5 Networking Questions that Actually Work!

Professioal Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

In my blog last week, I shared a unique way to look at face-to-face networking, especially if you are a bit introverted or on the shy side.  The key is to think of networking as simply starting a conversation, that’s all.  You’re not trying to make a sale, interest people in your idea, or land your dream job.  Your only goal is to start a conversation. 

But how can you reach out to people and engage them in a conversation that will help you determine if they are a good fit for you?

Well, here are five specific questions to help you get started.  Five questions that can help you in any networking situation:

  1. Start a conversation with “Where are you from?”  This can trigger a number of different responses.  They could talk about the company they represent, where they grew up or where they currently live.  It is a great start to a conversation because it can be answered in a number of different ways.
  2. When they tell you what they do, ask: “Describe your typical day to me.”  So many times people use industry jargon and you have no idea what they are talking about.  This is a simple way to understand what they do on a day-to-day basis.
  3. Instead of asking “What do you do?” ask “Where do you work?”  It’s a simplier question to ask because people may be more comfortable talking about their company instead of themselves. 
  4. “How did you come up with that idea?”  This is especially good for people who are self-employed.  There is usually a good story behind starting your own business.
  5. Find something in common that you can share with them in your opening conversation.  For instance, “I see that you belong to the chamber.  So do I.

These are just a few examples for getting a conversation started.  Pick and choose the ones that work for you.  Once you ask the question, your next goal is to LISTEN.  Only in listening can you determine if this person is a good match for your service or product.  Only by listening can you decide if you want to follow up with a second meeting.

I’m curious which question works best for you.  Please don’t hesitate to let me know.

Categories: Personal Development Positive Attitude Professional Development Professional Speaker
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Nifty Networking Tips: Let’s Make This Easy AND Fun

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

There are so many different reasons for networking.  What’s yours?  I challenge you to think out-of-the-box.

Are you networking to:

                Get more business

                Sell a product or service

                Raise money

                Raise awareness

                Find a job

                Find a date

Whatever your reason is, write it down – then go after it with a vengeance. Be clear about your goal.  It will help you avoid unfocused networking and will save you a LOT of time.

Next, find the group that is best for you.  One where you can meet people who will help you reach your goal. I know that going to the first meeting – the one where you don’t know anyone – can be quite intimidating.  And if you’re anything like me, it can be extremely nerve wracking.  You face a sea of strangers stretched out before you – and all you want to do is turn and run out the door.  You’re uncomfortable and unnerved and uncertain.

If you have ever felt like this, here’s a little tip:

Think of networking a little differently.  Know that networking is not talking to strangers but rather starting a conversation.  That’s all you’re trying to do at this point – start a conversation.  You are not looking to close the sale, land the job or get the check for your project.  Although that would be nice, chances are it will take more than one meeting to reach that goal.  So for now, you’re only objective is to talk to this person long enough and decide if you want to schedule a second meeting.  Is this someone who can help you?

So, instead of seeing strangers, think of this networking event as an opportunity to meet potential clients or potential friends.  Personally, I love using the word curious.  It changes your mindset.  Think:  I’m curious who I’m going to meet today.  I’m curious how they can help my business.  I’m curious how I can help them.  This one word will help you look at the opportunities that lay before you.  It can make all the difference in the world.

Remember that the people at the networking event are the same as you.  We all have insecurities; we all have doubts.  But most of us want to help each other. If you are at the same event, chances are that you already have a lot in common.

So whether you’re at a corporate event or in a coffee shop, you never know who can help you.  You never know who you can extend a helping hand to in return.  So start that conversation.  If you find this difficult, tune in next week and I’ll give you some tips and tricks on how to do exactly that.  In the meantime, start with a smile and simply say “hi.”

Categories: Personal Development Positive Attitude Professional Development Professional Speaker
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Here’s a Toast to You

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

Today is Valentine’s Day.

Some may love it – and some may hate it.  But it is here to stay.  It will return again next year and the year after that.  It’s very persistent!!!

This year I’d like to think of it a little differently and see it as a day to celebrate love. ALL love.

Over many years I have celebrated Valentine’s Day in so many different ways.  Sometimes I’ve enjoyed it with a boyfriend, sometimes with a spouse, sometimes with my parents and sometimes with my friends, but I never once took the time to celebrate with myself.  That’s right – myself!!!

I didn’t always see the good in myself.  There were times when I was scared and disappointed and felt crummy about my life.  Loving myself did not come naturally.  But now I realize that life is a circle.  There were times when my heart was singing, other times when it was broken, sometimes even shattered, but it always found a way repair itself.  This cycle will be repeated again, and now I know that my heart will survive.

No matter what was happening in my life, I always found a way to get out of bed in the morning and put one foot in front of the other.  As hard as it was some days, I did not give up on myself.  And for that I celebrate!

So today join me in raising a glass of wine to celebrate love – past, present and yet to come.   Here’s to believing in yourself and always finding your way.  Here’s to loving yourself unconditionally.

Categories: Personal Development Positive Thinking Professional Speaker
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What a Non-Sports Fan Learned From the Superbowl

Professional Speaker-Positive Attitude-Personal Development

Because I grew up with three older brothers you’d think I’d be very interested in sports…but I’m not.  I know some of the basic rules for football and basketball and baseball, but for some reason I never became an avid fan. 

That’s why I was a little surprised when last Sunday’s Super Bowl game had such an impact on me. 

As I thought about it, what really captured my attention was not the final score or even the action on the field – but the sheer determination to win.  A focus that became so intense it was unexplainable and unbeatable.

Here’s what I observed – and since I’m not a sports aficionado, I will probably get some of the details and terminology wrong.  But what I saw has far greater impact than any numbers on a scoreboard.    

All I know is that one team was winning by a whole lot with only a few minutes left in the game.  It seemed obvious to everyone who the winner would be.  There was a HUGE point difference and it seemed insurmountable.

Then something changed.  Somehow, some way, the losing team dug deep inside themselves and found a strength that kept them moving forward – one yard at a time, one play at a time, one touchdown at a time. 

They refused to give up!!!

Even when most people around them did give up – even some of their fans – they refused to throw in the towel.  The losing team found courage, confidence and belief in themselves and their teammates.  They found a way to chip away at that score, and in just a few minutes they crossed that finish line – champions. 

Impressive —Very Impressive!

The power of not giving up, of believing in yourself, of giving it one more try.  I can’t even begin to imagine what we can accomplish with that type of determination.

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