Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Networking for Introverts

On the Myer Briggs Personality Test, I rank as an Introvert.  I know, I know, you who know me, can't believe it.  But it is true.  I like my private time and in fact need it to recharge and I'm better one to one than with a crowd.  Those are just two indicators of the truth!  My friend, Jenn Wenzke, So Now Coaching is
going  to explain all this to me someday soon, because she is accredited in using the test.

When I talk with groups about networking basics, I always chat a little bit about how as a introvert, I am totally uncomfortable in the setting they are all sitting in; the big group.  Usually before I present, if I can, I do go around and meet people, but I have to push myself out of my very comfortable, comfort zone to do so.  At Lourdes University, there were many MBA students in my audience when I spoke in November of last year.  That made me even more uncomfortable,  because they have way more education than I. 

But every time I do talk about the tricks that I employ to make networking in large groups easier for me, someone comes up afterwards and thanks me for helping them with that very issue.  So here are a couple hints for all the "innies" of the world. (And I'm not talking about belly buttons!)

1.  I give myself a job at the event, usually a host.  That way I am doing my job, not attending a networking event.  It is just a little mind game but it works for me.  As the host, I find people who are just as uncomfortable as I and help them to ease into the situation by introducing them to other helpful people.

2.  I set an easy goal to achieve at the event.  I usually want to meet two new people and schedule later appointments with them.  When I achieve my goal then I feel good about myself and those endorphins helps to ease the discomfort, too.

3.  After I have reached my goals, I allow myself to socialize with people I know and also partake of the beverages and food.  So after I have pushed the walls of my comfort zone out a bit, I then can play in the safe space.  My reward for the hard work I've done!

Alright all you introverts, out there, what can you add to this?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Bad Networking Training

I could see if happening from afar.  The young sales woman was making her rounds.  I knew that she was new to the sales world and had received direction from her sales manager -- a uneducated sales manager.

Picture this, the young sales person approached each and every person with her business card extended, like a ticket to get on the ride.  Every person got the same treatment.  She asked for their card, too.  I'm sure her instructions were to pass out as many cards as possible and to gain as many in return.  As I observed her, she didn't stop to talk with anyone.  Her goal was in numbers -- the largest amount of cards to give away and to take back to the office. 

But you and I know that her manager is training her for failure.  None of those people will remember her when she uses her time to make call backs the following day.  She was just a blur to them, not memorable at all.

So sales managers of the world, please do me a favor!

Please ask your sales people to have a conversation with 3-4 people.  They can ask them what they do, what they like about their job, types of clients they are looking for or even what brought them to the networking event.  At the end of that short conversation, she can make a decision as to whether she wants or needs their business card.  And for the ones that count she can make an appointment right there at the event.

What training have you received from a sales manager, good or bad?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Be a Hero, Invite!

Recently I was at a networking event where I met a really neat and helpful person.  We are planning to share a cup of coffee and further conversation in January.  What's really mind-boggling about this meeting is that this person was a guest of someone else at the event.  It was a one-time happening and he probably has no reason to visit ever again.

That's one miracle of you inviting your friends to go to networking events with you. But there are more than one!

Miracle #1 - Your guest may be the very person that another member is trying to meet and would have no other way of making that happen. 

Miracle #2 - Your guest may meet a member who can help them to solve a problem or issue.  Again hero status for you.

Miracle #3 - Your guest may see you in an entirely different light and in doing so may  better understand how you can be helped. Do I see a smile poking around the corners of your mouth?

This time of year is when everyone is focused on their goals for the next twelve months.  Mine is that I will ask one person per week to be my guest at whatever networking event is looming of the horizon.  I know that not everyone will come, but asking is the first step in turning into Wonder Woman!

What networking goals have you set for this year?

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

It Makes Me Think

Several years ago I was talking with my friend, Matt Lohr, who works for mechanical contractor, Campbell Inc.  He shared with me a pithy comment that the owner, Keith Campbell, once was heard to make.

Keith was asked why he poured so much money into training his employees, when they might leave him for a better opportunity.  Keith's answer was priceless as far as I'm concerned.

He said, "I'd rather train them and have them leave than not and have them stay."

Of course that hits my button because I'm the owner of a training company, but it can really be a comment about just about anything.  Basically it says, I'm going the extra mile because I know it is good for me AND for everyone involved.

What do you do that might seem crazy to the next person, but in your heart and mind you know it is the best path to follow?

For me it is to continue to meet with young people and new business owners to help them to learn how to network even though as a rule neither has the money to take my course.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Connext Nation Monthly Book Report

Our guest blogger today is Don Kardux, President of Business Navigators.  He reads voraciously and provides a book report each month for the Connext Nation newsletter.  We have changed the format of the newsletter so we are going to have Don appear here once per month with his favorite book of the month.

This month's choice is:
Switch; How to Change Things When Change is Hard
by Chip and Dan Heath

"There is this Elephant and on his back is a Rider with reins and there is a path.
That's it, that's the summary of Chip & Dan's book.
The Elephant is our large emotional side
The Rider is our rational  side.
The path can be anywhere we decide to go.

From the book's introduction, "If you want to change things,  you have to appeal to both.  The Rider provides the planning and direction and the Elephant provides the energy. So if you reach the Riders of your team but not the Elephant, team members will have understanding without motivation.  If you reach the Elephant but not their Riders, they will have passion without direction.  A reluctant Elephant and a wheel-spinning Rider can both ensure that nothing changes.  But when Elephants and Riders move together, change can come easily."

Thanks, Don, this is such a simple explanation of a giant issue.  As I sat here reading this I wondered if my Elephant is fully engaged!

What path is your Elephant and Rider on?