Saturday, January 26, 2008

See Ya in a Few

Since we will be leaving for the aeropuerto at 3:30 AM, I'll probably not post before I leave. Steve gets grumpy when I make him wait!

Tomorrow we'll spend the afternoon in San Jose, capitol of Costa Rica. We'll probably go down to the Central Market, although the workers at the hotel where we stay think we are crazy. Later we'll find a local restaurant and have some wonderful Rican cuisine and then that'll probably be it! My eyes will want to close at about 8:30.

The next day, we'll catch a small plane down almost to Panama on the Pacific coast. After a ride through a banana plantation and a boat ride down the Sieppe River into the ocean, we'll arrive at Aguila de Osa or paradise as I like to think of it.

People ask me what I do down there. I answer with one word, "Nothing!" That's a real vacation!

Oh, we'll go to San Josecito Beach, snorkeling and diving, horseback riding and zip line riding, but the overall theme for me is sitting and reading. I have six books with me, which probably means I'll be paying for overweight luggage on the Costa Rica flight, but there are no stores for me to buy more if I run out. I also watch the white face monkeys jump through the trees, kayak out into the ocean, watch the macaws eat cashews right outside our room and quietly watch the hummingbirds of all shapes and sizes. Ever so often a huge lizard will either fall out of a tree with a thump or will make lots of noise climbing it. Maybe we'll see the crocodile, although I think that last year the locals told me that it had disappeared.

Hopefully, I won't repeat several near misadventures of years past! That of getting a jellyfish sting on the side of my face because it was on my swimming shirt. When I took it off over my head, the j/fish smeared its stinging venom as it bushed against my skin. Not fun. One year I also missed stepping on a ferdelance snake by inches. It is THE most deadly snake in the world.
The very same year I got closer to a sea snake as I was snorkeling than I wanted to. It also has dire consequences. While that's not the way I want to go, Costa Rica and especially the area around Drake Bay where we go, is to die for!

I'm sure I'll have some fun stories for you when I get back and by the way don't forget the start of International Networking Week on Feb 4. Register at our website and compete in the contest. I will be networking with people from all over the world and will be listing those names when I get back.

Till then -- go network!

Bedding Down

Last night Steve and went to the annual Dine for the Y event. It is a fundraiser for the local YMCA, of which Steve was a member of this board till this year when he termed out. Even though it is to raise money for the Y, it is a tremendous networking event, too.

For example, I was talking with Andrea Gurcsik, mother of "Muddy" (but that's a whole 'nother story!), a very successful HR manager and also friend of ours, about the details of a board she sits on. During the conversation she told me about how this group, Neighborhood Properties Inc or NPI, is trying to raise money for 30 beds at $175 each. It seems that they found out that 31 clients of NPL, including ten kids, are sleeping on the floor. So they are asking for help in purchasing the beds and bedding.

NPI's mission is to end homelessness for people with mental illness and addiction disorders and since they started twenty years ago they have acquired 100 buildings with 650 apartments. Wow!

So here's the deal. If you or a group of you and your friends would like to help, you can send a check to Neighborhood Properties, Attention: Nancy Murphy, 2753 West Central Avenue, Toledo, OH 43606. On the memo line note Bed Challenge. You don't have to even have the whole amount, but certainly they wouldn't turn that away. It is tax deductible. Andrea shared that the board has divided themselves into two teams to have a little contest to see who can bring in the most beds, so you might want to note that the credit should go to Andrea's team.

So this is what networking is all about. It is not about selling but about finding out the needs of others so you can help them. Simple!

What would our world be like if every single person had this philosophy.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Crazy Time

I'm down to the wire.

We leave Sunday for the annual trip to paradise -- Costa Rica and to be more specific, Aguila de Osa at Drake Bay on the Pacific coast side.

So you know that I am going crazy.

Tonight I paid bills and will do banking tomorrow.

I have my BNI sub for next week and have sent her my commercial. (Thanks, Ellen Critchley.)

Tomorrow is a full day with the first item on the agenda that I am being interviewed by Troy Neff on his radio program at 7:45. Since I don't listen to my radio in my car, I'm embarrassed to admit that I can't tell you the station. I hope I'll get an electronic file so I can post it on the blog. I just looked on the web and the call letters are WCWA 1230

I have Ellen to thank for all this as she is doing some PR work right now for us to get the word out about International Networking Week. Thanks, again, Ellen.

