Sunday, January 27, 2013

I Couldn't Make This Up

 If it weren’t so frustrating, I would have laughed more, but the only way to handle the situation was to chuckle as I drove back to my office. 

Several days ago, I filled out a form at a website so I could become a “member” of HARO, which stands for Help a Reporter Out.  Basically, from what I understand, when people are writing articles for publication and they need additional expert comments about specific topics, they put out requests for information from experts.   

Someone sent me a suggestion that I comment on an article about “elevator speeches.”  While I did comment, I mentioned that probably I was NOT the person they wanted to talk with because delivering an elevator speech as I define it, is truly boorish behavior.  But that is a sidelight of this story.   

The real focus is that someone from the HARO hosting website called me, because I guess they use HARO as a way to find prospects for providing marketing services, specifically online marketing.  So this 22 year old (I asked) could not wrap his mind around word-of-mouth marketing, in fact he had never heard of it. 
He asked, “Do you have tools that your students use?” I replied that we had developed several tools that our students used.  “Does it help them with online marketing?” was the next query.  I explained that our students probably used many online tools, but that our course was really about face-to-face networking to support relationship building.  And he said, “Oh, this isn’t about business networking, then.”  I realized at that point that he didn’t know my language and I didn’t know his. 

 He asked if we could schedule a 20 minute call next week, so he could tell me all about the ways he could help me.  I declined, because while I am always ready to learn, I figure if he can’t even understand what Connext Nation is about, then how can he figure out ways to help?   

Or maybe he was practicing his elevator speech?!?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

What Do You Have in Common

CPI is a term coined by Scott Ginsberg.  It stands for common point of interest.

I am always amazed at what that is with the people I meet.

For example:

In the past year or so, I 've had a passing "coffee shop" acquaintance with a gentleman I will call Sam.  Sam and I have exchanged pleasantries and a few comments about his job.

A couple days ago, I was in said coffee shop killing a little time till a 5:30 meeting.  The day had been long, so at 5 PM I treated myself to the book that I had been trying to read for about a week.  Now, I will read just about anything as long as it is interesting.  The title of this book is, "The Madman and the Professor" and it is the story of how a doctor who was committed to an asylum in England during the mid 1850's, contributed a huge amount of effort to the decades long creation of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).  OK, so not exactly soap opera stuff and sometimes it was not easy reading, but still I was plugging along.

Sam noticed that I was reading and asked me about it.  Now not many folks would even find this worthy of seconds of their time and most wouldn't know of the momentous task of the OED. So I figured I'd get that, "Oh" comment and a bored look.  But Sam knew all this and shared more.  He loves reading stuff that others pass by and has read some complicated books twice to see if he can understand them better the second time.

While I think Sam is further along the scale in his reading tastes, I feel like we connected on a whole different level that day.

What is your most interesting CPI story or event?

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Learning From the Best

Last night I attended the semi-monthly Ally meeting for the Bridges Out of Poverty program.This is a national program that is successfully being run in Findlay, Ohio, by Carol Taylor.  Usually we come together as a large group and then break apart into smaller groups. The makeup of the participants is both allies (mentors from the middle class) and grads (those who are taking steps to move out of generational poverty). 

Our group was a little smaller last night, so we all decided to stay in the larger group for the whole time.  The grads recently had a presentation about couponing, so we asked them to tell us about that topic.  Which then branched off into all kinds of savings ideas.  I found out that Kroger is having a meat sale this week on certain cuts, including chicken for 99 cents per pound.  I'm still trying to verify this info, but it seems like a trip to Kroger is in store!

As I was driving home, I thought about how this change in the meeting style, allowed for all of us to learn from each other instead of the just allies giving the advice.  In fact, I would hazard a guess that we allies learned more from the grads last night than they learned from us.

Right at the end, Karen, one of the grads, said, "If you want to know how to do something, just ask a poor person because they have to be creative in figuring out how to do things with little or no money."   

I love that attitude and feel lucky that I get to know so many amazing people through this program. Networking is what it's all about!

Monday, January 07, 2013

Helping Mind

When I meet with people, my goal is to try to figure out what I can do to help them.  Now it is not my job to determine what this is without their help!

