Tag Archives: networking

Inquisix Presentation and Networking Event – Fri Feb 20th

5 Feb

Brent Trethewey of the Executive Club of Boston has invited me to speak on Friday February 20th at 8.00am ET to his group. The topic of the discussion is “How To Integrate Your Online Networking with In-Person Events for Best Results”

Come join us by phone!

speed-networking

Brent is a member of Inquisix and runs a “speed” networking event every Friday. The concept is pretty cool, I’ve attended a bunch of his meetings. Instead of meeting face-to-face every Friday, he’s using a technology from BlitzTime that allows participants to connect via phone with up to 6 other executives, all in 45 minutes. Each week, Brent invites an expert to talk and then the participants get connected with each other to talk for 6 minutes. After your 6 minutes is up, you are connected with another participant. Hence, the “speed” in his networking.

So please come join us! It’s best to be online while on the phone.

At the moment, there’s only a US-based number to call into. I’m talking to the BlizTime founders to add a European number so our Inquisix members there can join us for the next event.

3 Networking Must-Do's

16 Jan

I was in Westboro, MA earlier this week attending the Corridor Nine Chamber of Commerce‘s networking night.  The event was very well attended by local businesses with over 350 attendees mingling amongst the food, drinks and violin trio.  Very nice, very professional.  Best of all, I caught up with 2 Inquisix members, Rick and Brigitte.  Both knew the Inquisix story and articulated our benefits to other Chamber members.  Thanks!

Now that it’s been a few days since the event, I’m reminded again that many people attend these networking events without a plan.  Do they just show up for the free hors d’oeuvres and open bar?

Three (and only three) MUST-do’s at networking events:

  • Show Up – A surprising number of people attend these events and aren’t prepared.  Showing up means more than arriving.  Did you bring enough business cards to hand out?  Did you bring a pen to jot notes on the back of the cards you receive?  Can you articulate your message in 5 seconds?  There’s too much noise to get a 30 second elevator pitch across so get your message down to 5 seconds.  But the ones who had their 5 second pitch down?  Those people I remember!
  • Follow-up – Even more surprising is the number of people who exchanged cards and never follow up.  Again, why bother showing up?  Why not a simple email, “I enjoyed meeting you at the Chamber event last night and hearing what you do.  I had a chance to look at your website this morning.  Look forward to connecting to you at a future event.  All the best.”  That message is appropriate even if you don’t think the other person can help you.  Because you just never know when someone you’ve met will reach out to you.  Again, the people with the best 5 seconds all reached out to me later this week.
  • Give to Get – Still a shame with all the networking tips freely available on the web that people forget that giving begets getting.  The most active man in the room was Rick.  He spent his time introducing people in the room to each other.  If they had trouble articulating their message, he helped them.  If they forgot the first step in following up (collecting business cards), he gently offered his as a reminder.  Did Rick spend any time telling people what he did?  No, he led by example.

3 simple to-do’s.  No, 3 simple must-do’s.

The Virtual Handshake – Building an online business presence

14 Nov

On the recommendation of a friend, I’ve been reading, “The Virtual Handshake” by David Tetten and Scott Allen.  It’s an interesting mix of research into online networking and practical steps to improve your online networking experience.

They suggest that how you build relationships has not changed since the days of networking via face-to-face and email.  What’s changed is the medium in which you network – now it’s primarily the web. I think that while the web is important, it’s primary purpose is to enhance your face-to-face networking, not replace it.

The book focuses on their 7 keys to building and maintaining an effective online network.  I think these steps would be just as applicable in building an effective in-person network.

  • Your Character – what other people think about you.  It’s your reputation
  • Competence – do you walk your talk?
  • Relevance – how relevant is your network to your networking goals?
  • Relationship strengths – how strong is your tie to the people in your network?
  • Information you know about the people in your network – parallel to the strength of your ties is how much non-published information do you know about the people in your network?
  • Number of people in your network – both your direct and two-degrees-away network
  • Diversity – the more heterogeneous your network the better it can help you

The authors believe that social networking software allows you to have the best of both worlds, a large quantity of high-quality connections.  While I don’t agree with this sentiment, as I wrote here, I do concur with their sentiments that successful networkers focus on what they can give you and not what you can give them.

All in all, a good book to read.  Especially if you are looking for a how-to book on building a sustainable and positive online presence.

