Posts Tagged ‘Networking’

Uber HandIt’s your turn! It’s your turn to stand up and share your story, at a networking event. The moderator of the group says, “Don’t just do a feature dump about all of the solutions, products or services your company provides. Tell us how you and your company delivered a life changing, mind altering solution that helped your client become the huge success he is today. Tell us an amazing story.” Your mind freezes. You can’t even think of one compelling story that will leave your audience with something that will be truly memorable, helpful and valuable.

There are countless situations when you meet with someone and it seems that many of them can’t seem to shut up about themselves. ME, ME, ME, ME, ME and then announce we only have five minutes left. . .tell Me about you.

If you only have 5 minutes or less

If you are in a competitive situation it is often best to be the last to present. We often hear that being in the coveted last presentation spot ensures you will be the most memorable.  The same might be said for networking lunches and one-on-one meetings, but only if you are good. You have to be concise and keep it moving. Yes, you have to tell a memorable story, quickly.

Whether we are talking about you specifically or your brand everything is about content these days. Have amazing content or be among the forgotten. I have been to a few presentations this week for social media week in Chicago. Several times the “content marketing arms race” and “authentically engaging with them (your audience)” were mentioned in a variety of ways. We have been educating our clients for many years about this. . .kind of amazing that this seems to be the big buzz this year.  Remember that this is true for both you and your brand when telling your story.

A few tips from an actor’s point of view.

As an actor and voiceover artist I believe in being entertaining when presenting to a group. But how many times have you listened to someone who drones on and on? Someone who talks but doesn’t ever get to the point; he doesn’t know when to stop. Here are just a few tips many public speakers forget that will help you tell a better story. . .

  • Say it quickly; make your point and then stop.
  • Write it down if you can’t remember the important points; writing important tips on your hand is completely acceptable. Make it conversational. Talk to them – don’t talk at them.
  • Have a few different stories and topics prepared for different audiences.
  • Practice, practice, practice in front of a mirror, friends, colleagues or on camera. Stop those irritating tics. . .unnatural facial habits, hand movements and pacing.
  • Don’t make excuses. Not everyone is a public speaker but if you choose to speak in public be the best you can be.
  • And never start you story with, “I’m not a very good public speaker”. You’ve lost your audience before you continue.
  • Planking. . .You are not a board. Don’t be too stiff. Loosen up.
  • Be professional but be different. Find the emotional connection with your audience.

Planking. . .Don’t do it unless you are a professional

Time for you to tell us your story.

It’s your turn. Tell us an amazing story about you, your brand, solution or product. I will then help share your story with our followers (as long is rated for all audiences. 

Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlue Digital Media: A New Awakening for Brands, Businesses, Individuals and Agencies. He is also founder of the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN)  in the Chicago Area. 

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I consistently remind people to personalize invites they send to others when they invite them to connect on LinkedIn and to not rely on the default invite.  A personalized note reminds the individual you’re connecting with, where they may have met you and how you may know each other.

But times have changed. . .

The mobile LinkedIn app has me rethinking how I will advise people to connect. Why? There is now a distinct difference when sending an invite from the mobile app vs. the computer. You are not given the option to personalize your request when sending an invite to connect using the mobile app.  As a result the person on the other end simply receives the one liner default invite.

A missed opportunity. . .

I know several people who will not connect with someone without receiving a personalized invite. If you are the person on the receiving end of the standard/default one-liner invites, you will now need to think twice before dismissing them.  I recommend first, taking a few minutes to look at the profile of the people trying to connect to see how you might know them before trashing the invite. If you simply dismiss the invite you are potentially dismissing a valuable opportunity.

How to avoid being dismissed. . .

You yourself of course run the risk of being dismissed if the person you are sending an invite to subscribes to the “I don’t connect with anyone who sends me a default invite” mentality.   If you place a high value on a prospective connection, wait until you can send the invite from your pc or laptop. This way you can include the personalized details and chances are in your favor that you won’t be dismissed.

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Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlue Digital Media: A New Awakening for Brands, Businesses, Individuals and Agencies. He is also founder of the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN)  in the Chicago Area. 

You may have already seen that LinkedIn recently updated the look and functionality of your profile. Before the update you had the option to add three links to your personal website(s). When the update happened those links moved and may have even reset. When I say reset you may need to fill them in again.

 

Here’s how. . .

