Niche Is The New Rich

target nicheIt’s counterintuitive, perhaps, but tightening your focus, narrowing your target and getting clear about your niche can help you grow MUCH faster and healthier as a speaker, author, coach or consultant.

Why? Because if what you’re selling is YOU, then right off the bat we’re dealing with a situation where there’s scarcity, which means that there is limited YOU to go around. Without a strong value proposition in a niche, then most likely you face lots of competition, which puts downward pressure on your prices.

And if you’re competing on price, then you’re in a situation where you need VOLUME in order to make decent money. Relying on volume is one sure way to a) not be very profitable, and b) quickly become exhausted.

The most profitable brands and businesses that do NOT want to offer mass market, volume products or services, are the ones who can hone in on a niche and sell to them at a higher price…

So once you’re clear about who you are and what you’re up to from an IDENTITY perspective, the next thing to determine is what NICHE you’re going after. Having a strong niche (i.e., specializing in something) will not only raise your value to the end user, it will also help you generate referrals because it’s a LOT easier to be “top-of-mind” for something specific than for something general.

Here are some examples:

  • The difference between a general practitioner (general) and a spine surgeon (niche).
  • The difference between jeans (general) and designer jeans that make you’re backside look awesome.
  • The difference between a massage therapist (general) and a specialist in chronic neck pain (niche).
  • The difference between an esthetician (general) and a specialist in teenage acne (niche).

In all of the above cases, the specialist (assuming they are truly excellent) will be able to CHARGE more (because the stakes are higher and the need more specific) and they will get a lot more word-of-mouth, referral business (because it is FAR easier to be top-of-mind for something specific than for something general).

How do you choose a niche?

Here are some ways:

  • Analyze your existing book of business to identify any niche audiences for whom your service has high value.
  • Ask your existing clients why they come back to you.
  • Ask friends and family what they have you “top-of-mind” for.
  • Do some homework on any referrals you’ve gotten or get, to find out how they were referred to you (what did the referrer say about you?)

For example, most massage therapists never specialize and end up competing on price because there are a LOT of people who can provide massages. But only a small percentage specialize in any one thing – but as anyone with chronic, severe neck pain can tell you: they would pay more for someone who could get them better results – it’s worth the extra investment.

On the execution or operational side, having a specialty also allows you to go narrow and deep and really hone your craft so you’re delivering at the highest level – another surefire way to develop a loyal clientele and lots of great referrals. Not to mention, it feels really good to get GREAT results!

If you want to explore your niche in depth and get some SERIOUS training around identifying, targeting and “seducing” your niche audience as a speaker, author, coach or consultant, check out the Superstar Speaker Academy.

Check it out here: http://www.SuperstarSpeakerAcademy.com

 

Advertisements

Looks Matter, Perception is Reality, and Go Get Yourself Some Great Headshots, PLEASE!

Michelle VillalobosAs a speaker, how you look impacts how the world – and your audience – perceives you. For better or for worse, your image needs to attract your target audience, establish your credibility and contribute to, rather than detract from, your branding efforts – so you can ultimately drive more incoming business and charge what you’re worth.

Within the first 3 seconds of seeing you, people have probably already made a judgment about you. And these days, with so much business conducted online, prospects, clients and potential partners are likely to “Google” you and see your online presence before they ever meet you in person! Google is the new resume, because even if you do meet someone in person, chances are they will seek you out online to learn more.

So…given that your online image is as important as your in-person image, what you need to create is an authentic, compelling and ATTRACTIVE representation of who you are in person that translates well to the digital world. And then you need to take that image and put it everywhere online – even the social media platforms you don’t use – just so that you can OWN your visual image online.

It all starts with a photo. Having a great, professional portrait is fundamental, especially if you’re trying to brand yourself as an expert in your field. All speakers and authors have professional portraits, and if you want to be taken seriously, then you need to have one (or many!) too.

As a former editor then publisher of a high-fashion magazine, I have produced hundreds of photo shoots, and I can share my personal story about the impact my headshot has had on my speaking career.

Everyone always asks me about my “Sharpie picture,” like “what does it mean, Michelle?” Well, quite honestly, the whole thing was kind of an accident. If you know me, then you know I always carry a handful of Sharpies and a blank book to draw mind maps, take notes, and explain things using diagrams and drawings (it’s the ex-math teacher in me…but that’s a whole ‘nother story). I also often use Sharpies and flip-charts in my workshops to keep things spontaneous and fun.

michelle villalobosSo what happened on the day of my headshot photo shoot (with Gio Alma, a photographer I worked with extensively at Ocean Drive Magazine) was, after we’d taken several very serious, professional, traditional “headshot” type pictures (see right) that I was using for my website, I wanted to take some fun pictures just for me. So I grabbed a bunch of Sharpies from my bag and started hamming it up. Gio played along and snapped away.

When I got the proofs, I thought the Sharpie pics were silly, obviously not something I would use professionally (haha). I went ahead and chose a regular, “professional” head shot that fit with who I was trying to be (a serious business consultant, of course) and posted it everywhere – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

A few months later at the end of a speech about networking, one audience member tentatively raised her hand and said: “But your portrait doesn’t reflect your brand – you’re fun, young and vibrant, your headshot is sedate and boring. It’s beautiful, but it looks like it belongs on Match.com – it’s not the you we met today.”

Uh-oh.

If you know me, then you also know that I believe the “uh-oh precedes the a-ha,” so I asked the audience, “raise your hand if you agree with her?” Almost every single one raised her hand. I swallowed my pride and went back to the drawing board. There was no way I was going to do a whole new photo shoot, so I pulled out all the proofs that Gio had sent me.

And I came across those Sharpie pics. I started playing with them and I found one – ONE decent one that I KIND OF liked. I cropped it (cropped my roots out!!), put a frame around it, retouched it a little around the eyes, beefed up the color and voilá! (See the transformation I created with Photoshop, below.)

michelle villalobos

I tentatively floated it out on Facebook first…and the response was overwhelmingly positive.

Note that a few people HATED (and still HATE) it, but I continue to use it in spite of that. Why? Because it’s memorable, and it’s aligned with who I am – the colors, the smile, the authenticity (I truly love of Sharpies and other office supplies), and it’s memorable – and that’s the purpose of a good headshot for personal branding.

In fact, I ended up building my entire brand around the Sharpie pic, and overall, it’s worked. When you Google me, that picture is everywhere, and people remember it. Not only that, it tends to make people smile.

Sure there were some people who didn’t “get” it. Guess what? That’s quite all right. Those are not the people for me. The right people are the ones who love it. It’s actually quite a good filter.

The takeaway? It’s time to get put some awesome, authentic, beautiful, well-branded pictures of yourself out there!

Here are some tips to take a GREAT headshot.

