You’re probably wondering if I’ve gone crazy with this one. Yes, I still blog about networking and still teach a class about it. But I wanted to share something that came up in a conversation after a breakout session I did on, you guessed it, networking. One of the attendees asked me if networking was for everyone. My answer was that everyone can benefit from good networking but sometimes networking opportunities (as well as networking events) can be a waste of time, and in some cases, counterproductive.
Social media is a great tool for connecting with people, promoting your business and just plain socializing. You can learn great tips ranging from which gadgets best suit your lifestyle to how to make a great sandwich. If you’ve got a quirky interest, there’s probably someone else (possibly dozens, even hundreds) out there with that same quirky interests.
Yes, some people see social media as a time waster, a useless popularity contest and a distraction from the important things in life. But it’s fun and has a lot of practical businesses as well. Of course, you can get carried away with it so, in the tradition of Jeff Foxworthy’s “You might be a redneck” here are some fun indicators that you or someone you know might be addicted to social media:
The answer is an absolute “Yes.” I’ve been to far too many networking events where job seekers have attended unprepared. Yes it’s good to bring a stack of resumes with you (and even better to keep them in your car and/or have one handy at all times) but having business cards are especially helpful.
Why Business Cards:
Business cards are small, easy to carry and most people in the business world are used to dealing with them. Some people have Business Card Scanner
that can scan them into their contact management system. Others have a filing system for them.
I’ll never forget that night. It was several years back and I was sitting in a hotel lobby preparing for a talk I was about to give. I opted to skip dinner that particular evening because the nervousness set in and my stomach wasn’t up to any food at all. It was my first event after taking over a year off from speaking, so I was a bit anxious, even though I was prepared. While I sat there in that busy lobby, my mind started to wander and those doubtful questions started to rear their ugly heads: Why am I doing this? Why subject myself to all this pressure?
85 years ago today, Dr. Ralph C. Smedley met with a small group of people in a YMCA in Santa Ana, California. That was the first Toastmasters meeting ever. It’s amazing how since then the organization has grown to over 250,000 members in over 12,000 clubs in over 100 countries.
I don’t know if there are any official records of that first meeting or not but I can only imagine what it must have been like. Keep in mind that the world was a much different place in 1924. Dr. Smedley didn’t need to tell people to turn off their cell phones, obey the handicapped parking zones and check their emails for details on the next meeting. I suspect that meeting was mostly men – keep in mind that President Wilson had just four years earlier convinced congress to ratify the 19th amendment allowing women the right to vote.
In one of my “Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking” classes, an attendee asked me why so many speakers come across as smug. I hadn’t really thought about this so I opened the discussion up to the rest of the class and was shocked by what I heard – many speakers come across as condescending, arrogant, cocky and yes, smug.
I listened to stories about people that call themselves corporate trainers taking the attitude that they were not only the smartest person in the room, but the only intelligent person in the room. Anyone that asked for clarification simply “didn’t get it.” Others shared tales of speakers confidently contradicting themselves or speakers arguing with audience members that questioned them.
Throughout my life I’ve had the chance to meet a wide variety of people. While the color of their skin, the language they speak or the entity they worship may differ, one thing is always the same — we all face challenges at different points in our lives. Of course, the way people handle those challenges varies but the good thing is that it’s something that we can control. And in many cases, it’s this way of handling challenges that dictates whether we stay in the game or go home in defeat.