Start Digitizing Business Cards

ID-10091503Collecting business cards at networking events is probably something you’ve been doing for years. It’s worked well, but what if you could make organizing contacts even easier?

There are many apps that can help you digitize business cards. That way you won’t have to worry about losing any cards or entering information in wrongly.

CardMunch

Imagine pulling out your iPhone when someone hands you a business card, opening the CardMunch app and then snapping a photo of it. Immediately, the information from the business card is entered in your address book. You can then hand back the business card. The contact may just be so impressed with it that it will strengthen the connection you have made.

In addition to adding the person to your address book, the app finds the person on LinkedIn. You can then send an invitation to connect right there while you’re standing in front of him or her.

Bizz Card

This app enables you to send your business card to people easily. All you have to do is swipe to unlock your phone, tap the app, and an email pops up in which you can add someone’s email address. The email will already either have your contact information or an image of your business card.

CamCard

When you use this app, you will have to scan the business card you receive. It will store it in its system where you can organize all the cards you’ve scanned. You can also add text, video, graphics and more to the scanned cards.

If you’re looking at these apps thinking that you just don’t want to deal with them at a networking event, but you still want to organize your business cards digitally, there is another option.

Shoeboxed

If you don’t want your business cards saved in your phone’s address book, you can have it added to a site called Shoeboxed. You have three options to have this done.

  1. You can mail the business cards to them.
  2. You can scan them and then upload them to the site.
  3. You can enter the information into the site from the business cards.

With Shoeboxed, you can access your contacts without your phone because you go to the site to see them. You’ll also still be collecting business cards as you always have, and can just put them away as a backup.

Download one of these apps or check out Shoeboxed today. Try them out with your business cards or some that you’ve collected from past networking events. That way when you go to your next event, you’ll know which one you want to use and the organization of your contacts will be much easier for you.

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Use Powerful Introductions for Better Networking

ID-100263732It’s not what you know, but who you know.

You’ve probably heard this saying a million times. As much as you don’t want to believe it, it’s true. Knowing people who can connect you with others can boost your chances of bigger, better opportunities. This is why it’s important you start using the power of your connections to network.

How to Find People to Introduce You

When you find a networking event to go to, start researching it to find out who may be there. It’s easy to do online by looking on the Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Meetup pages of the organization sponsoring the event. When you find some people, the next step is to see if you know anyone that knows them. A great business social network for this is LinkedIn. Look up people going to the networking event on LinkedIn. You can then click on their connections to see if you have mutual ones. If you do, reach out to your connections.

What to Say to Your Connections

You don’t want to make it seem like you are using your connections, so you have to approach them in a specific way. Start by catching up with them. Ask them how they are doing, what projects they are working on, and how life is in general. After exchanging a few messages or speaking on the phone briefly, you can mention the networking event you’d like to attend. This will likely interest them and they’ll be interested in going. Right there, you’ve just given them something – knowledge and possible opportunities that may come out of the event.

As you’re giving your connections information about the event, you can mention that you’ve been researching who is going. You can name a few of those people to see if your connections say anything about them. Many times, they will say, “Oh yes, I know him.” or “I just spoke to her last week.” When you hear this, try to contain your excitement.

The next step is to connect yourself to those people by saying something like, “That’s great! I would love to meet him at the event because we are both working on a similar project. I just found a resource that’s been quite helpful to me, and I bet it would be for him.” Do you see how saying this can help you? First, you express your desire to meet the person. Then, you tell your connection that you have a reason to meet the person, and that reason isn’t just for your benefit. You have something that you can give to that person. Always remember one of the biggest tricks to networking, you must give to receive. Now, your connection has something of value to present to the person you want to meet. Your connection can say, “I know this person who is working on a product much like yours and he’s had great success with a resource he was just telling me about the other day. I would love to introduce you.”

That’s it! You’re introduced to someone you wanted to meet. You can take it from there by telling that person about the resource and then finding out how you can connect even more. As you can see, this can be something you can do numerous times to grow your network effectively. Try it at your next networking event!