  1. Use a current photo. A photo that looks old screams “stuck in the past.” Not only is it unprofessional, but you’re missing the opportunity to keep your brand as current and as relevant as you are. Even if you were more “beautiful” 10 years ago, chances are these last 10 years have given you experience, character and depth. Don’t hide that.
  2. Hire a professional. Go hire a photographer to shoot you, and bring 3-5 different outfits. It doesn’t cost as much as you think – you can often find a good photographer for under $100. But be careful – negotiate at the outset for them to give you the entire CD of images. Also, see if they’ll retouch one or two photos for you once you’ve decided what you want to use.
  3. Think about color. Use a color scheme that “fits” with your personality and your business, and stay away from small prints and “busy” patterns. Also, most of us should stay away from wearing white, particularly if you are pale.
  4. Use props. Having a “prop” may help convey your value and be more memorable. We’ve used everything from signs, to flip charts, to sharpies to champagne bottles, depending on the industry. But also shoot without props as well.
  5. Try several poses. Choose the “right one” in the editing process, not the shooting process. Your pose should be right for your brand. No generic, cheesy glamour shots! Your picture should reflect who you are and, if possible, what you do. If you’re a woman, consider avoiding the ever-popular “head tilt.” It’s a “little girl” pose that can diminish credibility, particularly if you’re in a male-dominated field.
  6. Make eye contact. While some situations/personal brands require something different, by and large, making eye contact engenders trust. And we all know trust is the basis of every relationship – business or otherwise.
  7. Do at least one setup with a white or contrasting color background. Shooting against a white or contrasting color background allows you to create a “silhouetted” photo that can be placed against any color background. That’s GREAT for the web and for getting creative with things like your business card or email signature.
  8. Be authentic and show personality! Just because you’re getting a professional headshot, doesn’t mean that the photo has to be generic, stiff or boring. In fact, social media IS about being “social,” so the more attractive and fun your photo – while being professional – the better!
  9. Edit when you’re DONE shooting, not DURING the shoot. When you do a photo shoot, be open-minded, try everything. You can always trash the photos later. The creative process and the editing process are opposites, don’t confuse them! One requires open-mindedness, the other critical thinking. Example: During Michelle’s first big photo shoot she pulled out that handful of Sharpies and played around. There were about 100 bad pictures and one magical one, which didn’t become obvious until much later.
  10. Post your head shot EVERYWHERE…and tag with your full name. Because of the way Google works, the more places you post your picture (make sure your pics all have your full name as the title (i.e., Michelle Villalobos Mivista.jpg), the more you’ll start to “own” your name. Go back to all those profiles you have online and drop in your headshot. It’s not necessary to use the SAME photo in all profiles, but at least use consistent photos that tell the same “story” across platforms. If you use different photos for different purposes, they all need to be high- quality, attractive and they need to accurately align with the most important brand in the world: yours.

At the Superstar Speaker Academy, we’ll be going in depth on how to develop the visual elements of your brand as a speaker, author, coach or consultant so that you attract more inbound business, book more engagements, and stand out among your competitors.

Check it out here: http://www.SuperstarSpeakerAcademy.com

Your Influential Identity As A Speaker, Author, Coach or Consultant

Michelle Villalobos Dancing With Sharpie Flipped (sharpie on right) 3In my work with speakers, authors, coaches and consultants (AKA: “Experts”), I’ve determined that the single biggest mistake they make when developing and deploying their marketing, messaging and “personal brand” is that they forget that it has to be PERSONAL!

So many of us who are in the business of selling our expertise are caught up trying to be someone we’re not. We think “this is how I should be” or “this is how I should look” or “this is how I should act” in order to get the clients we want, earn what we’re worth, and appeal to the audiences we want to appeal to.

I know because this is what I did in the beginning of my career. As a sales consultant 7 years ago when launching my personal brand, I thought: “What is a sales consultant like? What does a sales consultant look like? What would she sound like? What would her business card look like?” This is the thinking that gave me a boring navy blue, black and white business card, logo and website. Needless to say, the leads weren’t pouring in.

Now, 7 years later, my brand is a true reflection of who I am: bright colors, Sharpie markers and Post-Its, irreverent keynote speeches, fun headshots in wacky poses… And business is booming.

That process wasn’t easy, nor was it fast. And it all came down to this one conversation that I’m going to have with you right here, right now.

When you strip away the layers of learning, socialization, and what your parents, family, friends, prospects and clients think you should be, what remains?

This is your true self. This is the self that you need to understand, capture and deploy in the world in order to create a compelling personal brand – or, because I dislike the baggage associated with that term – “Influential Identity” that is unique, authentic and – of course – drives business.

To create a powerful Influential Identity, you first need to first define the core, unique YOU, then look at what that means about your true purpose and then what you WANT out of your life.

Only THEN can you really start BRANDING effectively.

To this end, we have put together a 3-day Intensive Training Academy – The Superstar Speaker Academy – precisely to teach you how to develop 1) The Identity, 2) The Influence, and 3) The Income to do what you love, deliver on your life’s purpose and make money all at the same time.

Visit www.SuperstarSpeakerAcademy.com for details and registration.

Dumping Debbie Downers

dump debbie downerAs a professional speaker who puts myself “out there” every day, it is important that I maintain positive energy and mindset. For the first few years of my career, however, this was difficult for me because the most influential people in my life, my friends and family, were doubtful about the path I had chosen. And as I would share my dreams and aspirations with my friends and family, their doubt became my doubt, their criticisms became my own criticisms and their negativity became my own negativity.

New Years 5 years ago, I made a drastic decision: I DUMPED everyone in my life who didn’t support me or contribute in a positive way. Some of them were impossible to actually “dump” completely from my life (i.e., my parents) but I shut them out of my planning and decision-making processes, instead I decided only tell them about results and successes (i.e. “Check out this newspaper article on me!”)

The results have been nothing short of amazing. I’m more confident and happy, and even better, my former “doubters” go around boasting about how successful I am!! Not to mention, sharing on a “results-only” basis means I’m more focused on results, which is good on numerous levels.

We all wish our lives were filled with row after row of raving fans who love exactly what we do and how we do it. The unfortunate reality is that life’s filled with people who rain on our parade…and people who are just plain toxic! And sometimes these Debbie Downers are disguised as our closest allies, so they can bring us down, without our even noticing. What to do?

Toxic PeopleIt’s time for a detox.

When most of us hear the word detox, we think food, drugs or alcohol. We rarely think about detoxing from a person. Yet, you know what I’m talking about because you have a person (or multiple persons!) in your life right who drains you, distracts you, derails you, or makes you doubt yourself.

This person may very well be a client. It might be a colleague. A business partner. An employee. A competitor. Or someone who calls themselves a “friend.” You have to prune these people out of your life.

Try this NOW.

Dump them short-term:

Consider taking a 30-day detox from that person. Insulate yourself. Draw a line in the sand. Protect yourself from the person’s energetic impact, thus eliminating counter-productive drama. After 30 days, re-evaluate. Maybe the detox felt so good you don’t want it to end. Or, maybe you’ll come back to that relationship – be it professional or personal – with a whole new appreciation of the role that person plays in your life.

Dump them long-term:

Some people don’t deserve another chance. In business, most of your relationships are expendable. You can always get a new client, accountant, or assistant. The moment you think you’re stuck with someone is the moment you start sabotaging your success.

