Last week Eric Morgenstern shared a post on establishing win-win connections. Today, I’m following up with a sister post – the art of starting a conversation. For some, this initial hurdle is the hardest part of networking and getting relationships going. Whether you are at an event, business meeting, or personal gathering the following tips can help you break into a conversation and improve connections.
What other conversation starters or tips would you share?
Some tips were adapted from Experience Life “The Art of Conversation.” For more information click here.Tagged conversation, Morningstar Communications, tips and tricks, Tricia Jaworski
I recently had the pleasure of speaking at the Shawnee and Kansas City Kansas Area Chambers of Commerce Joint Luncheon on how to establish and strengthen lasting connections through intentional networking. This opportunity helped me better define networking and re-think how to make lasting connections in today’s day and age. Here are a few highlights:
What networking is all about
I often see people go to a networking event for the purpose of receiving career advice. While receiving career advice is beneficial for the person on the receiving end, it’s not the same as networking.
Here is my preferred definition of networking:
Networking – Building or strengthening personal relationships with no pre-determined end-in-mind, which becomes a win-win for both people.
You might be thinking, “Where do we start?”
Start with the concept of ‘Share/Get’
Come prepared when you attend a networking event. Knowing what you want to share and what you want to get will help you succeed at making connections. (I’ve written about this in a previous post on networking.) Walk in with three things you want to share. That way, when someone asks, “How are you?” you will have a better answer than, “Fine.” I usually reply with, “Excellent,” then say something interesting to spur conversation – “I just went to Seasons 52. Have you been there? It’s great!” The topic doesn’t have to be business-related – you may be looking for a house painter, or want information about where to take your teenage niece when she visits. It’s easy to get to know someone when asking for referrals and suggestions.
Make one stretch networking goal each month
We all like to socialize with friends, but networking requires us to get out of that comfort zone. To truly make the most out of networking, we should give ourselves a stretch goal. Make a list of key people you want to get to know, and then have the courage to reach out to them one at a time. Make sure you think in terms of quality, not quantity. It’s all about making a few really good connections, not just gathering 30 business cards.
A lesson learned on being memorable
Once when I was at a networking event, I met a lady on my target list I really wanted to meet. I was so excited to finally meet her. I followed up with a phone call the next day and said, “Hi, this is Eric. It was so nice meeting you last night…” And she stopped me to say she didn’t remember meeting me. I was hugely disappointed. However, it taught me a lesson that you must be memorable. And be memorable for something good.
It’s not who you know…it’s who knows you
We hire people we know. For everything else, we seem to listen to other people. When deciding whether or not to see a certain movie, we used to listen to two people – Siskel and Ebert. Now we use Rotten Tomatoes, Trip Adviser, Urban Spoon etc., and we’re listening to recommendations from hundreds of people we don’t know. Yet, when it comes to hiring, we still hire people we know.
Lasting connections generate referrals
At Morningstar Communications, all it took was an Excel spreadsheet for us to track all of our new clients to see 94 percent of our new business comes to us through referrals. Build relationships, and when someone needs something, they’ll call you. When networking, realize the relationships that matter go beyond the initial interaction. They offer lifetime value. That’s why we work with each other to accomplish goals.
Intentional networking is essential to establishing and strengthening lasting connections. It builds your personal and company brand by helping you expand your reach and connection to potential partners and clients.
Onward and upward.Tagged Community Involvement, Connections, Eric Morgenstern, Hand-Written Notes, LinkedIn, Morningstar Communications, Networking
I find all the recent stories about the age of professionals running social media programs an interesting debate. A student from the University of Iowa was slammed recently for her assertion that all social media managers should be under 25. Another more recent story from Inc. negates the idea such a young individual has the professional life experience to manage a brand online. It was countered by a story authored by a 23-year-old social media manager in Ragan’s PR Daily.
I think skills and experience should be the primary consideration when determining the right person to handle a social media program. And, I believe pulling together the right team makes all the difference.
At Morningstar Communications, the social media programs we manage for clients are developed and implemented as one part of a broad communications strategy – a strategy crafted and driven by a team with a range of expertise and experience. It makes for the best balance between effective brand management and cutting-edge implementation when it comes to social media. By defining roles and parameters, responding quickly to conversations and understanding the brand and its audience, we’re able to create robust and successful programs, where the age of the person curating and posting content is the least relevant issue.
What do you think? Is social media management only for the younger generations?Tagged Executive Insights, millennials, Morningstar Communications, Sheri Johnson, social media, Strategic Communications
“I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion.” –Mia Hamm, Olympic and World Cup Soccer PlayerThe 2012 Summer Olympic Gamesbegan on Friday, July 27 in London and will last through August 12. Every four years I get excited to watch the games. Everything from swimming to gymnastics to beach volleyball sucks me in for hours on end. Maybe my ultra competitive nature is why I love the Olympics so much or maybe it’s because I played every sport possible when I was a kid and it brings back fond memories. Either way, lately I have realized my great admiration for individuals coming together at the games to create remarkable achievements as one. On any given day, a different athlete can shine. In fact, the Men's 4×100 meter freestyle relay event at the 2008 Olympic Games showed just that when Jason Lezak, the oldest man on the U.S. swimming team at that time, pulled off one of the great comebacks in Olympic history, hitting the wall just ahead of Frenchman Alain Bernard to win the race. Lezak’s remarkable effort not only gave himself the fastest relay split in history, it moved The United States out of second place to win the gold, and was part of Michael Phelps’ eight gold medals in Beijing, a record no other Olympian has ever achieved in one Olympic games. And just last night, Michael Phelps made history again with the help of his 4x200 meter freestyle relay team, by winning his 19th Olympic medal to become the most decorated Olympian in history. Phelps and his teammates showed us once again that we all bring something different to the plate. In business, just as in sports, on any given day a different member of the team can shine. This Olympics has made me take a look at my own team and realize how we all contribute to our company’s success in different ways. From innovative thinking at brainstorms to creative writing skills to positive “can do it” attitudes, all of our individual talents have made our team have a very successful start to the first half of the year. And, I am confident our team accomplishments will continue to cultivate as we compliment each other’s strengths because teamwork – whether on the soccer field or in the conference room – is the most important aspect of any group environment. Just as Mia Hamm said, "the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion." Tagged Meg Schulte, Morningstar Communications, Olympics, teamwork