So Much More than Free Booze & Appetizers

By Jeff Beals

Most professionals know they must network in order to achieve long-term business success. It’s critically important to participate in the public arena and interact with the people who could become your clients, provide you with valuable information or help you further your causes and beliefs.

While they understand the importance of networking, many professionals do a lousy job of it. It’s easy to show up at an event, grab a drink, eat some free hors d’oeuvres, say “hi” to a couple people, then go home and pat yourself on the back for being involved in the community.

Unfortunately, that’s not networking. It’s merely socializing.

There’s nothing wrong with socializing. In fact, it’s generally a good thing, but it’s not efficient. In order to convert socializing into networking, you need to have a three-tiered goal planted in your mind before you even enter the venue where networking will take place.

I call it “goal-based networking,” and here’s how it works:

Goal #1

“I will get a direct opportunity”

This could be a new client, an invitation to join a prestigious organization, a job offer, a promise to donate money to your pet cause. While Goal #1 is ideal, it unfortunately doesn’t happen at most networking events.

Goal #2

“I will get a solid lead on a direct opportunity”

This is almost as good as the first goal, because it moves you closer to what you really want. Goal #2 should happen at the vast majority of networking events you attend. If it doesn’t, you’re not meeting enough people or not asking the right questions.

Goal #3

“I will meet new people and learn valuable information”

This is the bare-bones minimum goal that you should achieve at every single networking event you attend.

Make a commitment to network more and remember to think about these three goals before walking into your next networking event. Setting these goals consistently over a long period of time will maximize the return from your investments in networking. That means you increase your public profile, connect with the right people and become that person who always seems to know about business happenings long before your colleagues do.

Jeff Beals is an award-winning author, who helps professionals do more business and have a greater impact on the world through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. As a professional speaker, he delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or call (402) 637-9300.

You are welcome to forward this article (with author citation)  to anyone else who might benefit from it.

I See You Everywhere

By Jeff Beals

The American philosopher Henry David Thoreau once said, “I went to the woods, because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to love deep and suck out all the marrow of life.” I love that passage, and while I’m not hiding out on Walden Pond, I try to follow that philosophy.

As professionals we need “to suck out the marrow” of our business lives. We have to lead active, deliberate careers that are at least somewhat externally focused. That means you turn off the laptop, step out of your cubical and get involved outside the office.

As long as you don’t over-commit yourself – burning the candle at both ends, so to speak – being involved actually makes you better at your core work.

People who join professional associations, who get involved in their place of worship, or who engage in community service learn more and meet more prospective clients. Many of the people you meet during involvement opportunities are members of your personal target audience.

In any given office, there is at least one person who is active in the community and seemingly knows everyone. It is no coincidence that such a person brings in a lot of business, finds great publicity opportunities for the organization and, in turn, gets a lot of job promotions.

Simply put, involvement leads to success. Personal brandng is a 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year obligation. It does not end until your career ends. You must be out there seeing and being seen. You have to do it perpetually, so that your personal target audience remembers you.

An acquaintance of mine called me one afternoon and said, “I just have to tell you – you are everywhere!” She was impressed with how I was building name recognition within my profession. I told her it was just part of my job. By the way, I wasn’t telling her anything she didn’t already know, because she too did a great job being “everywhere.”

Use your time wisely. If you have family or other commitments in the evening, use your lunch hour for networking and other self marketing activities. Ambitious professionals should not eat lunch by themselves more than once or twice a week; it’s simply too important of a networking opportunity to waste.

The fact is, in order to stand out, you need to be everywhere. As much as you may desire to go home and watch television after work, you need to spend a little more time working, showing up at events. While you don’t have to drink until your liver gives out, you do need to be a man or woman about town. Sometimes you have to stay out late at a cocktail party where important prospects have gathered. Sometimes you need to get up early and meet a member of your personal target audience for coffee before you both start work.

It’s not easy, and it comes with a price, but successful professionals are seemingly “everywhere.”

Jeff Beals is an award-winning author, who helps professionals do more business and have a greater impact on the world through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. As a professional speaker, he delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or call (402) 637-9300.

You are welcome to forward this article (with author citation) to anyone else who might benefit from it.