Thursday, May 30, 2013

Broken Intro

In BNI each week, one member gets to give a 8-10 minute presentation so the rest of the members get to know the featured member better.  It is one more brick in the strong BNI relationship wall.  In the past, it was the job of the Secretary/Treasurer to introduce this member before they began.  Nowadays many chapters allow the speaker to ask another member to make the intro. It is an honor to be asked. 

Many years ago (at least ten) I was at a BNI meeting when the presenting member asked someone from outside the chapter membership to give his intro.  Because of time efficiencies, the intro should normally only last about 1 minute at the most.  In this instance, it went on for at least five minutes, but it felt like an hour.  All of us were uncomfortable with this turn of events but at that point I would not have been able to say why.

Now I can!

There were really two issues.  Because the member asked someone (let's call her Connie) from outside the membership, he delivered a message that he didn't have a strong enough relationships with any members to perform this very important task.  Looking back now, I think I felt sort of kicked to the curb. The second issue was the the rules were broken.  BNI has a very structured format, (because it works!) and when Connie didn't bother to find out what those rules were (1 minute intro) she made all of us squirm a little. I think probably I was embarrassed for her and for our member.

What can we learn from this?  When asked to speak, find out who will be introducing you.  Try to spend a little time with that person to allow them to get to know you.  Additionally, ask what is expected for the intro or even take it a step farther and ask for a copy of one that has been successfully used in the past. The introduction can either be a springboard to a wonderful presentation or a ditch, that you spend way too much time trying to climb out of to get to a good starting point.  It's your choice!

Do you have any thoughts about this?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Camping Couples

This past weekend I camped with my two sons and their families at a very nice campground, Groveland Oaks Country Park, about two hours north of Toledo.  My 13 year old granddaughter, Kaitlyn, was happy because her boyfriend and his parents were also camping at the same place.  This is a first boyfriend for her and her parents are keeping close tabs.  With smart phones, my daughter-in-law, could find out where the two were at a certain time and then do a reconnaissance foray to make sure they were telling the truth.  On the third day she insisted that said boyfriend, join us for dinner.

Networking is not just for business, because it is all about developing relationships.  Kaitlyn was resistant to bringing the boy around, probably because we would ask him "awkward" questions!  (She's probably right!) But her mom explained to her, that until they get to know him they won't trust him.  Sound familiar?

I will say that the young man did finally come for dinner and joined our crazy family.  He is a little quiet and didn't make eye contact.  So I think that is something parents need to teach their children -- how to make conversation with adults and also to look people in the eye. 

Come to think of it, I guess we all need to practice that skill!

As a parent what awkward questions have you asked the new boyfriend or girlfriend or what ones were asked of you?

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Going for Broken

My son, Greg. The Reluctant Networker, shared a phone conversation he had with someone who has a similar business to his, but not exactly the same.  One of Greg's connections thought it would be good for the two to be introduced to see if there might be some synergy.  Now I have to tell you that I can take lessons from my son in being nice.  He truly tries to make everyone feel comfortable and wants to see how he can help.

Evidently the introduction was made via email and this new person, let's call him Adam, and Greg decided to have a virtual coffee date.  In oldster language, that means a phone chat.

Greg said this was the most difficult phone conversation he'd had in a long time.  He tried to find common ground and was deferred.  He shared a piece information that he knew to be true and was told it was incorrect.  When he asked the types of people this person was going after, so Greg might be able to send people Adam's way, Greg was told, that's not the way we do it anymore.  That way is "old school."  H-m-m-m-m!

I don't know about you, but I sure hope the people I am meeting with are of the old school variety.  Helping others to be successful is what it's all about as far as I'm concerned.  Greg said that he wouldn't be sending anyone to Adam based on this "interesting" conversation. I don't blame him.

What do you think was going through Adam's head?

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Help My Calendar!

OK, so let's talk a little bit about networking etiquette!

First of all if you mistakenly miss an appointment, as soon as you realize your error, make contact with the person you were supposed to meet.  This happens to all of us from time to time, so it's all in how you handle it when it happens.

If you have scheduled an appointment, canceling within 24 hours or less means that you have left a hole in the other person's schedule.  Especially if they are busy, this can be frustrating and make them think twice about whether to reschedule with you.

When you schedule the appointment, include the other person's phone number (cell phone) in the appointment notes so you can easily make contact if you are going to be late.

There!  That will keep ya' on the straight and narrow for a couple days!

What networking etiquette do you think is misused the most?