Tag Archives: business networking

A Different Perspective on Business Networking

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All business people are networkers whether they realize it or not.  If they’re not, they need to be or they will soon be out of business. Some people are more effective at business networking than others. They work at it with purpose while others wander aimlessly through the process.

When and where can you find opportunities to network? The answer is simple: anytime, anywhere.

Every time you meet someone, greet someone, pick up the phone, send an e-mail message, engage someone in conversation, write a note (yes, people still write notes), you’re networking.

You don’t have to attend a community function, an after-hours reception, a fundraising event, a meeting or a conference to network. Anytime you interact with another person, you’re networking. It can happen at the mall, the grocery store, the post office, walking the dog, riding in an elevator or waiting for your next flight to take off.

What do you need to understand about networking to be effective?

The purpose of business networking is to build relationships and grow your business, but you can’t be successful at networking if you don’t understand what it is. Some people think that it’s who you know and others believe that it’s who knows you.  Networking is a combination of those two and more.

Business networking is about what you know, and more importantly, it’s about who knows that you know what you know. (Try saying that fast three times in a row.)

It’s not enough to be famous if no one understands what makes you famous. As part of your networking strategy, be clear about who you are, what you do and what you have to offer.   Your area of expertise and the unique skills you possess are what others need to know.

How can you be sure that people know that you know what you know? By being visible and by using every opportunity to showcase your expertise. And by preparing that infamous elevator speech. You know, the one you can deliver in 30-60 seconds, the time it takes to ride between floors on an elevator—hence, the name.

Your elevator speech needs to be a capsulized version of what you do, how you do it, who you work with and what results or solutions you offer.  It needs to be interesting and spark curiosity.

Your elevator pitch shouldn’t be a static, memorized statement. Instead of a canned, formulaic, verbatim regurgitation, engage your listener by asking a question posed as a problem that your product or service solves.

Once people know that you know what you know, you become the expert and the “to-go-to” person. It’s a lot easier to have people come to you rather than having to chase them down. Would you agree?

Lydia Ramsey is on a mission to stamp out rudeness. She is a Savannah-based business expert on business etiquette and professional conduct, a sought-after speaker and established author. Contact her at 912-604-0080 or visit her at LydiaRamsey.com to leave a comment, ask a question or learn more about her programs and products. More information on professional conduct is available in her best-selling books Manners That Sell – Adding the Polish That Builds Profits and Lydia Ramsey’s Little Book of Table Manners. Invite Lydia to speak at your next conference or meeting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Business Etiquette: Overcoming Minglephobia or Fear of Networking

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Networking GroupWhen you think of attending a networking event, do you suffer from an attack of “minglephobia” of fear of networking? Some people thoroughly enjoy these opportunities to mix and mingle with business clients and potential customers. They welcome the chance to meet and talk with total strangers. Other people would rather schedule a root canal than face a room of people whom they barely know.

Here are a few tips to help you deal with the fear of networking and turn each one of these events into a profitable experience.

  1. Understand what networking is not. It is not about seeing how many hands you can shake or how many business cards you can collect.
  2. Understand what networking is. It is an opportunity to connect with people and build your business relationships.
  3. To be a successful networker, you need to know who will be attending the event. If you can’t get names, at least know which organizations will be represented.
  4. Plan in advance what you will talk about. Have specific topics in mind for those people whom you plan to see.
  5. Be prepared with a least three subjects you can discuss with anyone, whether they are strangers or people whom you already know. The best way to do this is to be up to date on current events. If you can’t make conversation, you can’t make connections.
  6. Listen more than you talk. People enjoy talking about themselves so give them the opportunity. You will learn more by listening, and the people you meet will think you are a great conversationalist.
  7. Arrive on time so you can become comfortable with the venue and be able to meet people as they arrive. If you join an event already underway, it will be more difficult to join conversations.
  8. Have plenty of your business cards with you and have them readily accessible. The person who has to fumble for a business card appears unprepared and unprofessional.
  9. Have a follow up plan for those people with whom you’d like to create or maintain a business relationship. As soon as you get back to your office, look at those business cards and decide whether you want to call someone, send an email or invite a person to lunch.

The successful networkers always attend events with confidence and assurance. They have a plan of action and a goal of growing their business by connecting with people face to face. Social media is no substitute for a personal encounter.

Here’s to overcoming your fear of networking!

professional speaker

Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website, lydiaramsey.com.

 

Do Your Homework Before You Network

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As I write this newsletter, I am making preparations to speak about networking to the Georgia Society of Certified Public Accountants at Amelia Island, Florida. Now there is a group whose expertise I need. The writer in me has suppressed the numbers side of me. I am extremely grateful for accountants and people with a love for math. While they do what they enjoy, I am free to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. My message to this group is one I would like to share with you as one of my loyal subscribers.

Networking is a very broad topic, I am choosing to focus on one piece of it for the purpose of this newsletter.  The attention is on planned business/social events and how to prepare for them. It is not the usual “how to work the event” topic. This is about preparing for the event in advance. Consider these questions before you head out the door:

1. What is the event?  Read the invitation carefully. Check to see if it is a cocktail reception with heavy hors d’oeuvres, breakfast, lunch or dinner. No matter what refreshments or meals are provided, eat something before you go so you can focus on the business connections and not the food and drink.

2. Why is it being held? What is the reason for having this event? Is it purely for bringing a business group or groups together? Is it a fund-raiser? Is it to share information about the host organization or a thank you to their clients?  Is it to lure new clients?

3.  Who will be there?  If you have any questions about the other people who have been invited, ask. Call the person or organization who sent the invitation. Most likely, they will be happy that you care and more than willing to share that information, if not by name, by organization.

4. What will I talk about? Never, ever go to an event without some conversation starters in your head.  Read the paper, listen to the news, research the host organization so you are ready to talk to anyone you meet. Have three topics you can discuss if there is a lull in the conversation.

5. What should I wear?  This is not simply a woman’s issue.  Check to see what the recommended attire is.  If the terminology is not clear, put that question on your list for the event planner or sponsor. “Business attire” and “business casual” mean different things to different people.

Proper planning can serve you well and help to avoid embarrassing moments.  Remember that advance preparation adds the polish that builds profits!

professional speaker

Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website, lydiaramsey.com.