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Kathy C

Networking tips

Local Networking  

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To start the weekly tip series here I am going to begin with in person networking. This will generally be in your local area unless you are traveling or at a conference.

 

Attending local networking events is a good way to start building awareness of your business and services in your local market. Those connections can always be extended online as well. If you have met someone in person you can easily chat online with them via a facebook group or twitter.

 

TO DO:

 

1. I recommend finding 2 events per month to attend - whether a chamber of commerce or a Referral Networking group like BNI or Business Breakfast Clubs. Ask around and do some research and see if there are any drop in groups as well - they will be less costly of an investment if funds are tight. You can even look at starting your own drop in group. It is a great way to build contacts and get exposure.

 

2. Be prepared and have your Elevator Speech ready - you will at the very least need to introduce yourself to the group and anyone you kick up a conversation with.

 

3. Practice your speech / intro over and over. I always run through mine in the drive over to the event. (There I am mouth a-flapping in the car and people probably wondering who I am talking to. But it got me more comfortable with what I wanted to say / emphasize that time.) I generally had a little new thing to add to each event - maybe a mention of a recent success - anything to add to the variety of my speech so it was not always the same.

 

4. Bring lots of business cards. Hand them out. When handed a card, look at it and read it. This shows interest in the person you have exchanged cards with.

 

5. Talk to people. Start a conversation - it will be awkward for some at first - but with practice you will get better at it. Don't start with a sales pitch. Ease into it - ask about the other person first. Try to remember details of the person. Write them on their card once you get out of the room to help you remember. If you attend a regular place you will get to know people more and more and will be able to converse about their trips, activities as you learn more. Add some personal info in as well so it is not all business and awkward.

 

 

Those are just a few tips for today - more to follow next week and always feel free to chime in your own tips as well.


Kathy Colaiacovo, Social Media Consultant
<a href="http://www.timeontaskva.com" target="_blank">Time on Task VA Services</a> ~ <a href="http://www.socialmediatraining4biz.com" target="_blank">Social Media 4 Business Training</a>
<a href="http://www.mysocialmediava.com/blog" target="_blank">Social Media Tips</a> ~ <a href="http://www.talkingontwitter.com" target="_blank">Learn to use Twitter</a>
  

QUESTION : What do VAs do when they've got big plans but don't know where to start?
ANSWER : They download the VAnetworking Kick Start Package!
It's FREE : It's FUN : And you'll get something DONE : <a href="http://www.VAnetworking.com/downloads/VAkickstart.pdf" target="_blank">Download yours now.</a>

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Kathy

 

Great information.

 

I would like to add something that I do when I attend networking groups when time is given to hand out cards followed with elevator speeches. [such as BNI and PRO.] I have the cards in front of me and locate the card of the person talking. Then if I need to remember something I jot it on the back of their card. This helps me remember a little more about the person talking.

 

When I am in less formal networking groups, I do not try to "meet everyone" but instead focus on meeting a few of them. This way I am able to remember more about them when I go back and look at their cards.

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Good point Linda,

 

In a group one I try to get to know about 4 people - otherwise you can really talk a lot and get to know nothing about anyone. Which is counter productive.


Kathy Colaiacovo, Social Media Consultant
<a href="http://www.timeontaskva.com" target="_blank">Time on Task VA Services</a> ~ <a href="http://www.socialmediatraining4biz.com" target="_blank">Social Media 4 Business Training</a>
<a href="http://www.mysocialmediava.com/blog" target="_blank">Social Media Tips</a> ~ <a href="http://www.talkingontwitter.com" target="_blank">Learn to use Twitter</a>
  

QUESTION : What do VAs do when they've got big plans but don't know where to start?
ANSWER : They download the VAnetworking Kick Start Package!
It's FREE : It's FUN : And you'll get something DONE : <a href="http://www.VAnetworking.com/downloads/VAkickstart.pdf" target="_blank">Download yours now.</a>

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Great advice. Here's my problem. I don't have a problem speaking with people that I "know", but when I have to speak in front of more than 10 people, my hands get clammy and I start to sweat. I know that it is nerves. Any advice to help me with this? Normally, I can talk up a storm. I love to joke with people, but can't understand my fear when there are more than 10 people in the room.

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Brenda

 

Yes I have that issue also, except the group can be three or more. Although I have taken classes in public speaking, drama, etc. and been in front of groups of up to 100+ for over 20 years. I am also an introvert.