Overall, here are some tactics to protect yourself going forward:

  • Avoid negative people – they have power to slow or halt your progress.
  • Choose your inner circle wisely, and keep your intra-personal relationships healthy and thriving.
  • Surround yourself with other students and people in your life who are aligned with who you are and where you’re going.
  • Get advice, assistance and moral support from people who appreciate the journey you have committed to.
  • Tell those people what you are committed to, and allow them to (or ask them to!) lift you to up where you’re going.
  • Finally, hang out with people who are MORE SUCCESSFUL than you.
  • So do the people close to you in your life move you FORWARD or HOLD YOU BACK? Consider this: do they get excited for your successes? Are they good listeners? Are they open to your ideas? Do they share BALANCED advice or do they always criticize everything you do?

Remember: You work way too hard to let OTHER people’s junk get in YOUR way.

There is still time to join us this week at the 3-day Intensive Training Academy – The Superstar Speaker Academy – precisely to teach you how to develop 1) The Identity, 2) The Influence, and 3) The Income to do what you love, deliver on your life’s purpose and make money all at the same time.

Visit www.SuperstarSpeakerAcademy.com for details and registration.

SSA - Superstar Speaker Academy - Flyer

The Big CLOSE.

Ever wonder how you got to where you are?

Today I was thinking about that…

When I was a kid, every year we’d visit my cousins’ house in Chicago. My family would drive out from Longmont, Colorado and stay there for a couple of weeks, during which time my (indulgent) teenage cousins and I would plan and execute our annual Talent Show in their basement.

The Talent Show featured your standard musical, dance and gymnastic lineup… mostly on roller skates. My mom still has a picture of me at 8 years old in pom-pom pigtails and overalls roller skating in circles around the “audience” (our parents), singing “Tomorrow” from Annie. At right is a picture of me posing before a gymnastic performance.

My talent show duties included: talent recruitment, ordering the numbers, hand-crafting invitations, designing costumes, spreading the word, and getting the parents to attend.

Ah, the glory days…

So no surprise, I guess, that nowadays my favorite time of the year (twice a year, actually) is Summit SeasonThe Women’s Success Summit (May 17th & 18th) is my grown-up version of the talent show. The Summit brings together South Florida’s most ambitious, talented and successful women (and men!) to inspire, educate and ELEVATE the business community.

The theme? The Big CLOSE – all focused around the principles of selling – selling yourself, your ideas, your products, your services. (And by the way, we are ALL selling SOMETHING.)

Clear your calendar, friends, this is one event you must attend. Personally, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. And yes, men ARE welcome to attend, and in fact, several often do!

Aside from the phenomenal content and national powerhouse speakers (check out the lineup here: www.WomensSuccessSummit.com), we have new and exciting sponsorship initiatives for businesses that want to engage 800 upscale, professional and highly influential women over 2 whole days. Check out the sponsorship deck here. Or contact Jessica Lurie for details (888) 531-3830, jessica@mivistainc.com.

By the way, I’m SO excited to announce our new venue, The Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables, (YAY!!!) and our partner, Chispa Marketing, that is producing this Summit.

This Summit will deliver game-changing strategies, foster powerful relationships and inspire those oh-so-important “a-ha” moments to help women like me elevate themselves beyond where they are today. Take a look at some of the amazing speakers and sessions we have lined up, and prepare to be blown away…

Biggest Tip For Effective Networking?

1. The World Is NOT Your Sales Team

The most important thing to remember in networking is the whole world does not exist to be YOUR sales team. If you want to create a network that refers a ton of business you must remember that networking is about creating long-term and mutually beneficial relationships…. not just leads for yourself. Serve others in your network long before you ever expect to get anything in return. Givers get. Yes, you are busy. But those who are the best networkers are always watching. They can smell a selfish networker from miles away. Connect others just because you can and you will be rewarded over the long run of your career.

Thanks to Thom Singer of NYP Speakers

2. Get Them Complaining, Then Offer Something Free!

When I’m networking, I love to ask people if they are busy. They invariably say yes, and I ask what they are busy with. Often they have conflicting priorities, no clear plan, no delegation strategy, no time management or all of the above. What I’ve done is gotten them to talk about the “pain” that I can solve for them

Once they’re done venting, I let them know that if they like, I’d be happy to give them 15 minutes of my time (I call it a Focus Session) to see if I can come up with a few tips to bring them relief. I mention that I have a 100% success rate. At the end of the 15 minutes, I introduce coaching programs and how we can work together further if they choose.

Thanks to Mary Cravets of FindYourVAHere.com

3. Effective & Creative Networking

TAKE A PARTNER/COLLEAGUE – PROMOTE EACH OTHER

I live/work in Washington DC and there are 100 networking events morning, noon & night. I try to get out in the mix. If I can I take a colleague from another company that I have worked with or vice versa. Having someone with you to tell of your success comes across 100x more effectively (and less arrogant) than boasting about your own success. This works both ways, and so in turn, we promote each other. We have real-life examples on how we have worked with each other successfully and these stories are convincing to potential new clients. What better way to have a real-life reference!

HOST YOUR OWN EVENT

Additionally, I was able (for ~ 2 years and counting) to host a no-cost networking event at the prestigious Kennedy Center (performing arts center in Washington, DC). The Center has a free (every day) live music performance in an open area with a light snack/beverage service. It is a high-class, beautiful setting, very well lit and great music playing in the background. By hosting your own event (at your office or elsewhere) you become a credible source and again, real-life references (my clients) are there to speak to my prospects. Additionally, the crowd is able to mingle and make business deals. It has been quite successful – costing me nothing but my time – and cost my attendees nothing but their time.

Thanks to Jennifer Schaus of Jennifer Schaus & Associates

4. Make Every Minute Count!

Three tips to maximize your ROI: Professional name badges that include your logo. These will enhance your brand awareness while it helps you present a professional image.
Never sit with your business partner. If you are there with partners, don’t network together. Separately, you’ll give your business twice the exposure.
Practice an elevator speech that focuses on the most common problems you can solve. It’s not about what you can do. It’s about what you can do to alleviate my pain.

Thanks to Marianne Carlson of Emcie Media

5. Business “dating”

Networking is “business dating” Remember that you did not tell your first
> date everything to know about you, but were afraid to ask! So too, with
> networking. It is about building relationships within the process of
> networking.

Thanks to Denise Beeson of BaySierra Financial, Inc/ Or Santa Rosa Jr. College

6. Networking Tip – Paying It Forward Pays Off!

Think of your connections as longterm relationships and focus on helping them – believe me, they will remember! Pass along useful information as quickly as possible. Constantly put relevant people in touch with each other . . . even though you might not directly benefit from that particular connection, it is still an extremely effective form of networking. People will remember that you kept their needs top of mind, not just your own, and most of the time they will later do the same for you!

Thanks to Selena Cuffe of Heritage Link Brands, LLC

7. The Best Way To Get Referrals And New Clients From Networking

The single most important part of networking is to ALWAYS help others. Let them know you care. Of course, in order to help them, you need to know them well enough to be able to effectively help.

