Networking is Nothing New

S (Old Book)Networking is simply human interaction and it has been with us since the beginning of time. These human interactions are really just the relationships we have with one another. How we connect. Some connections are passing. Some connections are more lasting. Some connections are seemingly lifelong.

Given this, networking is, more or less, really just human behavior. Talking. Listening. Understanding. Being empathetic, encouraging, inspiring, smiling, laughing, and being a friend. Thus, all human behaviors involving other people are relationship-based and is networking.

The wonderful thing about human behavior is that there are patterns to it. While the patterns may not be perfectly predictable – as you might find with a chemical reaction or a physics experiment – there are patterns generally there.

Whenever there are patterns, however, there is curiosity. And whenever there is curiosity, you will find people of science trying to explain the patterns through studying, observing, and examining them.

Human behavior involving our relationships is no different. The social sciences – sociology, psychology, and economics, just to name a few – for years have examined how humans relate to one another, both personally and professionally.

30-Second Commercials: Part 6 of 8

Silver modern StopwatchNow, clearly articulating WHO you are, WHAT you do and WHY you are uniquely qualified is nice. However, in a sense, it is like having a souped up car with no wheels. To complete your 30-second commercial, you need to clearly state WHAT it is you need.

Now I hear lots of 30-second commercials and many of them have a weak finish. This is because they have a wimpy ASK or request. The best way to illustrate this is through an example … An example of what not to do. Do not make your HOW statement something like, “A good referral for me is someone in transition or not happy with the direction of their career.” Rather, here is a better example.

“If you know of someone in transition or not happy with the direction of their career please introduce me to them.”

The main difference between these two is that the second has a “call to action.” If you see or know of this, please send it my way … Or give me their number … Or invite them to my seminar.

The first example … A good referral for me is someone in transition or not happy with the direction of their career … gives the same information, but it leaves someone wanting to say, “That’s nice.”

It is like my kids. They will say, “Dad, I am hungry.” And my response is, “Thanks. That is good to know.” They know now they need to make a Strong Definite Request. “Dad, can you cook me Mac-n-Cheese?” They are asking for action, which is far more powerful.

30-Second Commercials: Part 5 of 8

Silver modern StopwatchEveryone has competition, including you. What makes you unique amongst your competition?

Again, WHY you? Your 30-second commercial needs to convey credibility and confidence that serves to answer that question before it is asked. Consider an example.

“Not only have I helped more than 100 people get into the right franchise, I also spent 10 years as a CPA … helping my clients know what they were getting.”

Who would a prospective franchisee prefer to work with? Just anyone or someone with this background? The answer should be obvious (at least the question was intended to be rhetorical). The point is that Inspiring Confidence (answering the “WHY you?”) is vital to your 30-second commercial.

30-Second Commercials: Part 4 of 8

Silver modern StopwatchThere are few options to the basic introduction (as discussed in part 3), it is largely void of creativity right? That’s okay, because you can more than make up for it with the Message Body. This is essentially the heart and soul of your message and you can approach it from lots of different angles … You can INFORM the person or EDUCATE … You can even AMUSE or STARTLE them to get the point across.

You might be sitting there saying, “There is nothing to what I do.” Certainly, what you do may seem like basic vanilla. What you need to give yourself credit for (and convey in your messages) are all the different WHERE’S and HOW’s you do what you do. With that, you can add some creativity to your message body.

For example, a real estate agent may help people buy a house. There are lots of reasons when they do this.

  • Get out of an apartment.
  • To have a bigger house.
  • To have a second house.
  • To have a smaller house.
  • To flip.
  • To rent.

Each of these could be the basis for a completely separate message body. No doubt, you can do the same for your business or profession. Read on in part 5.

Social Media Success

The three most important steps to success on social media. There is no magic. There are secret formulas or short cuts. The key is to follow the three most important steps.

1) Get Started (or expand your usage to be more effective)

2) Make time to take a little action each day

3) Commit to keeping after it.

Admittedly, when it comes to social media there is a lot there and much to master and learn. There is nothing to say, however, that you need to climb the learning curve in a weekday, month or even a year. Even the most proficient users of social media find that they are continually learning new things.

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Besides, no one is judging you on your proficiency using social media. They are only judging you on the value you bring to the network.

Networking And Social Media

In the early days of the Internet, companies built websites and then took on the responsibility of supplying all the content. They knew that it was critical to have fresh content as often as possible if they were to have people continue to view their site. And if people did not continue to view their site (known as hits), then they knew they would become far less attractive to potential advertisers.

We all know how this story ended. People invested millions in these websites. From that stock was sold on Wall Street. And in the end, people lost billions and the economy was thrust into a recession of sorts.

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While some proclaimed the World Wide Web as just being a fade, others began to re-tool and take a new approach to the Internet. There are still many sites that depend upon having fresh content to keep people coming back (a great example is Amazon or WebMD). Some developers, however, took a new approach. They created websites where the online content is created everyday by millions and millions of average people using highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies. These developers look to people like you and I to write about what is interesting to us and share things we deem to be important or entertaining. This development is known as Social Media, and it completely shifts how people discover and read as well as share news, information and other content.

Certainly, social media gets a bad rap. It can be viewed as an expansive online rumor mill or coffee club. If you approach it correctly, however, it can be a valuable networking tool.

