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The Great Adventure – Networking

DSC_0149Today, I had the wonderful opportunity to share with local students a really short and spirited presentation on networking.  My talk covered what is networking, how does one do it and then a quick easy code word so the students could implement the talk during a career fair.

To begin, Networking what is it?  According to the Google dictionary Networking is the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically: the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.

How does one do it?  When at an event, start with existing connections (it will be less scary). Locate who you want to talk to, and have a short elevator pitch ready if necessary (the art of small talk is king here to get the conversation rolling)!!  Remember networking is about focusing on the person you are talking to its not about YOU!  Listen to learn how you may be of service to the person you are connecting with.  If you feel a connection has been made ask for their business card and then remember to follow up.

My code word for the day was B-E-S-T!

B – Breathe, easier said then done.  When you breathe it relaxes you internally and allows you to think clearly.  Remember the number 7.  Breath in for a 7 count, hold for a 7 count and breathe out for a 7 count.  repeat once or twice.  When we get tense, we have a tendency to freeze up.  Walking around an event remember to breath and ask yourself am I breathing.

E-Engage, a big key at networking events is to actually meet people and not hang along the wall or as one of my friend’s shared, “I would just take one spin through a room see no one I know and leave.”  You have a unique opportunity every time you attend a networking event.  I’d like you to think of it as an adventure.  Engage at them it doesn’t hurt and it will definitely build your character.  In my direct sales days we called it stepping out of your “comfort zone”.  Set your thoughts on positive encounters.

S-Smile, remember (this is not to scare you) but you have only minutes, even seconds for someone to have a first impression of you.  So greet everyone you meet with a smile, firm handshake and look them in the eye.  Positive energy is a state of mind.  Remember if you are more upbeat its easier to create a positive aura about you versus folks who are more low key or not as excitable.

T-Trust, trust yourself, you know yourself better than anyone else.  Do your BEST to let the world see your positive attributes and why they need you!! Ask open ended questions. LISTEN, do not interrupt or be thinking of something else to say.  Be more interested then interesting.  Follow up with those company you liked best within 48 hours.  I like handwritten notes these days since no one seems to do them.

During my talk we whipped through the above points in 15 minutes it was fast and furious.  So in recapping our code word for the day B-E-S-T.  Breathe, Engage, Smile, Trust!

Overall, before any networking event remember to set your intention for the day?  What do you want to accomplish during the networking time? If we set intentions you are more likely to follow through during the event and afterwards.

Remember to do your B-E-S-T today and always!

Make the most of It

1113691_99864344As entrepreneurs we all want success for ourselves and our team members (if your in a business like mine).  There is so much potential and possibilities waiting for you.  I’m excited to share some ways for you to make the most of your business especially as we head into Summer and have the Fall selling season on the horizon.  I will look at education, faith and attitude/vision in setting the tone for this talk.

We begin with Education.  Many have been quoted as saying knowledge is power.  I say knowledge without action leaves us wondering and wandering.  As a business entrepreneur where do you go to seek advice, learn new techniques and skills?  What are you doing to develop yourself?  We spend lots of time at training and networking events yet many business owners actually show up without business cards, calendars, notepads, pens and other tools.  Our memories are not what we think they are. 

 Memory retention is about 10% of what we hear, 24% of what we see and 55% when we see and take notes.

So take lots of  notes at all your trainings, review them nightly before you go to sleep and  highlight what action you wish to take the following day.

Additional training and development comes from constant learning.  What is the latest book or audio tape you’ve listened to for self development?  Have you read biographies on famous sports figures, politicians or women of influence?  When did you last attend a local business networking event, sign up for a seminar or workshop that can round out your person.  And I don’t mean your shape!  Seek the knowledge you crave.  You are responsible for your education.  Remember to implement for success.

The second area I’d like to explore is Faith

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  Hebrews 11 verse 1.  

I have found in reading books and listening to many trainers over the years that most successful people have a faith foundation.  They understand we were born with a purpose.  Identifying, acknowledging and honoring that purpose is the most important action successful people do.  Take time to discover your purpose.  To make the most of your professional or personal life we need to know our purpose.  Your faith will triumph over any struggles you have. 

When times are tough look to Romans 5 verses 3-5 “…We also glory in tribulations and struggles, knowing that struggles produce perseverance, and perseverance character and character HOPE!  Hope does not disappoint us.” 

 Dig deep find your faith foundation in yourself, your team, your family and your business.

And finally Attitude and Vision.  Attitude is the backbone of our lives.  Decide what you want and then go for it.  Today is the day you take 100% responsibility for your life.  Stop blaming and complaining.  Choose the positive route avoid the lemon-heads in life. 

Jim Rohn, business philosopher states, ” You must take personal responsibility.  You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons or the wind, but, you can change yourself.”

If you venture into Jack Canfield’s book, “The Success Principles“, be advised the book is based on lesson number one that there is only one person responsible for the quality of the life you live.  That person is YOU.

What freedom there is in taking responsibility.  No more the victim you are taking charge.  As a business owner you set  your Daily Focus for the day, you decide to make the phone calls, and network at business events.  You decide to hold shows and share your opportunities.  That is powerful.

To increase your focus and stay on purpose you must DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT.  Another important theme in the “Success Principles” is showing us how to get from where we are to where we want to be. 

 To accomplish this we need to know two things:   Where you are and Where you want to get to. 

There are seven areas outlined in the book to create a balanced life, work/career, finances, free time/recreation, health & fitness, relationships, personal goals ans contribution to the larger community.

By setting goals for different areas of your life you start a process in your brain.  As we write down the goals and review them daily the brain thinks we have accomplished them and will work night and day to make them a reality.  Work from the principle you are already there.

In closing, today is the first day toward your journey to success in life.  Remember as entreprenurs we need to seek out educational opportunities, we need to be teachable, coachable and willing to work on our self-development.  Have faith, faith is the foundation upon which we build our life.  You can’t see it, but you can feel it.  Finally, have Vision, Decide What You Want and maintain a healthy attitude.  One of CAN DO, I take 100% responsiblity for my life.  You can achieve, BELIEVE.

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