How Google Alerts Can Help You Prepare Better For Your New Year’s Receptions

December 27, 2008

It’s the time of the year again. The month of January is typically the month of the New Year’s receptions.

Maybe more than ever meeting people face to face will be the success factor in 2009. Either on parties organised by their own company, by a professional or trade organisation they are member of or by the local Chamber of Commerce or a network club.

Many times we meet people who might really help us in our career or in our business. They also are many times “higher in the hierarchy” or have lots more experience than us. This can be intimidating.

My first tip is to realize that they are just people like you and me. They also started “at the bottom” one day. So if you approach them in a friendly and non-pushy way, they will normally be open to you.

Sometimes it helps us to feel more comfortable when we are better prepared for a conversation with them or with other people we are going to meet.

Technology can help us easily with that. These are some tips:

1) Use Google to find more information about the person(s) you are going to meet or about the organisation.

2) Use LinkedIn to find more information about the person(s) your are going to meet and mutual connections you might have.

3) Set up Google Alerts to receive updates via email about the person(s) you are going to meet, about the organisation, about the speaker or about anything else you might find useful to prepare yourself.

This will only cost you 45 seconds of your time and it works better because you get the updates via email so you don’t have to surf the Internet every day.

Setup is very easy:
1) Go to
2) Then set the parameters:
 – Search term: topic or person you want to get information about
 – Type: where you want Google Alerts to search for you (Blogs, Videos, Web,…)
 – How often: as-it-happens, once a day or once a week
 – Email address: email address via which you want to receive the updates

Also apply these tips when going for your next job interview or your next meeting with a customer.
Have a great networking day !


Jan Vermeiren, Founder of Networking Coach and Speaker about networking and referrals


How to use LinkedIn to find the right networks

December 20, 2008

In my post of last week I wrote about a McKinsey survey which revealed that business-to-business and internal networks are the most important sources for innovation.

The question that many people have is: “OK, that insight might help us too, but where do I find these networks?”

Nowadays there are many tools that can help us finding them, they are called online business networks. At the moment of writing the most important one is LinkedIn (but there is also Ecademy, Xing, Ryze and many others).

How to use LinkedIn to find the networks you are looking for?

Assuming that you already have a profile and some connections on LinkedIn, these are the steps to take:

1) Define the profile of the people you think might add value for your project. These can be people from another department or from another organisation.
2) Use the advanced search of LinkedIn to find people with this profile.
3) Look which clubs and organisations they belong to. Focus on both LinkedIn Groups as other groups they mention in their profile (you find this at the bottom of someone’s profile).
4) Become member of the LinkedIn Groups which seem interesting to you.
5) Look in the LinkedIn Group for other interesting profiles.
6) Connect with the people from step 2 or 5 yourself or get connected via a mutual connection.

To your success !


Jan Vermeiren, Founder of Networking Coach and author of the network book Let’s Connect

Business-to-business and internal networks are the most important sources for innovations according to McKinsey

December 13, 2008

A while ago Vincent De Waele notified me of a rapport of McKinsey about the importance of external and internal networks to stimulate innovation (thanks Vincent!).

According to their survey these were the most important external supporters for innovation ranked by importance as the single most important factor (percentages are rounded):
1) Business-to-business networks (eg. Suppliers): 47%
2) Research partnerships: 11%
3) Academic partnerships: 9%
4) Consumer-to-consumer networks: 5%
5) Other: 8%
6) None: 18%

Also internal networks are the most important source for innovation. These are the internal sources for innovation ranked by importance as the single most important source:
1) Cross-functional innovation network of leaders and experts: 46%
2) Marketing department: 12%
3) Research and development network: 12%
4) Customer Council: 7%
5) Other: 8%
6) None: 13%

Note: the percentages of “None” mean that the respondents ranked two or more sources as most important.

What do these figures mean to me?

Many times it is heard that research and development should be the focus to innovate. Although this plays an important role, the survey shows (again) that the power of a network cannot be underestimated.

And the good news is that these are free resources!

Asking customers for their advice or bringing together people from different departments and teams doesn’t cost extra money. Moreover, there are many tools like videoconferencing or teleconferencing (over the phone or with Skype) that are very cheap or even free so you don’t even have to pay for travel costs.

The biggest pitfall however is that companies or people only start building internal and external networks when they need them. And that is way too late.

How about you? What does your network look like? Do you have the right people in your network to help you innovate?
No? Then start expanding your network today!


Have a great networking day !


Jan Vermeiren, Founder of Networking Coach and author of the network book Let’s Connect

PS: if you want to improve your personal network skills to build your network, register for the FREE networking e-course or download the FREE light version of the network book Let’s Connect.

Networking Coach Jan Vermeiren interviews Small Talk Expert Don Gabor

December 6, 2008

In our series “Interviews with networking experts from all around the world” this month’s interview is with Don Gabor from New York.

Listen to the interview between Networking Coach Jan Vermeiren and Small Talk expert Don Gabor (9 minutes).

Have a great networking day !


Jan Vermeiren, Founder of Networking Coach and speaker about networking and referrals.

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