Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Networking’

This morning, I approached the main road near my house during the busy rush hour. I was in a hurry, and wanting to do my usual right-hand turn, my heart sank as I got closer. The traffic in both directions was almost at a standstill. With everyone in a rush, I knew that waiting for two nice drivers to create a gap in the traffic might be a waste of time.

Then, just before feeling disheartened, I decided to approach the junction with the thought that someone would make a space for me. And this is exactly what happened, the instant my car stopped at the crossing.

Image Quote Positive

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right. (Henry Ford)

It is so easy to forget that you actually have a choice about what you think in any given situation!

But being positive isn’t always easy!

To be fair, even I sometimes find it challenging to stay positive during particularly stressful periods or when suffering from the hormonal ups and downs midlife women can be prone to. And often, before you know it, your negative thoughts have become regular visitors.

In my experience, it requires quite a bit of effort to stay positive when you’re under pressure, but persistence and regular practice do pay off in the long run.

So what can you do?

The first step is in realising and monitoring your natural thought processes. Sometimes our thoughts appear in what we say in passing to a colleague. For example, have you ever caught yourself thinking or saying things like:

“They will be too busy and won’t want me to call today”
“They won’t pay me”
“I’ll mess up this presentation”
“I won’t get any business from this meeting anyway”?

Thinking in this way will inevitably affect your confidence and can prevent you from taking the positive action your business needs right now.

So before attending an event or starting a challenging task today, don’t just jump in. Instead, take yourself through a little prep task first.

If going to a networking meeting or event, either stay in the car or find a quiet space for a couple of minutes so you can become aware of your thoughts. For example, if you notice that you’re thinking that nobody ever wants to talk to you, or is interested in your business, decide which thought or approach would suit you better:

“I will ask the organiser to introduce me”
“I will approach just one person”
“I’ll ask them questions and show that I’m interested in them”

Making a choice can be quite difficult at first, as your negative thoughts will keep bobbing to the surface like apples that have fallen into a bucket of water.

So at first you might find it helpful to say your new thought out loud. But if you’re with people and speaking to yourself feels odd, take your phone and type the new thought as if you were sending someone a text message. Or you can write it in a small notebook. This way, no one will know!

The simple act of hearing your own voice or seeing your thought written down may help to plant the idea and get you used to thinking differently.

As the author Jodi Picoult said in her book My Sister’s Keeper, “If you tell yourself you feel fine, you will.”

PS. Why not share a tip below that works for you?

About the author: Ute Wieczorek-King provides business & blogging support for passionate midlife women who want to be more visible, focused and profitable. Get Ute’s business tips on Facebook or visit the Success Network website to receive Ute’s free “Passion to Profit ebook. You too can take your micro-business from good to great!

Read Full Post »

In recent years we have seen an explosive rise in social media use by freelancers and micro-businesses in the service industry. It seems that many small business owners are now casting their net wider and further afield in an attempt to make new connections and, thus, attract new business opportunities.

It probably goes without saying that to win new business you need to be known and trusted, and be ‘seen’ regularly in different places.

However with the lure of so many online opportunities, I think many people don’t realise that looking closer to home can actually be much easier, quicker and potentially more rewarding too!

People often forget about their existing network, both virtual and real, especially when it hasn’t yet delivered new business.

The thing is, the people you know may already trust you — a real bonus when you would dearly love to receive more leads, referrals and new business. But sometimes we expect contacts to provide us with leads, when they are not quite ready to do so.

Perhaps our relationships aren’t quite as strong as we think they are. Or they are too busy and you are not the first person they think of when a business opportunity presents itself.

Here is what you can do. Start by asking yourself some important questions:

  • How can I help my existing contacts to get to know me better as a person as well as the ‘expert’ in my field?
  • Do I share my knowledge and expertise fairly regularly and am I generous enough?
  • Do I really understand their needs and desires so I can help them accordingly? How can I get to know them better?

Enhancing existing relationships can be quite simple:

  • IMG_0971Arrange regular informal 1-to-1 meetings over a coffee or lunch.  You’ll find out about your contacts’ latest developments and how you can add value to their business
  • Always follow up after each meeting — it will help them to remember you!
  • Stay in touch by forwarding articles or blog posts (not just your own!) that they will find useful
  • Invite them to events that you think they’ll be interested in
  • Refer them when you know that they would benefit from meeting one of your other contacts

Keeping in touch with people you already know on a regular basis (without selling to them) really does pay off!

