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I came across an interesting blog about business networking called BusinessNetworkingAdvice.com. The blog author, Josh Hinds, has interviewed several people to get their thoughts on Business Networking so it’s a good read. Josh asks two questions:
1. How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?
2. Can you share a few ideas that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?
The answers vary but some key elements include:
- Networking is more than just trying to see what you can get from someone else.
I liked Seinfeld and Kramer was my favorite character so I found Michael Richards’ recent reaction to a heckler at the Laugh Factory to be very disturbing. In fact, I would say he handled it as poorly as he possibly could have. Even if the heckler was out of line, Michael turned the rest of the crowd against him with his diatribe of racial slurs.
One stand-up comedian tried to defend Michael’s behavior by attributing it to a lack of experience in stand-up where heckling is common. They’re not used to an audience except for talk shows and theater where heckling is rare.
There’s a great book by Jay Abraham called Getting Everything you can out of all you’ve got. Jay is a marketing expert and one of the things he discusses is how customers should be referred to as clients. This is because he believes that Customers are people who buy from you but clients are people that you provide some guidance to or who are under your protection.
I subscribe to the This Is True mailing list. They ran an article a while back about someone giving Vice President Dick Cheney “a piece of their mind” and getting talked to by the secret service for doing so (the secret service accused the person of “harassing” and “threatening” Cheney). I’ve been trying to dig up the details on the story for those interested, but the details are actually irrelevant for the purpose of this article. In any case, it re-enforced one of my keys of good communication: always present an idea or opinion with the other person’s interests in mind.
If you want to quickly improve your public speaking skills, you need to get up in front of an audience as much as you possibly can. Each time you speak, you gain experience and expand your comfort zone. If you ask for and receive feedback, then you’ll improve even faster.
Toastmasters is good for this as it provides you with opportunities to speak. I recommend joining or visiting multiple clubs because you’ll address different audiences. You may get comfortable after speaking multiple times to the same audience so it’s good to mix things up. Also, different audiences will provide you with different feedback.
Do any of your goals conflict with each other? A classic example of this is the work-life balance dilemma where you have the following two goals:
Goal 1: Spend more quality time with my spouse and family.
Goal 2: Get promoted two levels within the next year.
Obviously, both of these goals require a substantial amount of the same resource: your time. Knowing that forgetting about sleeping and spending 12 hours per day with your family and 12 hours per day at work is unrealistic, you’ll quickly find yourself frustrated. And you’d have plenty of company as there are probably thousands of so-called experts who make their living preaching about work-life balance. I’ll give you my short course and this one’s on the house.
I hate interviewing. I hate having to use phrases like “my skills and qualifications” and watching what I say so I won’t discourage the interviewer from hiring me. So I tend to be extremely forgiving when I am the one conducting the interview. However, through the years I’ve noticed so many people make some obvious mistakes. So my list of interviewing tips has now become a list of things not to do in an interview. Some of these tips can also apply to sales calls any other situation where you’re selling your skills, products or services.
Tip #1: Dress Appropriately:
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