Are You a Person of Interest?


Are You a Person of Interest?

There is a new television show airing this fall: “Person of Interest” If you are trying to build a referral network; this is a great question for you to ask yourself.

Wanted Persons of Interest

I have looked at the content of the television show; however, the title definitely got me thinking.

In today’s world being a person of interest – for the right reasons of course – is a good thing! Whether we are in business, searching for career opportunities or even just a job, trying to be an influencer, or whatever; being a person of interest is desirable.

A Person of Interest Can Attract Opportunities

I know some of you are saying here it comes again someone talking about The Law of Attraction; but is that really all that bad. My experience is that most of the nay-sayers are people that have not tried to use the law or have only done it haphazardly.

The truth is that a person of interest has a far better chance of attracting opportunities than someone that is uninteresting. If you are uninteresting people cannot wait to get away from you. They definitely are not looking for greater exposure to you.

How to Become a Person of Interest

You may be reading and thinking that you do not fit this category, because you are uninteresting. That isn’t true! Everyone has an interesting story, but to truly be interesting; it starts with being interested in others.

Most people like some level of attention and when you take the time to ask them about themselves you are starting to become interesting yourself. The reason is that you are displaying an interest in them and not just in yourself.

When you are genuine in this interest it is easily recognized and your value immediately increases. Being genuine means that you actively listen by responding, asking questions, and restating some of the information to ensure you understand.

This is actually fairly simple process because most people do not do it!

When someone finds you sincere and genuine in your efforts a bond can rapidly form and a friendship develop.

Another way to become a person of interest is to share information with a perceived value with your network. Your network likes to receive valuable information and they will appreciate you more.

If you are sharing an article written by someone else; add your perspective on what it means to you and others. Don’t just send out the link; give a little of yourself and a reason for others to read the information. If you are really good people will start reading simply because it comes from you and you are a person they trust and respect.

When trust and respect are earned people that read your postings will forward them to their friends and contacts. Initially the information you create will stay among your distribution list. Obviously your goal is for the information to be repeated to others. This can happen and should be the objective for the person of interest.

It Is Who Knows You That Matters

If you are a person of interest that means that those looking for you already know something about you. This is key! When people know something about you it piques their interest in you and can make them want to know more.

When the bond or friendship forms you will both start looking for opportunities to help each other. You will each want to see the other succeed and will work to that end.

When people know you, know about you, and there is a bond or friendship; they have the information necessary to connect the dots and connecting the dots is what it is all about. When this person hears of an opportunity that might fit your skill set, your interests, or your product offering; they will be able to connect the dots to bring you and the opportunity together.

Do You Make Opportunities for People to Know You

Unfortunately most people do not take the opportunity to allow others to get to know them. They are reluctant to talk about themselves or crawl out of their shell to create opportunities to talk.

There is nothing you can do that is more counter productive to your goals! You need to reach out, you need to connect, and you need to give people the opportunity to learn about you.

To Be Successful; You Must Reciprocate

You need to remember that it is not all about you; you need to be ready and willing to reciprocate. If you are a person that just talks and talks and does not give the other person a chance; you will not be successful. You must learn about the other person so that you can add value to them as well. This is a trade-off process where you give value to get value.

Conclusion

Look for opportunities to get to know people and for them to get to know you. These are not just surface experiences; this is the real deal. Learn about people, find out what they are looking for and how you might help and of course give them the opportunity to learn about and help you as well.

Realize that you will not click on the same level with everyone, but your chances for developing mutually beneficial relationships will increase significantly and opportunities and benefits will flow both ways.
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Tom Staskiewicz speaks and coaches on Professional and Business Networking and how Social Media is a tool in that process. He helps businesses, organizations, and individuals understand the power of networking and recognize that networking is a tool for giving.

Tom believes that when you give value to your network; your network will give value back to you. Using today’s Social Media tools makes Professional and Business Networking more efficient, improves decisions, and enables you to respond more effectively to your audiences.

Do you want to be more effective with your Professional and Business Networking? Would you like to be making more “warm” contacts instead of “cold” calls? Contact Tom to learn more about how he can help you and/or your organization reach your networking goals.

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Small Networks Equal Small Opportunities


Mary, Mary Quite Contrary How Does Your Network Grow?

Yes, I took a little literary license with the children’s rhyme; but, if you are a networker, the question is relevant. How does your network grow? Is it even growing?

Small Networks Limit Your Opportunities

Many people intentionally keep their networks small for a variety of, what I consider, irrational reasons. What they fail to recognize is small networks limit opportunities.

One frequent reason I hear is they only want “people that they “know well” in their network.

In fact LinkedIn is a culprit in fostering this idea. LinkedIn tells you that you should only invite people that you know well. While at the same time LinkedIn encourages you to subscribe to a premium service that allows you to easily connect with those you do not know. To me this is a contradictory and a disservice to their users!

The idea of only connecting with those that you know well is a self-limiting mentality.

When your network consists primarily of people that you “know well” you are surrounding yourself with people that essentially know all the same things that you know.

Small networks limit the influx of new:

  1. Ideas;
  2. Thoughts; and most importantly
  3. Opportunities.

Small Networks Cause Personal Stagnation

When you have a small network comprised of people that you “know well” you keep new ideas and opportunities out. When you cannot grow with new ideas and opportunities your only option is to stagnate.

Stagnation Makes You Less Desirable

Stagnation makes you unattractive to potential employers, business partners, and even customers. In today’s world connections are critical. Employers and business partners look for connections because they are key to growth. Some businesses are now looking at the number of connections prospective employees will bring and making hiring decisions based upon these numbers.

Is Your Network Growing?

Have you added connections from your current work, your associations, your volunteer activities, and your previous work experiences? Do you look for opportunities to continually grow your network?

Growing your network is a critical activity that requires daily effort; not massive time, just 15 – 30 minutes each day.

Conclusion

If you are not looking for opportunities; if you do not want personal growth; if you are not interested in being a thought influencer; then by all means keep your network small. On the hand if you do want these things and you are not good at networking; it is time for change.
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Tom Staskiewicz speaks and coaches on Professional and Business Networking and how Social Media is a tool in that process. He helps businesses, organizations, and individuals understand the power of networking and recognize that networking is a tool for giving.

Tom believes that when you give value to your network; your network will give value back to you. Using today’s Social Media tools makes Professional and Business Networking more efficient, improves decisions, and enables you to respond more effectively to your audiences.

Do you want to be more effective with your Professional and Business Networking? Would you like to be making more “warm” contacts instead of “cold” calls? Contact Tom to learn more about how he can help you and/or your organization reach your networking goals.

Most People Are Bankrupt When it Comes to Their Professional Network


YOUR NETWORK EQUALS YOUR NET WORTH!.
… Unknown

We all have goals. We all want to go or get somewhere? A very few can do it on their own; but the majority cannot… help is needed!

That help starts with your professional network. The members of your professional network can open doors for you and, likewise, you can open doors for them. However, this only works if you know something about the members of your network and they know something about you.

Clinging to the Past

People cling to the practices and excuses of the past when it comes to networking. Yesterday’s Rolodex of connections has been replaced by lists of connections in one or more Social Media applications.

When we meet someone new we continue to collect and file business cards, but we may also look to connect using one or more of the following:

  • Social Media applications;
  • Contact managers;
  • or Email address books.

The problem is that using today’s tools in the same manner that we used the tools of the past; we miss out on the functionality and benefits of the new technology. Networks, whether a Rolodex or card file, were typically organized alphabetically. Today’s tools default to an alphabetical organization, but there is much more. You can search by organization, by title, by location, and much more. You simply need to know how the tool works.

99% of Professional Networks Are Bankrupt

These people are bankrupt when it comes to their Professional Network because they have not taken time to understand the power available or taken the time to implement the advanced features.

When they need the help of their Professional Network they are not prepared.

  1. They do not have the necessary knowledge of their connections to know who can help.
  2. They do not have the organization to find their connections with certain skills or necessary knowledge.
  3. They haven’t taken the time to get to know even the most basic of information about their connections; and
  4. Have not taken the time to educate their connections on their own skills and abilities.

As a result their Professional Network is bankrupt because it cannot serve the needed purpose.

Know Your Network; Increase the Value

In the past having not only knowledge, but current knowledge, of your network was a difficult process. You had to be in constant contact just to know their current physical location and a method of contact.

Today, with Social Networking, the process has become much easier. In fact, we now have the ability to connect with people from many years ago because of the Social Media search capabilities. We also have our connections maintaining their own information.

With the advent of Social Networks the old excuses of:

  1. It’s too time-consuming;
  2. It’s too hard;
  3. There is no effective way to keep it current;
  4. I don’t know where my contacts are anymore;
  5. My network is large enough.

are just not valid.

Knowing the people in your network allows you to connect the dots. If you need a contact into an organization; chances are someone in your network will have or will be able to lead you to a connection.

The Importance of Knowing the People in Your Network

For example I recently found someone on LinkedIn that I wanted as a connection on LinkedIn. My goal was a meeting to discuss how I might help the organization. The individual was my second level connection meaning that one or more individuals in my network is directly connected to my target. I contacted Ed, the mutual connection, to learn whether he knew my target. It turns out that Ed knows my target connection well and is happy to help.

