Tag Archives for " networking "

Do You Feel Nervous?

Do you feel nervous, even anxious at the thought of attending yet another networking function.  Some people relish the opportunity to meet and greet a bunch of prospects that they have never met before, while others pale at the thought.

Having a strategy about what to do when you go networking is essential.  If you follow this three step process it will surely help

Step 1. – Meeting People for the First Time

The first thing to do is be brave, say hello and greet people warmly.  Hold out your hand and be prepared to give a good handshake, not too firm, not too limp.  Most importantly…Smile!!  No need to rush this part, take your time and repeat the person’s name, so that you remember it.

Next move is to start a conversation.  The easy bit is the “What do you do question”, it’s what comes next that a lot of people struggle with.

Here’s some suggestions on where to go next.  Ask:

  • • Tell me about you’re your latest project
  • • What is the best part about working in that field?
  • • How did you come to work in that industry?
  • • How did that idea emerge?

Once you have the conversation rolling, remember to use the other person’s name.  Hearing your name is music to your ears, make sure you use theirs and get it right!

Think about the audience who will be attending the function and prepare some questions beforehand, so that you aren’t stuck on the day for something to ask or say.

Step 2.  Keep That Conversation Rolling

The best thing you can do to keep a conversation rolling is to be a good listener.  Listen with your ears and your eyes, maintain eyes contact, show the other person that you are hanging on their every word.  The worst thing you can do whilst someone else is speaking is to be scanning the room to see who else is about that you may want to talk to.

It’s OK to ask clarifying questions and in fact the more questions you ask (within reason) the easier the conversation will flow between you and your new best friend.  Remember though not to dominate the conversation and don’t make your questioning appear like the Spanish Inquisition!

Remember to avoid controversial topics and above all respect other people’s opinions.  Personally I will never discuss sex, religion or politics in a public forum, it’s too dangerous and can lead to polarising opinion and souring of relationships.

Step 3.  Finishing the Conversation

Be careful to move about at a networking function, never stay talking with one person or group for more than 10 minutes.  Have a prepared conversation completer and then move on.  You could say:

  • • Lovely to talk with you, I think I will go and freshen up my coffee
  • • Lovely to talk with you, I see someone I must speak to, please excuse me
  • • Lovely to spend time with you, this is a networking function, I think I will go and do some more networking

Make the most of your networking opportunities.  Avoid hiding in the corner or propping yourself up against the bar or food table.  Move around, be brave and use the three-step process.

© Lindsay Adams 2018.  All rights reserved.

Lindsay Adams is a relationship management specialist, he works with leaders who want to leverage the power of relationships, to lead better, sell more and build better teams.

www.lindsayadams.com

Lindsay@lindsayadams.com

Communication is the Key to Networking

Are you interested in achieving more sales in your business?  Communication is the key to building key contacts in your in networking activities.  Networking is the key to building business relationships that bring those all important sales.  Now the most important lesson…”Networking is always about building relationships, never about selling.”

If you know what your business is about, you can easily build up a group of contacts from your networking activities.  People take notice of experts who know their “stuff” and don’t try to sell it on the first meeting or connection.  Demonstrating that you know your “stuff” works and people will want to hang around you to connect with you and do business with you..

People take notice of experts, people who clearly know what they are talking about and are willing to help others.  The beauty of this is that over time people will notice you and you’ll soon find that your network starts to work for you and your network will increase and you will make even more useful contacts.

Remember that networking is a two-way street and be prepared to share ideas and information which may help others achieve their goal and aspirations.  The amazing thing is that some of your most important relationships will often begin through casual conversations.

So where do you meet these people to make these casual conversations??

Go to meetings, events, training days or events where you think you will meet the people you could connect with.  It may seem for a moment that you are only meeting people just like you, however remember, they may be on the same journey as you, and may be able to engage you.

