In the fall of 2014, I was engaged to deliver a workshop in eastern Canada. A few weeks prior to the event I received an email from someone in that city. She was a successful entrepreneur interested in building a speaking business.  She wanted to meet with me about this dream. This isn’t an unusual request and I am always happy to share my experience and expertise.

We met after my session and I spent about 30 minutes with her. She was bright, enthusiastic and quite excited about pursuing her speaking career. She had some specific questions about the speaking business and her direction. I felt I was polite, professional and supportive. I walked away feeling good about the conversation.

Three months later, my wife and I attended a speakers’ conference. Arriving the evening before, we decided to grab a drink and catch up with a number of my speaker friends. Walking into the lobby, the first person we met was this same young lady, who was chatting with two colleagues. When we introduced ourselves, she promptly announced to the group “This is the man who made me cry.”

I must admit to being taken aback by the comment. My wife was looking at me as if to say “what did you do to this nice young lady?” I was speechless as she recounted the details our meeting. She said that my questions put her into a state of high anxiety and, rushing back to her car, she broke into tears. She phoned her local business mentor and tearfully shared her experience.

She did admit that our meeting forced her to come to terms with some difficult decisions she had been contemplating, not the least of which was to attend the conference. She ended her diatribe by saying she was much better off for our conversation and appreciated my comments. I walked away feeling somewhat better but still a little depressed about the whole encounter.

My young protégée ended up sharing her story a number of times over the course of the conference. I got comments from colleagues who mentioned similar recollections after having had a mentoring conversation with me. By the end of the conference, I accepted the fact that I have a tendency to, when asked, find the right question or identify the right direction, even if it’s not what others want to hear.

Last week, the same young lady in the story above sent me the following email message.

SUBJECT LINE: All thanks to you.

Michael,

Thank you for making me cry. It made me realize that I needed to concentrate more on the speaking aspect of my business. Although I am sure you didn’t intend to upset me, you gave me the push that I needed to get going.

I am proud that since I met you I have accomplished:

  • Registered my speaking business
  • Use a CRM online system
  • Joined CAPS!!
  • Designed a website: www.kristatwalsh.com
  • Designed a Facebook page
  • Raised my rate
  • Wrote a keynote
  • Incorporated my keynote into my Networking sessions
  • Booked four sessions this month with more to come.

I can’t thank you enough. I am excited, motivated and truly believe that I am taking the correct path for me.

Your kindness is appreciated.

Krista T. Walsh, CFCP

——————————————————————————————

Are you stuck in your business or your career? Let’s talk. I may make you cry, but chances are you’ll walk away with an idea, insight or information that will propel you to the next level. Maybe we can even work together to help you get there.

Email me at info@NetworkingForResults.com with “CRY” in the subject to schedule a conversation.

A few months ago, my son lent a book. It’s a big, hardcover edition and, at almost 700 pages, it’s intimidating to look at, let alone absorb. It sat on my bedside table for the longest time until, in a moment of weakness, I picked it up.

I’d like to say that there was some kind of “eureka-moment” reason why I finally did. To be honest, it just wore me down with its subtle title and its imposing presence. However, when I did start scanning the first few pages, I quickly realized that this might be more than a casual read. That was an understatement.

The book’s author is Tim Ferriss. He is best-known for his best-selling book, “Four Hour Work Week,” which he’s parlayed into two related books, “Four Hour Body” and “Four Hour Chef.” What few people are aware of, including me, is that Tim’s podcast (https://tim.blog/podcast/) is the #1 business podcast on iTunes, having interviewed almost 200 world-class performers. And I mean world-class.

Tools of Titans: The tactics, Routines and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers (https://toolsoftitans.com/) is literally jammed with a non-stop list of proven strategies and practical actions validated by actual results and success from the world’s top achievers.

What Tim tried to do with this project is glean the best-of-the-best ideas, concepts, strategies, disciplines or rituals from each interview. He supplies the reader with a non-stop list of success tips from people who have actually achieved incredible results and accomplishments. The page-upon-page of practical information blew me away!!

