What Are Your Expectations When You Are Going To Events?

August 18, 2011

Many people in our workshops tell us that they don’t always feel comfortable when going to business events.

The main reason seems to be more about them than about the other participants.

These are some of the things they say to themselves:
– I’m probably not interesting enough.
– I’m not an expert so I don’t know enough to meaningfully contribute to a conversation.
– I don’t know any other people so other people will think I don’t belong here.
– I just graduated from college/university and don’t have enough experience yet so people won’t find me interesting to talk to.
– I’m not worthy of getting attention from other people.
– I’m an introvert so I lack social skills.

These are all judgments you have about yourself. 95% of the people you will meet, don’t think this way. The other 5% are probably not worth your time (and please don’t let them discourage you!)

The problem is that when you have these thoughts, the expectations you will have from attending an event will probably be low as well.

What the human mind does, is looking for confirmation of its thoughts.

So if your expectation is that nobody wants to talk to you (for whatever reason you have made up), you will look for the confirmation that they are not interested in you.

When someone looks briefly at you and then looks away, you might think they are not interested. The fact that they turn away makes you think they don’t want to talk to you.

However someone who expects that other people want to talk to him, will interpret this brief look as a sign of interest. He will notice the brief contact moment.

In other words: the way you expect things to happen will influence the results in a big way.

What do you expect when you go to events? That people will talk to you or not?

To your success !



The Power of Classmates

December 16, 2010

I have been noticing something very interesting the last couple of months: we get more and more requests to give training courses and presentations from people I went to university with.

It seems like they have moved up on corporate ladders and are now in the position to make decisions about purchasing products or hiring services.

What can we learn from this?

1) Sometimes it takes time for things to happen. People you meet now in your life, will maybe only have an influence in 10 to 20 years. So be patient and keep in touch. If you don’t have their contact details anymore, look them up on LinkedIn or let LinkedIn do the work for you (via Contacts/Add Connections/Classmates).

2) For people who are currently studying at a college or university: get to know each other. Work with different people on projects. By going through experiences together, you create bonds that last long. Make sure you will be able to do that by already linking with each other on LinkedIn.

3) For colleges and universities: keep focusing on alumni programs. Facilitate meetings for people who graduated the same year. People love this kind of events, but nobody takes the initiative to organize them. Make sure you facilitate this on LinkedIn as well by setting up a LinkedIn Group and creating LinkedIn Events.

4) For organisations and companies: give more attention to alumni programs. Your former employees can be your best ambassadors. But only IF you make them feel they are still part of the family. The same tip here: make sure you facilitate this on LinkedIn by setting up a LinkedIn Group and creating LinkedIn Events.

To your success !


PS: get your free light version and free updates of the book How to REALLY use LinkedIn (or in Dutch: het boek Hoe LinkedIn nu ECHT gebruiken)

Networking Tip: Create Trust by Keeping Commitments

September 6, 2008

I already wrote a blog post about the book and masterclass “The Speed of Trust” by Stephen Covey Jr.

He has defined 13 behaviours that create trust.

This week I experienced myself how strong they can be. More specifically number 12 is “keeping commitments”. And that’s what helped me to gain the trust of one of our customers.

Let me share a few more details with you.

I was asked by a HR Assistant Manager of a worldwide company to do a one day session to facilitate setting up a pan european network for their learning & development managers. In the absence of the HR Manager the two of us worked out the details.

When the HR Manager came back she was not really pleased that the HR Assistant Manager chose someone else than her favorite trainer. In the defence of the HR Assistant Manager: it was not communicated that that specific trainer had to do the job.

So when we explained our plan for the day to the HR Manager we had to start from “below zero”. And it took a few more e-mails, telephone calls and changes to the program, but step by step we got where she wanted to be.

The day itself went super: people were really sharing information, looking for ways to help each other out and got to know each other better. In other words: the foundation for the network was successfully made.

At the end of the day the HR Manager came to me and congratulated me with the job I had done. And she also confessed to me: “I was little bit skeptical that you could the job since I didn’t know you.” When I asked her what made her trust me and not change to someone else, she answered: “You always kept your commitments and got back to us with the right information on the days we agreed upon or before. That reassured me a lot!”

For us this keeping commitments is good business practice. This example shows how important it can be!

Networking and referrals are about building trust. An easy behaviour that anyone can show is keeping commitments.

These are a few of my rules to be able to do that without stressing myself too much or our company:

1) Only make commitments we can keep. If we are not the best to do a job or it doesn’t fit in our schedule we say “no”. You will be surprised how many people will appreciate it!

2) Set realistic timeframes to answer a question, deliver a proposal or to do something else. Even better: add a few extra days.
If you think you need 2 days, tell your customer you will be back in 4 days. In that way you give yourself extra breathing space for when something unexpected shows up. If everything goes as planned and you deliver in 2 or 3 days then you have reacted faster than they expected. This scores bonus points.
On the other hand: if you promise to deliver in 2 days and it becomes 3 or 4 days you take away from your emotional bank account.

How about you? How good are you in making the right commitments and keeping them? Do you have some “rules” for yourself?

Have a great networking day !


Founder of Networking Coach

Networking Tip: Make Someone’s Day

July 12, 2008

Yesterday I was installing new software that I received from my bank to make transactions much smoother.

Having worked in the ICT industry before I started Networking Coach I always dread such moments because I know Murphy’s Law is always around the corner. And yes also this time.

Apparently the installation software is not 100% compatible with Windows Vista. So I had the call the help desk. And that on a day that banks are closed because of a regional holiday. While I was going through the options (For .. press 1, for .. press 2,…) I was already starting to tell myself “How can you set yourself more up for frustration than this?” until … I got a real voice.

And even more to my surprise it was a very helpful man. And at a point he even admitted he didn’t know the answer, but was going to get back to me with the answer (“Yeah right” I already hear you think). But after the first helpful contact, I started to believe in helpdesk-mankind again. And I was right. 20 minutes later he called me back with the right answer and I could go on with the installation.

So I got to the next step. Again a problem. So I called the helpdesk again. Another man, but cheerful, and determined to resolve the problem. And he did in less than a minute.

After I thanked him for his help, he asked me: “Can I ask you a question?”. “Of course” I replied expecting that he would ask me to answer a customer satisfaction survey (which I was glad to do because of the good help I got from them).

To my surprise he asked “Are you the one who wrote the networking book “Let’s Connect”? “Yes I am” I answered. “Well, I have been reading it and I want to thank you for the many good tips, it is really a great book.”

Wow! That took me by surprise!

Thank you KBC Business HelpDesk for not only helping me out and getting my frustration out of the way, but also for putting a big smile on my face and making my day!


PS: who has suprised you lately? And who did you surprise? Most of the times it is in the small things.

Networking Speaker – Jan Vermeiren

May 10, 2008

I posted a first video on YouTube (or actually a slideshow).

On the one hand it is an impression about me as a networking speaker.
On the other hand it was a kind of an experiment for me to see how to use video to share networking tips and referral tips. It is certainly an interesting medium that I will use more in the future !

This is the link for this video/slideshow titled “Speaker Networking – Jan Vermeiren” (1.12 min).

Have a great networking day !


How to apply tips in practice?

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 !


The power of sharing

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 !


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