Tag: Tools

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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The 3 Crucial Steps to Managing Your Time and Getting Things Done Efficiently

There’s a limited amount of time in each day and an unlimited amount of things you could do with that time.  Like everyone else, I often feel busy but don’t always see what I’ve accomplished when the day is done.  With funny videos being posted on Facebook, texts, emails, popular articles surfacing on your timeline on Twitter, there are countless things to pique your interest and make you veer away from the day’s agenda.

A few days ago, I was catching up with a friend who is 800 miles away. Our catchup session was longer than usual since our schedules often conflict.  We soon realized that we had both fallen victim to sleeping in, relaxing and not tackling the things on our to-do lists as planned.  Of course you need to take it easy sometimes, but my plan was to be up and out the door by around 8 AM so I was already hours behind schedule.

So I spent some time thinking about what it really takes to get manage your time and get things done.  I started with a long list but in terms of what is truly crucial and consequential, I was left with these three steps:

1.  Figure out what you need to do.  Without direction, an objective and a clear list of tasks, it is hard to move forward and accomplish anything.  So the first thing is to figure out what you need to get done.  If you’re following through on directives from others, make sure you’re clear on the details.  If you’re running the show and creating and tackling your own list, make sure you’re honest with yourself so you include everything.

2.  Prioritize your list.  One really important skills is to know what to work on now and what can wait.  Not everything in your list will be high priority and being able to attack your list accordingly will really impact your effectiveness.  This is especially important if you’re reporting to others who are depending on your output.

3.  Get things done, efficiently.  If you’re working on your list, that’s generally a good thing. But don’t spend all day working on one item with 20 more left untouched.  Being busy doesn’t always translate to effectiveness so make sure you’re not spinning your wheels unnecessarily.  In between tasks that require a lot of focus, do lighter tasks or take a break altogether to do something different.  Stepping away will usually give you that boost and revitalization you need.

My friend and I eventually got our acts together and by the time I checked in later in the day, she had called her cell phone provider and was well on her way to getting a new phone within the week.  Some time ago, her iPhone stopped working so she reverted to an old flip phone because she wasn’t due for an upgrade for two months.  By picking up the phone and sharing she was considering switching providers, she got her monthly bill lowered and the option to upgrade her phone immediately for a minimum down payment.  On my end, I revisited the installation of some software onto my new computer and got it to work with one try after multiple failed attempts the night before.  Now I finally had access to Word, Excel and PowerPoint which I needed to do other things on my list.

So get your list, your coffee and snacks and get to work.  You’ll see how amazing the power of the start is!

Do you ever feel like you could do a better job of managing your time and getting things done?  What are some obstacles you face?  How do you get on track and accomplish things?

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A Picture Guide To Creating An Effective Budget – Part 1 of 3

Budget.  For many, this is a scary word.  It means numbers.  Making sense of numbers.  Calculating numbers.  And quite frankly, I’ve learned over the years that not everyone is comfortable confronting numbers.  But if you want to have control of your financial situation and use simple concepts that big businesses use to your advantage, you’ll need to be armed and ready to face the numbers.  I’m happy to say that they’re not as intimidating as they may seem!

Even numbers can be visual, and in this Three-Part Series, I’ll show, in pictures, how you can create an effective budget that gives you power and control over your finances.  In Part 1, we’ll address the overview of a budget and why it is important.  In Part 2, we’ll go over how to create a budget; and in Part 3, we’ll address what to do after you’ve created your budget to maximize its use.

So what is a budget, why is it important and why do you need one?

A budget is an itemized financial plan for a certain period of time such as a week, month or year.  You anticipate your income (inflows) and plan your expenses (outflows) accordingly so you can see what you’re left with.  Ideally, you will spend less than you bring in.  Here is what this looks like:

This snapshot of a budget allows you to see your monthly income, itemized expenses and what you have remaining. This makes it easy to see if you’re sending more than what you’re bringing in.

Over time, a budget helps with planning ahead and in anticipating problems that may arise.  This insight allows you to think about what changes should be made and respond by reallocating resources as needed.  For example, if you’re over your groceries amount for the month, you can plan to spend less.  Or if you’re spending too much on cable each month, you can negotiate a lower rate with your cable company.

See how the highlighted amounts changed compared to those in Exhibit A. By planning and reducing your expenses in certain areas, you’ll be left with more to reallocate.

To your benefit, a budget provides an organized and easily understood breakdown of how much money you’re bringing in and how much is leaving your pocket.  It is an invaluable tool that allows you to manage your money and prioritize your spending.  An important point is the fact that the effectiveness of a budget doesn’t depend on your income.  In fact, your financial situation is largely about what you do with your money as opposed to how much you make.  With a budget, you can identify and get rid of wasteful spending, quickly adapt as your financial situation changes and attain your financial goals faster.  You’ll have a more accurate sense of if you’re able to afford your dream vacation or your friend’s wedding.  You’ll know how much you can save for your future.  This financial clarity is especially empowering.

With the reductions made in Exhibit B, additional money at your disposal can help you save more for your future or toward planned expenses.

In Part 2 of this series, we’ll go over each step in creating a budget that is tailored to your situation.  Share your experience with a budget or what you would like to see in Parts 2 or 3 in the comments section below!

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