Here’s how I think you can get the most out of this book:

  1. Suspend your cynicism. Every interview summary starts with a bio. Some of the biographical information will blow your mind. It’s easy to sit back and think “This isn’t for me” or “I could never accomplish this.” Look past their status. Focus on the basic information. It’s worth it.
  2. Take notes. The amount of practical information in the book is staggering. Unless you have a way of capturing the material that resonates with you, you’ll never remember it. There’s simply too much quality information.
  3. Action your top three take-ways. I guarantee you’ll walk away from this self-development exercise with a number of great, actionable ideas. Your challenge is to put them into practice. Pick any (or your top) three and start using them today.

My top 3 take-aways from Tools of Titans:

  1. Daily journaling and affirmations (P. 146). I have always been skeptical about this practice, but after reading about how so many successful people do this and the impact it’s had on them, I have implemented them as daily routines. I’m already seeing and feeling the results.
  2. 1,000 true fans (P. 292). This is the concept (from Kevin Kelly) that you don’t need a million people to be successful. You only need to make 1,000 people extremely, extremely happy. I can do that. And I will.
  3. Personal mantra (P. 414). I’m as good as anyone at creating excuses. Tim’s interview with Jocko Willink supplied me with a personal mantra that I’m using to push myself further and accomplish more. It’s working. Maybe it can work for you.

While that’s my top 3 take-aways, it could have easily been a Top 10 list. I have a few more learnings that I’ve absorbed from the book. I know that you will get more as well. I suggest keeping a list, keeping it close, and pulling it out as you get comfortable implementing your top three. I have one more that I want to implement starting next week.

What’s next to maximize this investment?

It took me almost a month to read this book, by investing between 15 minutes and an hour a day. I read every page. Some of it resonated. Some of it didn’t. But every page had value. This is only the beginning of my journey with these powerful people because Tim has included some great value-added components in the book. It’s what he does.

  1. Podcasts. The beauty of the interview summaries in the book is that they are the tip of the iceberg. They each come from longer, recorded conversations that Tim had with each person. I’m going back to cherry-pick the ones that had the most impact on me so that I can dig deeper into that person and category.
  2. Tim’s top 50 podcasts. If you’re a podcast fan, Tim gives you his list of top podcasts at the end of the book. I plan to check these out, but only after the ones I liked from the book. It’s easy to get sidetracked by a celebrity name.
  3. Relevant books. I was amazed at how many books were listed as part of a biography, referenced as part of the interview or listed as “most gifted.” Tim has a list at the end of the book. I kept track of each book. My list of relevant books I want to read has 149. Check it out here. What a library.
  4. Learning plan. Like you, I consider myself a lifelong learner. I can see where this project can become a mini-MBA as I continue to use this encyclopedia to expand my knowledge. I am committed to continuing to investigate and leverage Tim and the Titans.

I challenge you buy, read and leverage this resource…You’re welcome.

I still remember my first trade show experience. It felt like I was walking the gauntlet with caged animals on either side trying to get at me. Ok, so I say this in jest, but it does sometimes feel like this.

Trade shows are usually busy, pressure-packed events. There is a limited amount of time and a lot to see. You can maximize your return on invested time if you follow these tips:

  1. Have clear, written objectives. Most trade shows have hundreds of vendors and booths. Invest time before arriving to decide which have the highest potential for you and list the reasons you are attending the show.
  2. Have a product positioning statement. Communicating effectively in this fast-paced environment is essential. Prepare a short statement that identifies your target market, the top benefit of your product/service and the result of doing business with you.
  3. Meet, greet & move on. Trade show networking is not conducive to long conversations. Your dialogue needs to be focused, short and to the point. Be prepared to exchange a few sentences, get a business card and move on.
  4. Have 3 success stories. You will be meeting new contacts as well as renewing old ones. Be prepared to answer “What’s new?” Have a success story about you, about your company and your business.
  5. Have 3 questions. As you meet others, you will have the opportunity to find out information. Be prepared to ask “What’s new?” and make it easier for them by specifically asking about them, their company and their business.
  6. Carry breath mints. You will be spending a lot of time talking with a lot of people up close and personal. Because so much depends on your first impression, keep breath mints handy. It’s not if you’ll need them but when you’ll need them. (Others will too!).
  7. Get business cards. You will never be able to remember all the people, faces and names. It’s essential that you get a business card when talking with others. Develop a specific location to store incoming cards so you don’t hand them out by mistake.
  8. Write info down. Because it will be difficult, if not impossible, to remember specifics about conversations ask permission to write on a person’s card while you’re speaking with them. It will make you’re follow up much easier.
  9. Carry extra cards. One of the most common mistakes at trade shows is to run out of business cards. Bring extra and hand out a couple to each contact. If you run out, ask for your contact’s card and write your information on it.
  10. Timely follow up. As soon as you can after the show, sit down with your business cards, and organize and prioritize your contacts. Make follow up calls within 48 hours of the show to maximize your return on invested time.

