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Mike McAllen is one of the cofounders of Grass Shack Events & Media worldwide boutique production company based in the San Francisco Bay Area with offices in Honolulu and New York City.Mike spent several years running the production department of the largest corporate production company in California before starting Grass Shack Events & Media.Grass Shack concentrates on communicating clients messages through corporate events & meetings, videos, and new media. Grass Shack has been involved with Social Media initiatives for several clients via podcasting, setting up blogs and other technology ba
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sed communication tools to further the communications of their clients.Josh: How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?Mike McAllen: The landscape of interactions has changed dramatically in the last few years. With the addition of technology based sites for networking it has only enhanced the face to face meet up opportunities for all businesses.I feel business networking is the foundation of good sales and marketing. Most all sales are relationship driven so always expanding your network is essential.Josh: Can you share an idea or two that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?Mike McAllen: I think picking an online business network and a face to face network and concentrating on getting the most out of them is the best practice. For example join LinkedIn and a couple of industry groups in Linkedin and really get involved. Same with a face to face group such as the American Marketing Association or what ever industry association that correlate to your business. And get involved! Volunteer to help.Josh: What is your favorite (preferred) business or social networking site? In your opinion what are the key features which are most valuable to you? What makes the resources you use most appealing to you, as opposed to the other online networking resources and sites that are available?Mike McAllen: I built a blog/podcast called MeetingsPodcast.com which targets my companies industry this past year and have been joined by two industry friends. This site has been a great way for me to get involved with my community. We as a team have weekly roundtable podcasts and also weekly interviews with industry folks.We also branch off and use Linkedin, Facebook, and twitter to enhance and find like minded people in our space. The Key features are to build relationships and help others in our business and to make friends. The most appealing thing about the networking sites we use is we are comfortable with them and they are the most popular sites.I get a constant stream of new networking sites daily and you have to draw the line somewhere. But find the one or two you enjoy and stick to them.Josh: Do you see any common mistakes that people tend to make when it comes to attempting to make business connections? If so, what are they and what corrections could they make in your opinion which would help them to be more effective in their approach towards networking with others?Mike McAllen: I think going to a networking site and blurting out what your company does in every message you send or write has a negative effect and falls on deaf ears.I read somewhere that you should treat social networking sites like a cocktail party. Would you walk up to a group of people and blurt out what you do for a living? Or would you say hello, listen for a bit and then comment and join the conversation? This is how I try and network.Josh: How important has networking been in your own professional life. Can you share an example of how it has made a difference?Mike McAllen: I have so many examples or finding a resource in some city I am visiting but just putting out on LinkedIn or twitter that I need some help. Just recently I was in Dallas for an event and needed a production assistant I had four great leads in an hour. But of course I try and spend time helping the community also.Doing a little research to help someone when you see someone looking for help pays dividends. First it feels good to help someone and second you just made another connection which as you know could lead to more business. Plus that person is now part of your community.- Happy Networking! Josh Hinds (Follow me on: twitter)*brought to you by BusinessNetworkingAdvice.com
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David Hassell is President of the San Francisco chapter of Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO), an International network of entrepreneurs who each have businesses with annual revenues in excess of $1mil. He is presently engaged in launching a new software startup that provides organizations with better visibility into their operations. He is also a co-founder of Kite Adventures, offering guided downwind adventure tours and pro-coached kiteboarding camps in northeast Brazil. Furtherm
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ore he is also the co-founder of Endai Worldwide, a NYC-based Internet marketing and services firm founded in 1999, and served as the company's CTO through 2006. Endai has been recognized on the Inc 5000 list of fastest growing private companies in America.Josh: David, how do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?David Hassell: You can easily infer the importance of a business network by comparing someone with a weak network to someone with a more powerful one. While people have the same amount of time and roughly the same amount of energy, all other factors being equal, the person with the more powerful network will consistently outperform the other in business. Ultimately the person with the more powerful network has the opportunity to improve their quality of life. It does so by giving them the capacity to produce equal outcomes with much less time and energy that they can now choose to use elsewhere.The way I define business networking is somewhat different from how I commonly hear it described. A metaphor I often use compares a powerful network to a very large bank account. Both a large bank account and a powerful network give you the ability to access what you need, when you need it, while paying you passive dividends all the while. Just as having a large bank account allows you to get whatever products and services you want or need when you choose, your network represents your capacity to access the advice, knowledge, expertise or