Getting Your Engines Started…

Personal Note from Judith
Thanks for all the cards and emails I’ve received this past month–the new knee is getting stronger. My last gig was in Las Vegas on December 14th; on the 15th, I got a new knee. Some folks look for front teeth for Christmas . . . I got a new knee–thanks Santa. I’m getting around on a cane quite well and definitely look forward to my first speech in Houston in February where I won’t be using crutches. Just call me bionic!

Judith’s Speaking Calendar 2005 – 2006
Judith’s speaking calendar is half-way sold out for 2005 and several dates have been committed to for 2006. Don’t miss out–call now to reserve your dates. Angie is in the office from 7.30 AM to 3.30 PM Mountain Time–800-594-0800.

Get Your Engines Started …
It’s post time for the Holidays, you’ve been to a ton of gatherings and parties in the past month. Your Rolodex is a mess and you’ve got a stack of new business cards that you can’t remember who they belong to and where you got them from.

Who’s in your network and is it time to spruce it up a tad? How do you go from a networking nobody to super schmoozer? You’ll get yourself to the “place” to be at, then what? What do you do to get your networking act together now?

Master PR rep Rick Frishman (President of Planned Television Arts-NY) has co-authored NETWORKING MAGIC: Find the Best – from Doctors, Lawyers, and Accountants to Homes, Schools, and Job (Adams Media, 2004) with Jill Lublin. They’ve created a laundry list of things to avoid in the networking maze. Included are:

Don’t act desperate
Don’t sell
Don’t monopolize
Don’t ask too soon for help
Don’t solicit competitors
Don’t show off or brag
Don’t offer to do something that you can’t or is a stretch
Don’t interrupt
Don’t just talk about you
Don’t pitch yourself
Don’t play it by ear
Don’t misrepresent yourself
Don’t promise what you can’t deliver
Don’t pry
Don’t linger with losers and “hangers-on”
Don’t scan the room for others; excuse yourself and move on
Don’t overextend
Don’t be discouraged
Don’t make requests until you know the person
Anytime, anyplace, anywhere is a good time to network. True networking is a form of giving. Sure, you receive on the networking side, but it’s the building of relationships over a period of time that creates the biggest present/payback.

With the “Don’ts” out of the way, what are some of the “Dos?” Here’s a few:
Two safe strategies start with a question and a compliment. Ask an open-ended question that might have a connection with the function you are attending. Most people love to talk about themselves, so ask what was their favorite gift they received during the Holidays or if they had a magic wand, what would be their ideal vacation spot.

If it’s work or a professional association, something along the line–What a year . . . what’s the biggest hurdle (or achievement) you or your group dealt with this year? That should create some response that can start a dialogue of substance–or at least show that you are a great listener. Or, simply compliment them–be it a tie, shoes, accessory or a snazzy outfit.

Keep notes. Networking involves excellent communication. Get your business cards out and exchange them . . . and immediately make a note on the back–the event, something that triggers an “aha” in your mind, something unique about your interaction.

When you reconnect, refer back to it–guaranteed, the other party will be grateful–he most likely have a few memory lapses between events as well.

Don’t spam via email or phone–connect when you have something that is genuine and will most likely be of interest.

Schedule follow-up time on your calendar–send a note or email–something that would be of interest to the recipient. Not a “checking in” but ““thought this would be of interest to you” note.

If you note an article or announcement–send your kudos . . . remember, most people like to be acknowledged and cheered on.

Join and get involved with groups and associations that you have an interest in. For starters, you’ve already got something in common.

Create an e-mail newsletter with tips or helpful information. Software is available to make such e-mails seem personal and not a group mailing.
Frishman says, “Networking should be a way of life. This applies to everybody–from folks who work in big corporations to college students to stay-at-home moms. It’s the building and maintaining of relationships, and relationships require caring, helping, kindness, decency, trust and honoring others. In a nutshell, networking is about giving and giving generously.”

Networking Gridlock
For some, networking is a piece of cake; for others it’s work. Some of the best networkers may be terrified when them plunge into a room full of strangers. Either way, if you are feeling on the tepid side, why not ask the host to introduce you to two or three people. It’s a start and Mom always said that a “little practice” each day makes perfect; it also means that you’ve got to commit some time to the process.

The networking bottom line: Don’t let relationships fade away until you need or want something. That’s not networking, it’s mooching. “Eighty percent
of networking is following up” according to Frishman. “The key is to give information, thanks, congratulations or sincere compliments with no expectation of getting something in return.”

Remember—networking isn’t about promoting yourself; it’s a tool that lays the foundation for future business and friendships—both take time to develop. Start now, it’s an ideal tool to begin the year with.

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