If you aren’t comfortable about networking alone, take a networking buddy, someone who you can promote, whilst they promote you.  There are a myriad of events that you can attend together.  Things like:

  • • Your industry Association events
  • • Your Industry Conferences
  • • Your Industry training or professional development events
  • • Your Industry Monthly Meetings

When you get to this event, think about your approach and what you will say and do. When engaging with other people at the event be open to suggestions and opportunities.  Remember to introduce yourself and your buddy to other people, exchange business cards, and of even more importantly, make a record of what you talked about and follow up afterwards.

There is no need to be fearful attending an industry event, amazingly a lot of other people there may feel apprehensive also about attending the event to network.  Never underestimate the power of a casual conversation and never make a nuisance of yourself, in fact it’s best to talk with people for no longer than ten minutes and then move on.  Finally, be careful about what you eat and drink, doing both to excess never works and will surely turn off your prospects.

Remember, your outcome is to have a meaningful conversation with someone and then meet them later for coffee, lunch or whatever to discuss how you can help each other in business.

© Lindsay Adams 2018.  All rights reserved.

Lindsay Adams is a relationship management specialist, he works with leaders who want to leverage the power of relationships, to lead better, sell more and build better teams.

www.lindsayadams.com

Lindsay@lindsayadams.com

Communication Is The Response You Get

Communication is a cycle that usually involves a minimum of two people.  It’s hard to communicate to another person if they are asleep or at worst dead!  For the communication cycle to work you must have the willing participation of the two parties in the communication exchange.

It usually works like this; you say something, the other person thinks briefly about what’s been said and gives a response.

Of course other things play a part in this exchange, your body posture, facial expressions and your gestures.  Not only that your internal thoughts and feelings have an impact on the cycle of communication.

When all these factors are taken into account, it’s hard to NOT communicate.  You will convey a message even if you remain silent.  Recognising that communication is so important in all that we do the question is often asked; “How can I communicate better?”

The answer of course is to understand that the meaning of communication is the response that you get.

To enable the best response you must enter the cycle whilst appreciating the other person’s understanding of the world.  The simplest way to do this is to get in rapport.  Communication flows so much easier when two people are in rapport.  Rapport creates good communication and good communication creates trust.

People who are in rapport tend to mirror and match each other’s body posture, gestures and voice patterns.  Have you been to a coffee shop and noticed couples that are deep in conversation sitting, facing each other in mirror reverse poses.  Those in deep rapport will even mimic each other’s breathing patterns without even realising it!

Successful communicators create rapport and you can do so too simply by observing your communication partner.  Most people have rapport skills, the secret is to refine them for everyday use.  The starting point is to make eye contact, the next is to mirror the other person’s posture.  Mirroring is not mimicry and must be done in a way that is not exaggerated.

Matching the way the other person is sitting is a good place to start.  Notice how they distribute their body weight and do the same.  Follow this with small movements to mimic their gestures, move your hand to match their arm movement or move your head to match their body movement.  Remember when people are like each other they begin to actually like each other.

Keep an open mind about rapport and give it a try next time you begin a conversation with someone.  Notice what happens when you don’t mirror your communication partners posture, notice what happens when you do.  Notice particularly what happens when you deliberately do the opposite of what they do.  This is called mismatching.  Mismatching is just as useful if you need to disengage with someone.

Remember creating rapport is your choice and only you will know the results if you try it.

A Good Team Needs A Good Leader

If you want to have successful teams in your organisation, make sure you have successful leaders.  What do I mean by this you ask?  The way a team is led will have a major impact on the success or otherwise of the team.  In fact when I asked team members from within a large financial institution what they wanted from a team leader they identified the following values they would like their leader to hold.

  • Trust
  • A commitment to their staff as well as the task
  • The willingness to support and serve the team
  • Inspirational leadership, combined with energy, enthusiasm and appropriate expertise
  • The guts to take responsibility rather then pass the buck
  • The glue to make the team come together and operate as a team
  • A willingness to have fun!

I’ll explain each of these in more detail:

Trust

Team members want to trust and be trusted.  Team members felt it was important to be able to trust their team leader to actually do what they said they were going to do.  Of course this works both ways, team members also want to be trusted to uphold their part of the bargain and deliver the goods when asked to do so.  Trust is the outcome of kept promises and is something that is earned not bought or obtained easily.  Trust was the number one issue raised by team members.