 

What I have learned over the years is to project an image of confidence and only try to remember a few rehearsed lines. That is one of the reasons that my elevator speech is short. Take a deep breath, but not that everyone around you realizes that you are taking a deep breath, and talk slowly. Remember that what you have to say is not being said in one breath. Remember to breathe during your elevator speech, make your conversation appear natural.

 

If you get flustered, pick up before where you got flustered and just continue on. You don't want them to miss what you are saying. Don't apologize for your mistake during your elevator speech or let your body motions acknowledge your mistake. Remember you do not see stage actors apologizing for flubbing their lines. Not to say that it is easy for me to do this, my hands get extremely cold when I get nervous and I also tend to panic.

 

What I have found is that people usually don't remember your mistakes, unless you call attention to them at the time they are made. At one point, everyone that you are in front of has done or felt the same thing that you have. I believe how you address that issue is more important than the issue, remember you are a professional. The image you project doesn't necessary reflect the feelings that you may have at the time.

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Brenda, Linda is so right when she says what others see is not what you feel you are projecting.

 

I was very nervous about talking to people as well and that is why for 2 years I joined a small breakfast club where we met weekly - every week you had to do your elevator speech as well as stand up and do a a referral or an "I have " moment (I have good news, a tip or a referral for Jane etc etc) Plus we took turns - so ever 2 months I had to do a 10 minute presentation to the others on my topic - take questions etc. This all got me very comfortable with a variety of speaking. I really found it helped me so much in getting over my nervousness. I still get the butterflies etc but they don't seem to bother me as much and so I feel others don't see that either.

 

Toastmasters is also a good place to learn some skills to help you.


Kathy Colaiacovo, Social Media Consultant
<a href="http://www.timeontaskva.com" target="_blank">Time on Task VA Services</a> ~ <a href="http://www.socialmediatraining4biz.com" target="_blank">Social Media 4 Business Training</a>
<a href="http://www.mysocialmediava.com/blog" target="_blank">Social Media Tips</a> ~ <a href="http://www.talkingontwitter.com" target="_blank">Learn to use Twitter</a>
  

QUESTION : What do VAs do when they've got big plans but don't know where to start?
ANSWER : They download the VAnetworking Kick Start Package!
It's FREE : It's FUN : And you'll get something DONE : <a href="http://www.VAnetworking.com/downloads/VAkickstart.pdf" target="_blank">Download yours now.</a>

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Great post Kathy! I look forward to your future posts on networking tips! As soon as I get my business cards in I will be heading to some networking groups I connected with on Meetup. It sounds like they are interested in meeting me so we will see! I think the biggest thing will be polishing my "Elevator Talk," I have no problem with doing presentations and I actually like doing them quite a bit but of course like everyone else, I'll stumble if I don't know that pitch cold. The weird thing is that I completely excel when it comes to answering specific questions about what I do, its just the "Ok, now get up and pitch yourself out of thin air" that I need to work on. I think the big thing for me is making my pitch sound more personal rather than mechanical. I don't want to sound like I'm speaking from memorization if that makes since. I liked the ideas that were posted before about starting off with a question and then speaking as to how my services can answer them. It's a work in progress for me! :)

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Kathy, your breakfast group is an inspiration. We are a small community, not close to Toastmasters and not strong enough to begin our own group. The breakfast group could serve or could grow.

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I am attending my first networking event tonight and I am apprehensive about just approaching people and talking about myself. I know this is a common hurdle that everyone faces, but I was wondering what tips you had that would help? Ice breakers, should you approach someone by themselves or a group, what questions to ask? What have you done specifically that has really helped you in the past?

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I am attending my first networking event tonight and I am apprehensive about just approaching people and talking about myself. I know this is a common hurdle that everyone faces, but I was wondering what tips you had that would help? Ice breakers, should you approach someone by themselves or a group, what questions to ask? What have you done specifically that has really helped you in the past?

 

Hi Emily,

 

Sorry I missed this yesterday in time for the event. I hope it went well.

 

My main piece of advice is to not worry so much about talking about yourself as it is finding out about the other person. Learn what their business is about and focus on them, listen. Your turn will come but the pressure is off when you are looking to learn about the other person.

I make certain I have gone over and over in my head (ahead of time) my elevator speech and am comfortable when it is my turn in explaining my name, business and a little bit about what I do.

As for how to start - that really depends on the group and how people are. To start look for someone standing alone (Probably as nervous as you!)or someone you already know. Generally I start with "Hi, my name is Kathy "and offer my hand. I rarely add my business there I go for the double intro and then I usually ask them - what line of business are you in or what is your business and the focus immediately goes to them. If people are gathered in a group that can be trickier because it may or may not be an appropriate time to mingle in - you have to go with your feeling at the time it happens.

