December 2007 Archives

Shy Networkers are Great Networkers

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Have you ever encouraged a friend or associate to attend a networking event with you, only to have them say, "I'm too shy and quiet to go to networking events." You've probably thought about how most of the people you've met at networking events are a bit shy, too.

In fact, when was the last time you saw a loud, boisterous salesperson at a networking event? The stereotypical salesperson at networking events is long gone because it just doesn’t work.

When I saw the post by Lindsey Pollak Why Shy People Make Great Networkers I thought about a person I've known for several years. He considers himself somewhat shy, yet he attends many events, has a large business and social network -- and is always in demand by large companies.

Lindsay tells the five reasons why she thinks shy people make great networkers:

  1. They ask for personal referrals
  2. They are polite
  3. They listen more than they talk
  4. They bring a wingman (or woman)
  5. They network online

When you read Lindsey's detailed explanation of those points, think about how these techniques fit your personality for networking.

Networking is nothing more than nurturing personal relationships that create opportunities for people to help each other.

So, share Lindsey's post with friends who you would like to see attend networking events with you. You might have a new networking buddy!

Make a Difference with the Story of Stuff

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One of the benefits of the Internet is that it's helped us become aware of how the large issues in the would affect us. At the same time, it's become more frustrating when we try to take action and "make a difference" to improve things.

How many times have you sent a YouTube link about an important issue to your contact list -- then wondered if the video made a difference in how they act? The same frustration happens when trying to use social networking sites like Facebook to made a difference.

So, how do you really make a difference on the key issues you're concerned about? Face-to-face with the people you want to influence.

When you interact with people face-to-face you have an excellent opportunity to answer their questions immediately, as well as grow your relationships with them.

For example, if you're concerned about the environment, help your friends and associates understand your concern. Annie Leonard has created a 20 minute video on the "Story of Stuff" that you can use to host a house party in your home or present at a local organization.

She also provides a complete set of communications tools, including a discussion guide, group activities, and a list of ways individuals can make a difference in advancing sustainability.

When your organization publicizes a public event like this in SureToMeet remember to select the category "Green/Sustainability" on the event description form. This helps publicize your event in three ways.

  1. It helps people find your event in the SureToMeet calendar of local events.
  2. Your event will be included in the SureToMeet weekly newsletter that's sent to people who want to know about sustainable and green events in their area.
  3. Your event will be automatically included on other Web sites that use the SureToMeet database of sustainable and green events, such as California Green Solutions.

Using SureToMeet to publicize events is just one of the ways you can use the Internet to make a difference in your community -- and the world.

Business Networking and Dating are Alike

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Meeting new people and nurturing business relationships is very similar to the process that singles use in forming new personal relationships.

Gina Hendrix, an expert matchmaker in Los Angeles, has recently started blogging about the dating tips she shares with clients. Her recent post on "Basic dating do's & don'ts for men" reminded me of some of the tips I give people on business networking.

One tip is especially important: Be generally interested in what the other person says.

Too often people in a conversation are thinking more about what they'll say when it's their turn, instead of responding to what the other person just said.

It's more than just hearing what the other person said. It's best to ask a question or make a comment. Make it clear that you heard both the factual part and the emotional feelings that the other person expressed.

For example, if someone says, "The price of jewelry is going up!" you better know if that person is a buyer or a seller of jewelry before you automatically respond with a comment.

In addition to paying close attention to what someone says during a conversation, take good notes later. Open your contact manager and use the notes feature to enter the details that you learned. Be sure to note interesting facts that they shared, and pay close attention to their likes and dislikes.

Then, before your next visit review your past notes so you'll be prepared to move the conversation - and the relationship - along.

Whether you are meeting new people to expand your business network or your social network, many of the techniques for growing those relationships are the same.

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