Lot's of appointments tomorrow and then at the end of the day I have an appointment with the Ohio Department of Vocational Rehabilitation to see if they will help me pay for my new fashion accessories.

What, do you say that could be?

Well, after struggling with my hearing loss for two years, the doc finally said that it was time. I am delighted because I am tired of asking people to repeat themselves or just to keeping quiet and not understanding what was said.

I am so happy about this that I could shout from the rooftop!

I'll keep ya posted on how purdy they are!

And if you think this isn't about networking, you're wrong. Not being able to hear is a detriment to networking especially in a crowded setting.

Any comments????

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Eagle Has Landed

Last night when I read the paper, there was a story about a patrol of 11 Boy Scouts who all received the Eagle Scout award at the same time. This is very unusual and obviously merited reporting. (The link is not to my paper as they don't have the story online.)

But it got me to thinking.

Maybe not in the national news, but certainly in the local news, we've all read stories about local boys reaching this highest award in Scouting.


It occurred to me that I have never seen a photo of a Girl Scout receiving the highest award. Then it dawned on me even more, that I had no idea what the highest award was for the Girl Scouts, even though I was a GS through my senior year in high school and am now a volunteer with that organization.

So a boy receives an Eagles award.

I did my research. A girl receives the Gold Award. Last year according to the GS website, about 5,500 girls received this recognition.

Do we need to do a better PR job for our girls? Are there no girls in my community receiving this award? What's the deal?

The Eagle Award is very prestigious. Admission officers say that it boosts a young man's chances of being accepted into the college of their choice.

I think the spotlight needs to continue to shine on the wonderful pursuits of these young men


we need to find the switch for the spotlight to use for the girls.

What's your take on this?

Monday, January 21, 2008

And You Went, Ate and Left?

It always amazes me how with a little encouragement, a room of very diversified people can help each other.

Last Friday, we had our first Educational Preview of the year for the Certified Networker course. The ultimate goal is to have people want more of what they're given in the two hour session, so they register for the course. Devious, aren't we?

A second, very important objective is to get the participants to connect with others in the room so they can help each other. Sometimes it works better than others. I don't think it has anything to do with the occupation of the people. I think it has to do with if I'm "on" that day in presenting and also with the attitude of the participants.

Last Friday was the best. Right from the start I could tell that this group had "a helping mindset." When we had a break, even though my direct instructions were, "To get with the person in this room you can help," they didn't hesitate. They immediately wanted to trade cards and schedule appointments with each other. It was fun to watch.

So my question is, "Why doesn't that happen with other networking groups?" I am particularly thinking of chamber events. It is my experience that people come to eat, try to sell themselves and then leave.

How can we change that mindset, so instead people arrive early to connect, find out what others need and then schedule appointments before leaving? Or is that like trying to turn an ocean freighter at sea?

Saturday, January 19, 2008


It's contest time!

Yep, that's right. International Networking Week is coming up real soon as it is February 4 - 8. This year Certified Networker of Ohio is again sponsoring a one-to-one contest to see who can have the most meetings during those five days.

For those of you who do not know what a one-to-one meeting is, it is exactly as it describes. It is two (and only two) people meeting for the reason of getting to know each other better.

We'd love to have you participate. To do so, you can register at the website here. You'll find the info in the upper right corner of the home page. You can register now but cannot begin to list one-to-ones till 12:01 AM Feb 4 and can continue to list until midnight Feb 8. You are on your honor that these meetings are actually happening.

The prize for the most one-to-ones is $100 which will be presented at the CN monthly lunch February 20 if you are from the NW Ohio area. If you live out of the area, you will have to produce a mailing address for the check to be sent. Obviously, we will want your story too, so you'll have to be willing to be interviewed. Then we can relate your success to the world!

Some people are already getting their meetings scheduled for that week. Kathy Stringham, owner of Coffee News of Monroe, our winner from last year, managed to have 29 appointments and the contest was only three days. Her secret was staying in one place while her appointments came to her.

Don't delay. Go register and then begin scheduling. Everyone will win, because you'll get to know the people you meet with that much more. You'll be able to help them and they'll be able to help you.

OK, let's predict. How many one-to-one meetings do you think the winner will be able to have in five days this year?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What Do You Want?

There nothing better than meeting with a person and coming out of that meeting with a LIST of people I need to tell about that person....or introduce that person to.

That happened today.