That's what conversation is all about.  It is finding out what's important, what's a challenge and what they may need or want help with.  Sometimes I try to make this more difficult than it needs to be. But I have to remember to just keep it simple.

For example: 

This past week, one person wanted to know how to get registered into the BNI website.  I could easily help him with that.

Another person needed to know her username to get into the same site.

Another person wanted to know if I had the phone number of someone.

Another person needed to know if I had a connection to a handyman.

Easy stuff, but it made their life easier and perhaps even more successful.

The key is listening and having the agenda to be helpful rather than trying to sell!


Sunday, January 06, 2013

What's My Plan????

Michelle Schenk in background
I love to learn and Shannon Benge and Michelle Schenk, owners of Beyond Business, are helping me to do that.  Their company helps small businesses to address all their marketing needs, especially in the social media arena.

On the first Friday of the month they are having a FREE hour long discussion of various marketing topics, focusing on just one for each session.  This past Friday is was on Marketing Strategies and how to think of that concept.  They have a unique knack of being able to take a complex subject like this and put it into extremely simple terms so people like me can understand it!

Shannon says that the reason many people don't follow a strategic marketing plan is that they are too complex.  She recommends having no more than 5 measurables. But most important, they both reinforced that writing stuff down means that it will probably get done.

So you all know that one of my strategies this year is to meet with two new people per week  Just putting it in this blog gets it published.  I also have our course previews and graduations all set, because they have to get on the calendar in advance.  I am going to post to this blog at least 12 times per month.  So that's three.  I'm am trying to determine if I need to add more and in my gut, I think I do.

I'll keep ya' posted.  

And if you are in the Toledo area and would like to participate, contact Shannon and Michelle through their website.  I've provided the link above.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Knowledge Needs Updating

I am having a ball and learning so much from this new project of meeting two new people per week.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of spending some time with Emily Hardcastle, who works at the University of Toledo at the Catharince S Eberly Center for Women.  She is the community outreach manager.  I am familiar with this center, having given some presentations for them years ago.

So-o-o-o-o, I still thought they did what they did back in the old days.  And they do, but now they also have so many other offerings.

Back when I contributed, their target market was mainly women in transition.

Now in addition they provide services for professionals and also students at UT.  They have an unbelievable calendar of programs including topics as far ranging as computer basics to a high ropes course.  (That might be right up my alley!) If you are in Toledo or nearby, check out all they have to offer.

It's not your mother's Eberly Center anymore!

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

If You Don't Ask, You Won't Get!

The most difficult aspect of my work is asking for help!  I think I am probably not alone in this.

But it is so empowering to do so, both for me and the person you ask.

As I mentioned, I am going to meet two new people per week this year.  I am doing ok as scheduling those appointment, but in one area that I work in, I am lagging a bit.  So, this morning, I put it out there on our Connext Nation One-to-One Facebook page, that I would like some help.

It wasn't but a few minutes later that my friend, Karla Lewis, called to run through a list of names to see if I already knew them.  Most of them I did not.  So I hit a mother lode of people that I can get to know. 

Of course, I asked Karla what help she wanted.  Karla is the owner of Marvel Consulting.  She helps business owners who want creative marketing ideas for their businesses, including providing event planning for said businesses.  She is having a Marvelous event on January 15 at noon and would like a good number of people to come.  You can bet that I will be inviting people for that event!

What happened when you asked for help recently?

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Green Apointments

A couple post ago, I mentioned that one goal I have moving forward is to meet with two new or newer people per week. (This is in addition to all my usual appointments.)  In thinking about this, I was trying to figure out a way to easily know if I was meeting this goal.  Of course, I could have created a spreadsheet, but that just seemed like extra work.

Instead, I came up with a system that will allow me to see at a glance if I am doing what I said that I would do!

All I'm doing is selecting the color green for these appointments in my calendar.  I used a Google calendar, but I think many online scheduling systems allow for different colors to be used, too.  If you use a paper calendar, you could just use a green highlighter to do the same thing.

It's now easy for me to see if I need to continue to work on a specific week or can move forward to scheduling in future weeks.

I know!  This in not rocket science but maybe the obvious is sometimes hidden.

Or you can tell me your system!