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Five Secrets Used by Master Networkers

28 Dec

We all know that networking is a key to get us the job that we want or to promote our business. Are your networking efforts paying off? Here are some secrets gleaned from master networkers:

Networking connects you with many different types of people1. Always carry your business cards

Be on the lookout for interesting connections. They may come from unexpected places and venues. Be ready to succinctly communicate your passion and leave your card. For this reason, you must also remember that YOU are your brand.

2. Show interest in others

The purpose of networking is to promote your business yet, at the same time,  be careful to not come across as someone who is always self-promoting. You want to be memorable and the best way to do that is to be willing to help others meet their goals.  Once you have finished speaking with the new contact, write down a detail or two about them before you forget.

3. Listen carefully

This networking secret is possibly the most important.  It’s far too easy get distracted in group settings. Once you connect with the new contact, use your entire communication process of body language, tone of voice and words to convey your interest in what they have to say.

4. Follow up immediately

What are you going to do after you gather your business cards? Many people simply collect them and hope for the best. You need to select two or three and follow-up. Networking is about establishing mutually beneficial relationships. Send them an email or give them a call to thank them for their time.

5. Schedule the meetings

How many times have you said, “Let’s get together soon.” Instead, suggest the best time for you and even suggest a place. The sooner you schedule the next meeting, the more likely it is that you have a networking connection that is going to work.

Networking is a skill that takes practice and time. Go after it diligently and you will begin to reap the results in increased opportunities and added valuable connections.

Karen Sebastian is a serial entrepreneur who wants to help you succeed in your business. Subscribe to this blog for more inspiration on how to become a HOPEpreneur.

Copyright © 2011 Picture Hope International, Inc.

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Should I join a networking group?

14 Dec

Karen Sebastian and Janet Uszynski at Orchid Christmas luncheonA great way to quickly increase your number of qualified contacts for your business is to join a networking group. There are many groups out there and it’s important to find one that will work for you. A great way to do that is to find out about how it got started. Our guest blogger today is Janet Uszynski who is the founder and director of Orchid a Faith – based networking group for women in North Texas. I met her a few months back and appreciate her follow-through and commitment to help women succeed.

HOPEpreneurs: When did you discover that you were a good networker?

Janet:

Looking back on my childhood I was what some would call a “social butterfly.” One day my Mom summoned me and sternly said, “Janet, I think you’re going to have to go work for the phone company in order to pay for this high phone bill. All you ever do is talk and talk and talk to your friends.”

She was right. I love sharing ideas and hearing that others are thinking. I want to be involved with others and help when I can. As I got older one of my favorite things to do was have dinner parties and BBQ’s to introduce and connect all my friends. I was the one who would invite that person others might exclude and I would make sure they felt welcome and accepted.

HOPEpreneurs: Why did you start Orchid?

Janet: 

I started Orchid because I wanted to offer a vehicle for Christian women to connect to learn from each other, share ideas, request prayer support and use their God-given gifts to help others.

HOPEpreneurs: Why would a woman want to join Orchid?

There is a powerful energy when women connect with other like-minded, goal-oriented women who share the desire to excel at what they are doing. Orchid is non-competitive and puts no limits on categories or professions like most other networking groups. We offer many opportunities for women to promote their Product, Passion or Self in a safe networking environment. We are seeing incredible connections in this diverse group. Ministries and businesses are helping each other along with many other great opportunities.

HOPEpreneurs: What do you want to see happen?

Janet: 

I want to help other women understand that to give is more powerful then to receive.  An amazing circle of giving starts when we give freely to others with no strings attached. God wants everyone to succeed, make money and achieve their dreams. My goal is to set an atmosphere where this can happen.

You may contact Janet at: info@itsorchid.com. Visit Orchid’s website at: http://www.itsorchid.com.

Takeaways from this interview:

  1. Find a networking group where you feel comfortable. Visit several before you commit to becoming a member. Orchid is a great example of a faith-based group that strives to make others feel comfortable and gives opportunities to flourish.
  2. Learn from great networkers. One of the reasons I asked Janet for this interview is that she is truly a gifted networker. At the root of her success is her sincere desire to help others. She is happiest promoting and connecting others. The next time you go to a networking event, reach out to help someone else. It will come back to you multiplied many times over.
  3. Be interested in others. When you go to a networking event, make sure you meet at least one new person. Follow up with them and establish a strong connection. Janet will share more of her tips for networking success in the next blog.

Karen Sebastian is a serial entrepreneur who wants to help you succeed in your business. Subscribe to this blog for more inspiration on how to become a HOPEpreneur.

Do I have to stop networking during the holiday season?

8 Dec

We are in the time of the year when it’s tempting to give ourselves the excuse that we are all too busy to keep networking. Whatever you do, don’t stop networking. Once you lose momentum it can be harder to get started again after the first of the year. Instead, shift your focus a little. It’s actually a perfect time to check out some new networking circles, make a few extra calls and set up some appointments.

Expand your networking circle by attending seasonal events.

Many times there are groups that will extend an invitation to non-members. Go and test the waters. Be prepared to meet some brand new contacts and follow up with them.

Take the lead to set up a definite time to meet.

Check through your contacts to see if there are any open loops. Take the initiative to email or call that person to set up a definite time to meet. The whole approach of “Let’s get together soon” usually doesn’t work because people are so busy.

Flex your meeting times.

Expect a positive result because often people take a more relaxed approach toward work during this season. You may have to be more flexible and plan to meet around 4:30 pm instead of having lunch.

Have fun.

Enjoy your opportunities to meet others. Be ready to give your input and lend a helping hand. It will come back to you in surprising ways.

Karen Sebastian is a serial entrepreneur who wants to help you succeed in your business. Subscribe to this blog for more inspiration on how to become a HOPEpreneur.

Why should I spend time networking?

1 Dec

I had the privilege of meeting a fantastic group of women today who are part of the Orchid women-to-women networking group. This is a very warm faith-based networking group that meets several times of month. By joining this networking group I gain the following benefits (ROI) from networking:

  1. Relationships. One of the things that this networking group does well is give time for those attending to get to know the people at our tables. One of the fallacies about networking is that it is enough to pass out  your business cards. The key is to connect and be memorable. I feel confident that the ones that I connected with today will become friends as I follow-up with them.
  2. Opportunities to learn. Another favorable component was a speaker who provided timely information on SEO and Social Media. I gained helpful information that will help me immediately. It makes me want to go back.
  3. Informal network. It takes time and effort to build a strong network that will benefit you whether you are looking for a job or building a business.  It’s also easy to get so busy that we neglect this process. Be willing to give and share your expertise with others. This will build your credibility and move you toward continued success.

Solid networking takes time but the Return on Investment is well worth the effort. Make joining a networking group one of the key steps in your strategy to build your business. There are many different groups out there. If you live in the Dallas area, I recommend you check out Orchid.

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