A Commitment to Their Staff As Well As the Task

Following on from the issue of trust most team members were more concerned about relationships within the team before they were concerned about the tasks the team was responsible for.  Feeling valued and part of the team is an important component and allowed the team member to contribute as a valued individual.

A switched on team leader will spend time supporting their staff and build a commitment to the team through this support.  The team leader must never lose sight of the task, but must also never lose sight of the value of the individuals within the team.

The Willingness to Support and Serve the Team

Team members want strong leadership, people who are willing to lead from the front, take responsibility and make the right decisions.  Having said that, the overwhelming response to my survey in the financial institution was also that staff want a leader who is willing to lead from behind.  By this I mean a leader who serves the team members, to enable them to get their job done and achieve within the constraints of the organisation.

This can sometimes be a delicate balancing act between getting the job done and catering to the needs of the individuals within the team.  A leader who supports their staff by allocating appropriate resources or cutting red tape to achieve an outcome is highly valued by the team.  This may at times be at odds with the organisational culture but again brings forward positive results in terms of productivity and loyalty.

Inspirational Leadership, Combined With Energy, Enthusiasm and Appropriate Expertise

Team members want to be inspired and have a leader who takes them to the next level.  They want to be motivated and work with a leader who has energy for the task and the team.

They want to work with a leader who can do this and has the appropriate knowledge about the task at hand to lead the team to where they want to go.

People recognise that not every leader has all the answers, but they want to know the leader is real and can draw on the knowledge and experience of the other people around them in the team.

The Guts to Take Responsibility Rather Then Pass The Buck

Teams and leaders are often put under a lot of pressure to achieve or perform in organisations.  Team members want a leader who will take responsibility and work to quickly fix problems if and when they arise.  This process must be one where the team grows as a result of the leader’s actions.  This means the leader may have to admit the issue was their fault or a result of their actions.

This is not about finding a scape goat, it is simply about taking responsibility.  Team members value leaders who are willing to admit they made a mistake and support them through the fall out from that mistake.

The Glue to Make the Team Come Together and Operate as a Team

A group of workers becomes a team when there is a synergy between the members of the group.  Team members want to feel part of that group and be welcomed by the leader and others in the group as an equal member of the team.  The team leader may have to experiment with different styles of leadership to bring the team together.  Recognising the strengths and weaknesses of team members, establishing accountability and clear roles are important steps in creating this synergy among team members.

A good team leader will recognise the need to adapt his or her style to fit the needs of the group.

A willingness to have Fun

Finally the team members I surveyed unanimously wanted to have fun at work.  Comments abounded about the best team leader was the one who made coming to work fun and working never seemed like a chore because it was so enjoyable.  Fun is compulsory in successful teams!

Does One Size Fit All

With the modern trend toward grouping staff in workstations in offices becoming more and more popular some people are revelling in their new found togetherness, while others are going home stressed, underperforming and suffering from people overload. How could grouping staff together at workstations cause stress and productivity to suffer?

It comes back to people’s preferences for how they like to relate to others and how they like to get their work done. Some people prefer to work in a more extroverted way, talking with their colleagues, discussing issues out loud, having impromptu gatherings and meeting frequently with their co workers at their desks. These people love to get involved in others people’s work and relish a variety of tasks and activities in their day. People like this thrive in the crowded workstation designed workplace.

Other people however, are more introverted in their behaviours in the workplace. They prefer a quiet reflective environment which will allow them to think issues through on their own. These people don’t have a high need to be with or around other people and value time to themselves to work quietly and think before meeting with others to problem solve or agree a course of activity. These people also prefer to work on one task at a time in a linear fashion, finishing one task before moving onto another. People like this suffer in a workstation environment.

People with an introverted preference are often overwhelmed by the noise and activity going on around them in a workstation environment and find concentrating on tasks difficult. Lack of concentration leads to job stress and can lead to a reduction in work quality and output. People with an introverted preference work best in an office environment where they can close the door and shut out the outside world for periods of time.