  • Access you LinkedIn Edit Profile
  • Find the Edit Contact Info in the first section (click it). It has a Rolodex looking icon. Remember Rolodex?
  • Find the Websites Section and click on the pencil.  You can now add your websites.
  • Click the drop down and select “other”. This allows you to customize the name in the box to the right. Then add your website to the next box on right.
  • Click Save. Go to your profile and make sure the links are there, click them and make sure they are working.

 

You can always give me a call if you have any questions. 

What other changes have you found that would be helpful to others? 

 Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlue Digital Media: HELPing to CREATE a BRAND NEW Story for. . .Brands, Businesses and Agencies. He is also founder of the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN)  in the Chicago Area. 

Last December I posted, “Does Endorsing Your Connection on LinkedIn have Value?

I have been thinking more about the LinkedIn Endorsement feature. Here is one additional thought. When you see that someone has just endorsed you, think about reaching out to them. This is an excellent time to give them a call or email them! You were just on their mind for one reason or another. Maybe they just saw one of your posts or perhaps they were in a meeting thinking about you or your business.

When you contact them, simply start by saying, “Thank you for the endorsement.” If this is one of your connections who you haven’t spoken with in a while, it’s the perfect time to find out what they’re doing/how’s business? It’s also a great time to update them on what’s new with you and your company. Where you take it from there is completely up to you.

Let me know how this works out. Did it lead to a mutually healthy conversation for both of your businesses?

 Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlue Digital Media: HELPing to CREATE a BRAND NEW Story for. . .Brands, Businesses and Agencies. He is also founder of the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN)  in the Chicago Area. 

There are people who claim that networking only became popular with the onset of LinkedIn Groups and the advent of popular social media. Others argue that networking has always been in existence and has evolved for the better, becoming more efficient.  The fact is that networking has been around for hundreds, or even thousands of years.   There are (and always have been) multiple ways to network- endless events, mixers and social gatherings to attend.  But what is networking really and where is the value in this age-old concept?

Last year I made a conscious effort to look at all of the networking I was doing and the groups I belonged to, both online and in person. I did my best to place a value on the time, money and effort I was putting into each group vs. the value I was getting out of each one. 

I quickly realized that I didn’t have a cohesive plan for my overall networking. It was obvious I needed to re-evaluate why I was attending the many networking groups and events. I decided I needed a better plan if I was to continue spending my time at many of these groups.  Perhaps I would even conclude that my time could be better spent elsewhere.

Think about these questions for a few minutes. . .

  1. Are you seeing the same people at several of your different networking groups?
  2. Do you find that you are meeting a lot of people who you will introduce to others (i.e., business referral)?
  3. Have the people in these groups or events referred business to you?
  4. Is the group “industry exclusive”, meaning that you are the only representative of your particular industry in attendance?
  5. Will members of this group view you as a potential resource?
  6. Have any of the members of this group become a direct source of revenue for your business?

If your answers were as follows: 1-Yes, 2-No, 3-No, 4-No, 5-No, 6-No.Then you are probably in the wrong group and it may be time to reevaluate. 

I can hear the potential arguments now, “But Erik networking isn’t an overnight thing. It takes time to develop a relationship.” “Erik, I need to get out there and network or I risk not being seen.”  There are many arguments for networking that I agree with completely. But I ask you again, what is the value of networking?  I have talked to a number of people recently who feel the need to determine the real value of their networking behavior. Remember it isn’t about whether you like the people at these groups. There are always awesome people everywhere. But business is business. That’s the bottom line.

Me?

How am I spending my time after my evaluation? I am still part of a number of networking groups. I am finding more time to spend on sales and strategic partnerships. I continue to stay in touch with members of groups that I am on hiatus from at this time. I am being more specific and intentional in quality referrals to my connections. Finally, I continue to refine my networking plan for what works best for me and my connections.

You?

What do you think? Is it time for you to pull back and evaluate the true value of the networking you are doing?

 Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions for Brands, Businesses and Celebrities to build their social media success. He is also founder of the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN)  in the Chicago Area.

A friend emailed me today asking about an email he had received from LinkedIn.  The subject line read,   “Bob congratulations! You have one of the top 1% most viewed LinkedIn profiles for 2012!” My friend asked, “Is this a good thing?”

Perhaps you also received a note of congratulations from LinkedIn, for being in the fortunate 1%, 5%, 10% or other %.

