Sunday, June 24th, 2012 | Author:

In today's struggling economy, the smart businessperson should use every resource at their disposal to make sure that their company is successful. And one of the most important tools in a businessperson's arsenal is the ability to network successfully. Even in today's high-tech world, being able to connect with people face-to-face is an essential skill that can help you increase and expand your business.

Networking is the act of sharing information about your services with a group or another individual with the goal of creating a beneficial business relationship for both parties. Even if there doesn't seem to be a similarity between the businesses, successful networking can create that all-important bond.

Some of the best times to network are on the road: in a hotel lobby, the waiting area of an airport, even at a bar. A shared experience such as travel is one of the best times to network outside of the business world. In these settings, potential networking partners are more relaxed and not “on guard” against being sold something. If there is time to make a connection with another person, there's time to successfully network.

The ability to successfully network, however, isn't an exact science. Every person is an individual and will respond to networking in different ways. Some will welcome the opportunity to discuss your business with you and how it might possibly help them. Others may see your attempts at networking as an intrusion on their private time. There's no way of knowing which person you'll encounter in your attempt but it's important to at least make that attempt.

Here are a few tips that can help you network in almost any setting.

Get a captive “audience”

It's fairly easy to network at a business conference because everyone in the room is pretty much there for the same thing. But by networking at the waiting area of an airport, a hotel bar, at a coffee shop, etc., you'll have a “captive” audience, one that is there for the same reason you are, thus giving you an instant reason to bond.

Strike up a conversation

It may sound like a no-brainer, but you can't successfully network unless you talk to people. But to really be successful, you have to be the one to strike up the conversation, rather than wait for someone to speak to you. You can't be afraid to approach strangers if you hope to be successful in networking anywhere at a moment's notice

. Look for an opening: something they are reading, that new electronic gadget they are using. Ask them about it then relate it to your business and soon you'll be successfully networking.

Ask questions

It may not seem like it sometimes, but people love to talk about themselves. So ask questions. A lot of questions. Sure, you want to get to the part where you talk about your business and what you can do for them, but resist that urge. Ask them about what they do. If they're also traveling, ask if it's for business or pleasure. Find out as much as you can about them and you'll also learn enough about their business needs to tailor your “pitch.” Also, try to avoid asking questions that can be answered “yes” or “no” to keep them engaged and talking.

Read body language

Glancing past you over your shoulder, turning their entire body away from you, giving short and terse answers are all signs that the person you are attempting to speak to may not wish to talk or be bothered. Don't push the issue. Thank them for their time and give them a business card, if they will accept one.

Keep it short

When people are on the road, they're usually trying to get from Point A to Point B. In an airport, they're usually a few minutes away from getting on their flight. If they're in a hotel, they probably on their way out to a business meeting. Even if they're on a plane, they may be using that time to catch up on work. Try not to drag out the conversation unnecessarily. Be ready to make your important points. Be prepared to cut the conversation short if their plane is boarding or if they are late for a meeting. Have your business cards ready so that you don't waste the brief opportunity.

10 a day

Have a goal of talking to at least 10 people in the course of a day. Not all of your encounters will be successful and they don't all need to be “quality” encounters. But if even one of those encounters results in a successful business relationship, the other nine unsuccessful encounters are worth it.

About the author:

Ken Green is a former newspaper reporter, editor and government communications specialist. He is currently a successful freelance writer of business and communications articles. He writes articles for Degree Jungle, which provides information and tips to college students.

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Sunday, June 17th, 2012 | Author:

Benjamin Franklin was America's first self-made man. With only two years of formal schooling, he learned on his own and became an author, inventor, scientist and statesman. He was a voracious reader and a fearless experimenter (standing in a lightning storm to study electricity). Can you imagine how he did it? No giant bookstores. No public university. Definitely no Internet. Yet Ben was smart, successful and had a great life.

You can do it to and for a lot less money (and risk) than Ben. Using the internet, you can learn whatever you want for free. We're used to looking up facts, but there is information that is available in chunks that are designed to teach you in-depth and not just provide facts.