connections you need in any given situation. You can think of the dividends your network pays as unsolicited opportunities that naturally flow your way as a result of that balance.Similar to the time and energy it takes to earn, save and invest to produce a large bank account, it takes time, energy and investment to create a powerful network, more so than most people realize. Just as you can't spend money before you have it (at least not without going into debt), you also can't call upon your network for any meaningful help until after you have invested in building it, so you'd better start building it now.One pitfall I often see ambitious networkers fall into, is confusing the practice of accumulating a large stack of business cards or hundreds of LinkedIn connections with the way a strong network is really created. The measure of a powerful a network is not so much the number of people you've met or know, but the quality of the help you can get when you need it, and how many real opportunities present themselves to you naturally as a result of having invested in that network.That brings me to my next point. Building a network is about investing in the success of the people around you by providing help, and producing trusted relationships in the process. I once heard LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman give a talk to a group of member-leaders of the Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) where he said that the phrase "It's not what you know, but who you know" was trite and incomplete, and missing a some key elements. He said that instead it should really be "It's not just what you know, but who you know that trusts you." I think that Reid was spot on. If you don't have you anything to offer, you can't give powerful help to people who may be able to reciprocate in the future. And, if someone doesn't already know and trust you, why would they be willing to stake their reputation on introducing you to an important connection, or providing you with access the knowledge and help you really need?Josh: Can you share one idea that a person could put into practice which would help them to improve their business networking skills?David Hassell: Remember what J.F.K. said. "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country." Remember this when you're out meeting new people, or getting involved in a community of your peers. Focus more on offering help than seeking it initially. Learn about who each person is, what they care about, and what they're trying to accomplish. If you meet someone that you would like to attract into your network, think about both what you know, and who you know. Can you make an introduction that might help this person? Do you have some skill or guidance you could offer to help them make progress on one of their goals? Don't give with the expectation of getting something in return. You will make a lasting impression if you can help someone in a meaningful way that contributes to their success. They too will likely want to know what you are trying to accomplish, and you may soon find unsolicited opportunities coming your way. Furthermore, some day you may find yourself in a situation where they might just be the one person who can really help you (and will be willing to help). Josh: Can you share a personal "networking" success story with us?David Hassell: When I moved to San Francisco two and a half years ago, I had already been a member of the Entrepreneurs' Organization in NY for three years. I'd also gotten a lot of value from my membership due to the fantastic education and networking opportunities accessible to me as a member of that community. I decided to get involved and volunteer on the Board in San Francisco recruiting new members as a way to give back for what I'd received, and as a way to start building my network in a new city. I spent two years working with an incredibly high-caliber group of people, growing the chapter by nearly 50% and putting on some tremendous learning events all the while. I couldn't have imagined at the the time that two years later my latest business opportunity would come as a direct result of the work I was doing on the Board, and the relationships I was building. I learned that one of my fellow board members had built some software for his company that I thought had broad commercial viability. I acquired the software making him my first customer and a member of my advisory board. Furthermore, one of the other members of the board who owns a legal firm represented me in the transaction. Had I not invested in those relationships, I would not have even known about this opportunity, and without the trust-based relationship we built over time, I would not have been able to complete the deal.- Happy Networking, Josh Hinds(Btw. you connect with me on Facebook or Twitter)*brought to you by BusinessNetworkingAdvice.com
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Mike Michalowicz was 24 when he started his first business. With limited resources and no experience, he systematically grew a multi-million dollar technology business. After selling his first company, Mike launched a new business the very next day, and in less than three years, sold it to a Fortune 500. With his newest venture, Obsidian Launch, he fosters startup businesses with his "get rich right" approach.Mike received Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards multiple times. He is a recurring guest on CNBC’s The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, has been featured on National Public Radio (NPR),
