Thank you, Thank you!

Thank you, thank you, thank you. 30 Second Networking Tip #47

Got 30 seconds?

I’ll give you a tip to make your professional networking more productive.

 

 

Send thank you notes to people you actually talk to. A personalized message saying it was nice to talk to you is always a good idea. When you have a good conversation with someone you usually want to continue that conversation… especially when you’re networking. Dropping them onto a generic email list is pretty impersonal. Whether it’s a physical thank you card or an email, be brief, be positive and make sure to include your contact information in case they want to get in touch with you. Don’t pester people after an event, but showing an interest in someone you meet and interact with can go a long way to opening the door to another conversation the next time you run into them.

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Is your phone number on here?

Is your phone number on here? Oh! That’s your email.

Got 30 seconds?

I’ll give you a tip to make your professional networking more productive.

 

People have been talking about the demise of the business card for, well, for as long as I can remember. Even with devices and smart phones is still one of the most convenient, light and portable ways to give someone your information when you connect. While your business card is not what gets you a meeting, it is an important part of the process of networking. It’s like a handshake. Make sure your card is clear and easy to read. Don’t use strange fonts or too many colors. This also makes scanning your info into a device accurately easier. For the time being the business card is here to stay… at least for a while. So make good, responsible use of it.

Got 30 seconds? I’ll give you a tip to make your professional networking more productive.

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Learn more about Pitch for Success networking training here: http://pitchforsuccess.com
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The Key to Engaging an Audience

Presenting to a GroupA friend of mine called me in a panic the other day. She had to give a presentation at work and she was petrified. I asked her what the problem was and she replied, “what if I’m not interesting?” She was worried that she was not well known in her company and so people wouldn’t be willing to listen to what she had to say if she wasn’t outstanding.

This is not the first time I’ve had this conversation with someone. As a presentation coach I work with lots of people who are nervous about public speaking. The good news is that my friend didn’t have to be some celebrity speaking to get people to listen to her. She just had to be good at being herself in front of the room. You don’t have to be a personality to have personality when you present. You do need to keep your audience interested and engaged. Just being natural and not trying to be someone you’re not is the real trick to a first class presentation.

When I was teaching classes to IT engineers for Cisco I learned some important lessons about teaching adults. A good friend of mine, who was a master instructor in the Air Force, explained to me one day that if you can engage your class they will take care of learning the information themselves. This was a real revelation for me. All I really needed to figure out was how to keep them interested and participating for the full week of the course. Since many of my students didn’t really want to be there, and the content I was teaching couldn’t be changed, that could be a bit of a challenge. However, it was a challenge I was willing to take on.

From that point on I committed myself to paying attention to how my classes reacted to different ways of presenting the course material. I began trying new things to keep the class interesting. I could not deviate in the content I was teaching, but I could vary how I delivered the information. I was looking for the most effective and most interesting ways to keep the class with me the entire time.

I used videos during breaks, I played music, I would demonstrate concepts and processes by drawing diagrams. I had the class interactively tell me how to draw the diagrams to build the different systems we were learning about. I encouraged people to experiment during the lab sections. Try a certain configuration and see what happened, then report it to the whole class. I supported them in asking lots and lots of questions, both of me, and of each other. This created a dynamic, engaging environment that was fun for everyone in the room. That included me.

There’s nothing worse than presenting something that you find boring. If you think it’s stupid your audience is certainly going to see that and they just might think it’s stupid too. So finding a way to be interested in whatever it is you’re presenting only helps make you a better presenter. Find something that you think is particularly relevant, eye opening or exciting about your presentation and emphasize those sections. That will go along way to helping your audience be interested as well. When you’re excited they are more likely to be curious what you’re excited about. Emotion is catchy. Use that fact in your delivery.

There are a lot of ways to accomplish this. You just need to find one or two techniques that work well for you. It helps if those techniques match your personality. If humor is your thing then be funny. Don’t be afraid to make the audience laugh. If you are not comfortable with humor then for goodness sake do not try telling jokes. It will come off is disingenuous and potentially turn off your audience. Your delivery needs to be consistent with who you are in real life. Authenticity is important for you to be seen as credible and believable. However, you do need to keep in mind that you’re going to have a mix of personalities in your audience. So you can’t just do a presentation that you alone would like. That will be too limiting and will only be interesting to the people just like you. So you do have to learn to mix it up a little bit.