Don't worry about being nervous because there will always be at least 2-3 other people feeling the same as you.

 

Always make certain you tell them your name and business and give them a business card and ask for one of theirs.

 

Let me know how it did go!


Kathy Colaiacovo, Social Media Consultant
<a href="http://www.timeontaskva.com" target="_blank">Time on Task VA Services</a> ~ <a href="http://www.socialmediatraining4biz.com" target="_blank">Social Media 4 Business Training</a>
<a href="http://www.mysocialmediava.com/blog" target="_blank">Social Media Tips</a> ~ <a href="http://www.talkingontwitter.com" target="_blank">Learn to use Twitter</a>
  

QUESTION : What do VAs do when they've got big plans but don't know where to start?
ANSWER : They download the VAnetworking Kick Start Package!
It's FREE : It's FUN : And you'll get something DONE : <a href="http://www.VAnetworking.com/downloads/VAkickstart.pdf" target="_blank">Download yours now.</a>

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Kathy, your breakfast group is an inspiration. We are a small community, not close to Toastmasters and not strong enough to begin our own group. The breakfast group could serve or could grow.

 

 

Judy is was a great group... If there is any interest even in your small town area - you should consider starting a drop in once a month one. Most restaurants/coffee places would love to have you - good exposure for them too (and you as the leader of the group). Start a mailing list from attendees etc...


Kathy Colaiacovo, Social Media Consultant
<a href="http://www.timeontaskva.com" target="_blank">Time on Task VA Services</a> ~ <a href="http://www.socialmediatraining4biz.com" target="_blank">Social Media 4 Business Training</a>
<a href="http://www.mysocialmediava.com/blog" target="_blank">Social Media Tips</a> ~ <a href="http://www.talkingontwitter.com" target="_blank">Learn to use Twitter</a>
  

QUESTION : What do VAs do when they've got big plans but don't know where to start?
ANSWER : They download the VAnetworking Kick Start Package!
It's FREE : It's FUN : And you'll get something DONE : <a href="http://www.VAnetworking.com/downloads/VAkickstart.pdf" target="_blank">Download yours now.</a>

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Guest aplusadmin

Kathy once again you list great suggestions.

 

I used to hate doing my elevator speech, but over time I got it. I do change it up every so often. Just so it isn't the same one all the time since when attending these networking events many are returning from the last time.

 

Do have lots of business cards on hand. Something I've done a few times is put a few flyers on the table or hand out along with my business card. What are your thoughts on doing this Kathy?

 

Thanks.

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Ok- I just wanted to share this personal success with you guys. I just got back from my very first networking event and it was great! I was so nervous about that nobody would want to talk to me, it would be awkward, yadayadayada. But none of that happened! People were really interested in what I had to say and the services I offer. It was very refreshing. I didn't really have an elevator speech prepared- I just kinda winged it. I knew what I wanted to say and thankfully I am a pretty good public speaker so it sounded semi-fluid! But I know what I want to do next time to improve it too. I'm just really excited about the outcome and I don't think I feel as anxious about having to do this in the future. I absolutely recommend going with someone that you know- it's much harder to do it alone. It can be just a supportive friend who will talk you up to people. Referrals are key. Just get out there and do it. Take a deep breath and jump in.

 

Sorry if this sounded so jumbled or random- I've just got so much on my mind now!

 

Oh and thanks to everyone for their support- you all are awesome! :yay:

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Do have lots of business cards on hand. Something I've done a few times is put a few flyers on the table or hand out along with my business card. What are your thoughts on doing this Kathy?

 

Thanks.

 

I would only use the flyers, if it is appropriate, and in some cases it may not be. But always be on the lookout and if it is acceptable at that networking event. GO for it.

 

 

Emily, Congratulations on a successful networking event!!!


Kathy Colaiacovo, Social Media Consultant
<a href="http://www.timeontaskva.com" target="_blank">Time on Task VA Services</a> ~ <a href="http://www.socialmediatraining4biz.com" target="_blank">Social Media 4 Business Training</a>
<a href="http://www.mysocialmediava.com/blog" target="_blank">Social Media Tips</a> ~ <a href="http://www.talkingontwitter.com" target="_blank">Learn to use Twitter</a>
  

QUESTION : What do VAs do when they've got big plans but don't know where to start?
ANSWER : They download the VAnetworking Kick Start Package!
It's FREE : It's FUN : And you'll get something DONE : <a href="http://www.VAnetworking.com/downloads/VAkickstart.pdf" target="_blank">Download yours now.</a>

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