I have been an assistant organizer of http://www.NYEBN.com for almost 2 years, and have gained many clients for my IT firm as a result. The unique opportunities to help members were directly due to being a part of the organizing team; the result is that those I helped, referred clients or became a client.

Thanks to Susan Risdal of Enterprise Technology Services, LLC

8. It’s Not About You. It’s About Pulling Others In.

I like to meet people, learn about what they do and what they are interested in. This also gives me an idea of who they know. With their business card, I can follow up with a note or email, pass along an article or tip and begin building a relationship. After a few contacts they feel that they know me. Only then have I earned the right to ask for information, advice or a referral. Once you build a bank account of positive interactions then people are happy to help you in return.

Thanks to Myra McElhaney of McElhaney & Associates

9. Givers Who Listen Get High Marks For Networking

Give before you get! When you give with no expectations just to be genuinely helpful it is amazing how generous others will be towards you. Karma really works.

Be a good listener, people will tell you a lot if you give them the opportunity so listen for ways you can follow up & help them. They will love it!

Thanks to Paige Arnof-Fenn of Mavens & Moguls

10. Get To Events Early

When attending a networking event for the first time go a few minutes early. Often this gives you a chance to meet people as they walk through the door one on one. You almost serve as a greeter for the event. It’s much easier to walk into a networking event when you are first or only a few people are there than when there is a room full of conversations already happening.

Thanks to Shannon Myers of Walton Search

11. Networking WTF

Networking is often categorized as “working the room” or “working a crowd.” I am convinced that networking is about earning someone’s trust, being the first to give, and only then asking for the business. It’s what I call the “Wow Them First” (WTF) approach.

The next time, rather than ask for business or a referral, give it instead. That gets people’s attention, they’ll know you mean business and they’ll want to do the same for you.

Thanks to Edgar Mejia of Conexion

12. Authentic Networking

Sincerity not Numbers

Instead of thinking about networking success in terms of the number of people you meet at networking events, or getting big numbers on LinkedIn or twitter, think about Authentic Networking as making real connections with people that you would actually like to meet.

Then stay in touch with them because you share a real reason to be connected. This is the way to both grow and build genuine value into your network.

Thanks to Patty Azzarello of Azzarello Group, Inc.

13. Get Best Networking Results By Being More Helpful

1. Listen (for example) to the Q&A at a presentation, then go up to someone who asked a good question and say, I like what you said because….

2. Introduce someone to someone else they wanted to meet.

3. Walk by two people who are talking but not totally absorbed with each other, and look for a way to slip into the conversation–ideally with something that can help one or both.

I discuss a number of forms of networking–both online and in person–in my 8th book, Guerrilla Marketing Goes Gree

Thanks to Shel Horowitz of Green And Profitable

14. Ask The “Million Dollar” Question

Successful networkers are genuinely interested in others. Show you are by asking questions and listening carefully to the answers from the people you meet. Then you can ask the “Million Dollar” question. “As I go through my day I meet a lot of people. Please tell me, how will I recognize a perfect referral for you?” Doing this helps the other person understand that you aren’t only in it for yourself and that you are a great connector. It will also prompt others to ask the same of you.

Thanks to Glen Gould of GlenGould.net

15. Niche To Meet You!

Before you plan the “how” you need to think about the “whom”. As a business owner it is important to ask yourself, “Whom, specifically, do I want to be known and trusted by?” Starting off with a smaller demographic of people versus trying to become known by a whole city will speed up the process of trust building and can help you consolidate your marketing budget. It is amazing the amount of information you can find on-line so search engines are the perfect place to start your research. The goal is to find out where your niche market networks and communicates with other people like themselves. Most groups and association have websites with networking calendars available to the public. Start with where your niche market physically gets together then expand upon that. Find out what websites they visit along with which magazines and newsletters they read. This will help you decide where to direct your advertising efforts. Where your niche is, on and off-line, you should position yourself as a resource. Do this and the trust will follow.

Thanks to Sarah Cochran-Loy of American National / Loy Marketing, LLC

16. Best Networking Tips

My approach to networking is confidence (Yes, I say it like it is a tool). Confidence paired with a smile, eye contact and good posture. Confidence makes people think you know what you are talking about, i.e. your business strategy, competition, trends, how to solve problems and so on. Practice it, believe it – Success will follow. Not so easy? Start by simply listening. All good business people start by listening more than they do talking…maybe it should be called ‘reverse networking’.

Thanks to Jenny Kincaid of SocialWRX

17. Listen By Data Mining Then Share Valuable Offerings On-Line & Off-Line

Proactive listening and connecting on-line and off-line. Research to identify targeted potential Clients and Partners then sign-up to stay informed of their needs and interests via Website, Blogs and Social Media platforms. Express gratitude for information shared on-line then reciprocate by sharing value added insights. Helps for you to stay on top of mind. When meeting off-line at professional events, continue to listen to identify more needs and interests so you can create valuable offerings.

Thanks to Brenda Leguisamo of Social Biz Members

18. Eclectic Colaborative Business Services

My colleagues and I have created more than a network referral group. It is a group of professionals from various disciplines providing educational opportunities for each others clients as well as the community at large. We are doing a public presentation once a month on a members topic of interest. More information is available at http://www.cincybrg.com
The Cincinnati Business Resource Group. Contact my self or Erika deStefano at edestefano@claimlinx.com

Mike McCormick

Thanks to Michael McCormick of MJ McCormick, LLC – Cincy Tax Coach

19. Network With A Purpose

Here are my top five networking tips:

1. Never give somebody your card unless they ask for it.

2. Wear your name tag on the right-front side, it’s where people naturally look when shaking hands.

3. Have a goal for your networking event. (e.g. collect business cards, make an introduction, get an appointment)

4. Never, ever “sell” when you’re networking. It turns everyone off.

5. In as little as 3 minutes, you can meet somebody and get permission to follow-up with them.

Thanks to Michelle (Shellie) Seyfarth, PhD of Seyfarth Diversified Strategies

20. Networking Shouldn’t Be Predatory

The number 1 tip for networking I give anyone is: Its not about you. Networking sounds predatory to many because an easy way to think about it is”I need a job or I need a business referral”. However, if a person enters into networking positioned to understand and then share with the other person, then its truly learning about the other person and how you can help or support them. The pay off comes to you once you are seen as a person worthy of giving back to.

Thanks to Dorothy Tannahill-Moran of Next Chapter New Life Career Coaching

21. Pay It Forward!

The best practice that is working for us is the “pay it forward” approach. We help business acquaintances, clients, and prospects without asking for anything in return. The help could be an introduction to someone else, a recommendation, a resource, or valuable advice. Without asking for anything in return, people naturally feel indebted to you for the good deed you did for them. They will “pay back” by eventually hiring us, recommending us, or putting us in touch with someone we need.

Thanks to Aliona Groh of Hoyman Dobson CPAs

22. Networking Without Sounding Like A Pig!

No offense to the pig! The most effective networking tip is to ask a lot of questions about their business. I then ask an insightful & industry specific question about trends/challenges. If true for them, I might follow up with a recommendation on a book/article. If possible, I’ll email a link to them the next day. The point is to plant the seed of your knowledge. That’s when they start to ask what I do. Now I can be a little more brash-after all they asked!

