You've Got Seven Seconds - What Will You Say? The Short Magical Networking Moment

Every once in a while you will be placed in a situation where you only have a few seconds to convey to others who you are and what you do.  It may be at a formal networking event or in a chance meeting.  These short interactions can be extremely powerful if you are prepared.

Have you ever noticed that the volume on your television magically increases during commercials?  Advertisers know that they must grab your attention in the first few seconds of their message and they also know that you are likely to leave the room for a moment or two.  Therefore they increase the volume to lure you back.  Even if you don't return to the room, they want to be sure that they have been heard.

But Magical Networking Moments (elevator pitches or self-introductions) in a group or one on one are different.  While it is important that the volume and pitch of your voice are appropriate for the setting, what you say will be far more important than a commercial advertiser.  You are likely to only have this one chance to make an impression.  Therefore you must plan well what you will say and what you hope to gain by delivering the message.

Remember your desired outcome.  It is impossible to get everyone in the room or every person you meet to be interested in your products or services solely based on a short introduction.  This should be the beginning of a relationship.  Your goal is to craft a message in such a way that the people who are right for you are compelled to ask you for more information.  You'll know you're on the right track when you deliver a short message and people ask you for more information.

Experts tell us that we have between three and seven seconds to grab someone's attention long enough to keep it when they are expecting our message. Starting with a simple question and following with your name is a good technique.  For example, "Have you ever known someone who struggled introducing themselves in front of a group?  I'm Glen and I help people get what they want when meeting people."   Always end with a tag line or your name in the final sentence.  We recommend using only your first name since time is short and one name is easier to remember than two.

In the example above we are seeking people who are struggling to introduce themselves.  And while we are targeting the group in which this message is delivered, we have done it in a way that gives each person who responds deniability.  Few people are willing to admit they have a problem in front of others.  Each person can feel comfortable approaching us without revealing to the group that they have a problem since our message was directed to people who have "known someone who struggled."  If it had asked "have you ever struggled" our responses would be very few.

The key is to take your standard Magical Networking Moment and pull the middle out.  Start with a bang and end with a bang and your time is up. If you haven't crafted your standard Magical Networking Moment yet this shortened message will be the boilerplate for your standard version.  Either way you should remain consistent.

What you say and how you say it will have a big impact on your results.  Having a standard Magical Networking Moment that begins and ends the same will provide you with the ability to shorten your message to fit any occasion.  You will be more consistent and memorable which will deliver better results and help you build deep relationships with your clients and referring partners.

Be One of the Chosen Few Who Meet the Right People - Seven Steps to Networking Success

Regardless of the community, group, or event, there always seems to be someone who meets just the right people at just the right time.  While others spend years attending events hoping to meet someone, these seemingly chosen few find it easy to connect and grow their network (and their business).  Why?

Here are seven simple steps to become more like those "chosen few".

First.  Remember that you are not there to sell anything right now.  Everyone has come to the event or group with the desire to grow their business.  And that is why so many people fail to connect.  Since everyone expects everyone else to be selling, they naturally put up their protective wall.  It's hard to connect with people through a wall.

Second:  Remember that everyone is thinking about themselves most of the time.  You must be aware that people love to hear their own name and things about them.  That's why so many people verbally vomit all over others when they meet them.  It's not because they think others want to hear about them, it's because they want to hear about themselves.

Third:  Smile!  It's proven that smiling, seemingly happy people are more attractive to us than people who do not smile.  People who smile more are more successful.  The simple act of smiling can make you happier.  What's more, smiling leaves evidence on your face in "smiling lines" that make you appear to be smiling even when you are not.  Smiling tells others that you are warm and inviting, and most of all, fun!

Fourth:  Seek to meet people.  Here's a secret:  Everyone is scared just like you.  It's natural to be apprehensive when in a crowd of strangers.  When you take the first step and engage others in conversation, you will subliminally be easing the pain that the other person is experiencing.  Everyone is there to meet people.  You should make it easy for others to meet you by taking the first step.

Fifth:  Have a warm handshake, literally and figuratively.  If your hands are cold, rub them together to warm them up.  Shake hands with people being sure to get a good web-to-web grip.  See my previous article "Success in Sales and in Life Depends on a Great Handshake" to learn how to do this.

Sixth:  Ask questions that show a genuine interest in the other person.  One great example is, "how did you get into the work that you are in right now?"  Asking questions that go beyond what you do and how you do it will go a long way to building rapport and that leads to a better connection.

Seventh:  Ask for their business card.  When you get their card write down a few notes to remind you about the conversation.  Be sure to ask the Million Dollar Question: "As I meet people, how will I know a perfect referral for you?"  Write this down and then follow up with a phone call or note.

Every group has the chosen few who seem to have the inside track.  They know everyone and everyone knows them.  Meeting new people comes naturally for them.  Follow these seven steps and you will soon be among the chosen few who meet all the right people at just the right time.

Getting to Know You - Real Success Cannot Be Achieved Without One-on-One Meetings

Are you ready to make your networking efforts pay huge dividends?  There are many things you can and should do to ensure success, but none so important as setting time aside each week and meeting with individuals face-to-face, also known as having a one-on-one.  Individual meetings with people are so critical that we believe you cannot truly succeed without them.

When it is just you and another person meeting you will have the ability to really get to know each other.  You will have a chance to learn about each others personal life, goals, and dreams.  In learning more you will also discover things you have in common and you will naturally grow to like each other.  That is assuming you have carefully chosen those with whom you meet.

One-on-one meetings are where the networking plan you have created really pays off.  Since you have carefully considered the people you want to meet and you skillfully asked questions previously, you won’t be wasting your time when you meet discovering if you are a match.  You can get right into knowing each other better.

Occasionally you will have a one-on-one with someone that you thought would be a match but turns out not to be.  When this happens it is best to refer them to someone else and move on.  Be polite but honest.  The best thing for everyone is to have people in your network that truly belong.  Skillful questioning, careful listening, and clearly explaining your needs will clarify the relationship.  Both you and your meeting partner will quickly see if there is a good match or not.

Meet at a neutral location like a local Starbucks or other coffee house.  Meeting at a neutral location keeps the focus of the meeting on the two of you as equals and prevents the conversation from turning one-sided.  Neutral locations also provide ease of exit when a match isn’t felt. One-on-ones can be over a meal if you choose.  We suggest breakfast as the meal of choice.  It’s easy to focus on the food and restaurant when having lunch or dinner, but you want to focus on your meeting partner.  Breakfast also provides the lowest cost of entry and the shortest time.  One-on-ones should be short and to the point but long enough to become comfortable with each other.

You should bring what you believe will be a good lead or referral for the person you are meeting with.  As you engage in more one-on-ones you will become skilled at referring others on short notice.  You’ll hear what they do and quickly think of someone you just met or have known for quite a while that needs to know your meeting partner.  But and in the beginning it may take a bit more thought.  Having at least one potential lead or referral means you have done your homework and that you cared enough to come prepared.  It also puts into motion the law of reciprocity.  Simply stated, you have done something for them, now they feel obligated to do something for you.  All too often we leave meetings feeling like we have made a great connection and neither party takes the next step and gives a referral. Coming prepared puts the relationship into action.

One-on-one meetings are essential to success.  They are the building blocks of relationships that will result in more referrals and closed business.  People do business with people they know, like, and trust.  One-on-one meetings give you the opportunity to know, like, and trust each other.

The Moment of Truth: Being Worthy of Referrals - It's All About Follow Up

Something magical happens when you begin to attend networking events.  People begin to give you leads and referrals.  Many have been fortunate to have met someone who wanted to do business right away.  Others have met someone at a networking event that should be a part of their networking circle.  And still others have met that rare individual who just hears what they do and knows someone who needs their product or service.  It happens.  And when it does it is a beautiful thing.

Other times you have worked hard for the opportunity.  You have attended events, met people and delivered a great elevator pitch (Magical Networking Moment).  Through planning your networking and working your plan you have received leads and referrals.

