Archive for July, 2010

IF YOU ARE NEW TO TOWN – START NETWORKING

July 14, 2010

BE SEEN, GET KNOWN  AND MOVE AHEAD!

 Loneliness is the number one challenge people moving to a new area will experience. Anyone who has experienced a major move in their life can certainly relate to the frustration of not knowing where the dentist, doctor, supermarket, local post office, gym or even a good restaurant can become such a challenge. Much money, energy and time is wasted trying to find any or all of the above. So, if this dilemma sounds familiar, start networking.

 Local and community papers and websites  are a great source of “what’s on”. Your aim is to connect with 2-3 people in a community, who can answer your questions, give you directions and introduce you to other people. So even if going out alone is the last thing you want to do, it is compulsory for meeting new people. For the first few weeks or months, you will be constantly called on to move out of your comfort zone, but it will be worth it in the long run.

 You may find these ideas will help you form your own networks:

  • Every area has a Chamber of Commerce and whether you are in business or not, it’s a great way to introduce yourself to people in the area. From this network, you can then connect with others. It pays to be upfront and ask the specific question, what other networks are available in town? If you never ask the questions the answer if always no.  Attend Women’s Networking Australia events regularly, and become known as the key person in your industry www.womensnetwork.com.au

* Get a business card. Include your name, the work you do, your contact details (temporary or not) and a reliable contact phone number. If you are retired you might describe yourself via your interests – Make a list of what you need to know – even the smallest detail. Add to this list on a daily basis and carry the list with you when you go out.

* No matter how exhausted you are, get out of your home every day – even if it’s just to walk to the corner store. Not talking to anyone, other than on the phone, can be very demoralising for 24 hours per day.

  • Find a coffee shop or juice bar and become a “regular” – even if you are not a coffee drinker – . Visit daily and start conversations with the other regulars.

* Decide how much free time you will have each week and then study the local directories/community papers and highlight places/groups/courses you may be interested in. Phone the organisers and explain your situation. You are almost guaranteed they will welcome you with open arms.

* Once you do attend an event and you decide that these people are the sort of people you want to befriend, you may like to offer to be a support person for their committee. Volunteers are rarely rejected.

  • Creating regular patterns, be it exercise, shopping, doing the washing, etc. . .will reconnect you with others who have similar time tables. Hi, my name’s Robyn. . . .. . is a great start

* Once you feel you have “found your feet” so to speak, consider having a small gathering. You may create a “welcome to the neighbourhood” invitation and put it in your neighbours letterbox. Plan for an informal event, b.y.o. with a set time frame and include an rsvp phone number. Don’t be discouraged if you only attract a small group. Always remember, “from little things, big things grow.

  • Join a gym, golf club or local sporting group – it’s a great way to meet new people and keep fit at the same time.

 * Finally, from every event that you attend, you want to arrange one more event to go to – whether it’s a week or a month ahead. . . .Every one needs at least one thing every week to look forward to. Pretty soon you will see someone who looks like you used to feel – you will recall that sense of loneliness, confusion and at times frustration. Put yourself in their shoes and make the first approach – who knows where that will lead to.

Happy networking until next time

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THINGS TO AVOID AT NETWORKING EVENTS

July 14, 2010

Having attended thousands of networking events in the last 20 years – here are some of the stand-out “avoid at all costs” tips for you”

 * Unless you are the host, you do not have to speak to everyone in the room when there are more than 20 people attending. Do not “work” the room. Rather, have a number of quality conversations with the people who cross your path. Leave a positive image with these people and they will spread the word for you.

 * Don’t leave early unless it is absolutely necessary. Some of the best networking opportunities happen when you arrive early and leave late.

 * Don’t monopolise the conversation – networking is about sharing ideas.

 * Don’t forget the golden rule – in the networking environment we earn the right to gain business by doing something for someone else first. Don’t expect people to place an order with you purely because you have introduced yourself to them. You must earn the right to ask a favour.

 * Don’t treat the 15-second self-introduction as a two-minute commercial. People will switch off and you will leave a negative impression.

 * Don’t jump in when there are pauses in the conversation. Pauses are fine-let the other person jump in first. It may be that they are thinking about their answer.

 * Don’t interrupt – only prisoners like to be interrupted in the middle of a sentence.

* Don’t overindulge – you are always on show – and people can form a poor opinion of you if you drink too much alcohol or appear to be under the influence of drugs – definitely not a good look – for a potential service provider.

 The most important ‘DO”  is to be yourself – value your worth, value your potential contribution to this event and Have fun!

HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INTEREST PEOPLE

July 14, 2010

Networking has long been an element of successful communication. But, as we move into busier and tougher times (where, for instance, the level of trust in business is not what it used to be), we are going to have to be smarter about the way we do it. Given the need to win both attention and trust, one way is to become more interesting. 

  What are the characteristics of interesting or charismatic people? Is there any advantage in becoming more interesting? From a networker’s perspective, the answer is a most resounding yes.  We all know that people do business with people they know, like and trust. An interesting person attracts people and most likely expends less effort promoting and selling their product or services, or fast-tracking their career. 

  So how can you become more interesting? 

 TELL STORIES 

 Interesting people are often good at telling stories. They are able to shorten their yarns into anecdotes brought alive with enthusiasm, rather than embellishing and stretching the truth. 

 People recall stories that are positive and entertaining, and trigger emotions – happy or sad. The great storyteller has a way of turning a negative into a positive, even if it is just to state how lucky we are at that moment. 

 BE SINCERE AND GIVE WITHOUT EXPECTATIONS 

 People can sense a fraud a mile away. We all know those people who are just being nice to you because they want something.  

 RESEARCH YOUR INTERESTS 

We are in the information age. The internet  make it incredibly easy to access that information. “Google” is a verb – and what a blessing when you are tracking information – remember though everyone has access to “Google” – what will make you different.  

GET FOCUSSED 

Take a few moments and write a list of 20 things you would be interested in doing if you had a month off and unlimited budget – this might be your own “Bucket List” Really let your imagination take hold. Your list may include some old hobbies, new interest, maybe even more of what you are currently doing – or making doing it in a different location. What one thing can you do TODAY, to progress at least one item on this list. 

MOVE OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE 

Many people sit back and wait for life to happen – they can wait a long time. Proactive people are the ones who make life happen. Try new things, even if they scare you a little. 

ENROL IN A COURSE

 

I am an avid film-goer and enrolled in a weekend scriptwriting course with an international scriptwriter – what a great weekend – 400 people all passionate about films and film making. Am i going to become a script writer – not this year. But i did learn lots of things and make some great connections. Was I out of my comfort zone – only briefly and it was well worth it. 

So many people think that networking is all about business and “work” – it isn’t. Some of the best contact you will make will be in social or special interest situations. If you can’t commit to long-term studies, try one of the many short-term courses offered by universities, TAFES and community colleges. 

The trust is built with the students almost instantly – because you have a common interest or passion – what a great way to start a friendship or connection. 

John Lennon summed it up with his quote: “life is what happens while you are making other plans.”

Happy networking until next time!