Thanks to Rob Jager of Hedgehog Consulting, Inc.

23. How Can I Help You?

My best networking tip that I have learned and implemented is that when you are networking and you meet someone for the first time, do not talk about yourself and your business, talk about them. Ask them how you can help them? Who they are looking to meet? Effective networking takes time and you have to start with getting to know someone so that you can build a relationship. Always follow up with a nice to meet you note, email, phone call, or card so they will remember you!

Thanks to Michelle Morton of Michelle Morton.com

24. Four Top Tips For Entrepreneurs

1. Be a savvy networker. That means, networking, talking, connecting with
people everywhere you go.
2. Share your contacts freely. If you go into networking just looking out
for yourself, it is not going to work as well as if you share and help
other people.
3. Have an online presence. Get on LinkedIn (a professional social
networking site) and optimize your LinkedIn profile. “It is the best thing
you can do for your business.”
4. Just do it.

Thanks to Dana Humphrey of Whitegate PR

25. It’s About True Connection!

Be you. Be authentic. Have a personality. Don’t be what you think the “appropriate consummate networker” ought to be.

Have an interesting story that’s super short.

For example, after introducing myself, I often start with “I started my career when I was seven years old when I taught school in my garage to five neighborhood kids I bribed with candy to be my students. Now, I’m a professional speaker and workshop leader. I also help women entrepreneurs use speaking to get more clients, make more money, and have a bigger impact. I’ve been doing this since I was seven.

Be more interested than interesting. Be genuinely interested in the other person, and look for ways to support them. The key here is “genuinely,” not as a technique!

Thanks to Ava Diamond of Feisty Women Rock!

26. Be Prepared To Tell Your Story

Bring a business card with you, but leave everything else at home. Instead, prepare your personal 60-second story — who are you and what are you seeking? If you can’t grab someone’s attention within a matter of seconds at a networking event, their mind has already wandered to the next person in the room.

Thanks to Heather Huhman of Come Recommended

27. Increase Traffic To Your Website

One of the most effective tips is to distribute content related to the website’s theme. Properly distributed content easily creates more traffic that even continues to grow over time. Publishers are seeking content which is informative and educational. After you have attracted readers with an informative article, then direct them to your website through your “About the Author” box. Then Publishers are happy because they have high-quality content and you are happy because you have more traffic!

Thanks to LACIE BURKE of Crooner Labs

28. Don’t Be A “Biz Card Ninja” & Other Tips

1. Don’t be what top marketing strategist Olalah Njenga calls a “Business Card Ninja”
2. Don’t show up looking like you just rolled out of bed or worked out
3. Don’t wear beat up shoes. Shoes are a dead giveaway to your attention to detail and your level of confidence and success
4. Keep in mind the “generations” going. Matures, Boomers, Gen X, Millennials – know how to “speak” to them
5. Decide who you want to connect with and learn about them online & in publications
6. Don’t hang by the food

Thanks to Eileen Batson of Batson Group Marketing And PR

29. Stalking On Social Media Is Not A Federal Offense… In Person It Definitely Is!

Make the connection, get the card and follow up via Social Media. Use Twitter or LinkedIn, not Facebook to avoid the eternal ‘non-confirm.’ Send a simple great to meet you last night, checked out the website, or even better use a cool app like Hashable that let’s you connect with others through a simple #with, #justmet, #meeting hashtag. Don’t write a long message on LinkedIn though you have more room. Complete your online profiles and let that info speak for you.

Thanks to Lindsey Holmes of LCH Business SM & Tech, LLC

30. To The Hilt, With ILT

I’ve found networking (electronic, written, or personal) works best if one begins with a focus on the other person. ILT: Inquiry skills, listening skills, and transition skills. They create the impression you’d like to help, rather than self-aggrandize. So, when meeting someone new, I use some variation of this line: “Tell me about your job.” I listen very carefully and when I hear something that allows me to segue to my products/services, I then ask, “Would it help if you had ___________?”

Thanks to Marlene Caroselli

31. To Get, Give!

Volunteer but pick an organization that either is related to your profession or is simply something you care about (animals, feeding the hungry, etc.) As you give of your time, tell other volunteers but most especially the people who work at the organziation that you’re looking for a new opportunity. They will be motivated to help you as you’re helping them.

Here’s an example: a client of mine who was in healthcare marketing didn’t have a local network so volunteered at the American Cancer Society to help out with marketing one afternoon a week. There she met someone with a robust network in healthcare who was very happy to help her out. Through one of those contacts she landed her next job.

Thanks to Jean Baur of Lee Hecht Harrison

32. Be Sure To Get Out And Network In Person At Events

Be sure to get out and network in person, in addition to networking online. It is advisable to join a professional association in your industry and attend networking events. While it may sound “old fashioned” these days, face-to-face networking continues to be a great way to network and establish and maintain connections.

Thanks to Sharon Reed Abboud of allmomswork.com

33. Networking Has Nothing To Do With You”

Successful networking is all about making the people you meet feel comfortable. Too many people think that networking is all about them and how they feel. It’s really about making the people you meet want to talk with you. It’s best to simply ask them questions about themselves but not what they do. People love to talk about their families, their pets, their favorite foods. If you allow the conversation to flow you will be surprised how much you will learn about the person. They will want to find out more about you. After you have established rapport, you can tell them about yourself. Or you may just decide to leave that for when you have the cup of coffee or glass of wine.

Thanks to Kathy McShane of Ladies Who Launch, Southwestern, Ct

34. Mastermind Group Becomes Networking/Motivational Group On Steroids

Start a Mastermind group of female entrepreneurs representing different occupations: attorney, accountant, financial planner, PR, realtor, banker/lender, graphic designer, etc. Mastermind should meet monthly for lunch, dinner, or cocktails and operate on the foundation of free exchange of ideas in a non-competitive environment. This becomes a motivational group on steroids, with each member pushing the other to succeed. Once bonding has taken place, a level of trust will be developed such that these will be your go-to gals for sounding out ideas, problem solving, etc., and client referrals will unreservedly be made to members as the need arises.

Thanks to Cam Gittler of Coldwell Banker Previews International

35. Set A Goal

When attending large events instead of trying to convert each person you meet into a client or referral source, set a realistic goal to leave with 2 or 3 new contacts whom you would like to learn more about. This will take the pressure off of overdoing it, give you better success in the long term and you may find you actually enjoy networking!

Since networking is about building relationships, find people you like and whose business is interesting to you, then let the friendship flow from there. Follow-up within 3 business days with a friendly email invitation to lunch or coffee and get to know each other. Just like you wouldn’t refer a valued client to someone after just having been handed a business card, don’t expect others to do the same for you.

Take the time to get to know others and your network will grow from there.

Thanks to Kelley C. Long of KCL Financial Coaching

36. Networking Is Not Asking For A Job

Networking is talking to as many people as possible to learn about companies of interest, to learn how they hire, to learn what people do and what skill sets are critical. Often when a need arises, people will call the person they networked with if they think there is a fit. Last year, according to the Department of Labor Statistics, more than 80% of all jobs filled were filled through networking. Put your energy where it will make the biggest difference.

