Big Blunders to Avoid in Networking

speaking-at-book-festivalHaving been a speaker and writer for many years, I attend a lot of networking events and I enjoy them. Over the years I’ve created quite a strong network of connections. Many of my friends who are speakers, writers and coaches have been telling me for years that I should talk about networking because of my reputation for knowing and introducing people.

Like most folks I tend to devalue something that comes easily to me and not think of it as a skill. (I’m getting better with that!) Now I’ve taken their advice and begun Continue reading

When did nice go bad?

Have a nice day!

Have a nice day!

Recently I read an article urging women not to be so ‘nice’ in business and saying it’s not important to be liked. Within minutes I came across a blog saying it’s bad to be polite in sales calls. Continue reading

Star for a day!

Have you ever wanted to be a movie star? Or feel like one for a day?

Recently I had a video shoot for a new demo to promote my speaking business. I felt like a star! I was in hair and makeup a 7:00am. I like the sound of that. “I’m going to hair and makeup!” Continue reading

Tips for Creating Connections to Build your Business

  1. Identify your ideal client. Now identify who has access to them in a non-competitive but complimentary way. For example: I was once a member of a closed networking organization. (A closed networking organization is one that allows only one member per profession and is exclusively for the purpose of referring business.) There were three members there who continuously referred business to each other. One was a Real Estate agent. One was a mortgage banker. The other was an insurance broker. They were not competitors but all three had the same target customer. These relationships were greatly beneficial to the business of each.
  2. Identify organizations or events where you will meet potential clients and/or the people you’ve identified that share your target market. Visit several of these organizations and events. Join the ones you like best. It’s better to be involved in fewer organizations and make a contribution in each than to be a member of many.
  3. When networking, get people talking about themselves. Hearing their stories and what they do will give you an idea of whether they’ll be a good contact for you and whether they are likely to refer business. The more you know about them the easier it’ll be to determine the best way to follow-up.
  4. Follow up with good contacts by linking on LinkedIn, sending a “nice to meet you” type email or a personal note. Then create a plan for keeping in touch with them periodically. Stay in touch with people you like. If you don’t genuinely like them and only care about what they can do for you it’ll show through. Even if someone you connect with isn’t clearly a prospective client you never know who they may be able to refer you to! Besides, it’s more fun to work with people you like!
  5. Think in terms of an emotional bank account. Each positive encounter makes a deposit. Each negative interaction or asking for a favor is a withdrawal. Systematically make deposits by giving (paying it forward) by sharing meaningful articles, congratulating them on promotions or appointments, commenting on their social media posts, making a referral, etc.
  6. Avoid asking for a referral or a favor before you’ve ‘earned the right’ by building a solid relationship. The long-term value of a relationship with a prospect or associate can bring many clients into your business over time. Asking for the business or a referral too soon can be offensive and keep you from developing a meaningful relationship.
  7. Remember the old adage, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” If you come across as someone who is only focused on what people can do for you it’ll be difficult to develop supportive relationships where people feel comfortable making introductions and giving referrals.

Continue reading

Want to grow with me?

Can you believe I’ve been in the speaking business for over twenty years now? Yesterday, talking with a friend who has been doing this even longer prompted me to do the math. I started training for the Liz Claiborne company about 1989. Within a few years I was on my own as an independent corporate trainer. With that I began doing keynotes, conference breakout sessions and speaking for non-profit groups and associations. Continue reading

Networking is about relationships

(This blog is an excerpt from my program on “Networking to Build a Book Platform” for a Memoir Writing Workshop with Ronda Rich on September 14, 2013)writing workshop

What is networking? Webster’s Dictionary defined networking as, “the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically :  the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.” Two key words to note here. “Exchange.” Networking has give and take. “Relationships.” Networking is about building relationships. Before we go on let’s look at what networking is not. Continue reading

Miss Utah flubbed the answer. Or did she?

The internet is burning up with video of Miss Utah stumbling through the interview portion of this year’s Miss USA contest. The question, posed by contest judge NeNe Leakes was, “A recent report shows that in 40% of American families with children women are the primary earners yet they continue to earn less than men. What does this say about society?”

Miss Utah flashed a big beauty contest smile and started, “I think we can relate this back to education and how we are continuing to try to strive…to…” You can see the panic in her eyes as she flashes another smile and realizes she doesn’t know where to go with this answer. Then she continues, “Figure out how to create jobs right now. That is the biggest problem and I think especially the men are seen as the leaders of this and so we need to figure out how to create education better so we can solve this problem.”

Winning third runner-up anyway; she got a second chance at the question on The Today Show. “It’s not OK,” she said. “It needs to be equal pay for equal work and it’s hard enough already to earn a living and it shouldn’t be harder just because you’re a woman.” Matt Lauer applauded.

First, let’s give her a break! She’s a 21-year-old singer, model and actress who most likely never had to think much about inequity in pay. Many 31, 41 and 51-year-olds in the workforce probably couldn’t answer the question either.

What does the inequity in pay say about society? It says that we don’t value women’s work as much as we value men’s work. Ouch!

We prefer to explain the pay inequity by saying that many women work part time or that women take time out for childrearing and that skews the statistics to show that women’s pay is lower. Yet research shows that in the same jobs for the same companies women are often paid less than men.

Saying, “we have to pay men more because they have families” sounds like something from an episode of Mad Men but just last year many women participating in a class action suit against one of the country’s largest employers testified that’s what they’d been told.

This class action lawsuit was brought by 1.5 million women who claimed that Walmart systemically promoted and gave raises to men over women. It was dismissed by the Supreme Court—not won—just dismissed. They ruled that the group was too large and diverse to be considered a ‘class.’

Miss Utah was actually right the first time. This relates back to education.

Education for companies. During the years leading up the dismissal of their lawsuit, Walmart got educated. They learned from their mistake and quickly hired female executives, promoted women and got involved in women’s initiatives across the country.

Education for women. Statistics show that women don’t negotiate as well as men for salaries, raises and promotions. Many books like Sheryl Sandberg’s recent bestseller, “Lean In” are available for women to educate themselves on workplace inequities and how to handle them.

Education for men. As Miss Utah said, “they are the leaders” (in most companies anyway) and they need to be educated as to how to ensure equitable pay and opportunities at all levels of their companies.

Education for society. Men and women are different. And that’s a good thing! But pay should be determined by job requirements, performance and results. Not gender. As a society, when we value woman equally to men, we will not pay them less.