Posts tagged #Business Networking

How to Create Your Own Professional Network

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realised how close they were to success when they gave up.

Thomas Edison

Ever envied another person for their connections, whatever the industry? Chances are they’ve put a lot of time and effort into building that flourishing professional network you covet!

In today’s competitive business environment, the power of networking cannot be emphasised enough. When an opportunity arises, you want to be the first choice in a colleague’s mind — or at least on the short-list.

If you find professional networking a little daunting, my five key tips can help.

1.    Quality communication

Business relationships are impacted by first impressions. Do you remember names, display an engaging demeanour, and engage in conversation easily? In terms of future opportunities, people generally choose to work with those who create a positive impression.

Choice of conversation topics is important, but keep in mind professional networking is not a presentation. Take the time to listen as well.

Quality non-verbal communication is also vital. Be aware of body language. Maintain eye contact and avoid unconscious indicators of boredom or disinterest such as yawning, fidgeting, and that old chestnut, constantly glancing at your mobile phone.

2.    Be aware of opportunities

Anyone can become a great connection, so never adopt a dismissive attitude. Be consistently polite. People are promoted and can change departments or companies. A negative first impression may prove damaging down the road.

3.    The social factor

Social engagement, a time-honoured aspect of professional networking, has the potential to return dividends. Lunches/dinners are prime opportunities for quality interaction. Volunteer to attend industry events, and network internally as well as externally.

Connections within the company are important. Instead of eating lunch with the same people every day, step outside your comfort zone and approach someone new.

4.    Effective time management

A common mistake when creating a professional network is to over-invest in connections with minimal strategic benefits. Research conducted by Business Networking Academy shows 75% of business people admit existing networks do not support the results they require.

Are you focusing on people likely to help make short-term and/or long-term goals a reality? If not, take a step back, evaluate, and devise a new strategy. Keep in mind the best business relationships are often reciprocal. Everyone wants to feel their time is being well spent.

5.    Maintain your connections

Making a professional connection is only the beginning. Next comes developing a business relationship. Aim to be memorable in a consistently positive way.

Social media, email, phone calls or meetings help you stay connected, but people prefer different levels of engagement, and understanding this is key to maintaining healthy networking relationships.

Building a strong professional network can deliver positive and far-reaching benefits for your career. Need some help? Our professional networking workshops can equip you with networking methodologies that work for you. Enrol today.

Julia Palmer, a respected Networking Strategist and Chief Executive of the Business Networking Academy, presenting and training on how to create and manage networks that work. To learn more visit www.juliapalmer.com & www.BusinessNetworkingAcademy.com.au

 

Posted on November 28, 2017 .

The changing face of business: why networks are critical for success

Best results are often achieved well before you need a job, by consistently networking so that when you find yourself job-hunting you have a large network to work with – Erik Qualman

We live in a time where pretty much every single part of our lives can be conducted online. It’s kind of mind-boggling, but it’s entirely possible to run a business without setting foot outside your front door. However, like many other things in life, just because you can doesn’t always mean it’s a good idea!

I don’t think anyone would argue that we’re in an era of rapid change – competition is fierce, consumer expectations are higher than ever and technology is evolving all the time. This changing face of business means networks, and the personal connection they enable, are more important than ever.

Here are three reasons why building networks are so beneficial.

1.     Get better quality leads and referrals. Anyone who has tried to market a business online will know how hard it is to stand out among the general noise. Spending time building face-to-face networks lets you develop those all-important personal connections that mean if someone’s looking for what you have to offer you will be top of mind, even if you’re not top of the Google results.

2.     Tap into expertise you wouldn’t otherwise find. Business networking can bring you into contact with people who might not be your ideal client but who can help you grow your business in other ways. Partnerships, collaborative projects or even just plain old-fashioned advice are all crucial elements of success for any growing business.

3.     Build your profile in your industry. If you’re keen to build your brand and reputation in your industry, being a regular attendee at networking events is a great way to do it. Building in-person credibility lets you differentiate yourself from all those other online businesses out there. The better your reputation and the higher your profile, the more opportunities are likely to come your way.

With so much in business being done online now, the ability to make face-to-face connections and build personal relationships is one of the best ways to stand out, and get the edge over your competitors. Check out our courses to find out how.

