Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Movin' On

Well...as you can see, not much has been happening here at Learning 2 Network. I love business-to-business networking, but I found the topic to be too limiting for me. I'm also a salesman, a speaker and a marketer. While all of these things require networking, the topic this blog was built around just wasn't exciting me.

So with that said, I've started a new blog that I think will allow me to incorporate all my interests into one spot. It called Interaction Sells. This blog will be a journal of the things I'm learning as I work to improve in all of the areas mentioned above. Come take a look, but be patient with me as I get a feel for this new project.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Learning Social Online Networking

I've been networking for a long time. I have a lot of "Old School" habits that I'm trying to break and one of them is avoiding Online Social Networking.

While I use the internet to add value to my networking through blogs like this, I still don't fully understand how to maximize the benefits of Online Social Networking. Since one of my goals is to make Learning 2 Network a powerful resource for business networking education, I have a responsibility to read up on this new networking medium and pass that info on to you. As I continue to educate myself, I will be sharing what I find. With that in mind, I'd like to start with this article. It's a simple explanation of how you can use LinkedIn (the social networking site I've been focusing my attention on) effectively. As I find other helpful sites and articles, I'll pass them on.

PS - Take a second to click on the LinkedIn Button in the sidebar to see my LinkedIn Profile. If you're a member of LinkedIn, send me an invitation.

Monday, January 21, 2008

One Way to Get Known

One of the best ways to get known is to get published. Jeffrey Gitomer touches on this point often. His column, Sales Moves, is published in a number of Trade Journals around the country. He also writes an E-zine called Sales Caffeine that is distributed electronically to well over 100,000 subscribers weekly. He practices what he preaches!

Another way to get published is blogging. That's what I do. But how can someone just starting out drive some hits to a blog like mine, or to a page to sign up for an E-zine like Jeffrey's? One way is submitting articles to Article Submission Sites. These sites are places you can go to submit free reprint articles to promote yourself by sharing what you know about what you specialize in. Sites like these are an outlet for companies that write E-zines or blogs. Many of them are on the prowl for good content they can use as a filler. This makes producing their publication easier for them, because they don't have to come up with all the content. And it's a great opportunity for you, because if a company includes your article in their publication they're required to include your byline, which can lead people to your site.

Here is a list of Article Submission Sites. Some are active, and others are dead. There are many more, but this is a good start. Part of networking is getting known. This is just another way for you to get the word out about yourself.

Image: IncreaseYourRanking.com

Friday, January 18, 2008

Hand Written Notes

While out perusing the web, I ran across this great post on Some Assembly Required. It served as a reminder to me that I need to start writing more hand written thank you notes. I do it from time-to-time, but often neglect it. Each time I've taken the time to do this though, I've received an overwhelming response!

Hand written notes really do work. Don't let the excuses Thom mentions keep you from utilizing this powerful tool. If you're trying to build a relationship, a personal touch goes a long way!

Image: charmaineyoest.com

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Don't Give Online Networking Sites More Credit than They Deserve

It is tempting to avoid face-to-face meetings for some, but they are still the best way to build relationships. While you've heard me say that it's important to learn how to network online, especially for Owls, you can't just fill out the information in LinkedIn and expect people to flock to you with their friendship and referrals. There is more to it than that.

Ivan Misner makes some good points about this in one of his latest posts on his blog, Networking Now. Click here to learn a little more about this subject.

If you liked this post, be sure to visit my other blog: Jim Sharp

If you'd like to be updated when I add a post, e-mail me at Jim@wolffind.com

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

6 Degrees of Separation

You may have heard about the 6 Degrees of Separation, but if you haven't, it's pretty simple. All it means is that...

if a person is one step away from each person he or she knows and two steps away from each person who is known by one of the people he or she knows, then everyone is an average of six "steps" away from each person on Earth. Several studies, such as Milgram's small world experiment, have been conducted to empirically measure this connectedness. While the exact number of links between people differs depending on the population measured, it is generally found to be relatively small. (Reference)

I started thinking about this wondering if it is really true. So I came up with a scenario, I was wondering how I might get an audience with our sitting President. Who do I know that might be able to make that happen? As it turned out, I didn't have to look very far to make a connection. In fact, I only had to look as far as my father.

My dad and I work together. We are both in sales and he specializes in servicing the sharpening and cutting needs of different industries. One of those industries is the poultry industry.

Over the years, we've both built relationships with many of the higher-ups at the different poultry plants. One of my dad's best business friends is a fellow that worked right up along side one of the CEO's of one of the major poultry processors in Texas. Because this CEO is a Responsible American Businessman, he is involved in the political arena in his state. That means he knows George W. Bush. BINGO! A connection! And only 3 Degrees of Separation.

Now does that mean this ladder of contacts will get my an audience with President Bush? Maybe! It can't hurt to ask! But to be honest with all of you, while I think it would be fun to get to meet with the President, I'd rather meet the CEO. It's just a business thing and that drops the degrees to 2!

So what's the point? This shows me that there is at least some truth to the 6 Degrees of Separation. It also shows that your network has incredible potential! How are you treating that web of potential? How much value do you offer it? Who do you know you can refer to others?

If you liked this post, be sure to visit my other blog: Jim Sharp

Monday, January 14, 2008

This Stinks!!!

You know how things work sometimes! Here you are pounding out all kinds of valuable information for your contact list. You send them referrals. You help them when they ask. And what does it seem like you get for all your hard work? NOTHING! And you start thinking, "THIS STINKS!"

It's my job to tell you not to give up! When I married my wife, I was told that marriage is a give and take. But I think it's more like a give, give, give and take! Networking relationships are like this too.

As networkers, it's not about "what can you do for me?" It's about "what can I do for you!" We shouldn't be keeping score!

Instead of waiting to see what your network might do for you this week, why not set a goal to do something for each of them? Don't wait to be repaid. If you keep giving, any help you need from your network will come!

If you liked this post, be sure to visit my other blog: Jim Sharp

Friday, January 11, 2008

How's Your Follow Up?

I met a nice young fellow the other day at a networking event. He had all the right qualities... friendly, helpful and very knowledgeable in his field (web design). I gave him my card and asked him to e-mail me the next day. We had talked and I told him I was interested in looking at some of this work and hinted at maybe even hiring him to tutor me in writing some code I've been struggling with. He took my card and said he'd drop me an e-mail, guess what; haven't heard from him. I met him three days ago.

Now before you say, "Give him a little more time!" Understand, I e-mailed him Wednesday morning to remind him to e-mail me, and again Thursday morning with a link I told him I'd send him. The sad part is I had already started networking for him on Wednesday. I told one of my IT guys about him and a good friend that services copy machines. I told them that if I liked his work, I'd introduce him to them. This fellow was trying to find design work and these two would have been great contacts. Both of them contacted me today for other things and asked in passing, "Has he had e-mailed you yet?" I had to say no. I could almost hear their heads shaking over the phone. BANG! Loss of credibility! Just like that!

If you want to be a good networker, you have to dedicate yourself to a good follow up program. Set aside time every morning or evening, pull out your notes and do what you say you will do. Do I do this perfectly? Come on! Not even close! But I'm constantly working to improve! Are you?

Cartoon from: Success from the Nest

If you liked this post, be sure to visit my other Blog: Jim Sharp

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Are You an Owl?

Hey you! Hoo? You! Hoo? YOU! Me? YES YOU! Are you an Owl?

When I think of Owls, I think of intelligence. I also think of seclusion. Owls aren't the most social creatures, are they? They keep to themselves, hunt mostly at night and blend in to their surroundings. Some networkers are like this!

Owl networks have a hard time. They're not comfortable in large groups, and they hate being the center of attention. Too many Owls try to change who they are by forcing themselves to socialize more. This isn't bad! Building up resistance to fears and learning to overcome anxieties is a good thing. But there are strengths to the Owl too!

Networkers, that are Owls, need to remember that just because they prefer to be "by themselves", that doesn't mean they need to be "by themselves" alone. Online Social Networking Sites are revolutionizing how people connect! Because most people don't have a clue about how to take advantage of "Online Social Networking", Owls should make it a goal to master this form of communication.

That doesn't mean Owls shouldn't go to social gatherings. It just means they should go to them with a Rabbit or a Seal and let one of them introduce them to a few of their friends. Once the ice is broken (and the Owl has some contact information), he can then help these new friends either build their networks online, or teach them how to use the internet more effectively. All from the comfort of home!

There are many ways to network, and this short series has just touched on a few. Many of us are a combination of these animals and reflect each to a greater or lesser degree in different situations. Learning 2 Network is dedicated to help people learn how to improve their networking skills regardless of personality types and comfort zones. Stay tuned for more help! Thanks for reading!!

Part 1: What Kind of networker are You?
Part 2: Are You a Tiger?
Part 3: Are You a Seal?
Part 4: Are You a Rabbit?

If you liked this post, be sure to visit my other blog: Jim Sharp

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Are You a Rabbit?

One word that just goes with Rabbit is HOP! They hop here, they hop there, they hop everywhere!!

Some Networks are like this. The Rabbit Networker never stays in one place for very long. They want to meet everyone at the party, they are great a small talk and they make friends fast.

The problem that many Rabbits face though, is they sometimes have trouble building STRONG relationships. Most have met the Rabbits in the group, but few really KNOW them. Another challenge is paying attention! Just like a real Rabbit, they tend to look all over the place (which when you're talking to someone is rude). Focus is a problem for them.

Rabbits are great friends to have, because they can introduce you to pretty much anyone in a group. They just need to learn to slow down a little and remember that it's not alway quantity that that counts, they also need to shoot for quality too!!

Part 1: What Kind of Networker are You?
Part 2: Are You a Tiger?
Part 3: Are You a Seal?
Part 5: Are You an Owl?

If you liked this post, be sure to visit my other blog: Jim Sharp

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Are You a Seal?

Seals were one of my favorites animals when I was a kid! I loved watching them swim like a bullet through the water and then leap effortlessly onto one of the rocks in their pool. When I think of the Seals I watched as a kid, I think of grace. But when you see them on a nature show, they are so much more!

One thing I've always noticed about Seals is they work well in groups. They herd fish together and help protect each other. They're very social, know how relax together and know how to have fun! We can learn a lot from Seals.

Networker's that are Seals are social creatures. They like being around people and they work well with others. They enjoy helping their contacts herd fish (get business, AKA "referrals"), and protect their contacts by encouraging them and feeding them positive information that helps build their business. They're also great at maintaining multiple relationships and building new ones!

One thing a Seal has to learn to resist is the tendency to become consumed by their network. At some point they need to remember to work too!

Seal's make powerful networkers! A Seal has many of the good qualities of both the Tiger and the Rabbit. They fit in well in most any group, they're relaxed around others and they provide extraordinary value!

Part 1: What Kind of Networker are You?
Part 2: Are you a Tiger?
Part 4: Are You a Rabbit?
Part 5: Are You an Owl?

If you liked this post, be sure to visit my other blog: Jim Sharp

Monday, January 7, 2008

Are You a Tiger?

Tigers are hunters! They focus in on their prey and go after them!

Networker's that are Tigers have STRONG personalities. This works both for and against them. They know who they want to meet, and they're not afraid to pursue them. Shy is not a word that describes a Tiger!

While focus is good, it can also be a turn off! Some Tigers are so focused on making the contact that they'll do anything to achieve their goal. There is a fine line between pestering and persistence! I've watched many a Tiger scare their target off because they've come on too strong.

Remember! Networking is about relationships, not kills (sales). If you're at a networking event to make sales you're not networking, you're selling! Work on building relationships first!!

There is nothing wrong with being a Tiger. In fact, they make excellent networkers if they learn how to overcome that KILL instinct! If you're a Tiger, remember to slow down a little and build trust first.

Part 1: What Kind of Networker are You?
Part 3: Are You a Seal?
Part 4: Are You a Rabbit?
Part 5: Are You an Owl?

If you liked this post, be sure to visit my other blog: Jim Sharp

Friday, January 4, 2008

What Kind of Networker are You?

People come in all shapes and sizes. They also come with different personalities too. Whether you're somewhat shy and reserved, or whether you're an outgoing people-person, there's a networking style for you!

During this series, we'll look at four different types of people and talk about some of their strengths and weaknesses in regard to networking. Here's how I break them down:

Tigers are go getters! They love the hunt and they know how to connect.

Seals work well in groups! They love strengthening existing relationships and building new ones.

Rabbits hop all over the place! They're great at meeting lots of people.

Owls are loners! They're not big on crowds and don't like to draw attention to themselves.

So what kind of person are you? Over the next few days, we'll look at each one and what makes them great; and not-so-great.

Part 2: Are You a Tiger?
Part 3: Are You a Seal?
Part 4: Are You a Rabbit?
Part 5: Are You an Owl?

If you like this post, be sure to check out my other blog: Jim Sharp

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Looking for a Good Place to Meet Up?

Then try MeetUp.com! This is a great site for anyone looking to make contacts in their local area!

MeetUp.com is designed to help people:

  • Find others in their area who share their interests
  • Learn, teach, and share things
  • Make friends and have fun
  • Rise up, stand up, unite, and make a difference
  • Be a part of something bigger—both locally and globally
It is a great way to find networking events in your area that you can plug into!! Go to their site and check them out! Just enter an interest in the search box, enter your country and zip code, hit go and find a group near you!!