March 29, 2008
Sometimes I encounter people who have read “Let’s Connect!”, listened to “Let’s Connect at an event” or attended one of our networking or referral training courses who tell me that they like the tips, but don’t know how to apply them.
What they most of the time mean is that they feel resistance of bringing the tips in practice because they are not sure that the tips will work for them, in their situation.
My advice for them is to use a phrase like this when they meet people: “I just have read a book about networking and one of the tips was … What do you think about that tip?”
Not only is this less confrontational, but it could also be used as a conversation opener.
Of course you can apply this phrase for any book you have read or any training course you have taken.
Have a great networking day !
March 22, 2008
Last week I was one of the speakers at the PSA Holland convention. PSA is an abbreviation for Professional Speakers Association (www.psaholland.org) .
What is so interesting about this organisation and convention is that it is for speakers and organised by speakers.
As Joe Sherren, the president of the IFFPS (International Federation for Professional Speakers, www.iffps.org ) said: “At which other convention can you listen to your competitors while they are willingly sharing all their secrets?”
It is true. There was an atmosphere of giving and sharing without expecting anything in return. The real networker spirit.
In my opinion is the reason that while we all are speakers we know that by helping each other everyone will benefit. When everybody gets even more professional, more organisations will be willing to hire speakers and pay the fee they deserve.
Also when everybody helps each other out, costs can be reduced (for example with the tools that Frank Furness shared, which also can be found at his website) and relationships with customers can be improved (by suggesting other speakers for their conferences for example).
Another reason why it is easy to share and help is that most speakers have chosen a niche or just a few topics. That doesn’t it only make it easier to share, but also easier to remember each other so we can also be each other’s ambassadors.
Think about your own profession now. How are you interacting with your conculleagues (I like that word better than competitors)? Are you fearful they will steal ideas from you or are you openly sharing them? Even if it isn’t done in your profession, why not start doing it yourself and setting an example?
I already mentioned this quote from Gandhi a few weeks ago: “Be the change you want to see.”
To your success !
March 15, 2008
Last week I was one of the speakers at JCI (Junior Chamber International) Flanders Business & Networking Day.
The theme was networking and sports. It was a great event with many interesting people from the business world, sports and politics in the debates (for the full program overview: see http://www.jcibndag.be/index1.html).
I took many notes, but the top two remarks came from the same man: Frans Schotte, CEO of Standaard Boekhandel and chairman of Soccer association Cercle Brugge.
His first reply was about the importance of playing in first division for sponsorships and have “quality” networking between sponsors and guests.
He told the audience that they had some of the best networking moments when the team played in second division and when they invited a targeted group of school principals.
I agree with him: it doesn’t matter what you organise, if you bring the right people together it is always a success.
His second remark was: a very important aspect of networking is to create the circumstances for others to meet each other.
I couldn’t agree more: bringing people together, whether it is on an event, a lunch or via e-mail is the best network action you can take.
So, who are you going to bring together this week?
March 8, 2008
“It doesn’t have to be perfect, you just have to get going” is a line that Mike Litman , author of “Conversations with Millionaires” repeats over and over again.
And how true it is.
Looking at myself and my company there are still many times when we wait too long to get things started. We want them to be perfect first.
Although it’s very important to bring quality, it also stops the flow from flowing in many cases. And if you are a perfectionist, you will never get anything done because every day you get new ideas to make it better than the day before.
The same thing happens in networking and referrals. We see many people who want to be perfect in approaching people before they do it. They want to have a whole referral strategy in place before starting to ask for referrals and create ambassadors.
But it is only when you get into action that you will experience how it works.
Only from getting the feedback or feedforward from the people you interact with, you will get closer to perfection.
Two practical tips if you still are not inclined to take action:
1) When you want to practice your networking skills, go to events that you normally never would attend (and maybe never will attend in the future either). You will never see them again and if (IF!) you make a “mistake” it doesn’t matter.
2) When you don’t feel comfortable starting all your new customers for referrals, begin with the customers you have the best professional and personal relationship with.
To your networking success !
March 1, 2008
Many people already heard other people say: networking is important. And then the person for instance explains how it helps in sales. But if you are not responsible for any sales results for your company you probably won’t listen.
So here is a list of 26 reasons why networking is important. These are the main reasons that we got from the thousands of participants of our networking and referral training courses and presentations.
1) Maintaining relationship with current customers
2) Meeting new prospects
3) Getting referrals to new prequalified prospects
4) Receiving referrals to other departments at current customers
5) Word of mouth publicity
6) Creating ambassadors who will tell about you and connect you with the right prospects
7) Finding a new job
8 ) Finding a new employee or colleague
9) Getting to know the right people who can help you with your career
10) Attracting the right organisations to form partnerships with
11) Notifications when there are important changes (for example when legislation changes)
12) Up-to-date information for work-related topics
13) Knowing about new trends
14) Receiving more visibility as a person or an organisation
15) Attracting more opportunities
16) Getting new ideas, new insights and new wisdom
17) Getting another perspective
18) Door openings to people you won’t be able to reach on your own
19) Enrichment in every possible way
20) Doing things with more fun
21) Developing as a person
22) Developing as an organisation
23) Attracting the right mentors
24) Having a filter (= people from your network) for the massive amounts of information on the Internet and elsewhere
25) Receiving more invitations to (the right) events as a participant, speaker or co-host
26) Security net when something happens
26 a – When you are without a job
26 b – When you have too much work
26 c – On a personal level (getting the kids out of school, help when renovating your house, babysitter, …)
As you know part of our definition of the networking attitude is that if you give first and help others with all above topics, they will do the same for you.
At least if you will do it for them without expecting anything in return.
Have a great networking day !