If, reading this, you think that all this may be too time-consuming for you, then my guess is you haven’t yet enlisted the help of online social networks for networking purposes.

If you treat social networking as your personal assistant and use it to stay in touch with your existing network, you simply can’t go wrong!

  • Status updates help you to give people bite-sized updates on what you’re up to
  • Wall posts or brief private messages on sites such as Facebook Messenger, Twitter or Linked-In allow you to communicate much quicker and more efficiently than via email (and there is no danger of your message disappearing in someone’s junk mail folder either!)
  • A blog or newsletter may be less personal but they will remind your contacts of your expertise and your ability to help them

Building strong relationships, both offline and online, always takes time but ultimately, it is generally much harder and more time-consuming to start relationships from scratch than to re-connect with people who already know you.

P.S. Why not add to the above tips or share your own experiences by commenting below?

Ute2013-150x150

About the author: Ute Wieczorek-King is an experienced business coach, mentor and blogger who helps passionate midlife women to stay focused, work smarter and stand out from the crowd.

If you’d like to take your small venture from good to great, why not download Ute’s free “Passion to Profit” ebook.

Please note, the above article is based on an older version first published here in October 2010. 

Read Full Post »

I once read a networking tip on the Harvard Business Review site which literally stopped me in my tracks:

Build outward, not inward. Don’t waste time deepening connections with people you already know*

As someone who has built a strong offline and online network for years, I question that statement on two accounts.

  • Firstly, how do you gauge that you know people enough to not have to deepen the connection?
  • And why would you ever not want to deepen that connection?

If you build your network outwards, you’re not unlike a spider that keeps growing a web in the hope of increasing its chances to catch prey.

Photo by Sophia King

Photo by Sophia King

But just like a spider web, a network grown outwards can also be quite fragile.

In fragile relationships you may not know enough about how you can help your contact, whether they would help you if you asked or who their connections are – and, importantly, whether they’d allow you to access those connections.

By diluting your efforts you may miss something crucial: the glue that holds relationships together and that creates the “know, like and trust” effect that leads to referrals and people helping each other generously and willingly.

So, the best way to win new clients is to build inward, not outward!

Don’t keep making the mistake I see so many (not just new) business people make: spreading themselves thin, like a butterfly moving from one networking opportunity (or social media platform) to another.

Let me share a secret with you!

Even when winning new business from new contacts seems easy, it is never as personally or financially rewarding as business that comes from strong, long-term relationships. These are far more likely to lead to referrals and repeat business which makes building your business much easier in the long-run!

One of the key themes from the ebook From Contact to Advocate™ I co-authored a few years ago, is how to build authentic relationships, online and offline, with the people who matter.  

I know from personal experience and the recommendations and repeat business I get, that the principle works!

Ute2013-150x150About the author: Ute Wieczorek-King is a UK-based German mentor and blogger who inspires passionate midlife women to achieve business success by simplifying and staying focused on what really matters.

If you’d like to take your small venture from good to great, why not download Ute’s free “Passion to Profit” ebook.

New this year: Online blog coaching programme ‘Attract Readers; Gain Impact’ with The Fairy Blog Mother Alice Elliott, Marketer Jean Wolfe and Ute Wieczorek-King.

PS The above post is an updated version of a post first published here in 2011.

Copyright 2011-15, Ute Wieczorek-King

*http://web.hbr.org/email/archive/managementtip.php?date=091611


Read Full Post »

IMG_0375I didn’t always enjoy attending networking meetings, especially when I started my coaching & mentoring business. I knew I needed to get out there and meet people but having to walk into a room full of people you don’t know is never easy.

One of the aspects of networking I didn’t enjoy then and still don’t enjoy now,  is talking to busy people who try to be super efficient with their networking time. They rush from group to group and from conversation to conversation, delivering their elevator speech as many times as they can, in the shortest possible time.

When you need to find new business, stepping up your networking activities can make a lot of sense — as long as you go about it in the right way. The last thing you want is to give the impression that you’re desperate to find new customers!

Why focus matters in networking

Woody Allen once said: “70% of networking is being there.” For me ‘being there’ doesn’t just mean getting to a meeting, but being fully ‘present and attentive’ whilst at the meeting.

Sometimes it can be easy to spot when someone is ‘absent’.  They always seem to be in a hurry, don’t ask questions or just want to exchange business cards. They might even cast their eye around the room looking for the next person to speak to.