Scroll to the bottom of the Wikipedia home page. You'll find Wikibooks which provides complete textbooks and manuals. It's small, but growing with over 2,000 free access textbooks in computing, math and more. Start there and if you run out, head to Wikiversity where you can get free learning materials. Topics include science, history, film, and more in many different forms.

Looking to build your business with the most current thoughts from experts around the world? Blog Talk Radio has provided an online forum for professional and amateur speakers from around the world to discuss and share their ideas with communities. Many of the more successful hosts have incredible guest speakers; people you need to be aware of in topics from business, politics, entertainment and sports.

Finally, if you are looking to develop skills from management to marketing, from self-moti

vation to wealth-creation, there is an expert information marketer out there who is focused on your topic. Of course, they write, speak and teach their information for a living. But before they ask you to invest in their programs, they often give away amazing amounts of information for free. From email newsletters to videos, audios, articles (you know where to find those, right?), to blogs and ebooks, there is a wealth of free information. You can learn how to write advertising copy, develop a marketing plan and create a powerful business network in minutes, simply by searching on the topic you want.

Ben Franklin had to do it the “old-fashioned” way, but you've got access to incredible resources literally at your fingertips. You, too, can be a self-made man or woman and get smart, be successful and have a satisfying life.

About the Author: Beth Bridges is The Networking Motivator™ and creator of the 5 Part Networking Success Plan ™, a simple networking system that can help anyone from business owners to sales agents to college students develop a powerful network. Subscribe to the weekly Networking Motivator Newsletter at www.thenetworkingmotivator.com for a quick boost of networking inspiration, information and motivation.”

If you liked this article, tell all your friends about it. They’ll thank you for it. If you have a blog or website, you can link to it or even post it to your own site (don’t forget to mention www.meetingwave.com as the original source).

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Sunday, June 10th, 2012 | Author:

With the new year comes a slew of articles, blog posts and audios on goal setting. But how do you set networking goals? It seems like it would be hard to know how to measure the depth of a relationship, or the value of your contacts, or how much of your business is due to your networking activities?

You might think there's no way that you could set the kind of goals that the success and achievement coaches so strongly recommend. They do this, by the way, because research has shown that those who write down their goals are far more successful than those who “wing it.”

There is a way to be able to set goals for networking that will help you clarify your activities, be more effective and know when you are doing it right. We're taught that there is a “SMART” way to set goals, meaning specific, meaningful, achievable, relevant and timely.

You can do this for networking by having three different sets of goals.

  1. Action Goals: The specific things that you need to be doing to build a network: going to events, meeting new people, making follow-up calls, giving information or other items of value, staying connected to your current network, and reinforcing your own belief by achieving specific result goals.
  2. Non-Quantifiable Goals: The general accomplishments that you want to result from your actions: becoming more visible in the community, getting your company name out there, creating trust and building relationships.
  3. Specific Result Goals: Quantifiable and definite results: meeting a particular person, getting a certain number of referrals, find

    ing a needed vendor or filling a job opening, developing a joint venture.

Do you have at least one or two goals in each category? Many of them will be connected. For example, got become more visible in your community (a non-quantifiable goal) you will need to have an action goal of a certain number of activities per month. To build relationships (another non-quantifiable goal), you may need to provide value to specific people on a regular basis.

To achieve specific result goals, you will probably need to work on both action goals and non-quantifiable goals. For example, you may need to connect with your current network to find out who may have a connection you need to meet that specific new person. You might need to meet more new people in order to find a new vendor.

Experiment with writing, keeping and reviewing these kinds of networking goals to become more focused and effective in your networking.

About the Author: Beth Bridges is The Networking Motivator™ and creator of the 5 Part Networking Success Plan ™, a simple networking system that can help anyone from business owners to sales agents to college students develop a powerful network. Subscribe to the weekly Networking Motivator Newsletter at www.thenetworkingmotivator.com for a quick boost of networking inspiration, information and motivation.”

If you liked this article, tell all your friends about it. They’ll thank you for it. If you have a blog or website, you can link to it or even post it to your own site (don’t forget to mention www.meetingwave.com as the original source).

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Sunday, June 03rd, 2012 | Author:

We've been told over and over that persistence is the key to success. And it is, except when it isn't. Perseverance is vital, except when you're sticking to the wrong plan or you're on a dead end street. W.C. fiends said “If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it.”

Seth Godin, author of “The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)” agrees. It's time to quit when you're in a mediocre situation or when you're not making any progress or you're not able to find a way to improve.

If you've been going to the same networking business club events, doing the same networking activities over and over but not seeing any results, it may be time to quit.

How do you know for sure? If you haven't met anyone new at your group for several months, if you haven't had any referrals from your existing contacts, and if you feel like it's very routine, then it might be time to quit.

Do you quit networking entirely? Of course not. Look at your routine and see if there's room for growth. Is your business to business networking club lacking any energy? If they are lackluster, you have two choices: put your own energy into it to try to revive the group or find a new, enthusiastic group.

If you find that you've got a great group of long-term connections whom you see on a regular basis but who aren't providing you with any referrals, do you sever those ties? Of course not. Find a way to reeducate them about your business

, get them to look at you with a fresh perspective and find a way to give them a renewed enthusiasm for what you do and how you can help their friends and clients.

There is one circumstance where you do end a relationship and that's with someone who is not willing to learn about your business or find a way to give value back to you for support, information and referrals that you've given them. Not that you should be keeping track or expecting an exact return on what you give to someone else. But you want to network with people who also have the willingness to share and provide value, whether to you or others.

It may be a paradox to encourage quitting, but if it allows you to focus more time, effort and energy on something that is providing results, then go ahead and quit.

About the Author: Beth Bridges is The Networking Motivator™ and creator of the 5 Part Networking Success Plan ™, a simple networking system that can help anyone from business owners to sales agents to college students develop a powerful network. Subscribe to the weekly Networking Motivator Newsletter at www.thenetworkingmotivator.com for a quick boost of networking inspiration, information and motivation.”

If you liked this article, tell all your friends about it. They’ll thank you for it. If you have a blog or website, you can link to it or even post it to your own site (don’t forget to mention www.meetingwave.com as the original source).

Chemistry Club

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Sunday, May 27th, 2012 | Author:

How do you know if your networking activities are working? If you just randomly go places and meet whomever you can, without knowing what or how much you're doing, then you won't know whether or not you're getting any benefit. If you don't know if you're benefitting from networking, then you can neither encourage yourself to do more (if it is working) or put your efforts elsewhere (if it isn't working).

There are several types of goals you'll need to set and track, but the foundation of anything you do in business networking is taking action. You may have goals to grow your business or meet a particular person, but first you need to take concrete steps to getting there.

Here is how to set your networking action goals that will lead to achieving your larger networking goals.

First, start by assessing where you are and then set a goal for a certain time period (for example weekly, monthly or for the year). You don't need to measure every one of these items, but pick those which are most relevant to you. Keep the rest in mind as you gradually improve your networking effectiveness and efficiency.

  • How many business clubs or organizations do you belong to? (more isn't necessarily better)
  • How many of the meetings do you attend? (look at the percentage over time)
  • How many new people do you meet? (again, vast quantity isn't needed, but some are necessary)
  • How often are you in contact with your existing network? (otherwise, out of “sight” is out of mind))
  • How often are you providing

    value in the form of information or referrals to new and existing contacts? (set a total or per person value)

  • How many of your contacts are in a usable, frequently referenced database? (this is one definite goal which should get as close to 100% as possible)
  • How often are you reviewing your results from specific groups, activities or other networking actions? (monthly reviews are frequent enough)
  • How often are you reinforcing your belief and motivation by reading books or articles by experts in networking? Or talking to or observing well-connected people in your community? (focus on this especially when your energy starts to wane)

While these goals are not specifically related to the specific results that you want from networking, they are going to lead to them. Consistent effort that is focused on the right groups, actions and people will get you more exposure, greater resources and a stronger business.