Want to get better at maximizing your next trade show? Email me at info@NetworkingForResults. to receive a free copy of my Trade Show Tactics Executive Summary.


Michael J. Hughes is a recognized authority on utilizing networking as a business strategy. To find out more about him, or to have him present at your next meeting or conference, contact him at his web site at www.NetworkingForResults.com”

You’re sick and tired of attending events where others run the show. You’ve tried the pay-for-play referral groups around town and have found them to be more about the few who run the show than about helping you achieve more success.

How can you use networking as a business or career growth strategy that works for you? It’s simple: start your own group. Here’s a dozen reasons why this can be a huge step in accelerating your results.

  1. Increase your business. The simple fact of bringing together a number of prospects, be they colleagues or clients, will offer you opportunity to exponentially generate more revenues by being in front of more people at one time.
  2. Get others to refer you business. When you bring others together, they appreciate your efforts. They will want to return the favor you have done for them. One of the ways they will do this is by recommending you to others.
  3. Position yourself as a leader. Acting as the catalyst in creating the group, you position yourself as a leader. The members of the group automatically respect you and have a higher level of trust in you.
  4. Increase your value to others. When the members of your group come together, they will meet new contacts and make new friends. They will associate these great feelings with you and feel you have brought them value.
  5. Improve the perception of your professionalism. Your efforts in creating and managing the group will have others perceive you differently. You will be seen as a qualified professional who cares about others.
  6. Build trust in others more quickly. Your position as a leader brings with it a number of unconscious qualities. One of the most powerful is trust. Others will trust you more as you contribute to their lives and their success.
  7. Have others better realize your level of expertise about your product or service. In leading your group, you will cause others to become more aware of your expertise. This realization will extend to their perception of your products and services. They will see them differently just as they see you differently.
  8. Better leverage existing relationships. Bringing together existing contacts, colleagues and clients acts as a leverage factor and heightens feelings of value and service about you. They will then go out of their way to be of service to you in return.
  9. More quickly leverage new relationships. As you offer new contacts the opportunity to participate in your group, they will feel more trustworthy and indebted. This is one of the most powerful ways to build relationships.
  10. Market yourself to more people in a shorter period of time. As members join and bring their colleagues and contacts into the group, you will find that you are, by default, marketing to more people with one activity.
  11. Find more ways to help others. As a result of interacting with more people within the group, you will have more options available to help others. You will have access to more resources, support and opportunities.
  12. Develop a cost-effective strategy to grow your business. Starting your group will require an initial investment. Once in motion, it will act as an on-going marketing vehicle that gives you access to an on-going stream of prospects.

Is this an option that could work for you? I’ve written a 16-page Executive Overview of everything you need to know to successfully start and run a networking group. Email me at info@NetworkingForResults.com and I’ll send you a complimentary copy.

“Research has confirmed that personality is a compilation of four basic behavioral styles. Each of us incorporates the four styles into thoughts, conversations and behavior.

Over 75% of the contacts you make will be with differing (and sometimes contradictory) personality styles. We’ve all had the experience of meeting someone where the contact and the conversation have been less than pleasant, even uncomfortable.

This is sometimes the case when two people with different “”preferred”” networking styles meet. Because their networking interests and their priorities are at opposite ends of the personality spectrum, they fail to connect properly, essentially creating a non-connection which can leave both with a negative perspective of the experience. So the next time you feel this happening, here’s what you can do.