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Tips on Following Up After a Networking Event

ID-100106731All the work you do during a networking event will lead you nowhere, if you don’t follow up with people after the event. The follow up is what takes people from just thinking about connecting to actually making a connection. It’s what takes plans and turns them into actions. When following up with people, it’s important to keep a few things in mind.

People Are Busy

You know how busy you are, so don’t become discouraged if people seem too preoccupied to speak to you. Call and connect online, and then wait for them to come back to you. If they don’t return your call or online messages, reach out again in about a month. People can forget to get back to you, so don’t think they don’t want to connect with you.

Remind Them of the Conversation

You need to refresh people’s memory about meeting you. Just like you, they meet a lot of people at networking events. Briefly let the person you’re calling know who you are, where you met them and then mention a couple of topics you discussed with him. It’s better if you have something specific to talk to him about because anything general may not spark the person’s memory. This is why it’s important to make sure to ask good questions that give you details about a project, opportunity, etc.

Make an Appointment

Speaking over the phone only goes so far. You need to meet with the person face-to-face to create a connection that will lead to something worthwhile. Allow the person you’re trying to connect with set up the time and date. You can choose the location, but check to make sure it’s okay with the person before making a reservation. Always make a reservation.

Meet and Let Things Happen

Meet with people you’ve made appointments with, and learn more about them and what they are working on at the moment. Don’t be afraid to ask what they are planning to work on in the near future too. This is how you can find opportunities. Just interject what you’ve been doing or want to do whenever the person mentions something similar. That way you can make that connection, and have something to explore together.

Following up is the only way you’ll ever be able to fully benefit from networking. Don’t be afraid of it. Just dive in and start following up on the connections you make from each and every networking session. Those connections are what will end up helping you grow your business.

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The Trick to Breaking Into Networking Events

ID-100100183Networking events can be scary to some people. They’re filled with people you never met, and you don’t know what to say to start conversations. The thing about networking events is that you just need to break into them. Once you do, you’ll be comfortable walking into the same room of strangers and you’ll have no problem striking up a conversation with anyone. To break into them, you may want to use our little trick. Bring a friend!

Why Bringing a Friend Works

When you walk into a room of people you don’t know by yourself, you immediately go into protective mode. You’re hyper aware of everything around you including yourself because you don’t know what to do or where to go. You feel anxious because your mind thinks you’re in a threatening situation because of the unfamiliar territory. Since there is security in numbers, bring a friend or two with you.

When you walk into a networking event with a friend, you already know someone. It’s not walking into a room with no one you know anymore. You have someone right beside you that you’re comfortable with and can turn to in times of uncertainty. That person can make you comfortable even when you walk up to people you don’t know, so you can break out of the bubble.

What You Shouldn’t Do When a Friend Comes With You

Don’t stick to your friend like glue. This won’t help you at networking events. You need to take advantage of everything a networking event has to offer, so reach out to other people. Your friend is just there to help you walk into the event and feel it out a bit. Once you’re in there, you need to break away from her and do something. Breaking away from her doesn’t necessarily have to be in the physical sense of the term. You both can approach people, but make yourself unique from her. Be your own person, rather than her shadow.

Use Your Friend, and Let Her Use You

Networking events is about connecting people. Sometimes, you may hear someone needs help with a project that your friend could help with, so you should connect them. Your friend should do the same. You two should work for another one and yourselves. Don’t always throw your friend at someone because it feels better than promoting yourself to the people you meet, but do it when it’s a good connection.

Try this trick the next time you have a networking event. You will find that it will make it much easier to deal with and it will make it a much more productive use of your time. After a few events, you’ll probably feel confident to attend one by yourself. That’s the sign you’ve broken yourself in, so you don’t need your friend any longer. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invite friends to come with you anymore. It just means if you can’t find anyone to go with you, you won’t have to worry about missing an event because you don’t feel like you can do it on your own.

