Face to Face: How to Reclaim the Personal Touch in a Digital World

Earlier this month Susan RoAne’s latest book, Face to Face: How to Reclaim the Personal Touch in a Digital World, was released. I think it is an essential read for everyone interested in becoming a better networker.

Susan has been a good friend of mine for years, and she is one of the few people I know whom I can confidently say is the epitome of a born networker.  In her new book, she uses her innate charm, grace, humor and rare networking know-how to teach people everywhere how to communicate like an expert and stand out positively in both business and personal situations.

The world is becoming more and more reliant on technology as a way of connecting, and Susan’s techniques and strategies for making and maintaining genuine connections show people how to let technology enhance life instead of dominating it.  Her advice is extremely effective, and the skills she teaches are important for networkers and everyday people alike to remember.

To find out more about Susan RoAne and Face to Face, click here.

Ask Your Own Questions

The law of reciprocity is always working, and it even has an impact on our conversations when we’re networking.  If you want someone to ask you a specific question, ask her the same question first. She’ll think, “that’s a great question.” After she answers, she’ll probably ask you the same question in return.  (If she doesn’t, she might be an “all about me” person–someone you want to avoid.)

Here are 10 great questions to ask someone while networking that are then likely to be asked of you in return.

1.  What do you do?
2.  Who’s your target market?
3.  What do you like most about what you do?
4.  What’s new in your business?
5.  What’s the biggest challenge for you and your business?
6.  What sets you apart from your competition?
7.  Why did you start your business?
8.  Where is your business located?
9.  What’s your most popular product?
10.  How do you generate most of your business?

Before attending your next networking function, think about what you want other people to ask you.  To get the most out of the law of reciprocity, take the initiative and ask those questions of each person you meet.

Seek Out a Referral Networking Group

How much would it benefit you to have several dozen salespeople working on your behalf to bring you new business?  That would be something, wouldn’t it?  Wait, it gets better.  What if you didn’t have to pay them a salary or commission?  What if you didn’t have to provide them office space or fund their retirement plans?  Well . . . that’s what referral networks can do!

You may already have caught on to this not-so-well-kept secret, especially if you’re familiar with any of the books I’ve written; but if you’re new to the world of networking, then the first thing you should do is seek out a referral networking group.  Make sure you find a referral networking organization that provides a structured system for generating business by referrals.  You want to join a group that demonstrates real purpose and is results-oriented.

When you join a good referral networking group, you are providing yourself a means to easily implement the new networking strategies you learn with people who have also become skilled at networking their businesses.  When you surround yourself with quality business professionals who have committed themselves to continually taking the time to focus on networking, you will develop the genuine, long-lasting relationships that will lead to years of future business.

So, if you haven’t already joined a networking group, start searching the internet for networking groups in your area and make an appointment to visit a local chapter.

Click Here to learn what to look for when choosing a networking group.

Get Value for Your Time

As the founder and chairman of an international organization, I am sometimes overwhelmed by commitments and obligations, so I know firsthand how important it is to make the most of your time.  Have you ever tried to get back an hour you spent on something that didn’t turn out well? It’s not possible. Since you know you can’t retrieve an hour, much less a day of precious time, you obviously want to spend it as wisely and effectively as you can.

So if you spent your time networking, you would want to get a high return on your networking investment, right? Here are some tips on how you can do just that:

1.  Be “on” 24/7
Be on the top of your networking game all the time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Networking opportunities present themselves in the most unsuspected places and times.  If you snooze, you just might lose.

2.  Learn to play golf or something
Challenge yourself to a game of golf or some other activity that aligns with your interests and skills.  A lot of business that happens on the golf course could just as easily happen on the badminton court, the soccer field or across a pool table.

3.  Have purposeful meal meetings
Get more value out of your meal meetings.  If you’re going to meet and eat, you may as well get more out of the experience than calories.  Make this activity pull its weight as an opportunity for business networking.

4.  Make first impressions count
Make sure you get off to a good start.  Learn to take a closer look at your appearance and your body language.  Are they helping you start good conversations–or ending them before you can even say a word?

5.  Seek out a referral networking group and join a chamber of commerce
If you’re going to venture out and attempt to build a network, the first steps should be to seek out a referral networking group and a chamber of commerce to help network your business.

6.  Sponsor select events and host a purposeful event
Focus on how you can leverage sponsorship opportunities and specific events to position your business in front of key people.  Of course, you need to take the initiative to make it happen.

Work on these strategies so you can strengthen your network, get more return on your networking investment, increase your visibility within the community and, most of all, get the most value from the time you spend networking.

Sponsor Select Events

Sponsorships seem to have become a part of our consumer culture.  You can’t watch or attend a big sports event, for example, without being exposed to the event’s sponsors.  On a smaller scale, local communities and organizations also depend on sponsorships to make ends meet at some of their events.  In most cases, the dollar amounts for sponsoring events of this sort are modest–ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.

How many times have you been asked to be a sponsor?  How many times have you offered to sponsor a select event in order to help out someone in your network?  Both situations have the potential to give you huge exposure if done well.  In addition, sponsoring an event for someone on your word-of-mouth marketing team enhances the relationship, because you are helping that person meet a goal.

Be selective and choose carefully when you’re thinking about sponsoring an event.  Is it a good investment of your time and money?  The questions below will help you determine the value of a sponsorship before deciding to become a sponsor:

*  What is the target market for this event?