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and in the New York Times, Smart CEO Magazine, and other publications. He is the author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur.Josh: How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?Mike Michalowicz: I define networking as I do communicating - give and take. The key to networking is to actively be out there trying to help other people succeed. The more I do to help other people's endeavors, then my value to others increases... and it brings me more opportunities. To do it successfully, I need to deliver my best on both paid and non-paid opportunities. The return value of introducing two people to do business together is just as great as getting an opportunity for myself.The second part of networking is persistence. I can't be there once, I need to be there "always." So I join a select few organizations, but I make sure I am there all the time.Josh: Can you share a couple of ideas that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?Mike Michalowicz: There is a reason God gave us two ears and one mouth, we should listen twice as much as we talk. The biggest improvement anyone can make in networking, is simply asking someone else what they do... and listen.Let the questions flow, and you will build a good rapport. I often try to discover a new skill or lesson or cool story every time I meet someone else, it makes the listening very fun.A second tip is to dress consistent with your business. At a traditional networking meeting, everyone is in a suit. But if you are a landscaper, jeans and a sweat shirt are way more fitting. Here is the deal, this is not a license to dress like a slob... you need to be neat, clean and put together. But your outfit should be true to your business, you will stand out from the crowd.Josh: How important has networking been in your own professional life. Can you share a few examples where it has made a difference?Mike Michalowicz: Networking is everything. Because of it, I built and sold a company within 2.5 years to a Fortune 500. I met my partner for that business through networking, and we were introduced to the buyer through networking. Also, for my companies, I hire over half my colleagues that I met through networking.Josh: You're the author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur -- can you share a few specific ideas from the book?Mike Michalowicz: The golden lesson in the book is that entrepreneurial success, as the media presents it, is not typical. There is a far more common path, and it results in tremendous success if navigated properly. That path is the one of the Toilet Paper Entrepreneur (TPE).In short, most entrepreneurs will not have an opportunity to start with a full roll of cash, or a strong business network, or any experience for that matter. The funny thing is this common starting point is VERY navigatable. And with the right balance of beliefs, focus and persistence, you can grow a wildly successful company that brings both wealth and happiness to you. I have built three companies this way, and want readers to know how to do it too.Happy Networking to you! Josh Hinds*brought to you by BusinessNetworkingAdvice.com
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Warren Whitlock is a Book Marketing Strategist. He organizes book launches where dozens of authors tell their followers about a new book, ask them to buy it on a certain day, and create instant best sellers. You can visit Warren's website at BestSellerAuthors.com.Josh: How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?Warren Whitlock: I think of business networking as what business should be. We have always had relationships with vendors, partners, media, prospects and customers. Today, with the te
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chnologies we have, it's easier to keep track of these relationships and focus on their development... but it's still just people working with people.Josh: Can you share a few ideas that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?Warren Whitlock: 1. Don't be afraid of the technology. Most of the people online are not techies and may know even less than you. And the smart people want to help you.2. Remember the "Law of Reciprocity"... that is "giving" before asking for a favor. Never hurts to ask "What can I do for you?"3. Follow up. When I get a invite from new contact, I immediately look at where I can do them a favor. Most people do not do this... and so it really stands out.Josh: What is your favorite (preferred) business or social networking site? In your opinion what are the key features which are most valuable to you? What makes the resources you use most appealing to you, as opposed to the other online networking resources and sites that are available?Warren Whitlock: The answer varies over time. I join 8-9 sites each day and constantly look for where people are looking for what I have to offer. There's a group focused on anything you care about.That's my first marketing rule... find the people/market that are looking for you. Then find out what they want and get it for them.Right now, I really like Facebook. I've picked up several new clients that wanted to promote books. They came looking for me.Side note from Josh Hinds: Warren and I originally connected with each other about doing this interview when I sent a note out on Twitter -- requesting potential interviews from people who follow me there.Josh: Warren, how do you encourage referrals from your network?Warren Whitlock: Instead of asking for referrals, I just focus on getting people what they want. Potential clients are looking for help and there is always some basic questions they have. Make sure you go to the place where they are looking, answer questions and become recognized as the expert. (It's usually those "basic" questions that we think everyone should know already... so answering them is easy).When someone asks me a question about books, I refer them (and their friends and contacts) to BookMarketingStrategy.com, a free course I put together. Then if they want to engage me, they contact me.Josh: How important has networking been in your own professional life. Can you share an example or two where it has made a difference?Warren Whitlock: All of my new business and all of the promotional partners in my joint ventures come from networking.One new client, Scott Schilling, author of "Talking With Giants" approached me on Facebook. We'd met years before, but we reconnected there. When I told Scott that I was using this as an example, he told me that he really contacted me because a friend suggested it, but turns out that same friend had just reconnected with me a few days before... also on Facebook. I expect to be working with the other guy soon.*brought to you by BusinessNetworkingAdvice.com
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So you’ve spent weeks (or even months) looking for just the right network marketing business, and you finally decided that YourNetBiz might be right for you. You’ve declared your future independence from your day job, but how do you get started with this business? This is the place where most network marketers stall – they’re excited about lifestyle, freedom, and earnings potential that a network marketing opportunity can provide, but they are just not sure how to get their businesses going.