Boston Business Networking with dancing

20 Aug

I was invited to a local business networking party. It’s only for “…young business professionals…” so I’m not sure I qualify anymore! The events are hosted by NetParty and they promise (and I quote):

  • The first two hours of our events are like an extended “cocktail hour” with passed hors d’oeuvres at many events, drink specials, and low music conducive to business networking and making new connections.
  • Later, our events take on a more social atmosphere, with great music, dancing and conversation.
  • Our events are held at the hippest and most interesting venues. However, the music is never so loud that you cannot talk and our crowd is generally comprised entirely of young professionals.
  • We do request “business” or “business casual” dress for our events. With that and a fun spirit, you’re good to go

Well, I wonder how much networking will be business and how much will be social. Guess I’ll have to go! If you’re interested in the Boston Event, it’s next Tue August 26th at The Estate in Boston.

Here’s a free invitation. They also hold networking events across the United States so check out the location near you. If you’re coming to the Boston event, come say, “Hi!” But find me early, I’m not much of a dancer!

ABN = Always Be Networking

27 Feb

Note from the Editor – I saw Scott Ginsberg (aka the NameTagGuy) write a post over at RainToday and enjoyed it so much that I followed his suggestion #14 and asked him if Inquisix could re-post his entire article here. The content is Scott’s but the links are from Inquisix. Those of you who are familiar with Glengarry Glen Ross and Alec Baldwin’s ABC rule – Always Be Closing, will find our title familiar!

The Federal Bureau of Labor published a study a few years back that showed 70% of all new business comes from some form of networking. What other motivation do you need to start?

Below are fifty thoughts to help you on your way. Before you read on, remember: if you think you’re poor at networking, don’t worry, you’re not alone. It’s not a skill we are born with but one we have to learn.

1. Come to every networking event with three great questions ready to go. Be sure they begin with, “What’s the one thing?” “What’s your favorite?” and “What was the best part about?”

2. No matter where you go – the mall, church, out to dinner, the gym – have at least five business cards with you.

3. Be able to give an unforgettable personal introduction in 10 seconds, 30 seconds and 60 seconds.

4. When someone on the phone says, “May I ask who’s calling?” get excited. Say something unique that makes that person say, “Um, okay…please hold.” Be unexpected. Be cool. Be memorable.

5. Get Google alerts on yourself, your company, your area of expertise and your competition. If you don’t know what a Google alert is, just Google it.

6. Networking isn’t selling, marketing or cold calling. It’s the development and maintenance of mutually valuable relationships. Don’t mix these things up.

7. The most important four letters in the word “networking” are w-o-r-k, because that’s exactly what it takes.

8. If you give your business card to somebody and they don’t reply, “Hey, cool card!” get a new card.

9. When attending networking events, come early. Check out the nametags. See if you know anybody, or find people you’d like to meet.

10. Sit in the back so you can scan the room for specific people you’d like to connect with.

11. Email articles of interest, links or other cool stuff of value, (not spam), to people you’ve met.

12. Publish a newsletter or ezine. Interview people from your network and feature them as experts. They will take ownership of their inclusion and spread that publication to everyone they know.

13. Spend one hour a week reading and commenting on other people’s blogs. If you don’t know what a blog is, you’re in trouble.

14. When you read an article you like, email the author. Tell him what you liked about it and introduce yourself. He’ll usually write back.

15. Have an awesome email signature that gives people a reason to click over to your website. Just be careful not to have too much information included.

16. Get involved with social networking sites like LinkedIn, MySpace and Squidoo.

17. Remember that networking doesn’t have to be in person. The Internet is a great place to connect with people just like you! It’s called Internetworking. (Yep, I made that word up.)

18. Make your own words up. It’s really fun.

19. Have business lunches at least once a week.

20. Attend local events once a month.

21. Figure out where your target market hangs out (online and offline). Then hang out there.

22. Create your own regular “business hangout,” like a copy or coffee shop where you can regularly be found working, networking, reading or connecting with other professionals.

23. Talk to everybody. Don’t sell them; don’t probe them, just make friends. Make friends with everybody. Because people buy people first.

24. Take volunteer positions with organizations that are relevant to your industry. Be a visible leader to whom others can come to for help.

25. Every time you meet someone, write the letters H-I-C-H on their business card: how I can help. Then think of five ways to do so.

26. Go to Borders and spend one day a month reading books on networking, interpersonal communication and marketing. I highly recommend The Power of Approachability and How to be That Guy. (I hear the author is super cool.)

27. Publish articles or a blog or both based around your expertise. Use titles such as “Top Ten Ways,” “Essential Elements” and “Success Secrets,” that grab the reader’s attention. Publish them on http://www.blogger.com and http://www.ezinearticles.com.

28. Be funny, but don’t tell jokes.

29. Discover the CPI (Common Point of Interest) with everyone you meet.

30. Carry blank business cards with you in case someone forgot theirs. They’ll thank you.

31. Never leave the house without a pen and paper. Sounds dumb, right? It isn’t. It’s genius. Nobody keeps napkins with scribblings on them.

