Tuesday, February 6, 2018

5 Common Networking Mistakes and How to Avoid Them



Many people assume that once workers become executives, networking is no longer necessary. According to a survey by Robert Half Management Resources, this misconception often extends to higher-ups themselves who undervalue networking as they advance in their careers.

The survey also revealed that those who network face pitfalls, no matter how experienced they might be. Here are five common networking mistakes and how to avoid them.


1. Not asking for help


Often people worry about imposing on others and are unsure of themselves. As a result, they avoid seeking help from others. This does more harm than good, even if they think they're saving their pride.

"We all need guidance from time to time, and people are usually happy to offer support when they can," said Tim Hird, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources.

2. Failing to keep in touch or reaching out only when they need something


Business relationships may differ from personal relationships, but the rules still apply: If your businesses associates only hear from you when you need something from them, you'll soon find your requests for help going unanswered.

According to the survey, sending a friendly email or forwarding an interesting blog post keeps connections strong. That way, it won't be awkward or one-sided the next time you ask for help.

3. Taking a narrow view of your potenital network


Many professionals, executives and entry-level workers alike limit the scope of their networking to people in the same field and those who are at the same stage in their career.

Connect with professionals at all levels and across many fields rather than sticking to the comfort of industry peers or former colleagues. It's useful to have access to perspectives different from your own, and you may discover unexpected opportunities for applying your skills and knowledge.

4. Not thanking contacts when they provide help


Failing to thank contacts can come across as rude, as though you are taking the person's assistance for granted. By not acknowledging and thanking your contacts, you risk jeopardizing your relationships and reputation. A simple "thank you" might sound trivial, but it goes a long way in the business world.

5. Not helping others


A reciprocal business relationship is hard to come by. There's rarely a perfect match between what two professionals need and can provide for one another at a given time. However, most people can find someone, somewhere, to help.

When you develop a reputation for reaching out and giving, people are inclined to do the same for you. Not to mention you create new contacts when you offer yourself to others, which never hurts.

This survey was based on the responses of more than 2,200 CFOs to identify the most common networking mistakes among executives.






Source: https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/




ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!

Monday, February 5, 2018

10 Ways to Immediately Improve Your Listening (and Networking) Skills




Most of us move through each day engaging in conversations with friends, co-workers, and family members. But the majority of the time, we aren't listening.

We're often distracted by things in our environment--both external things like televisions, cell phones, cars, and other people talking, and internal things like our own thoughts and feelings.

We think that we're listening to the other person, but we're really not giving them our full and complete attention.

As a licensed therapist and coach, one of the most important things I do for clients is deeply listen to what they're saying. When you deeply listen with your whole body and mind to what another person is communicating, it helps them feel understood and valued.

One technique that therapists learn in graduate school that aims to provide full and complete attention to the speaker is called active listening.

Active listening builds rapport, understanding, and trust. It's a proven psychological technique that helps therapists create a safe, comfortable atmosphere that encourages clients to discuss important thoughts and feelings.

Active listening involves fully concentrating on what is being said rather than passively absorbing what someone is saying. It's not just about remembering the content of what someone is sharing, but actively seeking to understand the complete message--including the emotional tones--being conveyed.

This type of listening involves participating in the other person's world and being connected to what the other person is experiencing.

That's a lot of information--much more than you're used to consciously interpreting in daily conversations. And that's because many things get in the way of active listening.

People often are selective listeners, meaning that they focus on a few key words and ignore the rest of the person's communication. They're often distracted by external stimuli like random sounds or movements, and internal stimuli such as one's own thoughts and feelings.

In other situations, individuals allow their own biases and values to pick arguments with the other person's speech rather than remaining focused on their message. They waste valuable time and energy preparing to respond rather than giving their full, undivided attention to the speech.

With all of these challenging layers to active listening, how does one improve these skills?

Read the list below to discover how to become a better listener, and in doing so, become better at navigating relationships and networking opportunities.


1. Avoid internal and external distractions.


Focus on what they're saying. Don't allow other thoughts or sounds to sway your concentration.

2. Listen to the content of their speech.


Focus on the specific words they're using. Each phrase and word choice is something interesting that you should be taking in.