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Joe Pulizzi is the founder and chief content officer of Junta42. Joe is also president of Z Squared Media, LLC, Junta42's parent company. Previously as Vice President for Penton Media, Inc., the largest independent business media company in North America, Joe worked with global Fortune 1000 marketers from a variety of vertical and horizontal sectors, becoming one of the leading experts in content marketing and custom publishing strategy.Awarded "Top Mover and Shaker Under 35" by Cleveland20/30, Joe is a board member of the Custom Publi
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shing Council, former chairperson of American Business Media's Custom Media Committee, and an editorial advisory board member for B2B Marketing Trends. His background includes employment at two .com companies and teaching public speaking and communication theory for Penn State University, where he received a Master of Arts in Communications (MAC).Joe also writes one of the leading content marketing blogs on the Internet, The Content Marketing Revolution, the official blog of Junta42.Josh: How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?Joe Pulizzi: Business networking is all about helping others succeed, and in the process, finding colleagues with like skills and passions. Any business, no matter how big or small, cannot function without getting help along the way. Much of that help comes from networking.Josh: Can you share a few ideas that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?Joe Pulizzi: I've found the most effective way to network is through blogging. I've met more people through my blog that anything else I've ever done. The best part is that those people that are drawn to your blog almost always share a passion with you.I recommend that anyone who is serious about business networking start a blog. For those that just can't fathom the idea, read and comment on the top 20 blogs in your area. That alone will lead to vast networking opportunities.Josh: For some people knowing where to go to network in the first place is a problem. Can you share some specific resources, events, or places that you have found helpful for meeting new people and growing your business network (either offline or online)?Joe Pulizzi: Outside of the blogging, which is #1, I've found that trade shows and associations are a great way to meet new people. The key is follow up. First meet someone, then follow up through email, or better yet, send them a linkedin or Facebook invitation. That way, you're sure to stay in touch with them.Josh: Joe, how do you keep track of your networking contacts? Do you have any particular system in place for managing your business networking relationships?Joe Pulizzi: I don't keep a separate networking system, but LinkedIn would probably be the most complete. I try to make sure that every few months I send something out to each contact. Just from that activity alone, I usually find new business opportunities. I also use Facebook, Twitter, Plaxo and my own website, Junta42.com, to keep up with my network. Whenever there is a new internet tool, I like to at least try it. You never know what can help until you give it a taste.Josh: Do you see any common mistakes people tend to make when it comes to attempting to make business connections? If so, what are they and what corrections could they make in your opinion which would help them to be more effective in their approach towards networking?Joe Pulizzi: Yes. I feel some people try to force a relationship. They make contact and then almost abuse the opportunity from the start by asking for too many things. I had one person contact me through LinkedIn. We accepted contacts with each other, and the next day I was hit up with 5 introduction requests. It was easy to break off contact with that person.The key is to start slow. Trust won't happen until there is regular communication between the two people. That's why blogging is so important. If you comment on someone's blog for a period of time, they begin to trust you even if they've never met you before.Josh: How important has networking been in your own professional life. Can you share an example or two where it has made a difference?Joe Pulizzi: It's hard to separate my business life from networking. I wouldn't be at this place in my career without the people I have met. I certainly wouldn't have been able to start a business.As for an example, here's an easy one. When I left Penton Media in March of 2007 to start my new job, I had no business lined up. Within 6 months, I had more consulting business than I knew what to do with. All of that business came from direct referrals from people I had met within the last year. It was simply awesome. One of the biggest ones came from a referral from someone who was featured in a local magazine. I liked the story and sent an email introduction. He emailed back that we should grab coffee. We became friends and colleagues, and that led to a number of new business contacts for me.I believe if you treat every person as important, and as a unique opportunity, special things can happen.Sponsor: Powerful Contact Management ...The Oprius Contact Management System allows you to Manage your daily tasks, build your relationships, and turn contacts into customers; all in one place, available all the time and from anywhere you want to work. Take a 30-day free trial!*brought to you by BusinessNetworkingAdvice.com