Here is how I answered Bob’s question. . .

“Hi Bob,

As for being in the 1% on LinkedIn the question is really how is that converting into business for you? Nice to be in the 1% if customers are buying something or if your firm is getting visibility that is translating to new customers. If you can attribute solid business growth to the 1% or any % on LinkedIn then that is a good thing. So the question for you is ….has LinkedIn done this for you or your firm?

Best regards,Erik”

What is your percentage and can you attribute direct business growth as it relates to your activity on LinkedIn? 

 Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions for Brands, Businesses and Celebrities to build their social media success. He is also founder of the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN)  in the Chicago Area.

Most of us would agree that over the last two years there has been an extraordinary push to network. The advent of LinkedIn and the groups within that platform have certainly provided an amazing boost to many people’s expansive networks. For some, they’ve already reached the level of being overwhelmed with “networking overload.” Yet for others, they haven’t even begun to network; they’ve heard of “networking” but haven’t ever looked at LinkedIn, let alone joined any groups.

Now it’s true that some people have employers who don’t really support the idea of their employees running off during the day (or at night) to network. They don’t see the “value” in it. Your employer may ask you, “Why would you need to network? Are you looking for a new job?” That’s a tricky question to answer, when speaking with your boss. If that is the kind of comment you are getting from your boss he or she needs a present-day education on business trends.

But I digress to the one question you need to focus on answering right now, “When is the Worst Time to Start Networking?” I give credit to David Gladstein, Founder, Coaching College Grads, for asking & answering this question at the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN) meeting in July. The Worst Time to Start Networking is…after you LOSE your job!

I have met many people in transition since the economy weakened. I have to be honest that I cringe when I hear that they have never heard of LinkedIn. They have never been to a networking meeting. They don’t have solid business contacts with whom they regularly stay in touch. If this sounds like you or someone you know. . .

GET UP AND START DOING THESE THINGS!!! BETTER PEOPLE THAN YOU HAVE FOUND THEMSELVES UNEMPLOYED AFTER 30 PLUS YEARS AT “THE COMPANY THAT WOULD NEVER FIRE THEM”.

So Here is a list to get you started. . .

  • Get on LinkedIn [If you are already on it, make sure your profile is complete and up-to-date]
  • Find networking groups to join and start joining in the conversation. Start with groups that you can relate back to your experience.
  • Start connecting with your professional contacts, friends, family, former classmates and in general, people who are also connected and know someone who can help get you a job when you need it.

The bottom line is that you are responsible for being prepared. When employers “let people go,” they may provide some support in the form of career counseling, etc. But the reality is that if you are just starting to build your network after you are “let go” you will have a much tougher time than the person who already has the established network. Furthermore, when potential employers start looking at resumes and move right to the question, “how do I find you on LinkedIn?” you may be out of the running for the job if you don’t even have a profile set up yet

In my opinion resumes will soon be a thing of the past, but that’s a topic for another blog.

What other advice do you have for those that are new to the whole networking scene?

Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions and Social Media Staffing Solutions for individuals, businesses and brands to build their social media success. He also founded the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN)  in the Chicago Area that recently celebrated it’s three year anniversary.

Whenever we are introducing ourselves to someone, whether in a business meeting or some kind of social setting, the business card has always played an important role for staying in touch. But are business cards still important in our present day, technologically advanced society?

I will admit that for a long time I kept stacks of business cards that I’d collected over years, spanning different jobs in various industries. Why? Would I need to contact these people ever again? Were these cards symbolic of achievements? Did these cards hold special memories? And why do I hang on to all the business cards I collect weekly at the many networking events I attend? If a card holds any value then the information should be immediately put into Salesforce or another type of CRM. Personally I love Salesforce for so many reasons but that is a blog for another time.

The business card questions reminded me of a YouTube video I saw a few years ago. This guy clearly believes in business cards. Not only is he entertaining but he will teach you how to fit your entire ego on an oversized business card. Keep in mind his card could also be used as kindling for a fire if ever you find yourself lost in the wilderness.

I don’t like the stacks of cards I seem to perpetually have in my office. One alternative to hanging onto these cards is a new app called Cardmunch that turns business cards in to contacts on LinkedIn. “Take a picture with the app and a business card is converted to a contact automatically.” The app will also “show you LinkedIn profile information and connections you have in common.” Pretty cool.