I met with Cassie Egli, owner of Super Suppers, a dinner preparation business here in Perrysburg, Ohio. Cassie and I talked at the WEN (Women's Entrepreneurial Network) meeting the other day. She mentioned that she was somewhat frustrated because she didn't think her fellow BNI members were working on her behalf, when she's working diligently for them.

I'm pretty good at figuring out why people are having those problems, so I thought we could share a cuppa' coffee. After we talked, I left the hour-long meeting with all kinds of people on my list that need to know Cassie. She left with a better idea of how to be more specific with her weekly commercial. She also is going to introduce me to her former boss who might be interested in Certified Networker. Oh yeah, she is also going to consider being a sponsor for a community event that I'm working on, too.

Here are the types of people I'm going to connect Cassie to:

1) Girl Scout Council program director
2) A partner in a CPA firm that wants to have dinner with her children during tax season
3) A Realtor who is a self-described member of the sandwich generation
4) The executive of the Safety Council of NW Ohio
5) The owner of a home care agency
6) The HR director of a very large local company
7) Same above description, different name.
8) An insurance sales person

And it doesn't end there. One of the people I emailed about Cassie, emailed me back immediately saying "Yes, yes, I want to meet her. This is right on. Thank you, thank you!" So I get to look like a hero.

All it takes is little time, two listening ears and the confidence that my contacts will react positively. Without the one-to-one meeting, this would not have all happened. Without Cassie becoming more specific, this would not have happened.

Give us a story about someone you met with that ended in a similar fashion.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Seeing It Again and Again

Reticular activation has kicked in. As I understand RA, once I see something, when I see it or something like it again, I am more likely to notice the second sighting because of the initial viewing.

Saturday, when Steve let the dogs out of the barn in the morning, it was obvious that something was seriously wrong with our 13 year old yellow Lab. Now my friends know that I'm not too wild about our three dogs because the three form a pack and the pack is not well-behaved. But if I could have one dog, it would be the Lab, Gable. He is a lover and an all around nice dog. (In this picture, he looks like he is snarling, but actually is getting ready to smile.)

Steve said that Gable had vomited and I could see that he, Gable, not Steve, was stumbling around as if he had no control over his body. When this proud dog urinated in the house, I insisted that Steve take him to the vet. I was sure he'd had a stroke. Luckily, I was wrong. He didn't have a stroke, but has idiopathic (no known cause) vestibular syndrome. This is an inflammation of a nerve in the ear which causes him to have one big hangover -- or at least the symptoms of such. The course of care is keeping him quiet, giving him prednisone for the inflammation and Dramamine to help control the nausea. He is much better already.

Okay, here's where the reticular stuff starts.

1. Hubby, Steve's buddy that he grew up with, had the same thing within the last year. He is an orthopedic surgeon, so you can imagine the fear that set in when he awoke with the symptoms.

2. Saturday I was reviewing a list of new chamber members, and sure enough there was the Vestibular and Balance Clinic that had joined.

3. Then Sunday in the paper, the veterinarian's column was also about this syndrome. Weird, huh?

I know that I am just noticing this word because I have been exposed to it. It has visibility with me.

Gosh, I hope Certified Networker of Ohio is striking people in the same way! (in a good way, that is!)

Do you have a crazy reticular activation story?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Feeding the Hand

Yesterday I wrote a post about analyzing the groups you belong to. One important aspect of membership and involvement is using the group to make connections for your networking contacts.

That's right, instead of just trying to further your own success, what about only connecting with people who can help others in your network?

As people become better networkers, clearly understanding their target market in relation to their business success and networking, one fatal mistake I see is shortened vision.

Let me set the scene.

I will use the example of BNI (Business Network International) because that's the one I know best, but of course you can insert the name of any group.

For those of you who don't know BNI, let me give you a very short explanation.

Local BNI chapters are composed of business people meeting for the purpose delivering referrals to one another. Within each chapter there is just one person per profession. Also within each chapter, Power Teams will form, sort of like sub groups of the whole. They typically will have similar types of prospects and then can more easily help each other. Sometimes the PT will meet outside the regular BNI meeting, too. This is a good thing because they concentrate on helping one another and developing strong relationships so they are very comfortable referring best clients to each other.

OK, here is where crazy thinking will creep in.

Ever so often, the members of the Power Team will say, "Why should we meet with the big group or any other group for that matter? We're all we need. We don't need any of those other people." And before you know it, they have resigned their position within the chapter.

