Tag Archive | Strategic Communication

Use these tips to unlock and embrace the power to schmooze

NPR Guest Andee Tagle, Byline

To listen to the program:

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST: Switching gears now. You know that old saying – it’s not about what you know, it’s who you know? Now, that seems decent advice as we all try to navigate yet another moment of economic uncertainty. But professional networking is a chore for a lot of people. It can feel inauthentic or opportunistic if you have a job or intimidating and inaccessible if you don’t. And that’s true for a lot of people, whether it’s in-person or online. So, what’s the key to embracing and unlocking the power to schmooze, perhaps more give and less take? Life Kit’s Andee Tagle has more.

ANDEE TAGLE, BYLINE: Robbie Samuels says networking is like giving people rides to the airport. Stay with me. Samuels is a Philadelphia-based virtual design event consultant and a recognized networking expert by the likes of Forbes and the Harvard Business Review. He says the key to networking is to approach it not with that familiar mindset of what you need, but rather what you can offer.

ROBBIE SAMUELS: If you become known as a person who’s always giving rides to the airport, the day you need one, you’re going to get a ride. So I think for me, it’s like I want to be seen as that giver. And I’m most likely to want to give to others who give as well. That’s how I’m thinking about networking. It’s like really broadening the pot of what we all can tap into.

TAGLE: Giving begets giving. And like your monthly insurance premium, Samuels says investing a little time into your professional network on a regular basis can ensure you’re covered when you need it the most. Simply put, networking is relationship building.

SAMUELS: Relationships are the answer to any business or life challenge. So any time we need something, I don’t think, who am I going to pay? I think, who do I know that would know something about this?

TAGLE: We put a lot of pressure on our career-based connections, but think about the ease with which you grow the other relationships in your life – asking after your neighbor’s banana nut bread recipe, attending your nephew’s school play or sending that check-in text to make sure your girlfriend got home OK. Professional networks are built this same way, just time and care.

SAMUELS: Repeat exposure is what builds the relationship.

TAGLE: OK. But how do you even build a network to begin with? First, follow your interests.

SAMUELS: Looking for organizations that host weekly and monthly activities that attract the kind of people you enjoy being around.

TAGLE: When you’ve found that posse and you’re angling to go to your first mixer, make sure you have goals in mind first. Are you looking for a job right this second, or do you just want to know what potential is out there for the future? Could you use a collaborator on your new project?

SAMUELS: The effort up front before you leave the house of doing that kind of planning and strategy work is what will make it more successful.

TAGLE: Then, when you get there, resist the urge to just collect as many business cards as you can.

SAMUELS: It’s not about volume, and it’s not about extrovert versus introvert. It’s about being thoughtful about what you’re trying to achieve in that moment.

TAGLE: And don’t forget to be authentic in your approach.

SAMUELS: Because if they hire you and you were playing acting as somebody else, it’s not going to be the job for you.

TAGLE: Samuels’ mantra for networking success is to show up and add value in every space you enter, whether you’re brand new to the job market or the seniorest (ph) of senior supervisors.

SAMUELS: You get to think really broadly about what that looks like. One of my favorite things do online to stand out is to be a person who shares resources in the chat. If a speaker mentions a book or a website or a TEDx, I will go and find the link and put a thoughtful comment into chat with the name of the book and the link to the book, super simple and a great way to, again, offer value and sort of rise up from the crowd in a really nice way.

TAGLE: And this practice of openness and generosity can be applied in lots of social situations, says Samuels, not just professional spaces.

SAMUELS: So if you’re at the DMV, and you had an interesting conversation with someone while you’re sitting there for 3 hours, that’s networking.

TAGLE: The DMV, really?

SAMUELS: Why not? You know, like, if you mind your own business all the time and have blinders on, you’ll miss opportunities when they are right in front of you.

TAGLE: For NPR’s Life Kit, I’m Andee Tagle.

MARTIN: This is NPR News.

Networking & Communication

stack of business cardsOn my desk is a decorative box that’s full to the top with business cards. I’ve collected them at casual encounters, ASJA conferences, and speaking engagements over the past several months. I have a business card scanner, mobile business card application, and a human assistant, any of which could help me get those names into my contacts list. I haven’t bothered because, deep down, I know most or all will come to nothing.