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How Many People You Should Meet at a Networking Event

networking eventsMany people believe they should meet as many people as possible when they attend a networking event. That’s the number one mistake they make. It’s probably the reason a lot of people find that networking events aren’t beneficial to the growth of their business. If this sounds like you, try something different – meet less people.  Sound counter-intuitive?  Read on.

The Number Matters

People are valuable to you. They can connect you with other people and they can help you with your business in many ways. While it may seem like the more people you meet, the higher the likelihood you’ll benefit from them, that’s not true. What happens when you meet everyone at a networking event is that you don’t have a chance to create relationships with them. Relationships you create at networking events are important. They are what help you connect with people afterwards. Without a relationship, most of the work you do at networking events doesn’t ever lead anywhere.

So how many people should you meet at networking events? Shoot for five people. If you meet four or six, that’s okay. Averaging five people at an event gives you a chance to start a deep connection with each of them. When you leave the event, you can take that connection and build on it. The only reason you can build on it is because you have information from them. You use that information to rekindle the connection.

If you meet a lot more people, you won’t have enough information to use to connect with them after the event. That won’t help you. People will wonder who you are and what you want. The only way to succeed with networking is to take time to develop relationships.

How to Build Your Network Quickly Meeting Fewer People

Right now, you’re probably thinking, “How am I ever going to build my network enough by only meeting five people at a time?” It’s quite easy actually. You need to attend more networking events. If you attend two events a week, that’s ten people. If you do that for a month, you’ll have connected with 40 people in a month. Doesn’t that sound great? The bonus is that these are real connections because you took the time to get to know them at the events.

If you’ve been attending networking events for a while without much success, give them a try again with this new approach. You may just find that all you needed to do was meet just a few people rather than all the people.

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How Long You Should Wait to Connect with People After a Networking Event

networking eventNetworking events are great to meet new people who can help you grow your business. There are events every week in most places, so it can be something you can attend on a regular basis. Once you attend a few, you may find that you don’t really get as many benefits as you would like from them. That’s usually because you’re not re-connecting with people you meet afterwards or at the right time. Learning when the right time to reach out to connections is will help you benefit more from networking events.

What to Do Following a Networking Event

Shortly after a networking event, don’t be shy about looking people up online. LinkedIn (or try searching for them on HuddleDo.com!) is a great way to connect with people without being a bother. You can simply find them and then ask to connect. They can accept the connection whenever they get a chance.

Once they accept the connection, message them. You can refresh their memory of who you are and then bring up something you talked about with them. This can initiate a conversation online, if they write back to you.

A Week Following a Networking Event

About a week following a networking event, connect with people by phone. Usually, if you’ve already connected with them on social media, it’s the logical next step. What makes things more difficult is if you haven’t connected with them since the event. It’s possible though.

Just remember that people are busy. They are working hard, so be patient. If you leave a voicemail message, don’t expect a call back too soon. You may not be not high on their priority list, but know you are on the list.

If you don’t hear anything from people you’ve left a voicemail in about a week, go ahead and call back. That should be your last time though. If you don’t hear back, just move on to other people.

When you do reach people on the phone, remind them who you are and why you’re calling. This should always include something you talked to them about at the event. If you made arrangements to help each other on a project, that’s even better. You can remind them about that, and then set up a time to discuss it more.

Don’t spend too much time on the phone. Let the other person lead the call and when the conversation slows down, arrange a meeting. This way the person doesn’t feel you’re calling and wasting their time. People feel as though the call was valuable when they feel they will end up getting something from you – whether that be your knowledge, skills, or experience.

Try It Out to Experience the Benefits of Networking

Try out the timing and ways to connect. Adjust the timing as you go to see what works best for your connections. Every person is different, so sometimes you may want to wait a little longer or sooner. Just assess how the connections are going and find something that works for you and the people you meet.

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What Your Business Cards Should Include for Networking

ID-10044465Networking is important to the growth of your business. While you can use the business cards you already have, it’s a good idea to have some made that go along with your networking goals. This way you’ll be better able to benefit from the networking events you attend.