Julia Palmer, a respected Networking Strategist and Chief Executive of the Business Networking Academy, presenting and training on how to create and manage networks that work. To learn more visit www.juliapalmer.com & www.BusinessNetworkingAcademy.com.au

Posted on October 26, 2017 .

How business mentoring can explode your growth and profits

 

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” 
 Benjamin Franklin

 

One-on-one business mentoring can be the single most valuable investment you ever make for yourself.  Yes, that’s a bold statement!
 
Last night I attended an event for future leaders with an amazing panel of speakers, each one talked about the role mentors played in their success and recommended one for your career progression.

We also see so many small and medium sized business owners who are just going with the flow, hoping for the best and ‘winging it’. Yet those who invest in business mentoring learn so much more about business, develop strategic plans and know exactly where they’re headed.
 
Business mentoring has the potential to sky-rocket your career and dramatically increase your growth and profits. Here’s how.

 

  1. You get advice. Having an expert on hand to ask questions and learn from is invaluable. Their advice is likely to be much better than anything you’ll learn in a business management course. A mentor can give you specific advice around YOUR exact problem, not just a generic piece of advice.

  2. You’ll get perspective. A business mentor will look at you from a different angle and see problems and areas for improvement where you can’t see them. This alternate perspective can be life changing. You’ll receive critical feedback in key areas such as communications, relationships, leadership, technology and processes and be presented with ideas you had never thought of.

  3. You’ll gain knowledge. A mentor will help you develop business skills and teach you at the same time as helping you. They’ll show you what you should do but they’ll also explain why it’s a good thing. You’ll learn new methods and strategies for growth, strategy and problem solving that you can apply to your business.

  4. You’ll gain confidence. Knowing you have someone to turn to when you need it is a great confidence booster. Knowing someone’s got your back can give you the encouragement you need to try something new or get you out of a rut when you’re stuck.

 
You should also know that you can help your mentor too! I always ask mine what I can do to help his business :). I also recommend having several mentors/advisors depending on your stage in life or career needs. 

Did you know we don't just facilitate training courses!, If you’re looking for a one-on-one networking mentoring program to boost your business, take a look at our highly successful mentoring programs or speak to us for more information.


Happy Netships!
Julia

 

Don’t Give Networking the Cold Shoulder

 

“To get a step up in the world, you could use a ladder or you could use your connections. I prefer the latter.” Jarod Kintz

 

To say that the recent Sydney weather has been unpredictable and destructive is not over-dramatising things. Wild winds, driving rain, unseasonal hail….we have experienced a gamut of intense storm activity.

And while we are hopeful that this is the last we see of this wild weather, the temperature is dropping. The evenings are becoming chilly. We’re popping our coats and scarves on for the commute home and it’s getting darker earlier.

And maybe you are using the weather as an excuse to not go to that networking event. Or not go to that meet-up. Or nip out early from the conference you attended before it gets too cold on the train home?

The other morning it was pouring with rain when the alarm went off in our house, I asked my husband why he had set it so early. He had a networking breakfast he had been invited to but quickly said he would rather miss it as he had a full workload. Being married to me means, I encouraged him to go!!!  Would I be right if I suggested that you may have used the weather as an excuse to not network?

The colder months are actually a great time to network and here is why;

1.       Less people = Deeper Connections

As networking events become smaller during winter, when YOU’VE made the effort to attend you may find you have more access to less people. And that’s a good thing! This gives you the opportunity to form deeper, more meaningful connections as potential relationships literally don’t get lost in the crowd.

 2.       Seasonal Relevance

Have you thought about whether your product and service is actually more relevant to potential customers and connections at a certain time of year? I met the Business Development Manager of a landscaping management and maintenance company at a networking event recently who was talking about the importance of mulching in winter. One of the people in the group that we were chatting with owned an industrial estate and needed someone to take over the landscaping maintenance. I am imagining they are doing business together right now. It was a case of the right pitch in the right season!