One client in a large public sector organisation said “When I have important tasks to perform I try to book a meeting room so I can shut myself away and concentrate. If there is no meeting room available I take the work home and do it there.” This is OK for some people, but brings added stress into the family household while the bread winner is working long hours at home to catch up on what could be done during the day.

So Does One Size Fit All? Obviously not in terms of office accommodation. If you have staff who are grouped together at workstations or you are finding it near impossible to concentrate at your desk it could be because of your personality preference. If you want to increase your team’s productivity you may need to consider locating them in a variety of seating combinations or provide a range of work space to accommodate the people you have in your team.

Introversion and Extroversion preferences and how you relate to others at work is one of the four work preference measures which form part of the Team Management Profile. This profile is a psychometric personality typing instrument which quickly identifies your preferences in the workplace.

Would you like to find out more? Why not contact Lindsay, at Lindsay@lindsayadams.com or by phone on +61 438 180 358.

Ramp Up Your Sales Using Your Business Relationships

Picture this…You are an experienced sales person or perhaps a sales manager. The partners in your company have just had a meeting and called all the staff together. They make a sombre announcement, you must all raise sales by 20%, the firm’s revenue is down and it’s up to all of you to put your shoulder to the wheel and bring in more sales. There is a collective groan.

“How do we do that?” asks one of your braver colleagues. “Well go join a business networking group suggests one of the partners, get out from behind your desk and make some new connections. That is a sure fire way to generate more business!”

Your colleague seated beside you says under his breath “Easy for you to say”.

The reality in business today is that there is more and more pressure for staff in professional service firms to bring in more billable hours. Not only that with the shape of the economy there is more pressure on most sales people to meet what seem like impossible targets at times.

The typical first response is to hit the phones and start calling people, either old contacts we know or just call anyone. The problem with this strategy is the success rate…or should I say lack of success rate. The hard facts are that for every one hundred cold calls you make just three people will do business with you. Sobering statistics. Worse still is the amount of rejection and negativity that making those calls generates. It is totally demoralising to have to hear no 97 times before you get to a YES!

There is an easier way, doing business by relationship. We all know lots of people, in fact social scientists tell us that most people know a minimum of 250 other people. Go through your phone contacts right now and I bet you will have more than that in your phone and that’s before we get to your company database of contacts.

So assemble a list of your contacts, next sort them into three categories or networks, your Guru network, your Greats network and your Go To network. People in your Gurus network might include people who are or where in your profession, or other members of your professional organisation.

People in your Greats network might include mentors, or people you have mentored, former managers or others you have helped. Finally, your Go To network will be made up of satisfied clients, people you’ve given business to or received business from and members of a business network group.

Once you have the three lists choose five names from each list and make contact with them, arrange to meet for breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee, drinks after work, whatever is appropriate for that person. The key with the people you choose is that you both share the same target market AND you are not in competition with them.

Now I want to make this clear right now, you are not going to sell anything to these people, your aim in fact will be to do business with one or more of the 250 people they know.

Arrange a meeting and at that meeting explain that you are on a mission to increase sales, their sales! That’s right, their sales! Here is a typical explanation I would use.

“Hi Sue, you and I know lots of people and in fact we both work with the same kind of clients, the best part is we do not compete with our products or services. I think we could help each other in business to achieve more sales, are you interested in getting more sales? YES! Great, so how about you educate me about the best kind of prospect you want to work with while I take notes.”

Once Sue has described her ideal client, your job is to comb through your database and identify a group of say ten prospects that meet her description. Next you will agree how you are going to introduce these people to Sue to see if they can do business together.

Of course once you have completed this process you can swap and you describe your best clients to Sue, who will reciprocate in kind. This part of the process is critical to your success, you must be in exchange for this relationship system to work. If you help them first, they can’t stop themselves from helping you in return.

Think about how easy this process is versus cold calling. You get introduced to someone who is keen to meet you, by someone they know and trust. They are most likely ready to buy and all you have to do is get into relationship in order for them to purchase from you.

Doing business by relationship is simple, though not always easy, take the time to work your network and you will be rewarded with serious sales results.