So I was more than intrigued to discover that consultant and author Andrew Sobel recommends in his new book “Power Relationships that the best place for all those cards might be the circular file. His thesis is simple: When it comes to networking, quality trumps quantity.

“There is a penchant to meet lots and lots of people,” he says. “It’s fueled a bit by social media, where we’re told we need large numbers of Twitter followers, followers of our blogs, LinkedIn connections and Facebook friends.” In fact, he says, there are only a few professions where knowing many, many people in a superficial way can be an advantage. “Maybe if you’re promoting a nightclub,” he says.

For just about everyone else, he says, it’s a different story. After interviewing hundreds of successful executives he found that most could identify 25 or perhaps 30 relationships that had made all the difference to their careers. And they recognized those key relationships right from the start.

That’s led Sobel to recommend a different, and likely more effective approach to networking:

  1. Figure out who matters most.

This group is what Sobel calls the “critical few.” Whether a co-worker, customer, mentor, or someone who’s helped you make valuable connections, these are the contacts whose presence in your life is clearly valuable to your career. “If I asked you to make a list of the 20 most important professional contacts in your life right now,” he says. “It’s those people.”

Once you’ve identified your critical few, make sure to keep regular contact, he advises. “These aren’t people you should just send a holiday card to,” he says. “You should be talking two or three times a year. You should know what their interests are and follow up with them around those.”

  1. Pick your next tier.

This group might be 50 to 100 contacts, Sobel says. These are people who have perhaps helped you or have the potential to do so in the future, contacts you may not know well enough to socialize with. “I don’t follow up with them with the same intensity,” he says. “I make sure I’m sending my monthly newsletter, but I may also send some other things of interest. For instance, when I’m quoted in Inc.com, I may send a link to that.”

  1. Find easy ways to engage everyone else.

In Sobel’s case, “everyone else” is about 10,000 people. He sends them his monthly newsletter, and at the end of the year, also provides an instructional video just for them.

  1. If you want to connect with someone, find a way to help that person.

It’s easy to assume that a wealthy and successful contact already has everything he or she desires and wants nothing from the likes of you. If you’re thinking that way, get over it, Sobel advises.

It’s always worth the trouble to find out a contact’s desires and concerns. The chances are high that you’ll be able to find something worthwhile you can offer. At one event, he recalls, he was introduced to a former CEO of Walmart, which he wasn’t expecting. Left alone to chat, he soon learned that one of the CEO’s family members suffered from a certain medical condition. Sobel’s brother is an expert in this condition and was able to suggest some useful articles that he sent on to the Walmart CEO.

  1. Be intriguing.

If you want to make a connection with a new contact, especially a very busy one, the quickest way is to arouse that person’s curiosity with something unexpected. Sobel saw this demonstrated years ago when a friend of his met with an executive of a large telecommunications company. At the time, re-engineering was all the rage and that’s what Sobel’s friend had come to sell. But the telecom executive cut him off before he began, saying that the company had already engaged a high-profile firm and had its re-engineering well in hand.

Sobel’s friend was quiet for a moment and then remarked, “We used to do re-engineering.”

“The guy got upset,” Sobel says with a chuckle. “It’s good to get people emotionally engaged.” The executive was now very much listening to whatever Sobel’s friend had to say.

  1. Think people, not positions.

“Everyone reading this knows people who are smart, ambitious, motivated, and interesting,” Sobel says. “Some of those people, in eight or 10 years, are going to be influencers. They may even be CEOs.”

It’s a lot easier to get to know someone and form a connection early in that person’s career, he explains. “It’s not that easy to break into the inner circle of 50- or 60-year-old executives. It’s a lot easier to build up that equity early. So think about who in your network seems to be going places and is really interesting and make a strong connection. Even if they don’t become an influencer, it’ll be an interesting relationship.”

  1. Give before you ask.

Recently, Sobel got a lengthy email from a business school classmate. “I hadn’t heard from him in 30 years,” he says. The email was a request that Sobel invest in a new venture–in fact, the entire business plan was contained in the body of the email. “He did not maintain a relationship with me, and he didn’t evoke my curiosity,” Sobel notes. “I think he failed in all his attempts to raise money.”

Worst of all, the contact had committed the sin of asking for something without giving or offering anything, or even demonstrating any caring for Sobel at all. “Before you ask for something, make sure you’ve invested in that person,” he says.