Business Card Color

When people go to networking events, they come out of them with a stack of cards. You need to make your card stick out. This doesn’t mean you should have bright, neon yellow, orange, or green cards. You have to remain professional, but still be unique enough to capture the eyes of your connections. With this being said, consider a color other than black or white. These are the most common colors for business cards. Blue, red, or tan are great colors. They are not like others, and they will stand out even when someone holds all the business cards they gathered.

Design

Don’t get too crazy with the design because you want people to look at it and immediately see your message. You can have a small design in a corner, but refrain from filling the face of the card with art.

Information

This is the most important part of the business card. The following is what you need to include on your business card for effective networking:

  • Name
  • Phone number
  • Website address
  • LinkedIn address
  • Tagline

The tagline is a short statement about what you do or what you hope to accomplish. Think of something you want to be known for when people meet you. It must have something to do with your skills, experience, or goals. This is what people will look for when they want to connect with someone.

The Back of the Card

Many people don’t use the back of their business cards, but it’s space you could use to sell yourself. With the tagline on the front of your cards, you can tell people more about yourself on the back. Don’t try to squeeze as much text on there as you can, just find some keywords you want to use. You can then use those words in a small ad for yourself. Again, this is useful to people because they will know if they need you just by seeing what you’re good at or want to do.

If putting text on the back of your card doesn’t sound like a good idea to you, consider writing on the back of it. When you meet someone at a networking event, find out what they are interested in, and then write something on the back of your card that will resonate with them. For example, if someone is talking about how they are thinking of investing in property and you’re a realtor, write on the back that you would like to invite them to see what you have available for investment properties.

Do you have some other tips for business cards other people could use? Feel free to leave a comment below with your suggestions, so we can all help each other make business cards as effective as possible.

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Network Effectively with a Relationship Action Plan

relationship action planRecently, Forbes published an article, The Professional’s Guide to Networking. This article discussed some ways you can network more effectively, so you don’t go from event to event without anything to show for them. One of the concepts the article mentioned is one that many networking pros recommend – relationship action plans.

What Is a Relationship Action Plan?

A relationship action plan ensures you spend your time at networking events effectively. When you know who you want to speak to at an event, you’ll be able to make great strides in the number or types of connections you need to grow your business.

This type of planning takes some research. You’ll need to first find networking events that attract people in your industry. Once you find them, you’ll have to find out who may be going to them. You can do this by asking colleagues, or the organization sponsoring the events. You can also research who may be going by searching social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn for any conversations having to do with the event. It’s a good idea if you find some people going to connect with them online. You can start up an online conversation, find out who else may be going, and start networking even before you get to the event.

Once you know who is going to an event or just the type of people, you want to decide what you’re going to do when you get there. You may decide to speak to certain people before others because it may bring you closer to know what you’re going to talk about with the others. For example, the people you speak to first may be the ones you want to connect to others later.

How to Know Which Connections Are Best

The goal of a networking event is to find people you can help and they can help you. If you haven’t given much thought about who you may meet before spending time with people at a networking event, there’s a good chance you may miss out on the opportunity to learn ways to help the other person. When you’re trying to figure out who you are going to speak with, think about the similarities you may have with them. You may be wrong, but you’ll probably be right more than you’ll be wrong. It’s better than having no plan at all, and you end up wandering around the event with no purpose.

Try It Out

It’s best to attend networking events as often as possible, so you can start to get to know people in your niche. The next one you go to, try this relationship action plan strategy. If it doesn’t work too well, don’t give up, you can give it another try. It’s likely you’ll understand how to create more effective ones with every event you attend. Just know that networking events are always a work in progress. You must attend, learn, and then attend again. Before you know it, you’ll be meeting people who can help you move ahead with purpose and success.

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Giving Off the Right Vibe for Networking

ID-10097178You’ve probably felt a vibe before. It’s when you can tell there’s something wrong with a person. He might respond curtly, or his body language suggests he’s angry about something. This feeling you’re sensing is usually not wrong. It can make you feel a certain way as well. You may leave the person wondering if it was you that made the person upset. If it’s someone you care about, you might even start obsessing over it. When you come in contact with someone, that person may feel a vibe from you. All of sudden, you’re the one acting different. That person can feel it, and then wonder if he is the reason. A vibe can be contagious, which is why you should have the right one when you’re networking.

