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Networking 101, Class 5

Networking currency

Finding value in all of the people you meet


Increase your value of being an effective networker by knowing good people.  Then, you are able to help those you meet and be known as a giver who helps other people grow their business.   The networker who connects other people becomes the most valuable person in the room.  You want to be the most valuable person in the room.  You become that person by helping those around you.  You help those around you by surrounding yourself with other valuable people.

In some way, most people you meet can be effective networking partners.  When attending networking events and groups, don’t look for clients.  Look for people who can help you grow your business and most importantly, can help you show others how to grow their business.  Look for people who are either a 1) Center of Influence, 2) Connector or 3) Hidden gem.  It’s important to realize what type of person you meet and then work with that person to help each other.

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What You’re Tolerating is Killing Your Business (and YOU)

Question: Are you kicking ass at what you’re doing and loving every minute of it?

A couple months ago, when I asked myself that question, the answer was a clear- and resounding- “no”.

That is no longer the case.

If you are interested in that, in exceptional performance coupled with extraordinary and deep satisfaction, this may be of interest to you. If you’re not, or think that it’s a pipe dream, or not possible for you, you may just want to skip this and get back to whatever it was that you were doing.


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Networking 101, Lesson 4

The first three articles of this series, designed to introduce the art of networking, include my definition of the term, a discussion on building relationships, the underlying mindset to guide the process, and the requisite tools. This article is a guide to comfortable, confident, and effective participation at networking events.

How to be a great networking partner:
People want to do business with someone they like and trust. When meeting people in a networking environment, it is important to learn enough about each other to establish a good rapport and make a connection on a personal level. Once that is established, you can figure out how the two of you can work together. I engage in casual conversation when I meet somebody at a networking event, before diving into the business end. In my experience, this makes a significant difference.

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Doing What You Have To Do

Most of us have had the experience of working in a job, position or situation that we don’t like- maybe even hate- and stay in because we just have to. Whether for our own financial needs, supporting a family, or perceived external obligation or pressure, we keep at it simply because we must. In many of these cases, though not all, the misery seems at least somewhat tempered by some goal, some possible future outcome that we are looking or waiting or hoping or striving for: getting our entrepreneurial endeavor underway and successful, getting some promotion or raise, going back to school, marrying rich, retiring, etc. It seems that in these current times of seemingly constant economic (and cultural) turmoil, even more of us are experiencing this than ever before.

Recently I spoke with a young professional who is in just this type of situation. He’s suffering through his current work while looking to create a new business and direction, and besides just not being personally satisfied, his performance is (predictably) suffering as well.  The question presenting itself seems to be, how do I deal effectively with my current circumstances while building toward the future I’m committed to?

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Networking 101 Lesson 3

What’s in Your Networking Toolbox?

My previous articles on networking described the networking mindset. This month I will discuss the tools you will need in order to be fully prepared for your networking experiences and maximize the value of each networking event for you.

Anticipate what will be needed. Remember that your goal is to find a good networking partner whom you can help and who can help you. Prepare by making it easy for people to help you. Here are the ways you can do that:

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The Fun of Business Self-Discovery

When I started writing this article it was going to be about an interesting business project I am working on: the New Perspective Business Group School. I ended up writing about how I came to work on this project and what it means for my self-development. This article is not really about me, though it would seem to be, but rather about an ongoing process of self-discovery I am involved in for the simple purpose of finding the important, fun, productive and sustainable business and lifestyle that can give my life a purpose for the long haul. The purpose is personal. The process for getting “there,” where you start to fulfill your purpose, seems universal.

The search initially started with my technology background, adding management and business administration experience on the way, to become a business owner. About mid-way through running my now 12-year old technology consulting business, I understood that I wasn’t a businessman in the full sense of the word. I realized that while I was identifying opportunities and fixing problems in my client’s businesses, I was overlooking my own main business issue. For those familiar with Michael Gerber’s The E-Myth Revisited, I had a “technician” problem.

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Letting Go of “The Wrong People”

When engaging with a new or prospective client, one of the first things I ask for is a verbal assessment of what’s stopping his/her business from performing at the level to which he/she is committed. What’s in the way? Or to phrase it in its most casual and common form, “What’s the problem?” At some point in the conversation that follows, we come across some longstanding, persistent complaints.

When that person is in a leadership or management position, it is extremely common for one of the complaints to be about the lack of performance of those that they manage or lead (the same tendency shows up with the front-liners, but in reverse: they complain about lack of effective management or leadership). What frequently follows is how they know that what there is to do is to find the “right people”, and once that finally happens, their business will work as it’s supposed to.

In fact, I’ve recently been working with an upper-level manager of a medium-sized contracting services company who had just this issue. As it turns out however, getting the “right people” wasn’t the issue at all.

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Networking 101 Lesson 2

The underlying reason that networking is effective is that, by making efforts to help your networking partners, you build your relationships. We all prefer to interact with people we know, like, and trust, in business, as well as in all other areas of our lives.

Mistake of the Month: Uncomfortable Introductions

“Hi, I’m Joe. I sell stuff. What do you do?”

People who begin a conversation this way at networking events are uncomfortable and don’t know how to start a conversation. We all feel some pressure to take advantage of the opportunity to meet people. This opener is actually a great opportunity to calm things down and make a good impression. Answer the question if you so choose, but the point is to get to know people, not just what they do. Rather than looking for clients, you are looking for relationships, so change the conversation to something more personal. Take time to get to know them and they will immediately become more relaxed. Try to always remember that, at networking events, you are building relationships, not looking for clients. 

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Relationship Transformation- From Cops to Clients

(LU PHILLIPS is an expert in Global Business Development.  Among his recent accomplishments is leading his firm’s relationship with Boeing from the initial project to “2010 Supplier of the Year”.  The focus of his work with ALS is causing breakthroughs in sales performance through a shift to a model he calls “The Total Client Value Proposition”.  Lu resides near Seattle.)

I flew into St. Louis Tuesday night for my big customer meeting Wednesday morning. The day started great: breakfast in the hotel, friendly staff, and the front desk printed me MapQuest directions to my meeting.  Unsure of my route, I left around 30 minutes early, which should have had me in the lobby about 10-15 minutes ahead of schedule.  So far, so good.

Following my printed directions, I took a right at an intersection off the main road.  Instead of getting more industrial to match my expectations of the client’s location, it became very rural remarkably quickly.  The two-lane road had nearly no traffic, wooded landscape everywhere, potholes and sections of graveled roadway.  Ok, I was lost.  I drove a little further to find a good place to turn around, a wide intersection­­–perfect!

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Keeping Commitments Alive

Have you ever made a New Year’s Resolution? Did you this year? How’s that going?


Personally, I tend not to make them at all, at least in the common interpretation. See, once upon a time I did, though I’d usually cave on them or forget about them. Over time, I stopped making them altogether- I mean, what’s the point of setting myself up for that inevitable disappointment, right? Now, I make commitments; in the weeks surrounding the holidays, I take a conscious approach to my work and my life to discover, and create, what would make a real difference for me and others in the coming year.

But really that’s the easy part. Sure, I can commit to something- to take some action, or produce some result- all it takes is for me to open my mouth and say I’m going to do it.


But have you noticed how quickly new commitments seem to disappear, to actually vanish from your awareness? That is what I’d like to discuss: What does it take to have a commitment persist over time?

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