Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Put on Your Game Face!

It’s a phrase we’ve heard over and over again from parents, coaches, and peers: “Put on your game face!”, but what does it have to do with networking? To be a great connector and an awesome networker, you have to train and prepare much like you would for sports. Somewhere along the way most of us have trained for something whether it be a 5k, a golf league, a chess tournament, or even little league baseball. We went to the practices and learned the sport. We honed our technique to be better than we were the day before. The same needs to be done when it comes to building your social framework and networking with other professionals. 

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and it is no different when it comes to networking. We need to train ourselves in networking much like an athlete would train for sport. Through training we can work on building up our weaknesses as well as capitalizing on our strengths. Jackie Pizzuto, a great networker and Client Service Specialist for a financial planning firm, says: “You do have to train yourself to succeed in networking. You have to know yourself and know your strengths...you have to learn how you network best and what works for you so that it's not a constant pain.” 

Another master networker is Justin Casey, Sales Executive for the Charles P. Leach Agency. For him it is more about training the mind. His first thought at a networking event is always “Why am I better than any other person in my field, and how can I highlight that to beat out my competitors?”. He calls it his “Competitive Advantage.”  

As you can see, networking is not something that just anyone can do and be great at, but just like any sport or art, the best always make it look effortless. So keep training your mind and body to be the best networker you can be, and as famed weightlifting coach Ivan Abadjiev once said: “Never be satisfied. Never.” Always keep pushing, never become sedentary, and abandon your comfort zones. Put on your game face and I hope to see you at an upcoming mixer!

Kurtis Bell
ServiceMaster by Bell, Inc.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Ditch the Small Talk...It’s Time for Big Talk

So why put all this time and effort in to building relationships? Why should you not only attend business functions, but actively engage others at these events? You do these things to help construct your social framework. Your social framework, or network, can be an immensely valuable tool that can be used in numerous situations that you encounter on a daily basis. You can call on a friend in your network to help solve a problem that has you stumped, to collaborate on a project, or even to help a friend.

These all sound like great ways to get things done, but if you have not done the legwork to develop relationships to construct your social framework, you may be stranded in a time of need. Often times we neglect the relationships and our networks never develop, or begin to crumble if they have been established. If you don’t maintain your relationships, you might as well have never developed them in the first place. 

Some of us struggle with figuring out who we need to develop relationships with for our business. Here’s a simple exercise that Casey McVay and I developed. Casey is a master networker who works as the Assistant Coordinator of Admissions and Financial Aid at Venango College of Clarion University. This is the Big-Talk Top 10 Challenge. Construct a list of the 10 people you would like to contact if you found out right now that you have lost your job. These can be people you know, people you see on tv or read about in magazines, or major names that you have just heard being tossed around. Once you have constructed your list, make it a point to take the steps necessary to make contact with these people. You will probably meet a few others along the way in your quest to fulfill your Big-Talk Top 10 Challenge. Remember these people too, even if they are little people, because little people have big friends!

Thanks again for reading,

Kurtis Bell
ServiceMaster by Bell