You may not be aware of it yourself, but not being present and attentive can make others feel as though you are only interested in yourself and your own business.

This is a real no-no in networking!

‘Being there’ means being mindful and ‘in the moment’ which actually helps you to become more aware of the needs of others.

So how can you be mindful at meetings?

I find it helps not to rush to a meeting. I usually try to get there early so I can have a few minutes by myself, sitting quietly in the car. This helps me to relax, collect my thoughts and put everything else to the back of my mind.

Giving your full attention to every person you speak to at the meeting, means you’ll listen more carefully. You will not only stay engaged in the conversation but discover what you can do for them.

And when you focus on helping people first instead of ‘selling yourself’ (and your business), any networking pressure usually disappears — now you are truly ‘connecting’!

So next time you speak to someone and catch yourself focusing on your own needs, or you feel tempted to skip ahead in the conversation, try to focus your full attention on the other person and block out any distractions around you.

Be prepared to be amazed how ‘being there’ will help you to deepen your business relationships and ultimately transform your networking results!

Ute2013-150x150

About the author: Ute Wieczorek-King is a UK-based German mentor and blogger who inspires passionate midlife women to achieve business success by simplifying and staying focused on what really matters. If you’d like to take your small venture from good to great, why not download Ute’s free “Passion to Profit ebook.

New this year: Online blog coaching programme ‘Attract Readers; Gain Impact’ with The Fairy Blog Mother Alice Elliott, Marketer Jean Wolfe and Ute Wieczorek-King.

.

PS The above post is an updated version of a post that was first published here in June 2010. 

 

Read Full Post »

A guest post from Rosie Slosek at One Man Band Accounting:

  • Go because you want to meet the kind of people that are likely to attend
  • Go because you want to serve those people, that you can be of help (not the same as ‘I want to sell my services at them’)
  • Go because you want to learn how to enjoy networking events that work for both you and your business

These three elements are core to networking working for you.

Remember, it’s as much about who the people you meet know, as about the people you meet at the event.

If you’re nervous, shy, get too energised by groups of people, don’t know what to say or become overwhelmed, then it’s so much more important.

Do You Have Your Ritual?

So you’ve looked at the networking events you attend, made the decision to only attend events where you want to meet people , can serve them, and are committed to NOT going to events you don’t like!

Creating a networking ritual is your next step.

At this point, if you just love meeting strangers and having a conversation, then you can probably skip this next bit.

If you’re like me, and you get nervous, agitated, worry about it for days beforehand – and start bouncing off the walls because you absorb the energy of those fabulous people – read on.

A ritual is internal calm. It provides structure and safety.

You can create a ritual that is the same for all events, or a different one for each. Try both and see what works.

Creating Your Ritual

Let me share my networking event ritual.

  1. In the days beforehand, I do extra self care. I increase little luxuries (special tea, or chocolate truffle, watch Miss Marple).
  2. On the day itself, I block out the whole day in my diary. I have time beforehand to relax and get ready at my own pace and afterwards, I know I have time later to have my own space to recalibrate.
  3. During the event, I drink lots of water, camomile tea, eat little (it’s a lunch event), and use calming oil on my pulse points.
  4. After the event, it’s Me Time. I go to a cafe that is a real treat for me and have pure indulgence. I am writing this after my event with jasmine tea by my side and homemade battenburg cake securely in my tummy.
  5. The next day, it’s the last stage. Croissant and black coffee for breakfast. I keep my self care increased until I know I have calmed and recalibrated.

Networking events are so much better now. I don’t dread them like I used to, I feel confident about the events I do attend, and so what if I only attend 6 a year? They’re the best!

Do you have rituals around your networking?

It’s the same principle as cake with your tax paperwork, and as clients find out, it makes all the world of difference!

About the author: Rosie Slosek runs One Man Band Accounting, helping one man bands to do their own tax returns and paperwork. If you haven’t done your tax return yet or want to get ahead for next year, have a look at her Self Assessment Tax Return Toolkit. At £24.97 it’s a fun, easy and affordable way of getting the paperwork done with a sense of humour, rewards, lots of support, and cake. Enter the code JAN14SUCCESSNETWORK to get the discounted price of £19.99!

http://onemanbandaccounting.co.uk/self-assessment-tax-return-toolkit

 

Read Full Post »

Networking workshop (by Alison Crown Photography)

A Success Network workshop- by Alison Crown Photography

The other day I retweeted someone’s post on Twitter which stated that most entrepreneurs network with too many people. I simply couldn’t agree more!