The biggest thing that everyone needs to know when you’re giving a presentation is to be clear what story you are telling. Humans communicate through telling stories and a presentation is just a specific kind of story. Like a fairy tale, a business presentation needs to have a beginning a middle and an end. It needs to go somewhere. By that I mean that we need to be able to follow where you’re leading us, the audience, so we can discover things along the way. Just throwing a bunch of facts and figures and data up on a slide is not telling a story. It may be important information but we may not see it as particularly interesting without a narrative about why it’s important, where it came from, or what we need to do with it.

When you need to give a presentation use these factors to help you prepare and focus on keeping your audience interested. Engage them while you are speaking and be authentic in your attitude towards what you are talking about. Tell them a story about why this is important and what you want them to do with this information. Use interesting pictures, videos, sounds or props to help make the information relevant to them. Work on ways to keep them engaged and actively listening to what you’re saying.

Doing some or all of these things will virtually guarantee that your audience will respond positively to whatever it is you’re talking about. It will also help you feel more comfortable and more confident in front of the room. Knowing that you’re giving them something that they will want, in a way they can engage with, helps you get over any nervousness you have before you start. Following these guidelines, anyone really can give an interesting presntation… even you.

 

Don’t take your foot off the gas too soon.

Flying TurkeysAs 2014 winds down and visions of holidays and family time dance in our heads, it’s easy to take the foot off the gas. As a business coach I believe that we all need that time to rest and rejuvenate… the trick is knowing when it’s that time.

I see many business people during this tricky “pre-holiday” time kill the engine too quickly. I understand why… but I also think that’s incredibly dangerous. There are two things that I believe we should all be doing this time of year:

1. focusing on a strong finish, and
2. planning ahead for next year.

I know, I know… everyone says that.

Well, there’s a reason. It’s a uber good idea.

Finishing strong means to make sure you are getting things done that need to be done and bringing in what value you can to end 2014 strong. Closing out projects, getting invoices out, touching base with customers and handling end of year filings.

Getting these done will help you enjoy the holiday time with your family.

Planning for next year includes tax planning, scheduling and strategy planning so you hit the ground running in January 2015.

How you start the year sets the tone for the first half of the year!

This is also a great time to start thinking about what you did in 2014 that worked, and what you think you can improve in 2015.

That’s why I’m leading a workshop this month in Northern Virginia called “How to Find Your Perfect Clients“, on November 20th, 2014 instead of on January 10th, 2015.

This time of year is the right time to think about what you need to do in January. Now is the time to plan what activities and what you will focus on as soon as everyone is back from holiday.

If you don’t, then you will be doing that work on January 10th. That could kill your momentum… do you really want to be behind your competitors who did that work before 2014 ended?

If you’re tired of watching their dust and feeling like you have to scramble to catch up… again… I encourage you to start the planning process sooner, rather than later.

If you’re in the NoVA area I also invite you to attend the seminar. You can sign up to reserve your seat now at www.pitchforsuccess.com/yourperfectclients. We are closing registration in a day or two so please DO NOT WAIT.

If you’ve seen me speak before, you know it won’t be boring… I like to have fun when I teach. I will show you a 5-step process for drawing in quality customers that will make you more money, with less effort and less stress.

Even if you aren’t in the NoVA area, don’t be one of those business owners who regrets… act now and set yourself up for the most profitable year yet in 2015. Whether it’s my seminar, a book, listening to lectures or signing up for a webinar. Keep your momentum going. Commit to taking some time to sit down and make a plan for the beginning of next year. Not a resolution, per se, but give yourself some guidance so you’ll hit the ground running after the holiday lull.

If you begin January 2015 with a plan in place to go after those clients, you are more much more likely to get them… if you wait…
well, then who knows whether you can catch the competition or not.

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You can follow Eric @pitchforsuccess on Twitter or on Facebook at PitchforSuccess

To get information on sharing this article or having Eric speak to your group email questions@pitchforsuccess.com