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Amsoil Inc. takes pride in being the “First In Synthetics”; this was the company that launched Synthetic Motor Oil for use in vehicles. Since this momentous launch Amsoil started manufacturing several lubricating products and accessories. Amsoil Synthetics are known for their good quality and endurance.While other motor oils need to be changed every three months, you could use Amsoil Oil for one year.Of course, because of the superior quality, the price is higher; but it’s worth it. This is a ne
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Liz Lynch is the author of Smart Networking: Attract a Following In Person and Online and a sought-after speaker who brings a practical and insightful perspective to networking that has connected with a global audience. She’s appeared in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and USAToday as well as on Fox Business News, ABC News, CNBC.com and Businessweek.com.Liz is also founder of the Center for Networking Excellence, a company that develops products, programs and seminars to help entrepreneurs and professionals get clients, build their businesses, and accelerate their careers throug
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h networking. Her bottom-line approach grew from her experience in corporate America working at some of the top firms in their industries -- Goldman Sachs, Disney, Booz Allen & Hamilton, and Time Warner.Josh: Liz, how do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it's important?Liz Lynch: To me, a network is a support system that you can turn to for advice, ideas, information and feedback. So networking then is simply the process of building and maintaining that support system.The main reason you’d want a support system in your life is to give you maximum flexibility to pursue the goals that you want to pursue and have a high probability of achieving them. Want to change jobs, start your own business, or do something completely different with your life?As independent-minded as you may be, if a goal is big enough, you can’t get there alone. You’re going to need the help of other people and your network is a valuable source of that help.Josh: Can you share a few ideas that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?Liz Lynch: I think mindset is the most important thing for successful networking. Tactics and technique without the right intentions will leave you spinning your wheels and potentially alienate a lot of people. Once you develop an intuitive sense for building relationships, you can get almost anything done. So here are a couple of tips for getting there:First, think about being a connector rather than a collector. When you meet new people it’s not about getting their business card, but about making a personal connection on which to form an authentic and supportive relationship. This means you need to have a conversation and get to know them. Let that be your goal rather than just collecting another business card.Second, if you want to get someone’s attention you have to take the attention off of yourself. For instance, here’s an example of a Facebook friend invitation I received the other day:My web site is [url removed to protect the guilty]. Subscribe to my newsletter. It’s free. I CAN HELP YOU! Check out my book on Amazon.com. The book is for males AND FEMALES. I will be posting content for you soon."Hmm, how’s that supposed to entice me to want to network? That message tells me that he’s only out to help himself and doesn’t care about me at all. Not a great way to start off a relationship. Needless to say, I didn’t accept the invite. Whether you’re networking in person or online, it’s important to put your agenda aside. Think about what’s going to pull someone into your network, rather than what you can push at them.Josh: I get the question a lot from people who say, "those ideas all sound great, but they wouldn't work for me because I'm an introvert." What advice can you give folks who just aren't comfortable getting out there and connecting with others?Liz Lynch: I’m an introvert too! One of the reasons I wanted to write this book is to let people know that you don’t need to be the life of the party to be successful with networking. You don’t even need to do it all the time, as long as you know how to be highly effective when you do get out there.So if networking is uncomfortable, you can at least minimize the time that you have to do it while still getting great results. This is what smart networking is all about.In my experience, I find that introverts may have a slight edge over their extroverted friends because they’re less prone to hogging the spotlight. Turn your introverted tendencies to your advantage when you meet people and ask lots of questions. People love to talk about themselves and will feel more connected to you because you’ve shown interest in getting to know them.Josh: For some people knowing where to go to network in the first place is a problem. Can you share some specific resources, events, or places that you have found helpful for meeting new people and growing your business network?Liz Lynch: I’m a huge Facebook fan for business networking. But again, I think there’s a trick to using it and some people just don’t get it. I feel people are more responsive when you post things about yourself (pictures, status