We used to run regular training events with added networking opportunities and found that some delegates would always enquire prior to booking how many people we were expecting. A suitably large number would then help them to decide that attending was an efficient use of their time.

A similar thing seems to be happening online in social media where a lot of people spread themselves thin in the hope that collecting ‘followers’ and ‘friends’ will lead to more potential clients or customers.

People everywhere are falling into the trap of seeing networking success measured in numbers!

Whilst you could argue that it is important to always meet new people, most people forget that crucially you need the ‘right’ people to build the kind of relationships that provide you with more referrals or more business.

When applying the powerful Pareto principle to this context, we realise that 80 percent of  our business can come from 20% of our customers. Therefore it is not the quantity of contacts or the speedy sale that counts in networking, it’s the quality and depth of the connections!

So before you are tempted to scour new groups, events and social media platforms for new connections, try changing your networking strategy from quantity to quality. By strengthening the connections you already have (online and offline) you may well start to attract new business … faster!

Ute2010Ute Wieczorek-King is an experienced trainer, mentor and business coach who runs Success Network and specialises in helping busy fempreneurs to be more visible, productive and profitable in business.

She also co-authored the networking handbook “From Contact to Advocate (TM)” – an authentic 7-step approach to developing referral relationships that generate more business.

Read Full Post »

Social media and blogging are surprisingly similar. Another word for Twitter is micro-blogging, which I think is a very apt description. Even though you are restricted to only 140 characters, it is an excellent medium to express yourself in whatever you want to say.

This is also true in the status update fields in Facebook (profiles, pages and groups), LinkedIn and Google+ and any other social media platform that has social updates. When did you last add in a comment into these? It has the advantage that you’re not restricted to only 140 characters as on Twitter, and in some cases your update can be republished on Twitter with a link to see the remainder of your message.

Is socialising networking?

So why should you express yourself on social media? Watching some of my contacts socialise I’ve been fascinated in how well they are doing. In this case I mean online (I’m sure they are equally successful offline). To unimaginative marketing types all this gossip and interaction could be seen as a waste of time, but I see it as networking.

Social networking online is as important as offline networking, and an added plus is that it’s relatively inexpensive. It is immediate, convenient and constant. It should deal with everyday stuff that is happening now: gossip, observations, reports of events, fun and amusing stories – what people want to read or be part of. The more user-friendly social media activity is, the more likely it will become interactive, receive comments and get shared amongst friends. That is what social media, and therefore networking, is all about.

Can you socialise on a blog?

A blog is a more formal element of social media. It is more permanent, steadfast, archival and dependable. Sometimes it doesn’t come across as being immediate, though it certainly can be. The BBC website is a blog that is updated every second, and there are many blogs that have posts published several times a day.

Blogs thrive on new content, as that is what they are designed to do: publish regular updates. They are a fabulous media for self expression, sharing news, exploring a concept, educating its audience, entertaining its readers, publicising a viewpoint, elevating an expertise or describing a business. They provide content that people want to read and become part of, comment and leave feedback, and share on social media so that others can participate too.

The main difference is that you can say so much more on a blog. The space is endless, whether in post or page form. There are no restrictions as to how much content can be published at one time, or over a series of days, weeks, months or more. What cannot be fitted into a website can be continued on a blog. And the style should not be formal, but friendly, informative, conversational and social.

Socialising includes interaction

Blogs also thrive on interaction like social media. They are connected via RSS feeds and the power of links creating traffic back and forth. Posts should encourage readers to leave comments and have buttons that allow sharing content on other social media profiles. And comments are seen as new content by the search engines and are indexed appropriately, keeping the posts alive a little bit longer.

Therefore I like to think of the blog as the hub of social media, as everything comes from it and back to it. Social media can feed traffic to a blog, and posts can be fed to social media. A blog will contain important content that explains the online marketing campaign, whereas social media will act as a draw and direct prospective clients to the blog or special webpage where the business transaction can take place.

–oo0oo–

Alice ElliottAbout the author:
Alice Elliott is a online marketer and blogger, who runs the Fairy Blog Mother, an educational website resource that trains, explains and creates awareness about blogs. Find out what she can offer you regarding blogs and online marketing at http://fairyblogmother.co.uk

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: