We Do Need Stinkin Badges!

FAB PlaqueMaker
At the beginning of the year, I wrote a post called Five Tools of the Networking Trade.  Well, I was recently introduced to another good tool to put in the toolbelt.

At a networking meeting, my buddy Francisco Acosta had something very interesting on his lapel.  Francisco is a very good networker…he’s usually in several organizations and speaks to groups (and TV audiences) on the power of networking.

On his lapel was….a custom made name badge with his company logo.  As you will understand, it’s usually the simplest of things that excites a networker. And I got quite excited.

Those of us who go to lots of events know how hard  it is to keep the name tag sticker on the jacket.  The typed out tags in a laminated case with the pin looks good, but it screams “this event only.”  If you want to look like a professional networker, go to Plaque Maker and get yourself a name badge.  With your logo or the art of your choice.  And it is quite reasonable ($15, no minimum order).  You can choose which materials and color schemes work best for you.

If you’re going to play the part, why not look the part?

Having An About Face(book): For The Stubborn Networkers

The dinosaur and the girl
If you have adult friends who are still on the fence (or not even close to the fence) when it comes to Facebook, remind them of this.
Networkers need to be able to connect and contact folks easily. If your adult friends are on LinkedIn, but not on Facebook, they understand the basics of social networking. With Facebook, all you need is a name, and you can send correspondence to that person.
If I always wanted to reach out to David Chappelle, I don’t need to know his manager, his publicist, his agent, his email, or his cell number. I can search for him on Facebook and send him a message. True, he may have handlers who read his stuff (and won’t relay the message), but I can get at him.
Just imagine if it was imperative to contact someone who wasn’t as famous as Dave. You’re on a bus reading a magazine and the subject matter made you think about someone you hadn’t talked to in awhile. You don’t have that person’s info handy, because it’s been 10 years, but you had a good relationship with that person. You pull out your Blackberry and go to the Facebook app and search him out.
And you found him.
And you sent him a message.
And you sent him a friend request.

And he hit you back right away.
And he’s glad you thought about him.
And he has a great new job and would like to take you to dinner to catch up.

How easy was that? The possibility to network with a person in a good job who’s an old buddy, sounds like money down the road.

What makes me laugh is that those who are hesitant to join Facebook are the same folks who want to stop cold-calling, but don’t see this easy and warm way to communicate a better alternative.  And all of us who do understand it, are laughing…all the way to the few banks that are left.

(photo credit:  Robert Insall)

What Happens When Two Networkers Get Together

 

It’s one of the jokes you should hear in a bar like Cheers…”whaddya get when two networkers get together?” I’m sure there are some good punchlines in there (see pic above).  But what really happens is usually positive.

I went to a meeting last week and met up with a really good networker. A guy I have known for at least eight years. It was early in the morning. He told me he wanted to introduce me to a filmmaker who could use more exposure. This was 8am, maybe earlier. Before I got back on the subway, I checked my Blackberry and the filmmaker in question already sent me a friend request on Facebook.  That’s what I’m talking about.

My networking colleague shouldn’t have been crackberry-ing during the meeting, but I won’t be the one to snitch.

That, my friends is good networking.  I know it’s sounds simple, even yawn-inducing, but for those of us who take networking and word of mouth referrals seriously…they don’t come better than this.

So if you’re going to incur the wrath of your fellow meeting members, make sure you are a good matchmaker and deliver results.

(photo credit: Thomas Roche)

Kool-Aid Kronicles 4.15

kool-aid-man photo credit: K. Todd Storch

In 2008, I called my irregular BNI journal reports, “Notes From The Matrix.” We all saw the film and we know that the matrix is supposed to be a network. You had to take a pill to tap into it. Many of my friends (and especially my wife) think that I took a pill at one of my networks/cults. I won’t argue with you that I may have fallen down the rabbit-hole.

In 2009, I’m going to call my notes from the BNI meetings, the Kool-Aid Kronicles. BNI is an acquired taste. It’s very regimented and orderly. It’s also 7am every week. If you are going to do this 45+ times a year, you have to be very devoted or crazy. In other words, sippin’ that Kool-Aid.

For the last eleven years, I have been a member of BNI. This networking tool and word of mouth marketing has kept my company afloat. Many of the professionals in my chapter have dispensed weekly nuggets of wisdom for years on how to be a better entrepreneur. Right now it looks a little rough out there, so it’s good to hear about everyday people who are keeping their heads and making things happen. Here are a few things I heard and learned on Wednesday from my colleagues:

The nutritionist mentioned that vitamin B12 is good for canker sores.

The travel agent says the new F word is “free.”  Hotels are offering great deals.  “Stay 3 nights, get the 4th night free.  Stay a week, pay for 4” -type deals.

The promo items guy invited us to the showroom on 36th Street.

The yoga instructor is looking for the stressed out corporate execs who are suffering from back pain.

The SEO/SEM dude talked about accountable advertising, because his company tracks who visits your site and who makes the calls to your office from the site. He has the recorded phone calls to prove it.

The commercial real estate/small buildings sales person wants to network with anyone connected to LNR Properties.

The architect is on vacation, but she is visiting ruins, because it is in her blood.

The residential real estate broker’s corporate website gets over 4 million hits per month.

I had a one-to-one meeting (formerly known as a dance card) with the financial advisor. He invited me to a corporate event where Sheila Johnson will be speaking.

I brought a guest, who used to be a member of the chapter 5 or 6 years ago. It would be great if he rejoined.  We need a merchant services/credit card processor in the group.

Networking Your Way To Career Advancement

When you read some of the social media superstars (Chris Brogan, Connie Reece, just to name a few), many of them talk about the importance of giving back. Well…
This evening I will be participating at my alma mater (C.W. Post/Long Island University) as they host a “Networking Your Way To Career Advancement.” This is being put together by the Professional Experience and Career Planning (PEP) Office. All students are invited to attend, and are required to wear business attire. Students will not be bringing their resumes, but rather engaging in conversation to fully practice their business communication skills.
Fellow entrepreneurs and employers will be on hand to give constructive criticism and tips to these students who will soon be entering this challenging workplace.

If your school or any organization reaches out to you for this kind of mentorship…please consider the kids and the environment we are in.  Give them some help and some hope.

photo credit: railsbailey