32. Every week, introduce two people you know who need to know each other.

33. Wear your nametag above your breastbone and make sure it’s visible from 10 feet away. Nobody cares what side of your chest it’s on. Just make it big. And if you don’t like wearing nametags, then you probably don’t like people knowing who you are, either.

34. It’s not who you know – it’s who knows you.

35. People will like you the minute they figure out how they are like you.

36. Fear not to entertain strangers for by so doing some may have entertained angels unaware. (Hebrews, 13:2)

37. If you don’t have http://www.yourname.com, get it. It’s ten bucks.

38. Find local professionals with whom you share common interests, customers, ideas and products. Introduce yourself to them, get together, share ideas and find ways to help each other.

39. Form a mastermind group. No more than four people. Meet regularly to set goals, keep each other accountable and brainstorm.

40. Also, set your own networking goals each month for:

* Events to attend

* People to meet

* Emails to write

* Calls to make

* Articles/physical mail to send

41. Go onto Google and type in “articles on networking.” Read on!

42. Speaking of Google, Google yourself regularly. Find out what people are saying about you. If you don’t show up, you’re in trouble.

43. If you think you don’t need to network, you are right. You don’t need to network: you must network!

44. Stop calling it networking. Ignore the title of this article. Networking – as a word – is tired and old and cliché and it makes people think you’re throwing around a bunch of cards trying to sell, sell, sell. No. All you’re doing is making friends. Not schmoozing, mingling or any of those stupid catch phrases. You’re making friends. That’s it. Friends. Make them every day.

45. If you think you are poor at networking, don’t worry. You’re not alone. But also remember that anyone can develop their networking skills. That’s right, skills. Because it’s not something you’re born with or just plain “good at.” Anyone can do it effectively. You simply need:

* To develop the attitude of approachability

* To read books on the subject

* To practice

46. When strangers ask, “How are you?” don’t say fine. You’re not fine. Nobody’s fine. Give a real answer that’s memorable and magnetic. I suggest, “Business is kicking ass!” or “Everything is beautiful!”

47. When someone asks where you’re from, don’t just say “Austin.” Use the H.O.T technique: “Oh, I’m from Austin, home of the best college football team in the country.” Get creative. Get unique. Watch what happens.

48. Put your person before your profession. Your personality before your position. Your individual before your industry.

49. Don’t be different – be unique. Don’t be friendly – be approachable. And don’t be memorable – be unforgettable.

50. Think about the last five “luckiest” business contacts you encountered. Figure out what you did right, realize that there is no such thing as luck, then repeat as often as possible.

About the author – Scott Ginsberg, aka “The Nametag Guy,” is the author of seven books and writes the #39th most popular marketing blog in the world. He is the creator of NametagTV, an Online Training Network that teaches businesspeople about approachability. For more info about books, speeches, customized online training programs or to Rent Scott’s Brain, call 314/256-1800 or email scott@hellomynameisscott.com.

Tonight – Boston Networking Night

29 Jan

Don’t forget – tonight!Tuesday, January 29, 2008 starting at 6pm

Our guest speaker is Rick Roberge, the great sales coach and mentor from Dave Kurlan and Associates, who will speak from experience on why giving referrals is so beneficial to his business….and yours.

Location
Papa Razzi
2 Wall Street, Burlington, MA
781-229-0100

Schedule
6-6.30pm – Registration & Networking
6.30-7.30pm – Rick Roberge, Sales Coach
7.30pm-? – Networking, Inquisix Q&A

Appetizers & cash bar will be provided.

Where to start networking?

5 Dec

Everyone agrees that getting referrals to new prospects is so much better than cold calling down that long list that your company provided you. But how do you get started? John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing fame has put together a brief video primer on just this very topic. He focuses on

– defining your value proposition
– who you tell this to
– why you are asking for the referral

http://workbench.ducttapemarketing.com/kickapps/flash/premium_drop_v3.swf?b=1&widgetHost=workbench.ducttapemarketing.com&mediaType=VIDEO&mediaId=114181&as=10266

In principle I agree with how John suggests you get started even if it seems a bit pushy and low-tech. A vital part of any networking program is to ensure the people you want referrals from understand exactly what you do – ie your value proposition. Sure, your customers probably know that already but what about your friends, family and colleagues? Don’t bore them with a feature/benefit pitch – think of your elevator pitch that gets makes them chuckle and excited about telling other people about you. What do I tell people we do at Inquisix? “We’re matchmakers [pause] for salespeople!” Joanne Black, author of “No More Cold Calling” announces, “I’m the Referral Queen!”What do you tell people so they’re remember you?