updates, videos, blog entries, etc.) and let those who are interested in what you’re doing find their way to you, rather than trying to market to people directly by sending messages, inviting them to events and groups. It’s also important to engage people in conversation by commenting on things that they post, which helps you start to build rapport.I’m also now starting to explore Biznik.com, whose tagline is "Business Networking that doesn’t suck." Not only have I met the nicest, most supportive people there, but it’s a company that believes in what I believe: that the best of business networking is the combination of online and offline. In addition to the site, they host events in different cities so people can meet face-to-face.For in person networking since there are so many options, the best thing to do is ask your target market where they network and what groups they belong to.Josh: Do you see any common mistakes that people tend to make when it comes to attempting to make business connections? If so, what are they and what corrections could they make in your opinion which would help them to be more effective in their approach towards networking?Liz Lynch: Even though social networking is becoming more and more popular, remember that online sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. are just tools. They don’t do the networking for you. All the same principles of building relationships offline apply to building relationships online because there’s a real person behind that profile. Don’t spam your "friends" with overtly promotional messages and don’t waste their time with frivolous applications and irrelevant event/group invitations.-Happy Networking, Josh Hinds :-)(you can follow me on Facebook or Twitter)*brought to you by BusinessNetworkingAdvice.com
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Kathy Nelson is a seasoned certified Life and Business Success Coach. She challenges her clients to follow their vision, create their plans, use their talents, recognize their strengths and break through their limits. You can visit her and learn more about what she does at either OnTrackSuccessCoaching.com or Linkedin.com/in/ontracksuccesscoaching.Josh: How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?Kathy Nelson
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: Creating relationships and growing and contributing to community within associations and groups online or in-person. This can run the gambit from interest groups to business groups and philanthropic groups. Josh: Can you share an idea or two that someone could put into practice which would help them to improve their business networking skills?Kathy Nelson: 1. Help others get what they need and want. At BNI we have a saying, "Givers gain". I find that is true.2. Get really good with your 30 or 60 second elevator speech or commercial. Make it about your benefits to others, not a brag op for you. The word *you* is more important than the word *I*. Practice it until it is natural.3. Get comfortable about talking about the value and benefits of your services and share stories of how it has served others. Before and after stories paint the story too. 4. When you meet someone at a meeting that is interesting, follow up with an invite for coffee and make the date. You will build your network one great person at a time. Find the common threads to create rapport.Josh: Based on your experiences, which places and activities have you found best for meeting new people and expanding your business network?Kathy Nelson: I have found success with BNI, local Network groups, NAFE, NAWBO, Chamber of Commerce, Business Association meetings, Rotary, Kiwanis, PTA and Soccer groups, anywhere where people come together for causes and interests. What are your interests? Where does your target market hang out? There are many great groups you can join and get involved with. Check out their forums too. If you are friendly, interested in meeting and talking with others you will strike up a natural conversation. Wear a T Shirt or Hat with your company logo on it or something that says what you do. I used to wear a badge and people would ask me about the real estate market and start conversations with me in grocery and drug store lines. I was not a Realtor, but I got some leads for some of my clients who were. Online social communities work well too. I have become active on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and grown good relationships in the last 9 months.Josh: Can you share a personal networking success story with us? Kathy Nelson: I joined a local BNI network close to my office over ten years ago. Not only do I coach a lot of our members, but I regularly receive referrals from them. I believe these groups accounts for a good 40% of my business income and I have great resources available to support my clients needs as well.- Happy Networking, Josh Hinds(Connect with me on Facebook or Twitter)*brought to you by BusinessNetworkingAdvice.com
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Stuart Tan is one of Singapore’s foremost NLP trainers and peak performance specialists. He is a highly sought-after motivational speaker and corporate consultant in training and development. You can reach him at www.StuartTan.comJosh: How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?Stuart Tan: Business networking is about looking out for and acting in the interests of other people, while holding on tightly to the people who are looking out for you by building a deeper understanding of them and reciprocating.Our environment controls us to an extent tha