Perhaps you would rather Bump? Another app that allows you to bump your phones together and share a variety of information on you have from contact information, photos, apps, music and anything else fancy. Just make sure before you bump you know what your bumping and not pics you want to end up on someone else’s Facebook page. I think this is cool too.

So, are business cards, Cardmunching and Bumping keeping us social? Only if you truly stay in touch. Don’t be one of those whip-it-out people where your only goal is to get your card in their hand. Get to know the person you are speaking with. Appreciate what they are saying. Find out if you can help them. I’m not saying share your most intimate secrets (unless you are bumping with them). Focus on them and not your own agenda.

One final thought and important point to remember is the fact that in many cultures business cards are still held in very high regard. In other words if you are meeting with someone from a different culture you better know the “do’s” and “don’ts”, unless your goal is to offend someone. You know who you are. . .

I am personally in the process of purging all businesses cards. I will have them all in my electronic arsenal. How about you? Paper or Electronic and do you have additional app suggestions?

Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions and Social Media Staffing Solutions for individuals, businesses and brands to build their social media success. He also founded the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN) in the Chicago Area that recently celebrated it’s three year anniversary.

In the past, networking used to be “let’s do lunch” or “let’s play golf” or simply getting together for drinks after work. Oh how times have changed. There are so many networking groups. . .so many choices. . .so little time!

Last week I looked at the “cost” of networking for my own company. When I say cost I mean the actual dollars that I spend on networking. Next I looked at time: the amount of time that I spend networking. For a small business owner that equates to a pretty hefty investment as it relates to all of the things we have on our “to-do” lists. Finally I looked at how much of my networking dollars and time spent I can attribute to this year’s sales.

Ask some people and they might advise that you eliminate all of your advertising, marketing and public relations and have you simply network. Effective networking can create great referrals, right? Introductions to others pay dividends because the hope is for a reciprocal introduction, right? You introduce someone, they’ll introduce you, right? Business starts rolling in the very minute after you finish giving your 30 second intro, right?

In my next post I will discuss my own conclusions on whether or not networking has paid off for me and for my company.

For now I pose this question to you: what are your networking findings for you and your business? Has networking and the investment of time and money been financially rewarding?

As always I thank you for spending time reading the blog. If you enjoy these posts thank you for subscribing and sharing.

Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions and Social Media Staffing Solutions for businesses to build their social media success. He also founded the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN) in the Chicago Area celebrating it’s 3 year anniversary this December.

You are a successful entrepreneur and leader, one who has made the right choices and made equally as many mistakes along the way. You now know all the right things to do when starting a business. If this sounds like you then I have a request. As entrepreneurs we need to take an active interest in making sure all entrepreneurs and small business owners are successful. Simply put, entrepreneurs are the future of this country and are the key to our survival in the future. YOU can ensure this success not only for yourself but for someone else who is getting ready to launch down the path that you have already traveled.

The United States of America needs as many successful small businesses as possible. And we all need to make sure that happens-soon!

Ah the excitement of a vision when it becomes a reality: starting your own business. You know exactly what you want to do to make your dream a reality, starting on a shoestring budget and a dream. Yes a dream and then one thing becomes a glaring reality. A moment when most entrepreneurs realize, Hey, wait a minute! You mean I have to do all of those other things that come with running a business like accounting, management, hiring, IT, and so much more. All of a sudden the dream gets a bit cloudy and panic sets in.

Yes you were there once or maybe you are just getting started as an entrepreneur after a long career at one of those BIG companies that promised to take care of you for the rest of your life.

For those of you who are in a position to help the new entrepreneurs I ask that you seek them out. Hopefully someone did the same for you. And if you are the new entrepreneur then actively seek out those people who you know have already been there. Ask them nicely if they can help you. One thing that keeps a lot of entrepreneurs from being successful is PRIDE. It’s okay to not have all the answers. It’s okay to be the dumb one in the room. But when you ask for help be sure you listen and take great notes. It will save you a lot of time, money and frustration.

What great advice did someone give you when you were starting out?

A few good books I like to recommend for the entrepreneur are listed below. Most of them are quick reads but have great tips and examples.




There are plenty more that I’m sure are as good. Let me know what they are and I will put them on my list.

Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions and Social Media Staffing Solutions for businesses to build their social media success.