  1. Accept that personality styles impact networking results. We are highly emotional creatures with individual and unique characteristics. As such we must accept that we may not always connect with others in ways we anticipate. Up to 75% of the people we meet think differently and as a result tend to behave differently than we do. It’s a fact of life.
  2. Recognize that stress can affect networking behavior. Stress is a natural response to real or perceived danger. Meeting others takes many people out of their natural comfort zone and exposes them to the (perceived) risk of being rejected. Their networking style becomes an expression of stress-related behavior that they may not even be aware of.
  3. Become more aware of your preferred networking style. Your networking style is a direct extension of your personality. It has a tremendous impact on the way others perceive you. You cannot change your style but by becoming more aware of your preferred style you can more easily leverage your strengths and minimize the chances of falling prey to stress-related behavior in future interactions.
  4. Clarify the preferred networking style of your target market and ideal clients. This tactic can, by itself lead to more and better networking success. Review the main personality traits of your clients and colleagues. Then prepare for networking success by planning communication options that allow you to complement their networking style. That way, you can more effectively leverage opportunities with these important contacts into additional results.
  5. Develop networking style success strategies for each networking style. Develop the discipline of identifying the preferred networking style of your conversation partner. Then adapt your communication to facilitate and develop increase rapport and build trust. Become more aware of stress-related networking fallback styles and techniques to move others into their networking comfort zone. Others will automatically feel more comfortable with you and work on your behalf.
  6. Don’t let first impressions be your only gauge of relationship compatibility and success. This reality can be the most valuable networking idea in this document. The next time you meet someone who rubs you the wrong way or turns you off, remember the fact that it may not be them, it may be you. Raise your networking antennae above your discomfort and assess her/him and the networking style. You find, more often than not, the differing styles are causing this.
  7. Above all, don’t take it personally. Meeting others can be a traumatic experience. When others don’t respond as positively as we expect or want, we tend to take it personally. Use the information in this document to remind you that it’s not you they are not responding to, it’s your networking style.

Want to know what you preferred networking style is? Email me at info@NetworkingForResults and I’ll send you my proprietary NfR Networking Personality Style Assessment to determine how to maximize this important area.

Trade shows are usually busy, pressure-packed events. There is a limited amount of time and a lot to see. You can maximize your return on invested time if you follow these tips:

Have clear, written objectives. Most trade shows have hundreds of vendors and booths. Invest time before arriving to decide which have the highest potential for you and list the reasons you are attending the show.

Have a product positioning statement. Communicating effectively in this fast-paced environment is essential. Prepare a short statement that identifies your target market, the top benefit of your product/service and the result of doing business with you.

Meet, greet & move on. Trade show networking is not conducive to long conversations. Your dialogue needs to be focused, short and to the point. Be prepared to exchange a few sentences, get a business card and move on

Have 3 success stories. You will be meeting new contacts as well as renewing old ones. Be prepared to answer “What’s new?” Have a success story about you, about your company and your business.

Have 3 questions. As you meet others, you will have the opportunity to find out information. Be prepared to ask “What’s new?” and make it easier for them by specifically asking about them, their company and their business.

Carry breath mints. You will be spending a lot of time talking with a lot of people up close and personal. Because so much depends on your first impression, keep breath mints handy. It’s not if you’ll need them but when you’ll need them. (Others will too!)

Get business cards. You will never be able to remember all the people, faces and names. It’s essential that you get a business card when talking with others. Develop a specific location to store incoming cards so you don’t hand them out by mistake.

Write info down. Because it will be difficult, if not impossible, to remember specifics about conversations ask permission to write on a person’s card while you’re speaking with them. It will make you’re follow up much easier.

Carry extra cards. One of the most common mistakes at trade shows is to run out of business cards. Bring extra and hand out a couple to each contact. If you run out, ask for your contact’s card and write your information on it.

Timely follow up. As soon as you can after the show, sit down with your business cards, and organize and prioritize your contacts. Make follow up calls within 48 hours of the show to maximize your return on invested time.

Nothing is more awkward than lapses in the conversation, particularly in a one-on-one situation with a newly introduced person. Here are some suggestions on how to keep conversation flowing and feelings of trust and affinity growing.

Create a comfortable atmosphere. Most people open up when they feel at ease. Strive to quickly make others feel comfortable around you. Focus on the other person first, ask probing questions, smile a lot and be sincerely curious about them.

Take responsibility for the conversation. Most people are unsure and anxious when meeting another person. Give them some help by being pro-active and starting the conversation. Introduce yourself, shake hands and ask their name.

Use S.A.F.E. questions. Start a conversation using gentle probing questions that relate to both of you. The situation you’re in (networking event), any activities that are obvious (golf shirt), family (children, holidays) or current events (hockey).

