a website that can help you to keep in touch regarding your contacts’ birthdays. The name is JackCards and the URL is: http://www.jackcards.com. Thanks for the tip Sara ! (Take also a look at her artwork at http://www.saraborremans.be)

I haven’t used the website myself yet, but I think it’s worthwhile to take a look at and give it a try.

Have a great networking day !

Jan

PS: let me know about your experiences with this website. Post them here or send an e-mail to connect-with-us at networking-coach.com

PPS: if you want to share another interesting website or networking (or referral) tips, please share them with me.


How do you store the business cards of the people of your network?

December 22, 2007

When I ask the question “How do you store the business cards of the people of your network?” these are the top 4 answers:

1) I don’t store them
2) I store them in a box or drawer
3) I store them in a binder for business cards
4) I store them electronically (e-mail program, database, spreadsheet, CRM (Customer Relationship Management programma)

I advise you to go for number 4.

These are the reasons:
You need the contact details of people. The power is in the network, but you have to be able to call or e-mail them.
You need to have fast access. If you have the business cards of 1000 people in a box, it will take long before you find them. If you store them in a binder, there is only one way you can retrieve the data: if you keep them in alphabetical order on company name and you remember the name of a person, but not the company anymore you won’t find this person.
You need back up. Your network is your most powerful ànd free aid in life. If you lose the business cards, you lose your most important resource.

By the way, fast access is not only important if you want to contact someone for yourself, but also if you want to connect two other people. This is one of the best networking actions you can take, but if you have to look in boxes to find the business cards you simply won’t do it.

Have a great networking day !

Jan


Are you the change?

December 15, 2007

This is a famous quote of Gandhi: “Be the change you want to see in other people.”

When I do presentations or training courses about networking there are always people in the room who say they never “get anything out of their network”.

When I ask them what they have done for others, there are two kinds of reactions:
1) They become silent and have to admit they haven’t helped other people either.
2) They say they got tired of giving, giving, giving and finally want to receive something. They are tired of getting their boundaries crossed too.

I think it is easy to see how Gandhi’s quote applies to the first group of people.

But how about the second group?

It is very important to not cross your boundaries, because then frustration can rear its ugly head.

The most common barrier that hold us from helping people the whole time is time.

Remember that most people are already glad if they receive help to go to the next step.

People who have difficulties with boundaries think most of the time that the other person wants the final solution. And as a consequence they spend lots of time to figure that out, cross their boundaries and feel that the other doesn’t respect their boundaries.

It is this discrepancy between expectations from one person and how we translate those expectations that leads to frustration. Because even if we give much more than is expected, the other person many times doesn’t give us the – from our point of view – necessary appreciation.

Not because they don’t want to, but because they didn’t ask for it and many times don’t understand how much time and effort it was. The reason: they are in the process of discovering it themselves.

My advice: when you want to do something for someone, ask specific questions and help the other person take the next step, not the whole walk. In this way you also give the example of how to help people and not cross boundaries.

Most of the times they are already very happy with that and you don’t get frustrated because you dind’t cross your boundaries. And you were the change you wanted to see in others !
Have a great networking day !

Jan


Do the things other people hate to do

December 8, 2007

This is the fourth (and last) post about the speech of Tom Peters in Antwerp (see also the two previous posts).

An interesting topic was “do the things other people hate to do”. He gave the example of walking dogs.

How does this apply to networking?

If you find people who do these jobs, you have a very interesting resource for other people.

In other words, you can give people a “present” by telling them about services like dog walking.
And just by making the connection you will improve your relationship with both parties.

This is an excellent tactic if you are in sales and you don’t want to go to networking events because you have the feeling you only going there to “take” from others. Most people want to keep the “relationship account” in balance, but don’t know what to “give” to others.

Making connections is one of the best things you can do. And by having a database that helps people with personal “problems” you can always make meaningful connections.

Have a great networking day !

Jan


Return on Investment in Relationships

December 1, 2007

Today I present you with another post inspired by Tom Peters.

He talked about ROIR: Return on Investment in Relationships.

Almost everything we accomplish in life is by interacting with other people: a new job, a customer, a supplier, a partnership, a project and also friends, a life partner and family.

This is rather obvious, but do we always remember how we got the opportunity to meet those people? Many times someone else helped us to reach the people who were at that time in the best position to help us with that specific question or goal.

Many times we just go forward, without looking back and acknowledging the people who helped us. Not because we don’t want to do that or we don’t appreciate it, but because we are so excited about the new found solution.

But if you do look back and do thank people for their help, you will experience that investments in relationships can generate a BIG return. And without having to spend much time or effort.

How many people have you genuinely and from the heart thanked lately? It’s not too late. Do it. Now.

To your success and happiness !

Jan


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