A few tips for effective networking:
1. Start with low hanging fruit: People you know – relatives, neighbors, your friends’ parents, etc.
2. With each networking meeting ask that person for at least three other people with whom you should contact.
3. Leverage your alumni database to make additional contacts. Your network should expand exponentially.
4. Keep careful records so you know who you talked to and when.
5. Keep your network posted on your progress.
6. When you see an opportunity of interest, let the person in your network who works there know of your interest and ask them to pass on your resume.

Thanks to Lynne Sarikas of Northeastern University College Of Business Administration

37. Biggest Tip For Effective Networking

I think the biggest tip is to become effective at asking the right questions and listening intently. Fight the urge to talk too much about what we have to offer at the first introduction. We have all done it at one time or another, beware not to go for the sale too soon in the process. It is far better to focus on the other person, talk sparingly about our business and setup a one-on-one for later which will give us an opportunity to talk more about what we do in our business.

Thanks to Rollis Fontenot III of Sales Coach Site.com

38. There Is A Human Behind The Brand

Businesses, services and information is viral and can make a huge impact on your promotion, brand and company. Small businesses utilizing Social Media Outlets help establish their brand in traditional and nontraditional online outlets, which in turn will increase your potential viral impact. Your readers can easily know what’s going on with you and pass your message on to friends with a simple click,RT and ‘status post’. Twitter and facebook are amazing toosl and powerful. People do want to know who is behind the brand, so tweet/post your biz but also make it personal. Let your followers see that you are human and have the same day-to-day that they(your colleague or customer) have.

Social media is an opportunity to reach new customers quickly and you may reach an entirely different group in the online world than you would through other channels and potentially increasing your overall sales the least expensive way (which is important for us small businesses).

Thanks to Katie O’neill of Kt Steppers Llc

39. Stop Kicking Up The Sand!

Some people don’t network enough, but may people network too much and without focus or purpose. This just kicks up more sand, adds to an already busy schedule, and drains your energy and resources. I suggest this alternative: before you put anymore networking events on your calendar or set foot out the door, hit the pause button. Take a moment to create some intentions on what you want to accomplish and attract (in addition to meeting more potential customers). Create a vision statment of what your ideal networking event looks like for you and your business. Who is your market and audience? What events do they attend? What time of day works best for you and your schedule? When are you at your best? What kind of setting do you prefer? Do you like large groups or smaller ones? Do you prefer facilitated networking or more free-form mingling? Do you enjoy hearing a good speaker? If so, what topics could help you grow your business and knowledge base? What topics are attractive to your market and audience? How many events can you attend a week or month — realistically? Creating a plan and having an idea of what networking scenarios are best for you helps you focus on quality, not quantity.`

For example, I don’t find free happy hours particularly productive. I’d much prefer to arrange an invitation-only happy hour with my best colleagues and prospects than stand in a crowded, noisy bar with people who are there just because it’s free and there’s alcohol available. I also don’t like early morning breakfast meetings, although I know plenty of people who do. Lunch time is my best time of day, so I attend meetings where there are plenty of entrepreneurial women, which is my primary market and audience. I also prefer to attend events where there is a good speaker or program that interests me. And I find that one good networking event a week is just right for my schedule. What about you?
For more tips on how to be more focused and selective in your networking, watch for my new book The Intentional Netowrker: Attracting Powerful Relationships, Referrals & Results in Business. Available this July. Until then, contact me at DeNucciandCo@aol.com for details on how to get 20 additional Networking Success Tips

Thanks to Patti DeNucci of DeNucci & Co., LLC

40. The Pool Rules To Networking

Ever go to a public swimming pool? Pool Rules are always posted to protect everyone and insure a safe swimming experience. Imagine if there were rules posted at every networking event you attended, including association meetings, conferences, conventions, trade shows, chamber mixers, golf outings, and community venues.

Have no fear! The Pool Rules of Networking are here! Follow these rules to insure you maximize your networking efforts. So Network safe!

Know what networking is!
Most people don’t. Networking is all about learning from and helping people. If you’re effective and genuine, the people you meet will help you right back!

No selling- ever!
Networking is about a relationship not pitching your products and services. When relationships happen so do sales.

Everyone is NOT a prospect.
The people you meet at events could become prospects and don’t assume they are.

It is never about you.
Always try to learn about the person (or people) you meet first. It’s only about you when they make it about you.

Decide on a target market.
Who do you serve best and therefore wish to meet? Having a target market will help you determine where to go, what to say, and with whom.

Create (and use!) your elevator pitch.
Good to be prepared with a punchy, memorable, different, statement about yourself and the specific connections you ultimately wish to make.

Thanks to Michael Goldberg of Building Blocks Consulting

41. Memorable Networking Tips — At Trade Shows, Conferences Or Conventions

I never purchase a trade show booth or recommend others do either. Why? Too costly, cumbersome, exhausting, and almost always yields zero return on your investment. Attending trade shows however, is very worthwhile if you do as I do.

Several years ago I decided to attend an industry trade show event and instead of purchasing a booth and hiring staff to staff it — I took a ride to the dollar store and purchased:

breath mints
chocolates
toothbrushes and toothpastes
highlighters
post-it notes
paper clips
band-aids

. . . you know, anything you might want, but forgot to bring to a trade show! I had labels printed with the conference name on it and Survival Kit written across it — in Military font with camouflage background. This was hard core. I meant business.

I paid a concierge $3 to deliver the “survival kit” to each person on my list of prospects and clients room with a copy of a book I had written. No sweat. The ones that were returned came back to my room and I made a personal deliver to each and every trade show booth I wanted to visit.

By the end of the conference, I was the talk of the town!

Thanks to Nancy Michaels of GrowYourBusinessNetwork.com

42. From The Bottom Up

Sometimes it seems impossible to contact an executive or expert in a corporation you’d like to become involved with because they are so busy. Should you give up? Not at all. Rather, start lower on the totem pole.

When I began concentrating on speaking full-time, one of my first priorities was to meet Harvey Mackay, author of Swim With the Sharks Before You Get Eaten Alive and Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty. He was successful, well-connected, knowledgeable, and local. But would he take my call? No.

I asked my friends who knew Harvey to call or write on my behalf. Through those contacts, I made an appointment to meet Harve’s assistant. The assistant and I hit it off and learned we shared several things in common. Before my friends were finished making phone calls, I also had an appointment for breakfast with the President of Harvey’s firm.

Networking through Harvey’s web of professional and personal relationships landed me my appointment with Harvey and several other meetings since. It never hurts to know the receptionist, secretaries, and administrative personnel who, once they know you by name, can hand you the key to the head office.
The disadvantages? It takes longer and may require several appointments until you reach your targeted goal.

Thanks to Christine Clifford, CSP of Christine Clifford Enterprises

43. It Does Not Have To Be Just Another ‘Same Old, Same Old’ Networking Event

Do you feel you are attending too many networking events, and not making enough sales?

