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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Networking Do's and Don'ts ---- Social and Otherwise

Don't you just hate them? You know, those people that show up at your networking events and suggest  that  their mission in life is to "help you." The next thing you know they are rolling out their cart full of products or services and suggest you and they can be even better friends once you make a purchase. They are human vacuum cleaners. They troll around the edges of a conversation and jump smack dab in the middle pushing everyone else aside and suck up the person talking.

"Me,me, me!" they'll shout. Loud, obnoxious and rude, they monopolize the conversation with what they believe is best for you. Never mind that you never told them what you need. They always know better.

"Let me tell ya what I'm gonna do..........." Sigh.

I attended a Google Business Hangout this morning hosted by James Fierce. The topic was how to network effectively, whether you are doing so live and in person or online. It's called a Team Talk I'd like to share and expand the points James made. They are worth sharing and repeating.

It's not about you!
Remember when you were a kid and someone, usually a parent suggested that you "Speak when you were spoken to?" If you want to impress people at a networking event dont talk about yourself until you are asked to do so. Don't hand out advice or offer to fix the issue at hand. Practice the skill we use most but are taught least.......... effective listening.

Ask a lot of questions. Everyone's favorite topic is themselves, their passions and their business. The easiest way to get to know me is to ask me about what I do. I'll be glad to tell you and when I'm done if you have any advice, any contacts I might make or directions I might travel........... well I'll become your very best friend.

I made a new contact this morning during the Business Hangout. The person had worked in the radio industry and I typed a question in the chat box asking what they did there? I asked what their new business was going to be.  Things took off from there. They are new to Google+ so after the Hangout concluded I gave them a few Google+ Communities they might check out and the names of some people who'd helped me out along the way. Later they sent me a link to their blog which was insightful and well written and believe it or not, I learned a few things. (I know hard to believe.)

Word of Mouth Marketing, The Shocking Truth and What to Do About It.

When you get an opportunity give it a read and give the author some feedback.

We concluded our conversation with them writing to me and saying: "And if there is anything I can do to help you, let me know."

It wasn't about me.

Don't Sell, Show & Tell
People love stories, especially stories that make a point. The late Zig Ziglar rode his story telling ability to success and fame by talking about the life and times of "Old Zig." When people ask you what you do paint a verbal picture for them. Tell them a story about your business and some of the people who benefited from your product or service. Practice the story. Make sure it lasts no longer than one minute and that when you are through talking your listener says "Tell me more."

Don't "lunge." Someone called me a few weeks back inquiring about using me as a life coach for a family member. As we talked they told me about the other businesses they owned and I immediately launched into my spiel on what great services I could provide them on top of my life coaching services. As soon as I finished I realized i'd made a huge mistake. I could tell they were turned off. Don't' Sell, Show & Tell.

Have Fun.
You are standing around, sipping a beverage, munching a taquito when all of a sudden Donnie or his sister Debbie Downer put in an appearance. They are passionate, intense and you begin to wonder if they've ever cracked a smile or let out with a huge belly laugh in their life.

I love what I do and I love what I do because what I do is fun, not only for me but for my clients.

There is a basic requirement for enjoying yourself, you need to be comfortable in your own skin. When we're confident in ourselves and what we have to offer people want to be with us because we're fun.

Thanks James Fierce for the food for thought. It is greatly appreciated.