Here's the challenge of this mindset.

The group becomes inbred. Eventually it probably dies out because no new prospects are coming to the table. They are recycling the same old client/prospect list each time they meet. They are meeting no new contacts who might lead them to a great new prospect. In time each member's value diminishes to the rest of the members of the Power Team.

And that's why isolationism doesn't work. You have to keep going out to various other groups to bring "food" back to the nest. And that's how I look at Power Teams or any other similar group. It is a safe nest. It is good. It is a place to be nurtured and fed. But you can starve to death if no food is being brought back to you.

What groups do you belong to in order to specifically feed your referral sources?

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Many times, people will evaluate the groups they belong to at the end of a year (or the beginning) to determine if they will continue their membership with each group. I encourage that. There is nothing worse than wasting both time and money.

However, and you'll notice that I put that in large type, sometimes the wrong or incomplete criteria are used when doing the analysis.

First of all, what was the original goal for belonging to the group?

Was it to get more business, to develop referral relationships, to gain more knowledge or to give back to the community?

, are you doing all you can to achieve the above goals?
Are you an active member, do you go to the meetings and do you participate on committees?

, is the group what you thought is was going to be?

Does it meets its mission, fulfill its promises and deliver value for the members?

, does this group help you to deliver to others?

If you only go to groups to gain for yourself, you are going to become known as only a taker. But if you attend group meetings looking for connections for your other networking contacts, you are leveraging your networking capital. I'll write more about this tomorrow.

So as you review the groups you belong to, do you need to resign, step up your involvement or continue as is?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Say That Again

Okay, here it is.

I am hard of hearing.

I have been struggling with this for about two years now. Every time I see the specialist, he says that I am not yet ready for a hearing aid. But I think I am. (I'm not going to get one of those ugly flesh-colored ones either, no sireey, I'm going for the pretty ones!)

With the everlasting cold I seem to have right now, my hearing is even more affected.

As a result I have a very important message today.


If you want others to hear what you have to say, especially we who are hearing-challenged, project your voice. If a microphone is offered, use it. If you are making a comment or asking a question from the audience, please stand to do so. That helps to get more umph behind your voice.

During this past week, I missed out entirely on the presentation of the main speaker at a chamber luncheon, (there was a microphone available, but it was not adjusted properly) and at our Leadership Toledo gathering where we were reporting on our morning group visits, many times I could not hear the presentation and 100% of the time I could not hear the comments or questions. (There is nothing more frustrating than to not hear a comment, but then to have the speaker say, "Yes, that is a perfect example of what I was talking about.")

I know, I know, your remedy is for me to sit in the front row and yes, that would help. But as a speaker, I know that my job is to project to the people in the back row. If they can hear my talk without reading my lips, then I have achieved my goal.

As a group leader, encourage the above. Some people don't like to talk into a microphone because they've not done it before, but as a leader, I feel it is your job to set the "tone" of the event. Most don't think to stand when making a comment, but will do so if told.

Huh? What'd you say?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Leadership Toledo, Part VII

Okay, yesterday was medical day for Leadership Toledo. Again, I was not looking forward to this topic. I was sure it was going to be a boring day of listening to talking heads tell us about the hospitals in the area.

By now, I should know that Dave Schlaudecker, the executive director of LT, will create a day that has interest. He didn't let me down this time, either.

We were all again divided into smaller groups and my group was assigned to the Center for Creative Instruction on the Health Science Campus of University of Toledo. This is the old Medical University of Ohio, before the merger with UT.

Wow! This is the most amazing jewel that most people don't know about. The Center does everything from create and manage websites for all of UT to creating DVDs to be used in teaching, marketing, recruiting and whatever other use can be dreamed!

One particular aspect of their work that they are very proud is the DVD Anatomy & Physiology Revealed. It is so wonderful that the publisher McGraw Hill thought so too and CCI works directly with this company to publish the DVD along with an anatomy textbook. McGraw Hill markets it directly to professors, but the DVD can be purchased at Barnes and Noble if you have a high school biology student in your life. This small group of 15 people are now working on the second edition, which is probably at least a two year project.

In another project they were asked to build a website and animation that explained the clinical trial for renal artery stenosis in order to gain more people in the trial. Now that's a mouth full, isn't it?!? The funding for that is from a grant from CORAL. (which I'm not sure what that is) They were successful in this project and then it was decided that both French and German versions were needed, too. They had to find local talent that could do the voice-over in those languages. Interestingly, the French version was done by a stay at home mom, not a a professional talent.

