Networking

Don't Small Talk, Have Courageous Conversations.

Don't Small Talk, Have Courageous Conversations.

Why do people hate networking events? Usually it's full of people who are all talking small. "How's business?" " There's a lot of people here." "How's the food?" "That's a great tie."

Shoot me now. We all hate these events - executives, vendors, and business owners alike. Unfortunately, we've been told that we have to go to them to grow our business. And they're right.

You Can Be The Best You Can Be.

You Can Be The Best You Can Be.

I came up with a simple and powerful tool the other day. I was standing in my office in front of a large Post-It notepad sheet with a red sharpie in my hand (red delivers intention!) — and the ideas just flowed.

Treading Water Is The Same As Drowning.

Many people today feel they are just 'one bad decision away' from losing their job or business. So instead of making decisions, they make NO decision. Or if they have to make a decision, they take the least offensive, least impactful, least expensive, and most spineless way out. Most of the time, that's the wrong thing to do.

What happens? You ensure management is happy while you infuriate your staff, vendors, and smart clients.

Who thinks big and takes chances? Apple.

  • In 1998 — they launched the iMac without a floppy disk drive ("How will we transfer files?).
  • In 2007 — they launched the iPhone - no experience (joining the fray with huge, entrenched leaders).
  • In 2010 — they launched the MacBook Air without a DVD drive ("How will I watch movies?").
  • In 2016 — they launched a new MacBook Pro with 4 USB-C ports ("How will I connect my stuff?).

Each time the media made fun of them and pundits attacked. One year later, everyone embraced the change and moved forward. The result? One of the biggest companies on the planet with a product line admired by all.

To move up and to be noticed by the people that matter, you need to be bold and sometimes stick your neck out. You might hit a home run (most of the time) and sometimes, you might get it cut off (rarely).

That's why I suggest to my clients that they all have INSURANCE. For example:

  • An up-to-date résumé, done by a professional, ready to be distributed at a moment's notice.
  • A polished and professional LinkedIn page, with recent professional headshot, testimonials, etc.
  • Actively networking and connecting with movers and shakers outside of your sphere.
  • Learning new things about your industry, taking classes, reading books and writing about what you learn.
  • Attending events (industry symposiums, charities, etc.).
  • Finally, hire a coach — they help you perform at your peak and help you make the tough decisions.

Once you have those things in your back pocket, it's not that hard to make the tough decisions that need to be made.

Here's a powerful scene with John Goodman (it's a bit rough with the language — but you'll get the gist):

 

Networking Sucks.

There — I said it. Networking sucks. Anyone who likes networking isn't networking, they're connecting (stick with me).

Anyone who hates networking is probably networking. And doing it badly.

If you meet someone and they try to 'sell' you on their product or service, that's networking. What they really should be doing is connecting. Connecting is where you try to 'connect' with that person. Where . . .

  • You take a concerted interest in who that person is and what they do.
  • You get them interested in you (not your business).
  • You get them to feel your passion, intensity, enthusiasm, confidence, single-minded purpose, & fearlessness.
  • The feeling we’ve won the game before it starts.

Because if I bumped into someone who portrayed half of those qualities — I most certainly would want to get to know them better. And help them. And mention them to my clients.

Why You Don't Meet People For Lunch.

You're too busy for lunch. We're all busy — you might have time management or delegation issues. Or you can't say 'NO'. It takes too much time. No it doesn't — and I'll show you a way to make it much shorter.

I wouldn't know what to talk about. You shouldn't talk — ask lots of questions and LISTEN.

I hate people. Okay — you got me there. Move to a far-away land and live like a hermit.

To have a healthy business or career, you should be meeting someone for lunch at least once a week (if not more). That's 52 new or strengthened relationships built in a year. Connecting with people bring new ideas, new strategies, and new energy to your mind and body. It's an essential part of the business cycle. But for some reason, you don't do it.

Sometimes going out to lunch takes too much time:

  • Closing up what your doing, getting on your coat and exiting your building - 10 minutes
  • Traveling to the lunch location - 10-20 minutes
  • Arriving early - 10 minutes
  • Lunch - 60-90 minutes
  • Traveling from the lunch location - 10-20 minutes
  • Entering your office, coat off, getting settled, and back to what you were doing - 10 minutes

All totaled, we're talking 110-160 minutes — virtually 2-3 hours out of your workday. Now some people would say (like me), "It's part of the job and I have to schedule around it." But most people will say, "Candidly, I don't have 2-3 hours to waste out of my workday." AND THEY NEVER HAVE ANOTHER BUSINESS LUNCH.