Turn every network event into an effective and productive referral process by inviting a network attendee you are interested to do business with, or who you feel can provide referrals to you, to a 1:1 meeting as a follow-up to the network event. It’s difficult to discuss business in detail at network meetings, but spending quality time over coffee, breakfast, or lunch, allows you to build a relationship, share ideas, exchange referrals (you have to give in order to receive), and sometimes, make a sale!

When you do this often enough, your business and professional network will grow organically. All you have to do is leverage that growing network into sales!

Thanks to Lin Engie of Transworld Systems

44. Don’t Talk About Yourself!

Many women get this absurd idea that they have to hard-sell in an aggressive testosterone style when they go to networking events, when really that just turns everyone off (including men!). In reality, we’re selling ourselves – our products are just a nice side benefit.

Instead of walking up to a new face, business card thrust out and cheesy grin plastered on your face, ready to gush about your business — walk up, ask their name and what they do, and then ask how you can help THEM. Ask what kind of customers they are looking for, what problems they’re trying to solve, everything. And really listen.

They’ll remember you as being different from all the sleazy sales pitches, and that will serve your business much better in the long run.

The real purpose of networking is just that — to form a network of supportive peers, who can refer the right customers back to you (and vice versa). It’s not to wrench every last penny out of every group. That won’t work, anyway. Take the time to really get to know the other women entrepreneurs in your area, and you can flourish much more than if you spout off a sales reel every time someone talks to you.

Thanks to Andi Enns of AndiEnns.com Public Relations & Marketing Consulting

45. Change Your Energy, Change Your Life

Networking, both successful and unsuccessful, is a function of your energy.

Have you ever walked into a room, say a party, and been drawn to a certain person? That’s energy. We only connect with people on the same wavelength regardless of our behavior. To network successfully pay attention to the types of people who are in your life and the ones you want in your life.

If you aren’t attracting the kinds of people you want to associate with take time each morning to be quiet with yourself and get to know yourself. Live consciously and forgo trying to force situations. Shift your energy and allow the people you need to know come into your life. If this fails to work, take a hard look at your life to determine what’s blocking you.

Thanks to Laura George of LHG Consulting, Inc.

46. Alycia Kaback’s #1 Tip For Gracious And Effective Networking

One way to avoid being brash is to simply approach experts in the industry asking for help. Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help. Most people are flattered to be asked for advice and to provide assistance for others. It makes them feel important and successful. However, make sure the people you talk to are qualified. You would not want to ask a homeless man for directions home would you? Advice should come from people already successful in the business.
Consider conducting informational interviews, asking industry professionals how they got where they are in the entertainment industry. Talking to people who have already been where you are and surpassed that level is the ultimate networking technique.
Don’t forget to thank everyone in your network who has been helpful to you, preferably with a nice thank-you note. It’s just common courtesy to show your appreciation for peoples’ time and assistance, and your contacts will remember your good manners and could remember you when more opportunities turn up.

Read the full article here: http://www.articlesbase.com/art-and-entertainment-articles/alycia-kabacks-tips-for-networking-in-the-entertainment-industry-4127594.html

Thanks to Alycia Kaback of VIP Talent Connect/ Kaback Models

47. Help Others

The greatest networking tip I learned was to be calm, see how you can help others and follow up. When you help others without seeking to receive opportunities will fall at your feet.

Here are photos of me Networking with Celebrities

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/fbx/?set=a.132966178487.135416.669338487

Thanks to Derrick Hayes of WOE Enterprises

48. Advanced Networking 101: The Ultimate Secret Weapon For Building Your Brand While Building Your Netw

I have been helping executives build their professional brand (while building their network!!)for over fifteen years. Now that’s a great way to network!That aside, productive networking happens when we take responsibility for the experience we want to have.

Here’s one tip that I share with clients:
Be memorable but not by informing and educating. Instead, try asking the best question of the evening! Rather than tell people about yourself which is probably going to be forgotten by the time they drop off their empty glass at the beverage station, make them feel relevant and noticed. And don’t fall into the networking ditch of saying, “What do you do for a living? Instead, ask “Without telling me what you do, tell me what you love about your profession?

Truth be told, no body cares who you are or what you know until they know you care! And, when they know that, then you’ve got a chance of making a unique impression and building a relationship.

Thanks to Julie Overholt of Julie Overholt Coaching

49. Harness The Power Of Passion!

When I introduce myself as a divorce coach, the most common reaction is a nervous giggle. I laugh appropriately and then quickly explain that my role in the divorce journey is client alignment. As part of the “divorce team”, I ensure the client gets the best education and information regarding the journey. When someone has experienced a divorce, personally or with a family member or friend, the immediate response after my compelling story is always, “I wish I met you before my divorce.”

The greatest advantage I have in networking is the brevity, authenticity and true passion of my story! I completely believe in my work and the value I add to the divorce experience. I know my clients are better able to cope with all aspects of divorce with my support and guidance.

Thanks to Sheila Brennan of Divorce Coach

50. Network Mapping For More Strategic Networking

One of the common beliefs of our time is: The more you network, the better. But while you can often get unexpected benefits from networking with everyone, all the time, it also requires a lot of time and effort that you can’t spend otherwise, for example actually doing content work, developing your product etc. What I found most helpful in being strategic in my networking is to sit down alone every once in a while, draw my existing network and ask myself: “Who influences how strongly that I achieve my goals?” That led me to undestand for example, that excellent advisors are more important for my business success than any individual client. So I make sure to maintain regular good relationships with those people who have given me good advice in the past. And that, to enter a new market with my consulting business I first had to phase out some of my old clients who were taking up most of my time and resources, so that I could make space in my busy schedule to actively network in the new market. I have developed a simple network mapping method (Net-Map) that is open access, so have a look here: http://netmap.wordpress.com for more information and start being more strategic about their influence networking. Using Net-Map, you can answer the following questions in 5 simple steps: Who are all the important actors? How are they linked? What are their goals? How influential are they? What shall I do about it?

Thanks to Eva Schiffer of Net-Map

51. Work The Networking Room Like It Was A Cocktail Party Of Your Friends.

It seems counter-intuitive, but donˆt make the mistake of promoting or
selling yourself to the people you meet (Boring.) The best way to ¯work the
room˜ is to find someone and ask them about themselves and their interests.
This usually puts the other person at ease. Ask yourself “How can I help
this person in any possible way?’ Then suggest a tip, tool, reference, book,
website or referral to help that person out (about any topic, not
necessarily related to business). Basically, act like an “information
broker”. Naturally, the other person will like you and your helpfulness, and
ask questions about you and your business, and request your business card.
Then move onto the next person.

Thanks to Maureen Nuccitelli of Harmonious Life Designs Professional Organizing Services

52. Join The Blogosphere!

“My biggest tip for effective networking is blogging. It’s an extraordinary tool for connecting people to you and your brand. You write about what you know and your audience reads it to learn more about you and your services. Blogging is a very free community, it’s optional to read a post if you so choose, or pass it up in favor of something that better fits your needs.” –Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.