Roy Schneider is part of this small staff and has worked at CCI for 30 years. He started out loving both art and science. His dad told him that his art would never take him anywhere, but when he was working as a hospital orderly, one doctor realized Roy's talents and the rest is history. He is widely recognized and has won an award (that I cannot remember the name of) but it is the Oscar of his world.

Our time was way too short at this part of the medical world of NW Ohio. When we asked why we had never heard of this facility before, the answer was that the staff is all so busy with the multitude of projects that they just don't have time to do marketing or PR.

This was only the morning but I now understand that when we talk about the medical world here in the Toledo area, that there is a whole lot more than just hospitals.

Thanks, Dave. You make me so glad I am a member of this year's LT class.

And by the way, for those of you in the NW Ohio area, LT has an annual breakfast in March. If you'd like to find out more about it, touch base with me.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

No, I Don't Want To!

Yesterday morning, the first appointment on my schedule was to attend a networking event that I had never attended before. To add to my anxiety it was at a location that would take a little bit of thought to figure out where it was.

I also had a second networking event at the same time that I usually attend each month that was on my schedule. I knew where that was and knew who would be there.

Listen to a recording of the voices in my head yesterday morning:

"Oh, you don't want to go to (new event) because you won't know anybody."

"You should go to (familiar event), it's safe and you'll meet people you're comfortable with."

"You know you're going to get lost."

"What if they act like you shouldn't be there?"

"Is it really a good use of your time?"

"No, you'd better go, because MB (a friend) invited you."

So I ignored the voices and did go. Guess what!

They didn't look at me like a had two heads.

I actually carried on conversations with a couple people I already knew.

I ran into someone that my presence triggered a question from him.

I made acquaintance with a new person who lives in a area where we are filling one of our Certified Networker classes.

Lesson Learned?

Do the difficult, scary stuff an it won't be so difficult and scary. It might even have a future ROI.

When did you push yourself outside your comfort zone and how did it turn out?

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Where Has Winter Gone?

Where have all the snow fences gone?

I thought of this today when I was dismantling my winter village that my son, Andy, continues to create for me. He paints the buildings and over the years (20 years since he started) I have added people, trees and other items that I think should be in the scene. I think the village takes me back to my childhood in western NY, where we had REAL winters.

So as I was rolling up the miniature snow fence, it occurred to me that I have not seen one of those in a very long time.

For those of you who live in more temperate climates, a snow fence is a wooden slat and wire fence that a farmer would install in his field before winter hit. The fence would be parallel to the road (usually a north/south road) and back about fifty feet. As the wind blew (usually from the west) the fence would slow the wind speed, allowing the snow to be deposited right in front of the fence. Hence big drifts would pile up away from the road instead of on the road.

I don't think the farmers were paid by anyone to do this -- it was their community and their way to help. Of course, if the roads became blocked with snow, the farmers would be snowbound, too. If they were dairy farmers, that meant dumping the milk when the milk truck couldn't get through.

With global warming seeming to be the trend, maybe snow fences are a thing of the past -- an antique.

What is still in fashion is community engagement. Doing whatever it takes to make a community stronger and better.

What do you see being done in your community that might be today's snow fence?

Friday, January 04, 2008

Charlie's Dummy

A couple days ago, Seth Godin wrote a post about how he gave readers an excerpt from his new book and the same day he wrote about another friend's new book, too. Guess what! Seth sold more books for his friend that day, than he did for himself. He said, "The truism of the web: people talking about you is far more effective than talking about yourself."

Well, guess what! It's not just a truism of the web.

It is so much easier for me to sell for someone else than to sell for myself that it is almost heartbreaking!

That's why I like to introduce two people to each other with me in attendance. I can "sell" each person to the other saying things that would be considered bragging if they said it themselves.

That's why at our Evening with Masters event, when we also showcased three local authors, they sold more books than they had ever done at such an event. The reason was that I told the audience why I liked the books and why I thought they should purchase them. I had nothing to gain.

That's why I can sell my hairdresser's services to an acquittance before my friend even needs a haircut!

So it is not a mystery. The public is suspicious of you when you sell what would be a gain for you, but trust you implicitly when you represent someone else. Partnering to sell for each other is a good way to use this concept to your advantage.

When was the last time someone else sold for you?