Always Carry an Umbrella

International Networking Week: Follow-up tips from various international BNI leaders

Submitted by Charlie Lawson
National Director BNI UK & Ireland

Let me tell you a story about one of the first networking events I ever went to.  It was a Chamber of Commerce meeting in Greenwich in South East London, and I remember that day because it was absolutely pouring with rain.

I thought the event had been a success.  I’d met some interesting people, and collected a bunch of business cards. Before going back to the office, I thought I’d just sit down in the car, go through the cards, and work out how best to follow up with each one.

As I left the event, I stepped into the rain.  Not having an umbrella with me, I had to run as fast as I could to my car.  Despite only being in the rain for less than a minute, I was soaked through by the time I opened my car door, such that temporarily, I completely forgot about the stack of business cards in my pocket, and absentmindedly, started the car and drove back to my office.

Half way back, cursing that I’d forgotten to look through the cards, I resolved that once I got there, I’d start my follow up then.  I put the pile of business cards on my desk, right next to the phone, ready for action.

But… then the world took over. The phone went, emails needed dealing with, people interrupted me – and suddenly, before I knew it, it was the end of the day.  What to do? I left the cards, prominently on the desk, ready to start my follow up first thing the next morning.

The next morning arrived: I looked at the pile of cards again, and thought to myself ‘I must follow up with those contacts today it’s important’.  But then whatever was urgent that day took precedence, and the cards didn’t get looked at.

A day or two later, I started to feel a bit guilty about not calling the relevant people, so I moved the cards to the special place on my desk for important matters: the top drawer.  There, forgotten about, they stayed until I cleared out my desk some months later.

So, what can we learn from this?  Well, firstly I’d like to think that I’ve learned a lot about follow up since then!   But here’s two quick tips to help you follow up better than I did:

1) Use a Memory Jogger

I don’t know about you, but I have a memory like a sieve.  Even if you’ve got a good memory, when you go to a networking event and meet 10 people, it isn’t easy to remember 10 different pieces of follow-up action. There’s a very simple solution.  When you are chatting to someone, as soon as you’ve agreed whatever follow-up is required, ask for their business card and make a brief note on it.

Incidentally, I always ask the person’s permission to write on their card.  In some cultures, this is really important and it is a habit that I’ve got into.  For most people, it is a non-issue, but for some, you can tell by the look on their face that they appreciated being asked.  It’s just a small step in the relationship building process…

2) When should follow up start?

The rain that day in Greenwich didn’t help with my follow-up, but it did teach me a valuable lesson.

I always start my follow up as soon as I leave the event I’m at.  This may be in my car before I drive away, or when I get back to the office before I switch my laptop on.  I may even find a quiet corner of the room where the event is on.

Whichever it is, just taking a quick look through the stack of business cards with notes on makes such a difference to remembering what needs to happen.

I divide the cards into two piles: one for cards needing action, and the other for those cards that have been forced upon me at the event!

Aside from ensuring you’ve always got your umbrella with you, what do you do to make sure you complete your networking follow up?

International Networking Week 2017

shades

10 Shades of a Referral by Tiffanie Kellog

Guest Video Blog:

Tiffanie Kellog, a trainer with Asentiv and author of 4 1/2 Networking Mistakes, share the Ten shades of a referral.

The higher the shade of referral, the better the chances that you more likely to close the business for someone else.

What shade of referrals are you passing to others?
What is the lowest shade you are willing to take from someone?

Shawn Yesner and Tiffanie Kellog

Tips About Asking for Referrals by Tiffanie Kellog and Shawn Yesner

Guest Video Blog:

Tiffanie Kellog, a trainer with Asentiv and author of 4 1/2 Networking Mistakes, interviews Shawn Yesner of Yesner Law in Tampa, FL about asking for referrals.

Are you wondering why you are not getting referrals?
You need to be specific to become terrific. Just like when you order your favorite soda.

Click here to watch the video

Networking Efficiently

Tips for Networking Efficiently by Tiffanie Kellog and Matt Wilkerson (Guest Video Blog)

In this video, “Networking Efficiently”, Tiffanie Kellog, a trainer with Asentiv and author of 4 1/2 Networking Mistakes, interviews Matt Wilkerson, owner of the Verizon store in Williston, FL about how to network more effectivelyand to conduct your networking more efficiently , both by having focus, as well as working with a partner.

Please watch this guest video blog on my YouTube channel:  Ivan Misner: Networking For Success

Andy Lopata

“A is for” by Andy Lopata (Guest Video Blog)

Guest Video by Andy Lopata about the A to Z’s of Networking.

This video introduces the Seven “A’s” of Networking.

  • Asking: People need to know that they can help you
  • Authenticity: Be seen as honest to built trust
  • Attitude: Be positive and confident
  • Attention: Give others your full attention
  • Attendance: One must be present to win
  • And two more…

Please watch this video to learn more about Andy’s tips.