About the Author: Beth Bridges is The Networking Motivator™ and creator of the 5 Part Networking Success Plan ™, a simple networking system that can help anyone from business owners to sales agents to college students develop a powerful network. Subscribe to the weekly Networking Motivator Newsletter at www.thenetworkingmotivator.com for a quick boost of networking inspiration, information and motivation.”

If you liked this article, tell all your friends about it. They’ll thank you for it. If you have a blog or website, you can link to it or even post it to your own site (don’t forget to mention www.meetingwave.com as the original source).

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Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012 | Author:

If you have only a very general idea of who is the ideal client for you, or if you're a bit vague on describing your target market, then just about any networking event will do. Preferably large ones, so that you can meet the widest variety of people. While this can be a good strategy to occasionally take advantage of luck and to change up your routine, for the long run, random networking will be frustrating, time-consuming and eventually unsustainable.

To get the greatest return on investment from the time you spend networking, you should seek to network where your idea client networks. First, you have to know who your target market and idea client are. You can get an easy process along with more networking tips in my article “How to Network: Determine Your Best Target Market for Better Networking Results.” Once you're very clear on the description and characteristics of your ideal client, you want to network as much as possible with them and with people like them. But how do you find them? Networking can lead you to the ideal, targeted networking opportunities. Here's an easy technique you can use.

Start with your five or ten best clients. Ask them for a brief coffee meeting that will be very focused. Help them prepare by letting them know that you want to “interview” them about where they network, when they network, how much they network and what groups, organizations, business clubs and events they participate in. Make notes and when you're done interviewing all of them, look for commonalities.

If they are all members of the same ne

tworking organization, or make sure to never miss a particular business event, that will be number one on your list. One of their business clubs is probably a professional association, for that industry only. Don't let that stop you. First, you want to learn more about your best clients' businesses. Second, most business and professional associations have a “support industry” or affiliated business membership level. Be encouraged if their dues aren't free or cheap. That indicates a high barrier of entry, which will discourage your competitors.

As you network at these events, ask people you meet where they network (outside of that group). Again, look for common themes and explore those options. Be consistent and persistent – as always your best networking strategy – and narrow down to focus on two or three areas of networking that will put you in a position to build relationships with more potential clients of your desired qualities.

About the Author: Beth Bridges is The Networking Motivator™ and creator of the 5 Part Networking Success Plan ™, a simple networking system that can help anyone from business owners to sales agents to college students develop a powerful network. Subscribe to the weekly Networking Motivator Newsletter at www.thenetworkingmotivator.com for a quick boost of networking inspiration, information and motivation.”

If you liked this article, tell all your friends about it. They’ll thank you for it. If you have a blog or website, you can link to it or even post it to your own site (don’t forget to mention www.meetingwave.com as the original source).

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Sunday, May 13th, 2012 | Author:

Serendipity – the idea that “you never know who you might meet”-is a fun, encouraging and motivating philosophy to have in networking. And you've got to have an absolute focus on exactly the kind of people and business owners you need to meet. Otherwise, you might have a lot of fun networking, but eventually the lack of results will quench your interest.

Here's how to determine your best target market. First and most importantly, no one can do business with “anyone who breathes” or “anyone who has skin.” If that's part of your business networking club elevator speech or introduction, you need to get much, much narrower in your description.

The fear for many people is that if they get very specific on who they can help that people who aren't in that market or don't fit that description will never use their services. Don't worry about that. You can describe exactly what you do and how you help people to a “T” and people will still suggest and refer people completely outside that description.

Instead of chasing twenty different markets and catching none, you can dominate and become an expert in one. Then the others will come to you. (For more on the idea of being the best in the world, see my book review of Seth Godin's book “The Dip.”)

To determine your best market, list your five or ten best current customers as column headings on a piece of paper or in a spreadsheet. Write down as much as you can about them with each item in a row under their name. Their age, education, in

come, family type, where they live, and where they work. If you sell a particular product, which items do they like best? What problems do you solve for them? If your customers are businesses to business, find out their years in business, type of clients they have, what problems they solve and what problems they have.