I've solved that problem. Don't have that lunch.

Instead, I call people in the morning. Every day, I pick two people who I want to call to touch base and see how they're doing. What do I do?

  • I make sure I catch them at a weird time - 7:30 AM or 5:30 PM. I call when they don't expect it.
  • I keep it REALLY short - no more than 10 minutes.
  • I energize my voice and keep the tone and rhythm to keep their attention.
  • I keep the call all about them - I ask questions, listen, follow up with more questions.
  • I add humor, anecdotes, or anything I can think of to make my call FUN.
  • I then say, "I've taken too much of your time, let me let you go..."
  • I end with an intention, "Let's connect again in a few months..."
  • And then I hang up. 

Bang! Connected with a colleague in 10 minutes. They feel good about you — you feel good about them — and you've refreshed your relationship with a past friend, colleague, or client. It's SO easy. When you call them again in 3-6 months, they will be happy to receive your call because it will be short and energize their day. THEY WILL WANT TO TALK WITH YOU!

Here's the best part — if you work 250 days a year, you can connect with over 500 people. Think of the possibilities!

Try it — my charge to you this morning is to reach out to two people and talk with them for no more than 10 minutes. You will find it so easy to do. And it works!

P.S. Here's the REAL reason I do it — they feel good about you, they remember you . . . and they recommend you. My business is BOOMING!

Top 10 Most Read Articles In 2014.

Every year, I go back and track my website analytics to uncover what articles really resonated with my readers. Here are my top ten for 2014 to get you ready for 2015!

1. The Most Important Thing You Should Do In The Shower.

Acknowledge and feel gratitude for all the special things in your life.

2. How To Network Like A Pro.

Last night, I was invited to attend a gala event at the prominent investment firm in NYC. Here are some key techniques that I used to make the night a fruitful and productive one.

3. Build The Best Standing Desk For Your Office.

Lately, I’ve been reading about the healthy aspects of standing desks and learned about all the attributes of standing: better posture, more active, easy to reach items, etc.

4. Be Like Jack LaLanne.

I grew up with Jack LaLanne. I used to watch him every morning on TV. Jack taught me a lot of things about life — especially to stay positive all the time.

5. How To Eliminate Guilt About Not Doing Everything.

Some Shiny Objects are good. Some are bad. Let’s talk about the BAD Shiny Objects.

6. Be A Better Leader – 30 Leadership Hacks For Managers.

Here are my top 30 hacks to make you a better leader.

7. Top Five Regrets of the Dying.

When dying patients were questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five.

8. Five Tips To Fix A Bad Relationship With Your Boss.

You're getting the feeling your relationship has soured with your boss. How do you repair it?

9. Hitting A Wall In Your Career? You Need A Breakthrough.

It's tough today. It’s hard when everything is coming at you. Hard to think. Hard to act. Hard to react. As they always say — the first step is always the hardest.

10a. You’re Not Charging Enough For Your Services - Part One

10b. How To Charge More For Your Services. - Part Two

I received a huge response from readers who requested a number of techniques to help them raise their pricing. It became a two-part article. Enjoy!

If you truly want to change your life, career, or business this year. Check out my complimentary Test Drive.

Are You Feeling Guilty At Work?

I'm feeling guilty today. The funny thing is . . . I shouldn't. Every Tuesday, like clockwork, I attend my networking/sales team meeting with approximately 50 people.

It's called BNI (Business Networking International), a worldwide organization where businesspeople meet to learn about their services and deliver hot referrals (CLIENTS) each week. I find it powerful for my business (it delivers 40-45% of my clients each year) and wouldn't miss it for the world. In fact, if you have a business or a product to sell, BNI is THE place to go to increase your bottom line.

What happened?

Today, I'm missing my weekly meeting. I had to double-book a client over my meeting and could not schedule it for any other time this week. They HAD to meet at this time. And I did ALL the right things a BNI member should do:

I notified the leadership team of my absence.

I replace my open spot for the week with a great substitute who will do my commercial.

I let the visitor host team know of my sub so they could list them on our weekly roster.

And I did it all on-time, prior to our meeting.

I still feel guilty. I feel that I'm letting my colleagues down even though I've taken all the steps to ensure my absence is covered this week. Why do I feel guilty?

I feel like I'm letting my BNI colleagues down.

I feel that I'm missing out on something good.

That regular burst of enthusiasm I receive from attending will not be there this week.

Honestly, I shouldn't feel guilty. NOT ONE BIT. Why? Guilt is all about the PAST. And guess what? There's nothing I can do about it. NOTHING. It's in the past.