What’s the Right Vibe?

When you walk into a networking event, you should be prepared to open yourself up. Imagine yourself just letting go of every fear and inhibition you have inside of you. Just be free. With this feeling, you will seem inviting to other people. People will be able to feel your welcoming vibe. You’re safe to them because you aren’t holding yourself too tight and away from people. When you’re holding on too much, people wonder what you’re hiding and they aren’t as willing to approach you. When you’re open, people flock to you.

Visualize being open to others. When you’re open, you’re willing to give yourself to them. You are ready to help them. People come to you, and you fulfill people’s perceptions by initiating a conversation, and asking them questions. You want to know about them. When they ask you questions, you’re not ashamed to tell them who you are, what you do, and how you do it. You are an open book.

How relieving does it feel to think about just being at people’s disposal at a networking event? With this vibe, you don’t have to get nervous about what you are going to say or what you’re going to do. You simply just let go and be yourself. You are there to meet people, have a good time, and make some connections that could take you far in your business.

Practicing a Vibe

This vibe won’t come naturally. If you’re nervous about an event, that anxiety will likely try to hold you back from opening yourself. It’s a defense mechanism you have because your body and mind want to protect you from a perceived threat. The best way to turn this off is to show your body and mind that there’s nothing to be afraid of. You do this by attending a variety of events until you feel much more comfortable with them. So comfortable that you feel as though you have good control over the way you behave at them. Once you feel that way, you can start to bring out that open, warm, and welcoming vibe.

There’s no harm in trying the vibe as you get comfortable. It may just calm your nerves enough, so you’ll soon be attending events with nothing but a vibe that will being people to you that will help you achieve your business goals.  How do you find your vibe?  We’d love to hear how you find your “vibe-rations”.

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Give to Get in the Networking World

networkingWhen most people think of a networking event, they immediately imagine themselves gathering new leads. They think about who they can meet that will help them grow their business. They may even think about how they can get the next great employee that will help them reach their business goals. Even though it’s normal to think about what you will get out of a networking event, it’s not the right way to approach it. In the networking world, you must give to get.

What It Means to Give to Get

Everyone wants something from a networking event, but not as many people want to give. They don’t want to lend a helping hand because they are too busy, too focused on their own needs or they simply don’t believe it’s going to help them. The problem is that they end up not growing their network as big as they could because people don’t feel as though they are connected.

When you give people something, they appreciate it. They feel connected to you, and they want to reciprocate the generosity. That’s when you win because you get the help you need.

It’s not only about money. It’s more about donating your time, knowledge, and skills. Whatever you can do to help people grow their business will make them feel as though you are good to keep around.

How to Give

During a network event, listen to what people say to you. There will be times when you’ll be able to say, “I have experience in that.” This makes people interested in you. They want to know more about your experience. That’s the spark that makes a connection.

You solidify that connection after the networking event. Reach out to the people you met and give them something. Give them advice, ask to help them with a project, or send them referrals. Whatever you can do to help will often times be graciously received. Just make sure you are helping people. If you are trying to do something for them that they don’t need or want, you end up being a nuisance. That won’t get you anything.

How to Get

Once you’ve given something to people you’ve met at networking events, you’ll probably be anxious to see what you’ll get. Be patient. Remember, many people don’t understand the give and get of networking. Yes, that means you may give to some people that will never give back. It happens, but don’t let it get you down. You’ll eventually find many people who will be willing to help you in return. They will bend over backwards to give you something, whether it be time, money, or their knowledge and skills. These are the people you want to keep in your network because the more you give them, the more you’ll get.

Start at Your Next Networking Event

It’s time to put the give to get philosophy to work for you. At your next networking event, find people you can help, and then reach out to them afterwards. Before you know it, you’ll be giving and getting so much you’ll begin to see how quickly your business can grow with networking.

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