It is important to point out that there are lots of different types of social media. Certainly there are the big three … LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Beyond that there are dozens of others. YouTube is a form of social media just for sharing video. Instagram and Pinterest are for sharing images.

There are sites geared entirely for small business and some just for attorneys … Or writers. The point is that there are tons of different types of social media. Some have better business applications than others, but there are lots of ways to connect with people on the Internet now.

Do You Tweet?

Social MediaLinkedIn, Facebook & Twitter. Social media is here to stay, and Twitter is a big part of that.

If you use this social media application to get out your message 140 characters (or less) at a time, when you mention AmSpirit Business Connections be sure to use the hashtag (#) symbol immediately before the word AmSpirit. For example, “Just met with my #amspirit lunch partner and got a great referral.”

This will allow all those interested to quickly learn what is being said on Twitter about AmSpirit Business Connections.

AmSpirit Member Mark Matthews and MMA Insurance Featured On Daytime Columbus!

Diamond Chapter member Mark Matthews and his company MMA Insurance was featured on Daytime Columbus on 8/21/13. To watch his interview with Daytime Columbus host Gail Hogan click the HERE.

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The Power Of The Status Update

Many of the more popular social media applications (LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, for starters), give you the ability to post an update that reveals to the world, more or less, “What are you doing now?” While there are some who only utilize this as a means of sharing the type of bagel they are consuming, the truly savvy social media adventurer sees this as a great opportunity.One way you can start to maximize the benefits you garner from social media is to take advantage of the power the status update holds. You can do this in one of three ways:Mini Press Release: The status update allows you the opportunity to periodically forward out short pieces on the happening in your world. Like tiny press releases, you can provide others a quick summary of the meaningful things you are doing. “Giving an insurance presentation to the Association of Executives,” tells the world you give speeches. “Delivering imprinted mugs to Dale’s Deli,” announces a sample of your product offerings. Or, “Working on writing a blog piece entitled The Power of the Almighty Status Update,” alerts others (and yes, this went out) that you have a blog.

Add Value: Effective networking is about adding value to the world and trust that the value will come back to you in some form or fashion. Your status update is a wonderful place to give a lot with just a little effort. “Your most valuable possession is your attitude,” gets people thinking and helps them have a better attitude. “Remember, now is the time to start thinking about ordering calendars for next year,” serves as a reminder to many, even if you are not the one selling the calendar. “Ask your agent how the new car insurance laws affect you,” provides those around you a potentially valuable insight.

Create Discussion: A big part of success is being relevant and a big part of being relevant is creating exposure for yourself. Your status update affords you an opportunity for exposure on a daily basis. “Who is going to win the Super Bowl?” This draws people into a conversation that you have created. “What is the best ad specialty item you have ever received?,” This not only creates discussion and potentially valuable market research. “Other than Chamber functions, what are some good networking activities?” Responses to this serves to demonstrate the value of your network.

Yes, your status update can be just another means of imparting cute and trivial information about life. Or your status update can be a powerful tool you can use to cast yourself amongst all those curious eyes on social media.

To Proofread Or To Palliate

Blog logo-from Jacci Adams

Have you ever created a print job for a client, sent it to your print shop, then picked it up only to have the client find a typo? Unfortunately, this senario happens more often than you might think. Several months ago I was perusing my favorite magazine when I came across an advertisement for a new online company; the ad looked great – except for two glaring typos. Early spring 2010 I was visiting the vendor booths at our local Womens Expo, and an advertisement at a landscaper’s booth had a large typo – unfortunately after over 10K copies had been printed.

Typos are an unfortunate part of creating advertising, but it does not always have to be the case. A professional designer/proofreader can help you go through your copy through for both accuracy and readability. A professional designer/proofreader can help you shine above the rest of the competition by coming across to the consumer as highly professional rather than “I just threw this together at the last minute.”

Here’s a few tips to consider:

  1. Outside eyes. Always have another pair of eyes look your work over, preferably someone that is outside your company. You should still use the spell-checker option, but don’t trust the program or your own eyes to see everything. Having another pair of eyes unfamiliar with your work can save you time, money, and embarrassment.
  2. Read backwards. This might sound strange, but reading backwards does help catch typos or misused words. The human brain becomes accustomed to making adjustments visually, which can be applied to typos and misspellings. Remember the landscaper’s booth at the expo? The people in the booth told me they had at least 14 people read through the copy, yet no one caught the typo. Why? The human brain finished the word, so to most just glancing through, the typo would not stand out. I saw it by reading the copy backwards.
  3. Check dates and times. This might sound elementary, but after having working in a newspaper for over six years, it was surprising how many times people called in to complain about a wrong date or time for an event published in our newspaper. Always send in your event information typed out for ease of reading on the part of the editors/reporters; this also allows them to copy/paste the information so nothing has to be typed out. Before you hit the SEND button, however, read through for accuracy. If it does print wrong, go back through your copy before calling to complain.
  4. Turn on grammar/spell checks. You may have won the National Spelling Bee as an elementary student, but even the best of us make mistakes. Turning on the grammar and spell checks in your software will help keep those mistakes to a bare minimum.
  5. Copy/Paste your text into a word editor. This mostly applies to those of us who blog regularly. If you are not using a word editor to write your copy prior to posting, it is highly recommended this be done. This allows the spell check and grammar check to help you prepare your copy as error-free as possible.

Now it’s your turn! What steps do you take when proofreading? What works and what doesn’t?

Cheers,
Lisa