3. Listen to the context of their speech.


What are the over-arching stories and circumstances they are discussing? Are there common themes? What are the unique situations this person finds themselves in and how does that relate to what they're telling you?

4. Listen to tone of their voice.


Vocal tones convey a lot about what a person might be feeling. Think about what their vocal tone implies about their feelings. All feelings have a story--learn theirs.

5. Listen for the emotions the speaker is likely experiencing.


The more that you follow and amplify the person's emotions, the more likely they are to feel understood. With so many people uncomfortable about sharing their feelings, moments of vulnerability can quickly build a deeper connection.

6. Pay attention to their body language and make appropriate eye contact.


With much of communication being non-verbal, it's incredibly important that you soak in as much information as possible while also showing them--physically--that you are sharing in their experience.

7. Provide small verbal encouragements and don't fight silences.


Saying small things like, "yes," "right," "that makes sense," and allowing natural silences to occur without filling them due to your own discomfort go a long way in building rapport.

8. Ask open-ended questions to encourage elaboration.


There's no substitute for a good question--try to get lengthy responses to understand the big-picture.

9. If you need them to slow down or want specific info, ask close-ended questions.


Questions that can be answered in yes or no slow down the pace when you're feeling overwhelmed and also allow you to gather important details that you missed earlier.

10. Offer affirmations that the person has made valuable and important choices.


Affirmations are like compliments--everyone likes them. Instead of saying, "I'm proud of you," like a compliment, an affirmation focuses on the other person, "You should be proud of your hard work."

Start practicing these basic listening skills. They are simple, yet powerful ways to facilitate conversation and help others feel understood. 







Source: https://www.inc.com/
Image Credit: Getty Images


ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!

Friday, February 2, 2018

7 Lessons About Networking People Learn Too Late in Life


There is an art to building strong relationships in business.

Unfortunately, most people never learn the art. Instead, they wear Hello, My Name Is name tags and attend big, fancy networking events. They get hundreds of business cards printed and hand them out whenever possible. They approach relationship building with the mentality that "more is better."

In reality, that couldn't be farther from the truth.

As a result, these seven lessons are learned far too late in life.


1. One great connection is worth more than 100 forgotten acquaintances.


Having a Rolodex of names upon names of people you haven't spoken to in years (or spoken to ever) isn't valuable. At all.

What's valuable is having someone in your life you can count on for advice, for insight, for referrals, for introductions. Someone you believe is a good representation of who you are and what you do, and hopefully, someone to whom you embody those same characteristics.


2. Business relationships are built on actions, not promises.


Nobody trusts the person who says they can do something that never happens.

Tried-and-true business relationships manifest solely through action. When two parties agree to work together, and both deliver on their promises, trust is inherently solidified.

Unfortunately, most people try to build relationships on the basis of promises. They measure their value through the things they say they can do, as opposed to what they actively and consistently deliver.


3. Positive relationships require nurturing.


You can't ignore someone for months and then reach out and ask them for a favor.

Building business relationships that last means taking the time to check in with people, to see how they're doing, to show an interest in their own goals and aspirations--and to understand what would help them the most in exchange.

Business relationships are still relationships. And nobody wants to feel like they're being taken advantage of. They want to know that it's a mutual exchange.


4. You should always give more than you take.


In business especially, giving goes a long way.

Every time you ask someone for a favor, you should be offering to help them with something twice as often. Most of the time, people won't even need what it is you're offering, or will decline, but it's the gesture that shows how much you care. And in the moments when they do take you up on your offer to help, make sure you deliver. That's what they are going to remember most the next time you ask for something in return.


5. Talk numbers second. Talk value first.


Too many hungry people in business want the very first conversation to be all about the numbers.

They want to know how much they're going to make before they even think about the project. They want to sign contracts before they've taken a step into the work. And as a result, the message they're sending is they care more about their own self-interests than they do about creating something meaningful and delivering value to the project.

The best business developers and networkers do the opposite. They show and prove how valuable they would be by taking a few steps into the work, almost always causing the team members to willingly make an offer in return.


6. Your energy introduces you.


Just because you're "doing business," it doesn't mean you can't or shouldn't be personable.

In fact, the more likable of a person you are, the easier it will be for people to welcome you into their inner circles--and the more willing they'll be to help you out.

