your C.P.A.

Do Not Allow Your C.P.A. To Ruin Your Businessstring(46) "Do Not Allow Your C.P.A. To Ruin Your Business"

We are living in a world more connected than ever. However, this hyperconnectivity can create situations when your C.P.A. can effect your business. Working from home can easily lead to a state of “Continuous Partial Attention” (your C.P.A.). This occurs when people are only partially paying attention to others during their online networking or Zoom meetings.  There are some definite pitfalls in our hyper-connected world when we are not giving our full attention to others. Your business relationships and networking may be affected because of your C.P.A. in these three situations.

Monitor your C.P.A. when attending your online networking meetings

Continuous partial attention can hamper your relationship-building efforts – on both a personal and professional level. When attending an online function of any type, it is becoming increasingly common to find people typing away during the meeting. They remain connected to their emails and social media networks during their meeting. This desire can dilute our efforts by driving us to stay “live” online with other things instead of with the person in front of us. You can easily watch them on camera not paying attention to the meeting. Even worse, they fall asleep in their recliner during the online Zoom meeting with their camera live for all to see until they are awoken by another chapter member calling their phone.

Keep your C.P.A. away from your phone 

Speaking of phones. We have probably all experienced being in conversation with someone at an in-person networking function and getting pinged during the conversation. This is happening much more now during online meetings. When we take our attention off what is happening in front of our nose to take a look at what is happening on our phone, we lose the connection with the person who is presenting. We will not remember this part of the conversation well, if at all. And we send a subtle message to this person that he or she does not matter as much as the various pings coming in on our mobile device do.

Our desire to connect and be connected is one of the strengths of business networking. Therefore, when doing online networking, or when we return to in-person events, we will want to effectively be connecting with others. Over the years, I saw people many times on their phones texting during networking meetings, such as at a BNI chapter meeting, a Chamber of Commerce luncheon, or even a gala dinner event.

Be honest: whom do you greet first when you get up in the morning — your spouse, kids, the dog, OR your virtual community? Do you reach for your phone before you even throw your legs out of bed to get up? I have found myself doing that. Consider waiting to look at your mobile phone until after you are ready to receive messages. For me, I wait to turn it on until after I am up, have exercised, showered, and had my breakfast. Furthermore, I think social media is great. I use it regularly to stay in touch and build relationships. But knowing when to focus on your networking and not your phone is extremely important in this digital age.

Do not allow your C.P.A. to distract you when working online

Most of us work from our computers, laptops, or tablets with notifications switched on. Our email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Teams, and WeChat accounts are sending us notifications. Across your screen, they distract you with their messages. “Look at me! Someone retweeted you! Someone wants to be your Friend!” Even people who do not have ADD are working in a state of attention deficit due to the distraction all these notifications cause.

It is very easy to lose track of whom you have just followed up with. You end up sending your follow-up email twice. You reference something you were discussing with someone else. Worse yet, you send an email to the wrong person entirely. (Who hasn’t done that?) Continuous partial attention keeps you from being alert, attentive, and focused and can hamper your post-event follow up not to mention your day-to-day activities.

Don’t allow your C.P.A. to ruin your business. Continuous partial attention can hamper your efforts to build profitable business relationships with the people you want to connect with. I believe a price is being paid by how this constant connectedness is affecting our real-time relationships. The truth is that our brains are not capable of multi-tasking. Brains don’t work like a computer, which can have many programs running simultaneously. Our minds have to switch among tasks. Some of us can task-switch extremely quickly, seemingly multi-tasking, but we are not actually multi-tasking. Others of us task-switch with a little more difficulty, making it extremely challenging to really pay sustained attention to anything when we try to multi-task.

Zoom

The 12x12x12 Zoom Rulestring(22) "The 12x12x12 Zoom Rule"

What is the 12x12x12 Zoom rule? In 2010, I introduced the original 12x12x12 rule when attending in-person networking events in my book, “Networking Like a Pro”. Ten years later, with all of us using our computers for online networking, I adapted the 12x12x12 rule in 2020 for Zoom.

What do you look like 12 feet around you?

Since everyone is broadcasting from home these days, it is important to pay attention to the setting of your personal meeting location. Make sure what people will see behind you is as professional as possible. Remove the visible clutter around you and close the door to keep your kids, or cats, from interrupting the call. If you are using a virtual background, choose something related to your industry. However, keep the background photo professional, like bookshelves or an office setting. Do not use a tropical beach background, unless you work on a beach or as a travel agent. Remember, your background says a lot about you. Hang a solid-colored green sheet behind you as an easy green screen when using a virtual Zoom background.

What do you look like 12 inches away from your web camera?

Have you dressed appropriately for the meeting? I mean, are you FULLY DRESSED for the meeting with both a professional top and bottom? Too many stories have been shared on the TV news about people getting up from their chairs and being caught in pajama pants, athletic shorts, or unfortunately even less. I’ve been known to wear sweat pants on camera but never wear something (or not wear enough) that would end up with you on the TV news. Make sure your hair is combed and you are not eating on camera. Plus, be prepared with a pen and notepad to take notes.

What are the first 12 words out of your mouth on Zoom?

This is the most important point. Have you thought about what you are going to say to someone else at a networking event? The worst time to think about what you want to say is when you are saying it. Think about concise ways you can get your points across: what you want to say about your business, your target market, the benefits of your product or service, etc. Finally, use a microphone so that everyone can clearly hear you

Before you log in to your next online networking event or Zoom meeting, remember these tips, and verify that you are following the 12x12x12 Zoom rule. 

Online Networking Meetings

The Dos and Don’ts of Online Networking Meetingsstring(50) "The Dos and Don’ts of Online Networking Meetings"

The technology that exists today is great.  When I started BNI 35 years ago, we couldn’t do any of this.  We all had to quickly learn how to utilize the net as part of your networking strategy this year. Naturally, there’s a great deal of overlap between face-to-face and online networking. However, networking online works only when you are engaged during your online networking meetings to learn about each other.  Therefore, you need to practice active listening so that you leave your online networking meetings with more ideas on how to refer your networking partners. Now, more than ever, you need your network to work together and support each other by networking online.

Seven Tips for Your Online Networking Meetings

Watch this video to learn how you can make your online networking meetings more successful:

Learn how to utilize the net as part of your networking strategy.

It will still be a while until we can attend face-to-face networking events again. Therefore, we need to attend online networking meetings instead. Online networking meetings will never replace in-person networking, but they work well together. If you remember these tips during your next online networking meeting, you will maintain a powerful personal network that will be even stronger once we return to in-person networking again.

What tips do you have for attending your online networking meetings? I would love to read your suggestions. Please share them in the comments below.

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