  1. Be generous.

That doesn’t mean you should only reach out to contacts or do things for them when you expect something in return. “You can’t operate with the thought of reciprocity in mind,” Sobel cautions. “If you go around with that mercenary attitude it will show, and people will think you’re a self-interested schmuck.”

Instead, he says, “You have to have a generous spirit. The greatest networkers I know genuinely like to help others. They’re always doing it. And if they ever do need anything, people will fall over themselves to help them.”


Source: https://www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/8-things-power-networkers-do-make-connections.html

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Top 10 Ways to Accentuate the Positive in the Workplace

Smile. The economy is making a comeback!

Understandably, this statement may be a challenge to digest in light of reports from The Wall Street Journal that nearly one in three unemployed people have been out of work for more than a year, and headlines about massive job cuts from major corporations.

None-the-less, statistics from the U.S. Labor Department show that unemployment rates have dropped to 15.8% from 15.9% in recent months, and new national and state-wide Job Plans are on the horizon. Sure, the economy is improving slowly at best; however, do you remember the story of the Tortoise & The Hare? Slow and steady WINS THE RACE!

Still, the reality of being unemployed, under-employed, over-worked, underpaid, or unappreciated at work can certainly be wearing on us in more ways than one. According to The YOU Docs, Doctor Oz and Doctor Roizen, “the shaky economy’s ratcheting up workday stress for 70 percent of us.” These Docs go on to stress how this infects our home life, is a health threat, and just bad for business.

Well. Here’s the latest headline, hot off the presses:

You Can Improve Your Mood & Stay Positive at Work!

Just by reading this article, you are already on

the path to positivity!

Here’s a countdown of the

Top 10 Ways to Accentuate the Positive in the Workplace:

10. Stay Present – This means Stay in the Moment, perhaps by making time to Plan Your Day, breaking down your workload into more manageable bits, or taking things one task at a time. Indeed, remaining present will help you be less anxious, and more focused on the big picture, and what’s truly important.

9. Breathe – Deeply. Yes. It really IS that simple. Whether at a meditation class during lunchtime (ask Debra about this one!), or simply taking a moment at your desk–eyes opened or closed–to breathe in & out, slowly, staying aware of your breath, DOES help!

8. Be Well – Eat Well. Sleep Well. Exercise. Making your health a priority will allow you to Stay Well, Stay Present, and Not Sweat the Small Stuff (as much!)

7. Decorate to Accentuate – In ways that you can, add some personal flair, pizzazz, or comforts of home to your workplace. Favorite colors, pictures of family & friends, artwork, even flowers can do wonders to lift your spirits at work!


6. Get Up, Get Out, & MOVE! – Getting up and away from your desk, stretching, walking around the block, getting some sun (Vitamin D if you please!), and just switching it up will help you de-stress, and re-focus!

5. Avoid Office Gossip – This includes “Office Politics”, and negative “Water Cooler Chatter”. Being and/or convening with a Negative Nancy is Bad News Bears.   Period.

4. List Your Job Benefits – Now, this doesn’t just mean your pension plan, although that certainly is a positive! Be it health care, steady income, learning new skills, interacting with others, opportunities to network, or increased independence, listing the benefits of your job helps keep even a seemingly unbearable work situation in perspective.

3. Proclaim the Positive! – Even in the most dreary of job situations, it helps to take note of the aspects of your job that actually give you joy, and a sense of accomplishment. This may include being able to provide for yourself and/or your family, being able to help others, or even just knowing that you are good at what you do!

2. Stop & Smell the Roses – Seriously. Whether you take this literally, and take pause as you walk to smell a sweet rose bud, or more symbolically as you share a laugh with a co-worker, this holistic approach will improve your mood, and warm your heart.

1. Work with Purpose! – Find meaning in what you do everyday, even if it is job searching. Embrace an Attitude of Gratitude! Give yourself a pat on the back for sticking through the difficult times, being able to make a difference in people’s lives, and learning to appreciate were you are right now.

As Marie Stempinski, President and Founder of Strategic Communication, says:

“Life doesn’t just happen. You are in charge and can control how you react to everything that happens to and around you.”

And, when all else seems to fail, breathe again.

Things ARE getting better!