 3.       Cold Events = Hot Opportunities

Remember that networking isn’t just about attending drinks or breakfast events with a speaker. It’s about meeting new people and connecting deeper with those you know, listening to what they have to say and thinking about a way you can possibly help each other. Everyone wants warming up so perhaps invite someone a warm cup of coffee or hot chocolate. My little one is too young, but I know that school sports still run all through winter so if you are standing on the sidelines in your gumboots and parka watching the kids play soccer or netball, make it worth your while by chatting to the other parents and carers in the same boat with you. No icebreaker needed (ironically!). You’ve already got standing in the wind and rain on a freezing Saturday morning in common!

 4.       Job Role Perspective

Many people think networking is not part of their job role. In fact, it is. It is part of everybody’s job role. Not just sales people. If you are in operations, IT, admin, whatever it may be! Networking should be regarded as part of your job role and responsibilities. So considering that, would you call your boss and say ‘I’m sorry, I’m not coming into work for the next three months. It’s too cold.” Ah no. I am imagining you wouldn’t. So don’t do the same with your networking strategy. Don’t cross out 12 weeks of potential leads, knowledge sharing and connections. You never know what you may miss out on.  

So step away from your desk, wrap yourself up in those warm winter woollies and don’t use the weather as an excuse to not get your networking groove on. While the term ‘make hay while the sun shines’ doesn’t exactly work here, you get my drift.

Keep your momentum going during these colder months and do not give networking the cold shoulder.

Looking for ways to improve your networking skills?  We have a new course starting in September 2015 to help you develop the best strategy for you and how you can manage your nework moving forwards.  Find out more information here. 

 

Happy Netships!
Julia

ps - our next course intake is September (with limited places) - hope to see you there:) 

Create & Manage Networks Training Course 
Next intake is September 16th 2015
 (4 half day sessions in a program, held in the Sydney CBD, that runs over 2 months)
Details and Enrolments HERE

 

Posted on May 14, 2015 .

How to be more visible in your network

 

BUZZ QUOTE ~ "Always Remember the future comes one day at a time". Dean Acheson

 

Thanks for the great feedback from the last article - this one is a follow on for you:)
+ We now have links to the recent articles I have tweeted in case you missed them - see below.
 

Our calendar is booked with presenting and training over the next few months to those that want to arm themselves with the skills necessary to effectively attract, leverage and retain business relationships. Like many of my clients, you may be going through major internal changes. Some are facing mergers/ takeovers and others are part of cost minimisation and repositioning efforts. Sound familiar?   

If this is you or someone you know, then the following observations will be meaningful and timely.   Whilst so much happens around you, know that there is much you can personally influence. Now more than ever, its time to execute that influence and remain highly visible within your immediate and wider networks.  So many people I train admit that they shy away from company social gatherings, and if they do attend they stick to people in their immediate team (who they see all day long and have strong relationships with). Then throughout our training workshops they change their perspective and question why they haven’t taken a personal interest in marketing themselves, both internally and externally.In his book ‘The importance of Managing Visibility’, George Dudley maintains that managers who make themselves visible get higher raises and more promotions. And in today’s volatile economic climate, employees need to create a safety net by identifying other jobs within their organisations that they could move to, and by connecting with colleagues who could refer them and employers who could hire them through professional associations.

What if you knew how to raise your visibility and showcase your talents and interests so your organisation could get maximum benefit from you?    

Keep networking, wherever you are in the globe and here a six ways that you can raise your visibility today;

  1. Ask someone outside of your immediate team to grab a tea/ coffee with you and take the opportunity to share what your teams are working on
  2. Instead of having lunch at your desk, take your lunch to a common area and see who you meet
  3. Instead of replying to an internal person by email, go and see them at their desk to discuss the matter
  4. Buy a bag of lollies (or dried fruit, but lollies work best:) and offer it to your colleagues. If you want you can have a jar permanently on your desk so people can pop by and say hi.
  5. Volunteer for a committee of your choice e.g. social, book club, or project based.
  6. Accept an invite to a social event; its not about the drink, its about the people, so stretch yourself and go up to a senior manager and say hello.

Remember, visibility is the key - stay top of mind with your network.  

Now it's time to educate your networks about how fabulous you are and how you can help them or someone they know:)

Happy Netships!
Julia

Dates for your Diary:
BUZZ Drinks - Q3 Casual Catch up on Wednesday 17th September at Red Oak
Create & Manage Networks Training Course - Starts 9th October
 (4 session program that runs over 3 months)