Sunday, February 26, 2012

What’s Your Vector Victor?

Is your speed or direction limiting your networking? And now from our Zen networking department, pilot to passengers, “we’re making great time, but we’re hopelessly lost.” The relationship of speed and direction is such that progress is compromised when either speed or direction is zero.

Translated, this means that meeting lots of the wrong people yields a similar result to spending all of your time strategizing on how to meet the right people. Effective networking is not the art of collecting a lot of business cards. Likewise, being stuck on start and in perpetual planning mode will cause you to never get out to meet new people therefore arbitrarily constraining your network value.

The sum of speed and direction is your progress toward a goal, yet they are independent variables. Optimal progress is delivery through the proper balance of these variables.

Networking Best Practice - do this plan for 30 days:

  • Identify who you want to meet by name or discipline at the meetings that you are scheduled to attend
  • Connect to at least 3 of those target people (potential centers of influence) at each meeting
  • Schedule a one-on-one meeting with the 3 target people at their place of business within the next 30-days to learn more about them
  • Only go to the number of events that will allow you to sustain having 3 post event meetings with the key people who you are connecting to

A little planning and preparation coupled with strong urgency to meet with and learn from your centers of influence will propel you to remarkable new levels of networking success. Let us know how you do...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Are You Making the Impression You Intend?

As the famous saying goes, “you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” Use these 4 tips to help improve each first impression that you make.

  • Pay attention
    • Make and maintain eye contact
    • Turn off the cell phone
  • Dress how you want to be perceived
    • Check your attire condition and cleanliness
    • Check your shoes
    • Wear your smile
  • Check your grooming
    • How’s your breath?
    • How's your hair?
    • Are your fingernails clean and trimmed?
    • How’s your make up?
  • Be on-time
    • Show that you value others peoples time
    • Make a considerate entry

Make agreements with your friends and associates to let each other know when something is amiss. The buddy system will help you avoid everything from the stray collar to having something between your teeth.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

When Your Comfort Zone Says “No” - Take These Four Steps

When does this happen?...when you consider signing up, walking in, talking to someone who seems out of your league, following up with an important contact, and on and on... Ignoring your comfort zone can be daunting. Staying in your comfort zone can be a debilitating limitation that artificially reduces your networking results.

None of us is born with these barriers. Your comfort zone is not a physical limitation; rather it is a dynamic set of learned limitations.

It is possible to overcome the years of self-talk that has created your comfort zone. If you want to break free of your learned limitations and significantly expand your comfort zone, follow these four steps:

  • Set goals that stretch what you think is possible
  • Take the actions of someone who will accomplish those goals - discard your old patterns and if it helps model someone who you know who has the right patterns - when appropriate, embrace your discomfort
  • Stay vigilant and continue to expand your comfort zone to new and much more productive patterns - it can take weeks of consistent effort to evolve new patterns
  • Recognize and celebrate the emergence of your new and more productive patterns
Imagine being someone who embraces walking into a room of people who you don’t know, opportunities to meet new people of any stature, making the most of each event, following up with your contacts, or any type of new challenge that will increase your skill and aptitude as a professional. You have no limits except for the ones that you perceive.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Time Value of Participation

Is it better to go to more networking events and spend less time at each or go to less networking events and spend more time at each? We are all busy people and as such we often compromise our networking results by partially attending events. Sometimes we arrive late and other times we leave early.

Suppose you have a 3-hour networking event on your calendar. Which hour of your participation do you feel has the most potential return for you: the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd hour? The 3rd consecutive hour of participation has considerably more return potential than the 1st hour. Assuming the average networker can meet 6 new people per hour (see the chart below) and that each person they talk to understands their story, then at the end of 3 hours the average networker will have 120 potential connections.

  • During the 1st hour the networker meets 6 people
  • During the 2nd hour the networker meets 6 people and the 6 people they met in the 1st hour meet 6 people each (additional point of connection)
  • During the 3rd hour the networker meets 6 people and the 6 people they met in the 1st and 2nd hours meet 6 people each

The ultimate goal is for you to connect someone you just met to someone you met earlier in the event, or for someone to do that for you. Accomplishing this level of return is not easy. It takes a clear and focused message, good preparation, and networking with similarly competent people. Networking at this level requires strong interdependence.

This strategy creates even more return when you apply it to participation over weeks, months, and years with the same set of like minded people. The leverage in networking is best developed by building high-quality intimate relations with a few key people rather than superficial relationships with many. The bottom line: attend less meetings better.