Nifty Networking Tips: Let’s Make This Easy AND Fun

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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.”

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What is a Mastermind Group?

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In my last blog, I shared some thoughts on having an accountability partner. Just that one change alone can help you get closer to your end goal, whatever it may be.

Here’s another idea you might want to consider. What about joining a Mastermind Group?

Huh? Not sure what that is???

Well, it’s simply a small group of people who all share a common goal. You meet at a specific time each week or month to help each other. There are quite a few benefits:

~ You can get clarity on your specific goals
~ Your peers, whose opinion you trust, give you honest and valuable feedback
~ You have the opportunity to brainstorm new possibilities
~ You are supportive of one another – nothing judgmental here!
~ You all share valuable information

I just met with my Mastermind Group last night. We are all professional speakers, so we share a lot of the same challenges. We each get a chance to speak during the meeting, and just to give you an idea of how helpful this can be, these were the benefits I received last night:

At the end of the meeting, I walked away with specific names of publishers for my new book, I received detailed suggestions on how to improve my speech for the upcoming International Speech Contest, and someone loaned me a video camera that I can borrow to tape my upcoming presentation.

Not bad for one evenings work!!!

In return, I offered my expertise on marketing, sales, creating new workshops, and a whole lot more.

Let me put it this way – I am never disappointed or feel like I’ve wasted my time.

Do you belong to a Mastermind Group? What are your experiences? Do you find that it gets you closer to your goals? Just as important, do you actually follow through with what your learned during the meeting? I’d love to hear your story.

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Trust Yourself

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Lessons I learned from the Polar Bears on my recent trip to Churchill, Canada, amaze me every day.  And I promised I would share the top three with you – so here’s the third one:

TRUST

Trust who?  Mostly yourself.

In my two previous posts on Lessons Learned from the Polar Bears, I shared thoughts on focusing on your goals relentlessly, then standing your ground and not letting others shake your pursuit of your goal.   Now, learn to trust that decision and even more importantly, trust yourself in reaching that goal, in attaining that dream.

How many times have you decided to do something that’s a little difficult – lose weight, change your career, improve your relationship – and you are really committed to it!   Until you hit a hurdle, a roadblock, and instead of rolling up your sleeves and working harder, longer, you take the easier route and  quite.  You tell yourself that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea after all.

I’ve been guilty of this so many times.  After all, it’s easier to reach for that chocolate bar and tell myself I’ll start that diet tomorrow.

But the polar bears taught me to trust my instinct and find a belief in myself that is unshakable – to not give up when the journey becomes difficult.

One morning, while in Canada, we ventured out in the Polar Rover, slowly driving over the frozen tundra, when our guide spotted a mother polar bear with her very small cub.  At first, she wanted nothing to do with us, but our guide decided that we would wait and give her some time to learn to trust us.  Slowly but surely, she sauntered over to our vehicle with her cub in tow.  The mother sniffed and explored and finally decided she could trust her instincts.  In fact, she trusted us so much, that she actually laid down in front of our rover, with her cub beside her, and went to sleep.

After researching, investigating and scrutinizing, she decided to trust her instinct.  And that is my hope for you.  That when others question your belief in your dreams, and you begin to falter, that you dig down deep and learn to trust your gut.  If you fall down, get back up again.  And if you make a mess, clean it up and keep going.   That is my hope for both you and me.

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Stand Your Ground

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Like I mentioned in my previous blog, I learned three distinct life lessons from the Polar Bears.  On my recent trip to Churchill, Canada, I saw these animals in the wild, and I couldn’t help but notice how their behavior can be adapted to our everyday life.

Last week, I talked about focusing on your goal – relentlessly.  Well, today, the second lesson I’m going to share is: Stand Your Ground.

You may be thinking: “What in the world is she talking about?”

But here’s how I see it.  You’ve decided on a goal, you’re passionate about it, you’ve thought it through and you can describe it down to the last detail.  In fact you can feel it in your bones.  You can see it, smell it, taste it, and you live for it every single day, working toward it with a vengeance.

Then…

When you share your vision with someone – a friend, family member, anyone who will listen – their reaction isn’t exactly what you expected.  They may doubt you, question you, and even worse, cause you to lose belief in yourself.  Without even realizing it, you begin to reevaluate your goal.  You wonder if it was such a good idea in the first place.  You question if this is the right direction for you.

And that is what I learned from the polar bears – STAND YOUR GROUND.  Because the bears  are left to their own devices to survive, they must have a belief in themselves that is beyond doubt.  They stand tall and move forward, never losing sight of their goal.

So, don’t be frightened by what others think, and don’t feel like you have to justify anything.  Stand up tall, and in the face of diversity, show how powerful you can really be.

Have a belief in yourself, in your goal, and tell the world that it cannot be shaken.

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Focus on Your Goal – Relentlessly

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Who would have guessed that you could actually learn life lessons from Polar Bears?

It’s true!

That’s exactly what happened to me on my recent trip to Churchill, Canada where I watched the bears in their natural habitat.  Absolutely amazing!!!

And exactly what did I learn?  Several things.   The first is:

A relentless focus on your goal!

Polar Bears spend each and every day hunting for food, and their main source of food is seals.  Without this goal in mind, they will not survive.  They are focused and unrelenting every minute of the day as they hunt to stay alive.

So how does this relate to you and me?

Well, first of all, do you have a specific goal in mind, either personally or professionally?  Hopefully, you have one for both phases of your life.   Either way, know what you want to accomplish – define it and describe it down to the very last detail.  Why do you have this goal?  What are you hoping to accomplish?  What is the end result?

Once you figure it out, focus on that goal each and every day.  Pursue your goal relentlessly, like your life depends on it.  And if someone tells you it can’t be done, use that as fuel to propel yourself forward.  Never give up on your goal – or as I like to call them – dreams.

Think of it this way – when you believe in yourself, you have armor no one can crack.  Nothing or no one can get in your way.

And that is just one of the many lessons I learned from the Polar Bears.

Personally, my goal is to become the most dynamic speaker you have ever heard.  I can feel it in my bones, I work hard on it every day, and best of all, it warms my heart.  I know it is what I am meant to do.

So, what is your goal – what is your dream?  What gets you out of bed each morning, ready to pursue it relentlessly!

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