Five Tips for Effective Networking

Do you know how to network effectively? If yes, bravo for you. If not, don’t be discouraged as this is a skill that can be learned. The reality is if you are an entrepreneur, professional or anyone really who is looking for clients, new business contacts and opportunities, you have to “put yourself out there.” There meaning different types of business and professional events. Regardless of what type of business you have or are in, you are in the sales and marketing business. Networking can play a role when it comes to promoting and making sales for your business.

Networking to me is about building a relationship with someone to see how you can mutually help or benefit each other. It is not a one way dialogue, there is reciprocity involved. Here are five networking tips that I’ve learned through my entrepreneurial journey. They are:

1. Effective Networking is About Reciprocity
When you first meet someone at an event rather than going straight into a promotional spiel about your program, product and service, think reciprocity. How can you mutually benefit from knowing each other? Is there a resource, book, website or referral that you can recommend or make to the other person. Once you nurture that relationship, then it is possible that the person you met at the event could become your client, business associate or even over the long term friend.

2. Tools of the Trade
If you are going to an event, ensure that you have the tools that you need so that people can contact you. These tools are at a minimum your business card and perhaps a promotional brochure. Even if you don’t have a website, it is fine to have cards printed with just your name, your title, your phone number and email address. Also make sure that your business cards present the type of image you want to convey. They don’t have to be fancy, just professional. I have been handed business cards that had liquid paper on them, with the phone number whited out and a new number written on top. This does not leave a professional image in your potential business associate’s or client’s mind. A professional business card is an essential tool.

3. Be a Good Listener
I’ve been told that I deliver excellent feedback. The feedback could be for colleagues at work, for my coaching clients or for colleagues in my volunteer work. One of the reasons that I am able to deliver excellent feedback is because I am a good listener. When you are at a networking event use your listening skills to the full capacity. Be genuinely interested in the person you are speaking with at the event. Ask questions in a non-intrusive manner. For example, what is their professional background? Why did they start their business? How does their product or service help or benefit people? Truly listen to what the other person has to say.

4. Use Positive, Rapport Building Nonverbal Communication
When you meet a person at an event, make sure that you use positive, rapport building non-verbal communication. What does that mean? For example, when you first meet someone when you greet them make sure that you smile, look at the person directly, deliver a firm handshake and say your full name. Before you describe what you do, let the other person introduce themselves. In general, remember to smile, have good eye contact, nod from time to time (so that the person knows that you are listening) and have relaxed body language. You want your body language to convey that you are confident and attentive to the other person.

5. Go to the Event Early.
Even though it may be fashionable to arrive late, when you attend networking events, arrive early. When you go to networking events you can make some of your best connections early on at the event. Also at the earlier stage of the event, it is not as noisy as there are less people so you can have longer conversations.

BONUS TIP

Follow Up
When you meet someone new at an event that you are interested in keeping in contact with, follow up. Whether it is for a potential client, business associate or potential friend, make contact with the person as soon as you can. In an ideal world, follow up should happen the next day. Sometimes though that is not possible, try to make contact as soon as you can. You can send an email or call to follow-up on the interaction that you had at the event where you met.

For the more introverted among us, while networking is not the easiest skill to master, it can be learned. Networking effectively can help you promote your business, makes sales and gain new clients. Happy Networking!

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Join Associations Like eWomen Network

When you are embarking on a new endeavour in life, it makes sense for you to join groups, associations and organizations to learn from people who are further along the path in terms of where you ultimately want to be. In my life, I’ve been blessed to have mentors who have shared their time, wisdom and experience with me to help me grow in different areas. In turn, I’ve mentored and coached people along their life’s journey in specific areas.

I recently joined the eWomen Network (Toronto Chapter) an organization that supports women entrepreneurs through events, networking, and other resources. The eWomen Network was started by Sandra and Kym Yancey over 15 years ago and has chapters across North America. Each chapter is unique and the members come together to network, learn, support and make business connections with each other.

I’m inspired by the members that I’ve met at the Toronto Chapter who have encouraged me. Thank you especially to Daniela, the Managing Director of the eWomen Network (Toronto Chapter) who is inspirational, has encouraged me with words of wisdom and has been supportive as I move forward along the path of my entrepreneurial journey.

If you are interested in learning more about the eWomen Network please feel free to email me at deborah@deborahangelaustin.com.

Are You Ready to Pay the Price for High Level Results?

When it comes to achieving success, do you truly believe that successful people are just lucky, rich, had the right breaks, are attractive, or have a great network to leverage? All of which may or may not be true. There may be a percentage of people who have achieved success the so called easy way (what way that is, I don’t know).

The reality is that the majority of successful people have worked hard to attain success.  And yes, they may have leveraged their personal and professional connections, their education, financial resources and “lucky breaks” (also known as opportunities) that came along to achieve their success.  They also would have worked hard, set goals, overcome obstacles and pursued their goals with  tenacity.