I've made a decision, I've prepared my absence — I've taken all the steps to ensure I shouldn't feel guilt about missing my meeting. So it's time to confront my guilt and realize I have to live in the present and move on from this 'fake' feeling. Why?

It's holding me back — I'm focusing on something that really doesn't matter.

I'm expending mental and physical energy towards a belief that is not true.

I'm not focusing on the present or planning for the future. This is where I can make serious progress towards my goals.

So the next time you feel GUILTY, remember it's all in the past and there's nothing you can really do about it. Take that guilt and repurpose its energy into the present and future. You will find yourself working faster, better, and with more enthusiasm.

Guilt is a mechanism for us to remember past mistakes so we don't repeat them — don't let it paralyze you.

I'D LOVE TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR GUILT AT WORK. LET ME KNOW BELOW.

Top 10 Reasons Why You're Not Getting A Job.

As a business and career coach, I run into so many different people every day. I attend conferences and events, I run workshops and webinars, and I host team masterminds for all types of professionals. And guess what? When I talk to the unemployed, I've heard all the excuses why you don't have a job. Here are the top ten realities of your job search today:

1. You're waiting for the phone to ring or the limo to pull up to your house and whisk you off to your new position.

This is my #1 pet peeve when I host job-search workshops. People say they are busy, they're sending out resumes, but the reality is they are mentally waiting for a knight in shining armor to whisk them away to a new cushy position. Guest what . . . it's never going to happen. NEVER.

Unless you're a recently fired CEO with massive connections to firms who want to hire you and subsequently ruin their company, no one is going to call and no one is driving up with a black stretch limo. Once you realize you are on your own and only YOU can change your situation, it's time for a mental ass-kick to get your head on straight.

What To Do: You want an mental ass-kick? Start listening to motivational speakers to keep your mental energy level up and constant. Check out Zig Ziglar, Dale Carnegie, Jeffrey Gitomer, and my favorite Bennie Hsu at Get Busy Living Podcast. He's the best!

2. You rarely go out.

You get up at 9 AM, you probably don't take a shower, you get dressed in your old geriatric Adidas sweatsuit, and sit in front of your laptop. WRONG!

What To Do: Get up at 5 AM, go for a walk/run outside, take a shower, and get dressed in real clothes. You don't like it? TOUGH. This is your workday and for the next 8-10 hours, I am your drill sergeant and you will deliver 110% looking for a job every Monday through Friday. Set up a schedule which takes you outside every single day. Meet people for coffee, hit the library, go to the gym, walk around the park. Strike up conversations with people — you never know who you will meet.

3. You check the web for postings, send out a few resumes, and watch Ellen, Rachael, and Jerry the rest of the day.

Unemployment is not a vacation. You have to attack your job search like any project you've ever delivered at work.

What To Do: You have to:

  • Focus on the marketplace - What companies are doing well? Where are the growth areas? Who are the movers and shakers?
  • Analyze your attributes against your competition - Do a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis on YOU. Figure out how you leverage your strengths and opportunities.
  • Develop key targets to go after - Analyze your commuting radius, find out all the potential industries and organizations within your circle, and begin to make a hit list.
  • Execute - Go after each one incrementally in a cascade pattern to ensure you are not inundated with tasks, but your search is progressing in a healthy fashion.

4. Your industry has changed.

You actually thought people were going to buy slide-rules FOREVER. Yes, that's right, you're industry is changing. And guess what? Everyone's industry is changing. Some are morphing into other forms, some are merging, many are shrinking, and a lot are just plum going out of business. If you thought you could keep your job or profession for 30 years, I have a DeLorean to sell you.

What To Do: Figure out where your industry is going and either stick around for the very bumpy ride or jump off at the station for the next train. Get to thee library, my dear young minstrel and start understanding what is really happening in the marketplace. Read the WSJ, Medium, BusinessWeek, Fast Company, Inc, and Foundr. Also meeting with industry luminaries doesn't hurt either.

5. You're too old.

Where did the time go? You were having so much fun as an executive in a corner office working on strategy and mergers, you never saw the axe coming for you until it was too late. Now you're 55 and no one wants you. Let me rephrase that — no 20-year old in HR wants you. The minute they do the college graduate math in their head (or on their calculator), your résumé is flying faster than a 767 into the circular file. And the funny thing is you keep doing it.

What To Do: Stop repeating something which doesn't work and expecting something different. You have to get out of the HR/Recruiter trap and move up the ladder and meet/engage/schmooze the hiring managers. Go to industry events, reach out to them via LinkedIn/Twitter, and google their name to get to know them. Then reach out and try to meet them.

