Tag: Strategy

What To Do Within 48 Hours Of A Networking Event

You made the effort to attend a networking event, even if you didn’t know anyone who would be there and that thought made you uncomfortable.  You forced yourself out of your comfort zone and walked around the room to meet people.  With time, you got into a groove and solidified how to begin and end conversations and also how to transition conversations into introductions.  Now you’re home and you’re glad you went.  You met some interesting people, identified synergies and had some great conversations.

So what happens now?

You’ve heard the importance of networking and looking for ways to grow and foster your network.  You’ve also had a lot of guidance on how to prepare for and what to do during networking events.  But do you know what you should focus on within 48 hours of a networking event?

Here is a to-do list to ensure you ride out the momentum from a networking event and build your relationships on a strong foundation:

Take notes.  While the conversations you had are still fresh in your mind, go through the business cards you obtained and make some quick notes on the back with key information about the person and topics discussed.  Make note of what they do, things that are of interest to them and what they need help with.

Do Research.  Take the initiative to deepen your understanding of the person, there involvement in various activities and find common grounds. These days, it is easy to find additional information on others on sites like LinkedIn and via personal or business websites. There is only so much you can fit into a short networking conversation so leverage these other means to your advantage.

Reach out.  Continue the conversation by reaching out via email or phone.  Let them know it was a pleasure meeting them, you enjoyed the conversation, and we’re happy to help in the event you can be helpful.

Reinforce your value.  Share an article or resource that is an extension of where your conversation left off.  Show that you can provide value to your new contact and that you can help them with their top-of-mind items.

Connect on social networks.  Let social networks help you continue the conversation.  Follow your new contact on LinkedIn or Twitter.  If they’re sharing interesting content, retweet it to share with your followers.  Acknowledge them in a tweet for what they do and what you’ve learned from them.

Extend an invitation to meet.  Take the initiative in deepening the relationship by meeting in person so you to know them better and can also discuss projects  you’re both working on and how you can help each other.  This could be over coffee or a cultural or sporting event.

Offer to introduce them to others.  Do the heavy lifting in helping them expand their network by introducing them to people who could be of help.  This will help establish you as someone who is well connected and as a go-to person if they’re looking to meet a certain type of person at a later date.

Your timeliness in acting after a networking event is crucial and lifts some of the weight in terms of how much time and energy it takes.  The faster you get to know the person at a deeper level and create a genuine relationship, the more flexibility you’ll have in continuing the conversation with them.  So take advantage of the momentum and create a bridge to what happens next.

Have you used a similar approach after your networking events?  How has it been helpful?  Are there additional things that you do to build your relationship with new contacts?  Share your comments below!

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How to Create Your Brand and Tell a Short, Impactful Story

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Where are you in the process of building your brand and telling your story?  Maybe by now you’ve heard the importance of doing so.  Having a strong brand makes it easy for people to quickly recognize anything associated with you.  This could be via your logo, the colors you wear, the quality of your work or how you make others feel when they interact with you.  Whether you’re just getting started or you’re the process of tweaking your brand, here are some things to consider.

Key components of a strong brand

You want a brand that’s effective.  Think about brands such as Coca-Cola, Dell and Canon which have remained strong over time.  Despite changes in their preferences, customers have looked to these brands to consistently deliver on certain expectations.  With this resilience, these brands have proven themselves to be strong.  Determine what you want to be known for and be consistent in your delivery.  This way, you can also ensure you’ll have a successful and strong personal brand. Read more here.  Read even more here.

Creating your brand

Take some time to define your brand.  Be mindful, however, that the landscape is always changing and similarly, you may need to tweak your brand over time.  So there’s no need to pressure yourself about being perfect from the onset.  Take time to evaluate whether or not your branding strategy is effective or if you should try something different.  Leverage your big picture perspective to determine if you’re on track to meeting your overall goals, identify changes you should make and implement them.  Build in periodic assessments as you map out your branding strategy.  Read more here.

Telling your story

Once you’ve defined your brand, how do you go about spreading the word and letting the world know about it?  This takes some strategy but it also goes back to a very human element.  When we get together with friends and family, what do we do?  We tell stories of events, funny occurrences, what happened last time, etc.  These stories provoke emotions and reactions such as laughter, nostalgia, and happiness; and through these reactions, we’re able to better connect with each other.  Telling the story related to your brand works similarly in that it helps others connect with your brand in a very fundamental way.  Read more here.

Keeping your story succinct

How do you ensure you get your entire story across when all the time you’re allotted is 45 seconds in an elevator?  Sometimes you’ll have a very short amount of time in order to communicate the who, what, why and how related to your brand.  So you should be ready with a succinct version of your story for such times.  Your pitch should cover the important aspects of your brand in addition to the next steps for people to find additional information.  Read more here.

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Disconnect to Connect: Tried-and-True Benefits of Building Offline Relationships

One week ago, I was in Chicago and had the chance to catch a soccer game, take a water taxi and eat deep-dish pizza with two friends from high school. A few days later, I met up with another high school friend, realizing our paths have crossed so many years later. Reminded of my last visit to Chicago, I reached out to two college friends who I caught up with then. While in Chicago, I exchanged emails with a college friend in California and we shared our current appreciation of the entrepreneurial spirit. Near the end of the week, I had lunch with a former colleague and on the walk back, I ran into a friend from college who I haven’t seen in year. To close out the week, I attended a reggae concert where I ran into four other friends from college.

All of these encounters caught my attention and reminded me about the importance of people and connecting. In the digital age, it is easy to tweet, text, or write on someone’s wall but there are still benefits to stepping away from technology and connecting in person.

Here are some tried-and-true benefits of disconnecting to connect:

Human interaction calls for making time.  The human experience is optimized when we spend time with others. At its essence, the human experience is about sharing our lives; our successes are that much sweeter when we celebrate with our supporters.  This is why we like birthdays, cake and food; they all bring people together and make for a feel-good experience.  So when it comes to getting to know others and building relationships, real-life interaction provides a holistic and multi-dimensional approach that online doesn’t.  In addition to carrying on a conversation as you can digitally, it offers spontaneous, unedited and less contrived elements that help you see different sides of a person.

Showing up counts.  It takes an additional level of effort to show up and be present.  And a track record of consistently showing up for your friends, family and colleagues holds a lot of weight and speaks for itself.  If you’re consistently dependable, trustworthy, supportive and reliable, you’ll easily come to mind as their go-to person who always comes through. When the day comes that you may need a favor, they won’t hesitate to lend a helping hand.

Become part of the inner circle faster.  There’s a reason why meeting friends and family early in a relationship serves as classic milestones.  Inherently, we like to have a stamp of approval from those who mean a lot to us and whose opinions we value.  The same goes for platonic friends and professional colleagues; and taking your connections offline allow you to do this.  Once you get approval, you’re more likely to include new people in our activities, thereby bringing them into your circle faster.

Create a support network.  By building relationships, you increase the probability of creating mutually supportive networks.  Give first before you even think of taking and others will be inclined to do the same for you.  Overtime, you’ll become top-of-mind to people with whom you’ve cultivated shared trust, admiration and respect.

What is your experience with your online relationships versus those you build offline?  Do they develop in the same way?

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