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t we are not aware of. You behave in constant reaction to your surroundings. So, it's essential for you to create an environment that is suitable for you.We are influenced heavily by the people around us. More importantly, their ideas can become thought viruses. Do you want to hang out with people who have a negative outlook of life? Or would you rather hang out with high achievers?Since people affect us, we might as well find people who affect us in a powerful way.Josh: Can you share a few ideas that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?Stuart Tan: The first thing is to never network more than you can respond. It's literally a sin. By building deep and intimate understanding with a few people, it helps you create a high quality in the relationship. I've seen people spend 10 seconds with people and make their business decisions just based on that. I mean, what kind of a moron does that?A lot of people take business networking like some kind of commodity to be traded. If we simply started to treat people as people, be sensitive to their needs and empathize with them, it would be easier to find that networking isn't as mercenary as some people put it out to be.Josh: We hear a lot about the importance of creating value for the people who we want to develop strong networking connections with. Can you share some ways people can go about creating value in the eyes of those they want to cultivate stronger working relationships with?Stuart Tan: That's a simple question. By paying attention to what they have ahead of them, and helping to make the way easier for them.Don't just say you'll support them, surprise them with action. If someone wanted to launch a product, do a pre-launch to help them with the buzz. You can take initiative and still benefit from it by simply feeling good that you've done a good thing.Josh: Can you share some of the ways you use the internet for business networking?Stuart Tan: Twitter is a great platform to use. Social networks like Facebook and MySpace are also great. I usually seek out interesting people to interview, just like what you're doing, Josh. This not only helps me to learn a thing or two, it also gives me a bit of time to really connect with my interviewees.More importantly, I've learnt about the importance of conversations and what this does to us. It's no longer putting up a blog post, or a newsletter. It's about the "back and forth" interaction. We need that. As humans, I think we crave that.Once I get to know people, I don't jump in and ask for a business contact. Okay, that may be stupid to some people, but I really need to know enough about someone to actually do something with them. That way, I can anticipate what to expect.Josh: Can you share a personal "networking" success story with us?Stuart Tan: I have a few funny stories to tell about people I networked with in the men's room. Won't mention names, but as a newbie, it was great to have a captive expert in the urinal next to me and I just had lots of questions answered.In 2006, I had the chance to meet Alex Mandossian because the person who was his event organizer had spoken to me and my partner about doing something together. I later volunteered information that helped to increase back of room conversions. Alex later offered to speak if I could organize a group of people (he was practicing), so I had 118 people registered in 4 days of promotions due to the "partnership".This paved the way to more things to come. It was July 2007 when Jay Conrad Levinson was in Malaysia delivering a training program. I volunteered to emcee the event (something I learnt from Alex) and ended up making friends with the Father of Guerilla Marketing, and had the great fortune to spend some time being educated in the ways of guerilla marketing staying at his place in Florida just this year in June. He's an awesome guy to learn about life - not just marketing - from.Josh: Stuart, thank you again for doing the interview. If there are any other ideas on this topic which you think are worth including please go ahead and include them.Stuart Tan: Yeah you're welcome. I just wanted to add that some people might think that networking is not "them". That's just sad. If you didn't network, you'd be a social outcast.Maybe that's just your comfort zone, and I guarantee that your quality of life is just not going to improve. Anthony Robbins once said the quality of your life is the quality of your communication. I'll add on to say the quality of your life is determined by the quality of your connection and connectedness.I used to be introverted, and thought I was a social outcast in school. Just because you think you are introverted does not give you the excuse to not network. Introverts network in warmer and deeper ways, and allow you to forge stronger and deeper relationships.Wherever you are, whatever you do, network for networking's sake. Expand your thinking by meeting people who think in different ways than you. You'll be wiser for it, and you'll be grateful for it someday when you connect the dots looking back.-- Happy Networking! Josh Hinds*brought to you by BusinessNetworkingAdvice.com
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