Name Tags Tips from Tiffanie Kellog (guest blog)

When networking, wearing a name tag is a MUST! However, what you have on your name tag could be hurting you when networking, instead of helping. Join Tiffanie Kellog, author of 4 1/2 Networking Mistakes and consultant for Asentiv, as she discusses what kind of name tag you want to wear when networking.

follow up tips with Tiffanie

guest blog: Follow-up Tips with Tiffanie Kellog

After networking, you often walk away with a handful of business cards and may be wondering, what is the best way to follow up? In this video, Tiffanie Kellog, author of 4 1/2 Networking Mistakes and consultant for Asentiv, explores the best way to follow up after a networking event.

The “Platinum Rule” is a registered trademark of Tony Alessandra. www.TonyAlessandra.com

https://youtu.be/tEnx5iCvq0M

Networking for Millennials, by a Millennial

This article is from guest blogger and BNI Executive Director Dana Gallagher.

For the first time in American history, three generations – Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials – all with different work ethics, values, beliefs and experiences are working side-by side.  One generation stands out from the rest because they have become the largest generation in the workforce.  Who are they?  You guessed it… Millennials!

Let’s take a step back. What is a Millennial?  This term refers to the generations born between 1982 and the early 2000’s.  Born in the year 1990, I am proud to say that I, myself am a Millennial.  In this article I will be focusing on how my generation does business, communicates, and networks.

Face-to-face networking will never go out of style.  This leads me to a common misconception; that millennials would rather network with one another via social media than face-to-face. All of my experiences, and everyone I know, have shown this to be the exact opposite. If we had a choice of either type of networking the answer would be face-to-face every time, hands down.  Human interaction is one of the most powerful ways to network and connect with others.

With that being said, getting out to networking events every night and seeing people isn’t always an option.  Lucky for us, we have other means of building relationships when we are unable to meet face-to-face.  So what are some of the other ways we network and how does our different generational attributes effect the way we communicate?

Communication Style:

On a daily basis, I communicate with people approximately ten different ways.  The most common ways are text messaging, group text messages, phone calls, e-mail, Facebook, Facebook group pages, Facebook Messenger, SnapChat, FaceTime, and LinkedIn.  Many other millennials use apps, like GroupMe, Voxer, Twitter, Skype, and Kik as a means to meet and connect with other people.  Wait a minute, why do Millennials choose to use all these ways to communicate?  Simply put, it’s quick, easy, and switching tasks helps hold our interest.

While referring to our communication style, informality is key.  For the most part we find it completely acceptable to reach out to other business associates, bosses, and acquaintances via text, LinkedIn, Facebook messenger, Google hangouts, or whatever else.  As long as we get in touch with the person we need, why does it matter how we do so?
Building Relationships:

After meeting someone at a networking event, wedding, back yard barbecue, or any other get-together, we will most likely friend them on Facebook, add them on SnapChat, follow them on Instagram, connect with them on LinkedIn, or all of the above.  By having so many resources to connect with each other we are able to build relationships faster (from the mass amounts of information online) and keep our relationships longer because of the ease of staying in touch.  I may not see you for two years but I know you have become engaged, bought a house, went on vacation, and adopted a new dog, all because you friended me on Facebook.  In short, it’s easier for millennials to establish long term relationships.

Team Oriented:

We are a generation that prefers to socialize and work in groups because we grew up in an environment that promoted constant team work.  On a daily basis, our school teachers would have us work in groups to accomplish assignments.  When everyone played their part, we learned that by working together we can achieve more, create a better result, and have fun!  Our grade school teaching style fostered the belief that collaboration is the most effective way to get a job done.

One of the reasons that BNI is so great for millennials is that it accomplishes two things at once.  We are able to socialize in a group setting while also building a network of people who can help accomplish one another’s goals by working together as a team.  There is no better support system for a young entrepreneur or business professional than a group of entrepreneurs, professionals, and field experts that can share their best practices and learn together.

Business Focus:

Our generation is pursuing careers for more than a paycheck and rejecting the old school mentality of the more you work, the more you’re worth.  We believe that success is based on efficiency and results, rather than long hours and harder work.  By completing our work quicker, we are able to get more accomplished throughout the day and fulfill our desire to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

The focus on a healthy work-life balance has caused a change in the beginning stages of networking.  Rather than the typical conversation starter, “Tell me about your business,” you are more likely to hear millennials start a conversation off with, “What do you like to do?” or “Tell me about yourself.” Why is that? Well, we’re pickier about the people with whom we do business. Millennials prefer to work alongside people whose values and interests align with their own.

Of course, it goes almost without saying that every person is an individual, so keep in mind that some of the characteristics we’ve discussed may not be applicable to every millennial. However, the information in this article refers to the millennial generation as a whole and the common trends that will help you to network and better communicate with them in professional circles.

 

 

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