Thanks to Deborah Sweeney of MyCorporation

53. Know Before You Go: 3 Networking Tips To Master

The key strategies for optimal networking are the 3 Rs: Research, Rehearse, and Remember:

Research
Before you attend the next office party, speed-networking event, or participate in the company retreat, do your research. It could mean the beginning of a new business relationship, or an exercise in futility. Following is a tip to aid you in your research:

Find out who is on the guest list of your professional networking event. With more people using social media and online event registration sites, such as Eventbrite, it is relatively easy to know who is scheduled to attend the gathering, including, perhaps the human resources director from a company you at which you are interested in working.

Rehearse
Rehearse and practice your “game face” before you approach someone during a networking event:

The 5-7 second pitch: Create and practice your elevator pitch, an engaging way to present yourself, without the hard sale, or overbearing attitude, in less than 10 seconds. The pitch should always cover:
The Who (your name)
The What (your work function, volunteer leadership role)
The How (how, if at all, you and the person with whom you are speaking are connected)
The Why (why you wanted to meet the person in the first place)
The Ending (conclude your pitch and toss the conversation back to the other person)

During The Why: During this segment of the pitch, even if you are in desperate need of a job, do not ask for one! It is gauche and unprofessional to beg for a job from someone you have just met. The caveat, however, is that is perfectly okay to express interest in a position if the person with whom you network asks for your resume or says that you might be a good fit for the organization.

The Ending: At the conclusion of your pitch, you should always have in mind 1-3 questions you will ask the people with whom you network. Remember, you do not want to drone on about yourself. Show interest in the other person.

Remember
Whether interacting appropriately while networking, donning the proper attire or timely follow-up with the people you meet, there are a few things to remember to make you stand out from the crowd:

Be fashion forward: You do not have to wear the most expensive clothing and shoes; however, you want to ensure your appearance is neat, tidy, and appropriate for the venue. For example, if you were invited to a golf outing, you would not wear a business suit and take along your brief case.

Always follow up directly with those you meet during networking events of any kind. My rule is to initiate follow-up within 48 hours. If you have made a favorable impression, the people you have met and talked with during the event will probably remember you.

Finally, people love to communicate by email, and sending a quick note is appropriate. Remember to spell check, proof read, and eliminate the ungrammatical verbiage before sending the communication to the recipient. Always have an electronic signature at the conclusion of the email that lists ways to get back in touch with you, including links to your social media sites.

Personally, I like sending hand written notes, a notion that is a rarity these days. If I meet someone who is especially engaging and thought provoking, I typically send a note to reinforce my pleasure of having met the person.

Thanks to Kesi Stribling of KSG Strategic Consulting

54. Say “Hello”!

Although the simple concept of saying “Hi” can seem obvious and vague, saying hello is more than just the simple greeting. When you take the time out to say “hello” it means, introducing yourself and who you are, as well as getting to know the person you are talking. Making small talk and taking a genuine interest in their position/company will allow you to retrieve their information and brainstorm a need or idea later.

Now that you were able to carefully research the person’s position and their company, you can follow up by reaching out to them with the idea. You’re no longer a stranger or a random email sent to spam, you are someone they can put a face to. You have also already established your credibility in your first meeting so they won’t have to waste their time researching if you are the real deal or just a scam.

Remember you never know who you are talking to, or who they may know. The simple act of saying “Hello” requires introducing yourself, what you do and then leave it at that. “Hello” is not a sales pitch, it is simply building a foundation that you can successfully network off of!

Thanks to Vanessa Fusco of SoCal Entertainment

55. Know Your Stuff!

Learn how to confidently tell others who you are and what you do. And keep it simple….I am a [blank – your business] that works with/helps/teaches [blank – target market] how to [blank – identify challenges] so that they can [blank – results]. Once you write this out, practice saying it aloud and practice often. You might also want to tweak it a bit for those times when you’re focusing on a slightly different service or challenge. When you can confidently and effortlessly tell others who you are and what it is that you do, networking will be a breeze!

Thanks to Katy Tafoya of Success For Solopreneurs

56. Set Your Radar

Know who you need to network with, and have your antennae up for those talents wherever you meet and connect with people. Use Your Company’s Super Simple Staffing Support Plan © (available in the book, The Pregnant Entrepreneur) to help you identify who is part of your small business team, even if you don’t employ them directly. The tool includes professionals we all need access to, like a CPA, as well as business-specific resources, like a great photographer. By writing down the members of your current team, you can identify who you are missing on your team. Then you can confidently put the word out that you are looking for a person with a particular skill to round out your small business team. You might meet these resources at formal networking meetings, or you might connect with just the right person through more informal connections with friends and colleagues.

Thanks to Darla DeMorrow of The Pregnant Entrepreneur

57. Best Networking Tips

Before you decide to sign up for the event ask yourself and do research:

Why are you going?
Clear objective written before going

What are you looking for?
Alliances
Prospects
Customers
Who attends?

Will you find the people that you are looking for?

Presenting Yourself…
Name Tag on the right side of our jacket
Bring your sense of humor

Cell Phone – leave it in the car, on vibrate, off or for emergency use only – remember – 1st impressions….the prospect gets to decide and the room full of people are watching you

Business Cards – take theirs and spend time with it for a moment – be purposeful in handing yours to them. Make it a gift!!!

Smile
Exercise your ears give someone your true attention by engaging in conversation will leave a lasting impression; you will develop a reputation within the group. You will learn something!

Ask questions strategically

Follow up; always with at the bare minimum an email within 3-5 days…refer back to when and how you met
refer back to your conversation. Look for an apparent reason to meet and talk over coffee. If you leave a voice message – let the person know when you will be available so that you can avoid phone tag at all cost

Don’t list dozens of names in the To: and CC: box
give purpose to the Subject box

Voicemails are less than a minute long; spell check with your eyes and electronically
part of your daily/weekly routine

Thanks to Mary Erlain of LMI-Riverside

Freaking Out Onstage…

I’m a ham. I love getting on a stage and presenting. The bigger the audience, the more exciting, the more exciting, the more adrenaline, the more adrenaline, the better my performance.

But it wasn’t always that way. That same adrenaline that today fuels my performance used to have the opposite effect (forget “fight” or “flight,” it was more like “freak out” and “freeze”).

First, I used to try to memorize presentations. The problem with memorization is that the moment I’d get stuck, it would completely derail me. Another thing I did was create slide shows full of bullet points so that I wouldn’t forget anything… problem is then I’d end up reading slides. That would have been fine – if my goal had been to BORE my audience to death.

I knew that getting up in front of an audience and being a COMPELLING speaker would have a huge impact on my business. So I made a real effort to learn how. I took improv acting classes for over a year, I attended Toastmasters, I read books. I practiced. These days speaking is a huge driver of both revenues and leads to my business.

I tell you this so you understand what went into creating what I’m sending you right now. It’s a slideshow of the Top 20 Tips To Being A Compelling Speaker:

By the way, I’m also doing a Public Speaking Workshop for people who need a little more help (and honest, hands-on coaching).

Basic info here: http://www.TheSpeakEasyProgram.com.

Ciao for now…

Michelle