*  What kind of exposure do I get for my investment?

*  Can I get this kind of exposure without this investment?

*  Do I get direct access to the audience?

*  Does it make sense for me to be there?

*  Which business or networking goal does it help me complete?

*  Are other sponsors my competitors?

*  How does this enhance my credibility with the person I’m helping?

*  Why wouldn’t I do it?

What do you look for when you are considering sponsoring an event?

I Refuse to Participate in a Recession–Now More Than Ever!

I’ve written a few articles about refusing to participate in a recession and I recently had someone e-mail me saying, “Don’t bother telling me . . . tell my customers. They are not as willing to accept a platitude as you feel I am.” (Ouch, I guess he didn’t like my thoughts on this matter.)

Well sir, I’m afraid we’ll just have to agree . . . to disagree. You see, I don’t think it’s a platitude, I think it’s an attitude!

Today’s news is full of economic soap operas. In the United States, Congress, the White House and the pundits have all debated about the bailout of yet another pillar of corporate America. European nations and others around the globe are struggling with recessionary pressures. Voices everywhere seem to be spouting economic doom and gloom.

Now, please, lean in close and listen carefully. I’m going to ask you to do something very difficult, yet very important: Ignore all those doom-and-gloom voices.

It’s not that I want to deny reality. Nor am I even judging whether all those important voices are right or wrong.

What I am saying is, all those voices are sending you useless information. Not only are they urging you to be afraid . . . very afraid . . . they are completely ignoring the solutions on which you need to focus. Nothing like freezing a good entrepreneur in his or her tracks with old-fashioned fear.

When Franklin Roosevelt wisely said during America’s depression that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself . . . he left something out. When you are in business, at any time in any nation, the other thing you have to fear is: inaction. Not very poetic, I know, but it’s true.

Let others worry about the macro-economic picture. You have a micro-economy in which you are a vital and central player. Does the government or an economist know the ins and outs of your business better than you? Have you received any calls lately offering to bail you out with taxpayer money if your business slides to the brink of ruin? I’m guessing the answer is “no” to both questions.

You already know this in your gut: No bailout is coming your way . . . unless you do it yourself. No rescue plan is being prepared for your business . . . unless you do it yourself. And no solutions to your problems will be developed . . . unless you do it yourself.

The more you focus on fear, the more afraid you will become. The more you focus on obstacles, the larger they will loom. And the more you focus on today’s global economic doom-and-gloom headlines, the less time, energy and faith you’ll have to focus on building the prosperous, successful, well-networked business you really want.

If you tell yourself, “I can’t succeed in this economic downturn,” you’ll very likely prove yourself correct. But if, instead, you focus on specific solutions to the particular issues, challenges and opportunities of your business, your niche market, your current and prospective customers . . . you are very likely to enjoy more success than all the naysayers put together would have predicted.

What the bigwigs on Wall Street, Pennsylvania Avenue, the London Financial district or the European Central Bank don’t seem to understand is, out here in the real world of entrepreneurial small business, by sticking together and helping one another, we can face down the doom and gloom. We can build our businesses despite the headlines, and we can show others around the world the economic power of persistent, skillful and focused networking.

Join me and the many other successful businesspeople. Become someone who sees opportunities when others see problems, become someone who seeks growth when others expect collapse, and be someone who sees success when others see failure.

I refuse to participate in a recession, now more than ever!

Send a Thank-You Card

A simple thank-you card may not sound like going the extra mile. To many people, however, it truly is. The old-fashioned, personalized, handwritten thank-you card has been largely replaced by e-mail. When was the last time you received a traditional, handwritten thank-you card? What was your reaction? If you’re typical, you were pleasantly surprised, and you appreciated the sender’s time and effort.

If you don’t think you have time to write a thank-you card, think again. How many times have you found yourself sitting in the car with your kids, waiting for the school bus, riding the train to work, eating lunch alone, waiting forever in the doctor’s office, or sitting in a 10-mile-long traffic jam?

Grab hold of a few of these time fragments and use them to strengthen a networking relationship with a personal touch by writing a thank-you card to someone who has given you a referral, made an in-person introduction, helped with an event or solved a problem for you. Just remember: Never, ever include your business card, because the minute you include your business card, it becomes about you and not about thanking the other person.

Every time you make a personal connection, you are networking. So why not store some blank cards and stamps in your car and in your briefcase? That way, when you do find those few minutes of underutilized time, you’ll have a card ready to write on and drop into the next mailbox you see.

OK, OK, so you just won’t do a handwritten card no matter what I say. Then take a look at SendOutCards.com. They allow you to send out a card that “looks” handwritten but can be done from your computer and sent through the mail. This is a great service for the “handwriting impaired,” like me. I highly recommend the service.

International Passion Day

This week celebrates International Passion Day. With that celebration comes the release of the paperback version of The Passion Test written by good friends of mine Chris and Janet Attwood.

According to the Attwoods, “80 percent of the population is not passionate about what they do for a living!” Ouch. That’s amazing (but not surprising) to me.

I really love this book, and I highly recommend it. They have done a great job of creating a system that really allows you to hone your thoughts down to a point where you can understand and appreciate what your true passions are.

Take a look at their website and their book; you’ll be glad you did.

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