Sort the list to look for qualities they all have in common (or that most of them have). Any characteristics that a majority of your best customers have? Write those all down and you'll see a description of your best customer. Most of your networking activities now need to be focused on meeting, serving and building mutually beneficial relationships with more people like them. See my article “How to Use Networking to Find More of Your Ideal Customers and Clients” for networking tips.

About the Author: Beth Bridges is The Networking Motivator™ and creator of the 5 Part Networking Success Plan ™, a simple networking system that can help anyone from business owners to sales agents to college students develop a powerful network. Subscribe to the weekly Networking Motivator Newsletter at www.thenetworkingmotivator.com for a quick boost of networking inspiration, information and motivation.”

If you liked this article, tell all your friends about it. They’ll thank you for it. If you have a blog or website, you can link to it or even post it to your own site (don’t forget to mention www.meetingwave.com as the original source).

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Sunday, May 06th, 2012 | Author:

If you find yourself somewhat at a loss when it comes to small talk or conversing at networking events, borrow a lesson from professional speakers. They prepare their speeches, research their audiences and practice in advance so that every presentation is interesting, compelling and helps them fulfill their mission and grow their businesses.

How does a professional speaker develop a speech? They have three basic parts that they work on in a prepared presentation: structure, content and delivery. Think about these questions before your next business to business networking event and you'll never be at a loss for what to say (and how to say it).
Here are three sets of networking tips based on this presentation format. Next time you are wondering how to network, start with this basic set up and have answers ready to these questions.

  • Structure: How do you want to present your information? Do you have a compelling self-introduction? Do you have a prepared question for asking to follow-up? Do you start with your job description? Or do you want to talk about family and more personal items? Do you have a prepared introduction or description (so that you don't fumble when asked)? Do you have an interesting or engaging answer to the (sometimes repetitive) questions you get asked?
  • Content: What do you tell them about you? How much detail about your job, family and interests do you want to reveal? Are you familiar with the news or issues of the day? Do you have some standard questions that you always ask? What do you say or talk about if the conversation flags?
  • <

    li>Delivery: How do you present yourself? Do you know whether you're coming across as interested or bored? Energetic or lethargic? Smiling or serious? Do you rush through your personal introduction because you've heard it a thousand times (it's the first time for them)? What is your body language saying? Does your clothing and manner reflect your profession and position?

Take these networking tips to plan ahead for your networking experiences. Plan what you are going to say and like an experienced speaker, practice but don't memorize so that it still sounds natural and spontaneous (this is part of good delivery).

Next time you wonder what you're going to do and say at the next business event or club meeting, think about your structure, content, and delivery. Professional speakers prepare in advance, why not you?

About the Author: Beth Bridges is The Networking Motivator™ and creator of the 5 Part Networking Success Plan ™, a simple networking system that can help anyone from business owners to sales agents to college students develop a powerful network. Subscribe to the weekly Networking Motivator Newsletter at www.thenetworkingmotivator.com for a quick boost of networking inspiration, information and motivation.”

If you liked this article, tell all your friends about it. They’ll thank you for it. If you have a blog or website, you can link to it or even post it to your own site (don’t forget to mention www.meetingwave.com as the original source).

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Monday, April 30th, 2012 | Author:

I first learned about Nancy Duarte and her ninja-like Powerpoint slide skills though a webinar presented by Speaker Net News. Ms. Duarte's clear, usable information in just the short webinar was invaluable. I was immediately able to put many of her suggestions to use.

What I most liked was her recommendation to have two slide shows. One that you show to the audience which incorporates the clean, big picture conceptual slides and another which contains all your details and is basically the high tech version of “3×5″ notes. I've used the second, more detailed slide show to put on SlideShare for the participants to view later.

“resonate: Present Visual Stories Transform Audiences” answers questions not covered by her first book “slide:ology.” You can have the most well-designed slides in the world, but if your story doesn't resonate with the audience, you've failed.