Now comes the moment of truth.  What happens when you meet someone or when someone gives you a lead or referral?  What will you do with what you have been given? Most leads, referrals, and opportunities die.  Most people never follow up or follow through.  It's sad but true.  Nothing will shut referrals down faster than lack of action on your part.  The referral you have received will die.  Worse still, because you will be known as someone who doesn't follow up, you won't receive more referrals either.

The good news is you can stand out in most any crowd by being the exception.  Simply by following up puts you in an elite class.  Following up shows respect for the referral.  It shows respect for the person who gave you the referral and it shows respect for you, your company, and everyone's time.  And following up is easy.  You have tools at your disposal that make managing contacts a snap.  You must use them.

While it is the least effective, a simple email can get the follow up process going.  Be aware that email isn't what it used to be.  Most people get at least fifty emails a day, so your email may not receive priority.  Using email alone is better than most, but not enough to reach the most valuable prospects.  Email does have it's place in the follow up process.  It provides an easy way to connect and it provides a simple management tool for contact information.  Use email to make quick, consistent contact with people.

Incorporate snail mail options too.  Since we get more email today, many forget that regular mail is a powerful tool.  The use of letters, lumpy mail (mail with something inside that makes the envelope beg to be opened), and hand written cards and notes is powerful.  For those who simply cannot seem to get this done, programs like Send Out Cards can do this for you.  Regular mail is an easy way to stand out from the crowd.

One other tool often overlooked is the telephone.  Make use of the phone wisely.  When you call, treat the gatekeeper (if there is one) like you would want to be treated.  Engage them by using their name and by telling them who you are and why you are calling.  It is best to ask for an introductory call when you have been referred. This coupled with courtesy for the gatekeeper will usually ensure your call gets through.  And when leaving messages make them short and to the point.  Your name, your phone number, who suggested you call, your name and phone number again should suffice.  Don't try to sell them on calling you back or your product or service in a message.  The referral should result in a return call.

Having a plan and process that you put every referral through will ensure that you are known as someone who follows up.  Using email, regular mail, the telephone, and courtesy for the gatekeeper will show everyone that you are a professional and worthy of referrals.  Being worthy means more referrals and more business.  So make it happen, follow up.

What the Movers and Shakers Know That You Don't - Volunteering Does More Than Make You Feel Good

One of the best kept secrets of the movers and shakers is that volunteering is a powerful way to improve you business and your life.  There is nothing more powerful than a group of people pulling together for a common cause.  When you work side by side with another person in an effort you both care about, you will find that forces seen and unseen will work in your favor to bring you closer together.

Volunteering differs from taking a leadership role in that volunteers do the heavy lifting.  They function in an operational manner.  They do the planning, coordinating, and directing others.  These are the unsung heroes of the event that went off without a hitch, the issue that was tackled and defeated, and the community that was changed for the better.  Volunteers make our lives better and we couldn't live or function without them.

You can get started by simply offering to be a greeter at the reception table at the next event you attend.  Or you can offer to serve in a role at your local chamber of commerce, service club, or school.  There are more opportunities than one can count to volunteer and make a difference.

When choosing how to serve, consider the things that you are passionate about.  While serving your industry group will reap rewards in your business life, serving with other people who share your passion for a cause will bring you personal rewards and satisfaction.  And don't fail to recognize the opportunities you'll be given to expand your business with the people you will meet who will be interested in you since you share a common interest in a cause.

But don't be too anxious to do business.  You will have access to people that you could never get to through normal business channels.  When you serve with others who care about what you care about, you will be amazed at the different people you will easily meet and spend time with.  Volunteering gives you access to people you may otherwise never get close to and better still, it gives you the commonality that builds relationships.  Do not abuse this opportunity by trying to sell.

The best approach is to get to know the people you are volunteering with and let them get to know you.  Once they know you, they will like you, and your co-service will lead them to trust you.  You won't have to ask for the business, they will naturally bring the business to you.  You will be a trusted resource they will go to and lead others to when they find a need for your products or services.

Remember that you should volunteer to serve a cause or group you have a passion for and you will find that business will naturally happen.  In the process you will find personal fulfillment, new friends, and bigger business opportunities.  Friends do business together.