Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Tips for being a Master Networker

The following is an excerpt from “Confessions of an Introvert - The Shy Girl’s Guide to Business Success” by Meghan Wier. Preorders of Confessions of an Introvert will be taken starting in September 2005. For more information, write to meghanwier@meghanwier.com .

CHAPTER 13
TIPS FOR BEING A MASTER NETWORKER
“Difficulties mastered are opportunities won” – Winston Churchill

The fact is, it is getting more difficult to succeed personally and professionally without developing a diverse range of connections with other people. This is why becoming “masterful” at networking needs to be one of your main objectives. Remember that what you know is important, but not as important as who knows what you know!

Being a Master Networker requires visibility, and this can be painful for the introvert who would rather focus on the job than the relationships that surround work. However, they go hand-in-hand. One cannot succeed without the other. The good news is you CAN learn the skills necessary to be a “Master” Networker.

Here are some tips:

1.) DO bother - Do not make the assumption that you are annoying people. Introverts will sometimes think that others do not want to be bothered, (probably because we feel like WE are being bothered sometimes!) But, don’t be too quick to avoid making new contacts. Most people will be glad to hear from you!

2.) Rely on your support team – Networking is challenging, and will sometimes not render the results that you would like, as quickly as you would like! Rely on your network of emotional supporters for empathy, encouragement and a dose of “tough love” when you slack off!

3.) Be a Leader – Take advantage of any leadership position you are in to extend your “circle of influence”. Leadership roles have a built-in excuse to talk to new people and make new connections.

4.) Listen – Most extroverts, (ok all extroverts!) love to have people listen to them. So listen-up! Become engaged in conversations, ask questions, and take advantage of the fact that other people will do a lot of the networking work for you if you make yourself available and open yourself up to the relationship.

5.) Go with a purpose – If you are uncomfortable and nervous at networking events, attend events such as seminars or workshops instead. These types of events have a non-networking agenda, but offer and opportunity to connect with others in a structured environment.

6.) Reach Out – If you find yourself uncomfortable in group situation, you probably aren’t alone! Look for other people who seem out of their element too. They will likely be grateful for a low-key, interesting person to talk to and you will gain confidence talking to new people.

7.) Write – A letter of introduction, a thank you note, or email can be an easy way to break the ice and establish you as person of manners and integrity. Make special note of birthdays and anniversaries, children’s names and interests, and be sure to send a card, or use this as an opportunity to make the phone call!

8.) Share – Introverts are more likely to be up on industry news, and alternative communication technologies. Be the person that others call or email for information, and be sure to mail out articles of interest to your contacts.

9.) Practice makes Perfect – If you tend to get tongue-tied, or babble in tough social situations, practice a few interesting topics. For example, if someone asks what I do, I don’t just tell them I am Vice President of BizNetix, I say “I handle business development at BizNetix. We do Web site design and development, search engine optimization, IT Services and Web site hosting.” Polish your “elevator speech” and a couple other “snippets” and you will be on your way!

10.) The Small Stuff – Remember to connect with others on small topics, as well as the big stuff! Don’t wait to call or set a meeting, do it now. Reaching out “just to catch up” or to share some good news is a great way to stay in touch, and remain “in the loop”!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

STRANGE MESSENGERS

The following is an excerpt from “Confessions of an Introvert - The Shy Girl’s Guide to Business Success” by Meghan Wier. Preorders of Confessions of an Introvert will be taken starting in September 2005. For more information, write to meghanwier@meghanwier.com .


The world often sends us strange messengers to motivate us to success. My parents did a remarkable job of never letting me believe that because I was female, that I might not have the same opportunities for success, in any of its forms as my male counterparts. I know my parents believed this was the right way to raise girls in the 1970’s and ‘80s. They meant no particular harm in sheltering me. Essentially I grew up naïve to the fact that women were still at a disadvantage when it came to earning potential, careers, a fair salary, and positions in society and politics.

It was not until my grandfather, rather indelicately advised that I should cho43ose a state school or community college instead of a private college because then my father wouldn’t have to pay for a wasted education—since, he said I “would just end up getting married and having children”.

Granted, my grandfather was, and remains a throw-back, isolated from reality, (one look at his powder blue leisure suit would tell you this), but his comments stung. They stung and opened my eyes. There were still people, like my grandfather, who did not see men and women equally, and still reason that I couldn’t do anything and everything I wanted to do. And that made me want to prove him wrong—prove the whole world wrong.

Truth of the matter is that you CAN have it all. Honest. But what so many people don’t realize is that you can’t have “it all” at the same time. And not without help.

We are fortunate to live in a time where we will likely live well beyond 50, 60, 70 even 80 years of age. Some successes are specific to time; a woman’s biological clock (although even that has stretched with medical technology), being crowned Miss America, making Vice President by 30—but you can live a life where your successes flow into each other, and they will be more rewarding when not rushed, and when done well.

As a side note: my grandfather has seven children, 5 girls and 2 boys. Without a doubt, the women of the family, children and grandchildren, are undeniably better educated, make more money, and have a better standing in the community.

Apparently, my grandfather did more than just motivate me…

Meghan Wier
www.meghanwier.com

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