Be curious about others. We all respond to someone who is naturally curious. Being sincerely curious about others will help them talk more openly about themselves, their situation and their lives.

Ask about others first. Asking about others before talking about ourselves requires discipline and is an expression of maturity. It demonstrates a respect for the other person that is immediately obvious and appreciated

Express a sincere interest. It is extremely important to demonstrate that we are actively interested and involved in the conversation. Active listening, eye contact and positive body language all contribute to help others know we care about their responses.

Keep the conversation focused. Try to stay on one topic, extending the conversation until all the information about that area has been discussed. In many cases you will quickly discover another point of discussion to move to.

Listen and watch their level of comfort or stress. People will normally become more comfortable as their level of stress diminishes. Getting them talking usually accelerates this process. Once they feel more comfortable, the conversation will become easier.

Make a perceptive statement. Most people will give you strong clues about their inner
thoughts, feelings and emotions, even during a short conversation. By making a comment on the other person’s feelings you can demonstrate genuine interest.

Events offer many conversational opportunities. It’s easy and comfortable to chat with colleagues and friends but, sometimes, you end up in an interaction with someone new. These conversations can hit speed bumps that can have an adverse effect .

Nothing is more awkward than lapses in the conversation, particularly in a one-on-one situation with a person you’ve just met. Here are some suggestions on how to keep conversation flowing and build feelings of trust and affinity.

Create a comfortable atmosphere. Most people open up when they feel at ease. Strive to quickly make others feel comfortable around you. Focus on the other person first, ask probing questions, smile a lot and be sincerely curious about them.

Take responsibility for the conversation. Most people are unsure and anxious when meeting another person. Give them some help by being pro-active and starting the conversation. Introduce yourself, shake hands and ask their name.

Use S.A.F.E. questions. Start a conversation using gentle probing questions that relate to both of you. The situation you’re in (networking event), any activities that are obvious (golf shirt), family (children, holidays) or current events (hockey).

Be curious about others. We all respond to someone who is naturally curious. Being sincerely curious about others will help them talk more openly about themselves, their situation and their lives.

Ask about others first. Asking about others before talking about ourselves requires discipline and is an expression of maturity. It demonstrates a respect for the other person that is immediately obvious and appreciated

Express a sincere interest. It is extremely important to demonstrate that we are actively interested and involved in the conversation. Active listening, eye contact and positive body language all contribute to help others know we care about their responses.

Keep the conversation focused. Try to stay on one topic, extending the conversation until all the information about that area has been discussed. In many cases you will quickly discover another point of discussion to move to.

Listen and watch their level of comfort or stress. People will normally become more comfortable as their level of stress diminishes. Getting them talking usually accelerates this process. Once they feel more comfortable, the conversation will become easier.

Make a perceptive statement. Most people will give you strong clues about their inner thoughts, feelings and emotions, even during a short conversation. By making a comment on the other person’s feelings you can demonstrate genuine interest.

You will be amazed at the information you can elicit from a new networking partner in a 30-second chat by prompting the conversation. It’s not about what you say, it’s about what they tell you.

You’ve been invited to deliver an after-lunch presentation to a group of business professionals. You realize It’s an ideal opportunity to showcase your product, your company and yourself but are struggling with how to maximize it.

Let’s face it, thirty minutes is not enough time fully explain any topic in depth. What it can do is create interest, raise awareness, demonstrate competently, build credibility and position the speaker as an expert. It acts as a lever that can activate follow up opportunities and action.

As such, it should be structured to emphasize all the above areas, and especially to initiate further dialogue. In fact, the complimentary presentation’s real objective is to create follow up opportunities. Here are the four steps that will leverage this situation into the results you want and need.