In the introduction to “resonate” the author acknowledges this and calls “resonate” the “prequel” to the first. The book is wonderfully designed, with easily digestible chunks of information on the left side matched with a picture on the right side (as if it were a slide illustrating the point). It's not only good information, but it's interesting to read. Just like Ms. Duarte teaches you to create your slides and presentations.

The key point to “resonate” is that a presentation is something that falls between the two opposites of a report (detailed documentation) and stories (which are emotional and experiential). The successful presentation incorporates the best of both, using structure and providing information, but communicating it in an engaging way that will help the audience learn, believe and take action.

There is a clear story pattern or structure, which can be used to present even the most prosaic of information, called the “hero's journey.” In this case the audience is the hero, not you. You are given detailed directions, ideas and “how to” on building your own presentation to take your audience (the heroes) through their own journey.

To help you along the way, there are case studies of some of the most powerful and moving speeches in history including Martin Luther King's “I have a dream,” Richard Feynman's famous gravity lecture, and Ronald Reagan address to America after the Challenger disaster. You'll see and be taken on the hero's journey in all of the examples.

Like me, you'll probably want to start working on your presentations before you finish the book. Go ahead and get started, but come back to chapter 8 where you're given help on improving. Then go out and use your new knowledge to change the world.

About the Author: Beth Bridges is The Networking Motivator™ and creator of the 5 Part Networking Success Plan ™, a simple networking system that can help anyone from business owners to sales agents to college students develop a powerful network. Subscribe to the weekly Networking Motivator Newsletter at www.thenetworkingmotivator.com for a quick boost of networking inspiration, information and motivation.”

If you liked this article, tell all your friends about it. They’ll thank you for it. If you have a blog or website, you can link to it or even post it to your own site (don’t forget to mention www.meetingwave.com as the original source).

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Wednesday, April 25th, 2012 | Author:

You've heard of speed dating. That awkward process where people have a few minutes to talk with strangers to see if they want to go out with them. It's been in so many funny commercials, sit-coms and movies that I almost don't see how anyone could take it seriously.

But there is a variation on the format of speed dating that is very serious. Very profitable and extremely beneficial for any one who is in business for themselves, or who is a financial planner, in insurance, real estate, network marketing, catering, consulting, computer repair, advertising sales, carpet cleaning, event planning, graphic design, salon services, marketing… any industry or business where you need to meet a lot of people to build a wide-ranging network.

It's also beneficial for any business where you need to meet people, get connected with them and start building relationships in order to build your own business. Speed networking is a business-networking event that is designed for businesses to build their networks, find clients and grow their businesses.

It is fun, it is fast and it is profitable. I know because I have seen it work for small business people, over and over again. They have a great time and they can meet up to 24 people in less than two hours. That's 288 new relationships and potential business transactions!

When would you ever be able to meet that many people at a mixer or luncheon? Meeting a lot of people in a short amount of time is a tremendous benefit of speed networking. Two more great reasons you want to do

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it is that it makes it easy to start a conversation and easy to end a conversation.

Unexpectedly, it is the shy and introverted who seem to like the event the best. They don't have to worry about how to approach a complete stranger. It's done for them in the structure of the event. And not to worry if you're in a conversation with someone you really want to get away from. In just a couple minutes, you'll move on to the next conversation.

Speed networking is a popular, fun and productive business-to-business networking event. You might be able to find one that is sponsored by your local chamber of commerce or business club. It would even be worth your while to set up your own speed networking event and bring together various friends and business connections whom you know, but don't know each other.

About the Author: Beth Bridges is The Networking Motivator™ and creator of the 5 Part Networking Success Plan ™, a simple networking system that can help anyone from business owners to sales agents to college students develop a powerful network. Subscribe to the weekly Networking Motivator Newsletter at www.thenetworkingmotivator.com for a quick boost of networking inspiration, information and motivation.”

If you liked this article, tell all your friends about it. They’ll thank you for it. If you have a blog or website, you can link to it or even post it to your own site (don’t forget to mention www.meetingwave.com as the original source).

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