Think about yourself for a moment and the skills that you’ve developed throughout your life.  Whether it was for a new venture,  learning a new language or instrument, or learning how to parent, wasn’t there hard work involved to be successful in that specific area. There was a major commitment of time, energy and money to study, train  and gain the required experience and skills necessary to be successful. You may have “failed” or have been unsuccessful several times before mastering the skill you needed to learn. If learning the skill or achieving the goal was important enough to you, I bet you did the required work to learn the skill or achieve the goal. In other words you “paid the price.”

The truth is some people just aren’t willing to do the hard work required to achieve high level results. For example, if you want to have a bikini ready body, that would mean that you would have to workout consistently (at least one hour per day, maybe more),  eat a healthy diet on a regular basis and forgo many high calorie treats. Some people are just not willing to do that type of work to obtain that type of body. Which is perfectly fine. What about being an entrepreneur?

Being an entrepreneur involves long work hours, reduced family time, and unpredictable income with no guarantee of success. All of which are totally reasonable in the entrepreneur’s mind (at least in the short term) because having a successful business will eventually lead to (in the future) more financial freedom, more family time and possibly living a location independent lifestyle. With up to 80 percent of small businesses failing within 18 months (according to Bloomberg), the majority of people aren’t willing to do the hard work required to become a successful entrepreneur. They don’t want to gamble with their time, family or financial resources, which is perfectly understandable. The rewards though for the successful entrepreneur can be substantial so the work involved to achieve that success is more than justified.

The next time you encounter successful people who you believe have obtained success (or a specific result that you want) the so called easy way or “overnight,” reflect and think about what really went into building that success. The answers you come up with will be very illuminating. As an exercise, creatively reverse engineer how the successful person achieved that high level result by working backwards. For example, if an actor you like won an Academy Award and you have acting aspirations, what are the steps that would have led him or her to that stage? If someone you know just launched a tech start-up, what are the steps required to launch a tech business? If you know someone who is an outstanding parent who has raised children who are now wonderful adults, what are some parenting strategies you could adopt that can help you with your young children.  When you do an exercise like this you soon realize that behind any successful person there are many factors that contribute to their success. It was rarely “easy.”

Success is not achieved in a vacuum. There are many factors that contribute to being successful in life. Many successful people had to study, train, gain experience and fail many times before achieving their definition of success. In fact, failing numerous times is a common trait among successful people. The difference is successful people do not allow their failures to define them or allow failures to distract them from achieving their ultimate goals and dreams. People who are successful and achieve high level results think and act differently when it comes to commitment, discipline, focus, surmounting obstacles and pursuing their goals with determination. The so called, “Overnight Success” rarely is and has worked for years (often decades) setting the foundation for the success that they end up bringing to fruition.

In a future post, I look forward  to examining  the mindset of  successful people and high achievers. I look forward to sharing tips with you on how you can learn to develop that mindset.

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Welcome to my new success blog!

Dear readers, welcome to my new success blog! I am so excited to be launching my blog and my business. As an expert, I accelerate individual and organizational effectiveness through my work as a speaker, writer, trainer, consultant and coach. Thank you for the opportunity to share my worldview and perspective on life with you. My mission is to help you accelerate your success by providing valuable information and resources through my blog and services.

Starting a blog helps me to connect with amazing people like you who are interested in accelerating their personal and professional effectiveness. My mission is about helping people like you achieve a greater impact in the world through your work! The primary ways that I fulfill that mission is through my writing, speaking, training, consulting and coaching services. Let me become your trusted advisor and accountability partner as you work on achieving your goals and bringing your dreams to reality.

As we embark on this journey together, my wish is to get to know my readers. Here’s some information about me. My background includes a degree in International Relations. My professional experience includes working in the media, IT companies and in the public sector. I’m a Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM), which is Toastmasters International’s highest honour for leadership and communication excellence. One of my passions is mentoring and coaching people. I’ve won awards for my public speaking ability. I know what it takes to become a high-quality communicator and leader. My mission is to help you become one also!

It’s time to achieve the success that you deserve! I know that you have a life changing message that the world needs to hear.There are too many amazing people who are languishing to get their important messages out into the world. They are unable to get their message out into the world because they lack effective communication skills and have untapped leadership potential. I’m here to help you get the results (and the transformation) that you require to get your message out so that you can impact the world with your unique gifts!

We are part of the era where people, places, ideas and movements are seamlessly connected through technology. Together, let’s start a movement of people and entrepreneurs who are committed to excellence, abhor the status quo and are determined to live the best life possible. I look forward to sharing with you valuable tips, techniques, strategies, tools and resources. The information that I will share with you can help improve your personal and professional effectiveness and grow your business.

I look forward to helping you achieve your goals and hearing about your success.Thank you for embarking on this wonderful journey with me.

Wishing you infinite success!

Deborah