  1. Entertain & inform. Thirty minutes does not allow you to get into any detailed discussion about your products or services. Instead, focus on helping the audience appreciate YOUR value and expertise. Make sure your presentation includes value for the audience. This can be done by sharing practical and/or useful information. When you are done, the audience should be thinking she/he knows this topic. I want to know more.
  2. Verbal vs visual. The emphasis of your talk should be on you. The more paper you include, or the more PowerPoint slides you have, the less they will focus on you and your value. In fact, the less they will need you. The key to success is to find the balance of support to enhance your position.
  3. One-page handout. Every complimentary presentation should be supported by a one-page handout. This document fulfills a number of functions. It acts as a guide to the audience as you present your information. I suggest a fill-in-the-blanks format. This is a free complimentary presentation so most people will not be expecting to get a lot of materials. When your presentation is packed with practical information and you offer a summary of your points as a value-added take-away item, the audience will be excited and appreciative. Also, this document serves as a contact info piece when it has all your contact info.
  4. Feedback form. This technique is the success secret in your Free Talk Strategy. It acts as the linchpin to tying the value in the complimentary presentation to specific product and service offerings. The feedback form is not an evaluation. You are offering this presentation for free, so an evaluation is not warranted (unless this is paramount for you, not the audience). The feedback form is designed specifically to elicit participant interest in specific business-related areas and acquire participant contact info. This is facilitated by offering value-added items they have an interest in.

Want to know more about how to convert free presentations into results and profits? Email me at info@NetworkingForResults to receive a complimentary copy of my 12-Page From Free to Fee ebook.

Networking is a social activity that most sales professionals embrace as part of the professional mandate. Unfortunately, many tend to put the “sales” part ahead of the “professional” piece. Adhering to these 10 Commandments of Prospecting will make your life easier and you accelerate your results.

  1. Every person you meet has the potential to help you. One of the biggest mistakes sales people make is to pre-judge others. Prospecting is the activity of meeting others. Don’t discount a potential prospect because you feel that they don’t qualify before you spend a few moments really getting to know who they are, what their real needs are and who they might know.
  2. Always put the person ahead of the business. Selling is a people business, not a product business. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. When prospecting with others, focus first on developing a relationship with them as a person, setting aside your selling needs. As your relationship develops and trust builds, you will quickly see how the sales process will fit.
  3. Develop the discipline of being a student of listening. Time is our most valuable asset. When we listen to others, we demonstrate our respect and sincerity towards them. Prospecting means gathering information. The best way to get information about others is to ask questions and listen for the answers. Most people will give you the key to their wants and needs within the first two or three minutes if you listen carefully.
  4. Focus on one person at one time. Selling is a one-on-one, one-at-a-time activity. When you meet another person, focus all of your attention on them. To prospect effectively you must really listen to what the other person has to say. That one contact can represent a multitude of opportunities. Trying to see who else is in the room or watching for another contact while speaking with someone will only rob you of the opportunity to get quality information as well as insult the other person.
  5. Take responsibility for effective communication. Professional sales people understand that most folks are very anxious about meeting others. They take responsibility for the communication process to make others feel at ease. Part of prospecting success involves communicating the message about your product or service in a manner that others will understand and respond to.
  6. Be sincerely curious. The trait of being sincerely curious about another person has a powerful effect. Others pick up on your sincerity and feel very much at home. Expressing a sincere interest in the other person’s situation or issue is one of the best prospecting skills. It brings out the other person’s pain or passion and allows you to better position your product or service.
  7. Seek to create interest and enthusiasm. Prospecting is a highly creative process that is based on mutual interest. We all like to be with people who have a high level of enthusiasm. Selling has, in fact, been called a transfer of enthusiasm. When you are enthusiastic and positive, it transfers to the other person and creates a higher interest level, inspires dialogue and brings forth more information.
  8. Work on developing a reason for others to want to stay in touch with you. Prospecting is the process of discovering needs. When you find that the other person has a need, one of the best things you can do is let them talk about it, explain and expand on it. Your prospecting responsibility is then to work on helping them meet that need. This will create an opportunity for future contact, create a debt of obligation or develop trust.
  9. Respond to folks who express warmth and comfort. Continually seek out people who respond to you as a person. These are usually the people who want to help us or are those who will respond best to our help. Relationships develop more quickly with people we are comfortable with. Some people are naturally attracted to us as we are to them. Use a prospecting style that makes it easy for you and for them by being ready for these moments.
  10. Expect that most people aren’t initially excited about your product or service. Selling is a highly emotional process. We are heavily attached to our product or service and many people will not share our level of enthusiasm. Discipline yourself to use the prospecting process to find out the other person’s state of mind before proceeding to the presentation or product stage of the sales process.

Do you want to use networking to achieve more and better sales results? Email me at info@NetworkingForResults.com to get your complimentary 20-page “Managing the Networking Experience” ebook.