6. You're too young.

Where did the time go? You were just in college wowing them with your 4.0 GPA and now no one will take your calls because you have no experience.

What To Do: It's time for you to get some experience! You need to call in every chip on the poker table of life and have them connect you with possible paid intern/entry level positions. Let's get real — you might have a little bit of knowledge, but your don't have the experience to hit deadlines consistently, run a meeting, handle an angry client, manage a boss, or run a complex project. You have to take a small hit position/salary-wise and build up those talents before you really hit the big leagues of life.

7. You're unrealistic about your position and your salary.

"Look, I was Vice President of Strategic Initiatives with a yearly base salary of $275K. Why doesn't anyone want me?"

What To Do: There are a finite number of positions out there which might fit your position/salary requirements, but you will never find them in time. I know, you might run into them, but most likely, NOT. You have to be a bit flexible on the Who/What/Where/How Much in the current marketplace. Try to broaden your scope and see what else is out there. It might not be a VP position, or one drowning in strategy. It might be a bit lower than $275K a year — but then again, it's higher than the $0/year you're pulling in now (great tax benefits though).

8. You have a glass-half-empty mentality.

No one likes a whiner. I just spoke with a prospect this week who could not stop talking about all the bad bosses and decisions they've made in the past 10 years. The first rule of your job search: Never, ever, say bad things about your past. Not only does it cloud anyone's opinion of you, it brings your mental state down into the basement.

What To Do: Start imagining what life would be like if you had that wonderful position RIGHT NOW. Where would you be? Who would you be working with? What would you be doing? How would you get there. Stop thinking and feeling guilty about the past and start preparing for your glorious future. Get your head half-full immediately.

9. You're afraid of Thinking Big and reaching out to the real power-brokers.

No one is going to think big for you (except me). You hamstring your search and actions by being risk-averse. You're afraid of rejection and will never put yourself in a position of actually touching key movers and shakers in your industry. No . . . you will continue to interview with 20-year-old HR reps who text more than they think and wonder why you don't have a killer position.

What To Do: Get a piece of paper and write down what would be your PERFECT job. Now actualize it in your universe — find those companies who fit the bill and reach out to the key people who run those positions. The funny thing is . . . these same people are always on the lookout for new talent. You're just not putting yourself onto their radar.

10. You've given up.

You've tried again and again to get a job offer, an interview or even a solid connection and it seems the cards are stacked against you. It's been years since you've worked and you're draining your savings account to keep your household afloat.

What To Do: You can always try again. Take a different tack, work on an alternate strategy, reach out to new people. In fact, I just worked with a client who was unemployed for two years and within three months, he had a number of offers and took an incredible job. You never know where your next break will occur.

Free image provided by iStockPhoto.

10 Simple Tips To Attract The Best Clients.

Getting clients is easy, hard, fun, frustrating, energizing and enervating. Most of all, you never know what to expect — one day no one is saying yes and the next, you close five clients. Here are my ten top strategies I use every day to make clients knock on my door:

Control Your Time By Designing Your Schedule.

I thought my schedule was packed when I worked in corporate. Filling in my days with status meetings, presentations, sales calls, and updates all mixed together to produce a week chock full of weaving, diving, and running.Now that I've been running my company for the past ten years, I've found it even harder to keep my schedule clear and organized to ensure I get everything done AND allow myself the time to work on my business.

"What would you think if I sang out of tune?"

Yesterday was a powerful day for me. Thursday is my networking day and I met over 100 people starting at 6:00 AM all the way to 8:00 PM. A long day. But I was energized when I got home.

Why Networking Is Dead — Part One.

Look, everybody does it. It's the hard and fast rule of business — to succeed in the marketplace, you need to get out there and shake some hands. Motivate the masses. Network with the crowds. Well, I say that's wrong.

How To Connect With Key People.

I attended a NSA (National Speakers Association) meeting last night. I know . . . after a full day at work, I spent additional hours in a cramped, hot hotel room looking at slides. I wouldn't change it for the world.

5 Stages of Grief When Looking For A Job.

frustratedHere's a fun list that I saw on Madatoms: Denial I've got plenty of money! I'll start looking next week!

Anger Craigslist and Monster sucks! I've got a college degree! Jobs should be looking for me!

Bargaining I'll just drive around looking for help wanted signs. I hear that Starbucks has health insurance!

Depression Why did I major in Communications? I have no useful skills.

Acceptance I didn't know I qualified for unemployment! I love this country!