It doesn't matter how talented you are, how well-connected or wealthy you are. Positive energy attracts positive energy. And if you want the doors of opportunity to stay open, then what's most important is that you always remain humble, grounded, and willing to learn and connect with those around you.


7. Business takes time.


Some of the best opportunities take months, or even years, to nurture.

Some of the best connections require a lot of giving in order to turn into a mutually beneficial relationship.

Part of maturing in the business development world is understanding that patience is as crucial as anything else. To build sound relationships, you can't expect bonds to be formed overnight.





Source: https://www.inc.com/
Image Credit: Getty Images



ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

How to Write a Proper Follow-Up Email After You've Been 'Ghosted'


You’re bound to get inbox-ghosted during your career. And if my experience is any indication, it’s bound to happen more than once.

But what are you supposed to do when all you get from a well-crafted email is radio silence? At what point does it go from persistence to nagging? To help you navigate the muddy waters of following up with someone who isn’t responding to you, let’s talk about all the people who will probably leave you hanging outside your office.


Your Former Co-worker You’d Like a Favor From


Maybe you’re bad at math and someone you used to work with is a whiz. Or maybe, and this is hypothetical now, you know that a former teammate writes for a particular website and hasn’t gotten back to you with resume suggestions (to that person, I’m very sorry). Your ex-teammates probably mean well, but either way, they’re ghosting you--and it’s not cool.


How to Get a Response


When you’re dealing with someone you knew at a previous job, be sensitive to their other work duties, but add a little urgency to the task.

Try this in a follow-up email:

Hi there,

Hope you’re well. I know you must be busy at work, but wanted to know if you think you’ll have a chance to [insert the task or feedback that you’re waiting on] before [your deadline]. No worries at all if not, just thought I’d check back in.

Thanks,
Your Name


Your Former Boss


Interviewing for a new job and waiting for a reference call to seal the deal? Want some tips on how to take the next step in your career? Your former manager can be a great resource--if you can get him to respond.

How to Get a Response


Here’s a real example that I used when I couldn’t get a hold of a former boss during a tough interview process.

Hi there,

Hope you’ve been well. I’m following up about that email I sent you because I’m in the advanced stages of an interview process. The employer recently emailed me and said that they couldn’t get a hold of you for a reference call. If you could send me a few dates and times that you’d be available, I’d appreciate it. But if you’re unable to do the call, please let me know and I’ll send them another contact.

Best,
[Your Name]


That Random, But Exciting Person You Met at a Networking Event


Woah! I made a contact at a networking event. And he might have an opportunity for me to consider! How exciting, right? Totally, unless that person goes dark on you after the first few emails.

How to Get a Response


Since you’ve already sent this person an email, you can gently remind them that you exist with this template:

Hi there,

Hope you’ve been well since [insert the event you attended]. I wanted to send you another note because the opportunity you mentioned sounded really interesting. I’d love to learn more. If that’s no longer on the table, I’d still love to connect and discuss [something you spoke about]!

Best,
Your Name


That Friend of a Friend of a Friend


How many times has someone told you that they “know someone” who can help your career? And even though it feels weird, how many times have you emailed those people? Sometimes you’ll get a very friendly response. But other times, you get, well, nothing. And why should you, right? After all, there are a few degrees of separation here.


How to Get a Response


Here’s a short email you can send that’s not awkward--and might even get this person’s attention.

Hi there,

Hope you’ve been well. [Your friend’s name] mentioned that you might be able to help with [specific ask you’re making]. I wanted to follow up to see if that’s still the case. If so, here are a few slots I’m available over the next week. If you need additional times, I’d be happy to accommodate.

[Insert 3 dates and times]

If it’s no longer possible, I also understand! Just let me know.

[Your Name]



As you’ll notice, all these templates offer the person an out. And while it sucks to have someone go back on their word, it’s always better to know that’s the case. Because otherwise, you’re stuck waiting for a response (and hoping against hope your message did end up in their spam folder and that’s why they’re not responded).

So even though following up means a little extra work for you, it’s still worth trying to figure out if the conversation is going anywhere. After all, there’s a deadline looming. Or a job possibility waiting. Or, an endless list of things that could positively impact your career.

But if you let it lie, those things will be nothing more than possibilities, so go get what you deserve.




Source: https://www.inc.com
Image Credit: Getty Images



ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!