As I talked about my interest I also asked Ed about his new business.

Connecting the Dots…

During the conversation I realize that Ed is working with a similar customer set as my friend Jake. As I connected the dots it makes sense for Ed to meet Jake to better understand markets, but also to see what synergy exists.

From Jake’s perspective his company is always looking for acquisitions that compliment and grow their business; maybe there is an opportunity there for the two businesses: maybe it’s a merger or a joint venture. I don’t know, but I am starting the process to see what might be able to develop for their businesses.

Does this introduction add anything to me; not necessarily, but Ed and Jake may look more favorably upon me as a result and in the future that may be of value.

Successful networking and the ability to help each other starts with knowledge of what each person brings to the table. Although this may appear to be a daunting task, especially if you have 1000s of connections, there are ways to make it easier.

Three Tips to Aid in Knowing Your Network

Here are three tips to aid in classifying your network.

  1. Be selective in who you INVITE into your network;
  2. Use Malcolm Gladwell’s categories from “The Tipping Point”;
    1. Connectors;
    2. Mavens; and
    3. Salesmen
  3. Create a short 3 – 5 question survey for those you invite to learn more about them and add it to your notes about the individual.

Conclusion

If you network is simply an accumulation of names; it’s not too late to turn it around. Start a classification system to identify your connections. Look for and then classify based upon similarities of position, industry, business, location, or other common factors that are relevant to you. Spend 15 minutes a day in this process and you WILL be able to increase the value of your network.

When you add new connections classify them immediately or, if necessary, send your list of questions to help with the classification process. The important thing is don’t let your network to continue growing without implementing a structure and some controls.
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Tom Staskiewicz speaks and coaches on Professional and Business Networking and how Social Media is a tool in that process. He helps businesses, organizations, and individuals understand the power of networking and recognize that networking is a tool for giving.

Tom believes that when you give value to your network; your network will give value back to you. Using today’s Social Media tools makes Professional and Business Networking more efficient, improves decisions, and enables you to respond more effectively to your audiences.

Do you want to be more effective with your Professional and Business Networking? Would you like to be making more “warm” contacts instead of “cold” calls? Contact Tom to learn more about how he can help you and/or your organization reach your networking goals.

I Found Her on LinkedIn: All I Knew Was Her First Name and She Worked for Coca Cola


The Power of LinkedIn

A few weeks ago I was with a client at his restaurant doing some LinkedIn training over lunch and in walks this couple. I look up and at first I’m thinking that I recognize the woman so I wave. She stops and says; “Do we know each other?” I take a closer look and embarrassingly say no, I thought you were someone else. My client, however, says you’re Irene. He’s correct; she’s wearing a name tag!

Everyone laughs, somewhere along the line she mentions something about working for Coca Cola and they proceeded to go place their order and my client and I went back to our LinkedIn training. As they are leaving they say goodbye and we jokingly say goodbye Irene.

Is Irene on LinkedIn

At that point I say to my client; “Let’s see if we can find Irene on LinkedIn.” His question is, understandably, how? So we proceed.

I start by doing a people search for Irene, Coca Cola. It’s somewhat of a random process, but what the heck; we want to test the power of LinkedIn.

I start the search and we get a bunch of hits, but nothing that appears even vaguely close. So I start refining the search. First we narrow it to the United States and that reduces the number of results. Next I select working for Coca Cola, then I choose current employees, and all of a sudden up pops one result for an “Account Development Manager” at Coca Cola in Portland Oregon. Because I am searching for Irene; it is safe to say that this “Account Development Manager” with Coca Cola is named Irene or at least Irene is somewhere in the profile.

I Think I Found Her

This person is on LinkedIn, but not in my network. I can see the individual I found has only eight connections, so this is not someone that is active on LinkedIn. With a premium account I could send an In-Mail. If Irene was more active on LinkedIn; I would investigate further.

How Does This Apply to You?

Have you ever wanted to connect with someone and just couldn’t figure out how to make it happen? Have you ever met someone and just felt like you should get to know them? Maybe you have a name but you don’t remember the last name, but you remember the company. This example shows you that all is not lost; there is tremendous power in LinkedIn and as new people join every day; the potential for finding the person you want gets better and better.

Taking the time to understand how LinkedIn works is critical. Yes, it does take time, but like anything else; once you understand the technology it will not only save you time – you will complete tasks that you would have previously deemed impossible! Get my free white paper “5 Tips to Connect on LinkedIn”.

LinkedIn can help you make things happen!

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Tom Staskiewicz speaks and coaches on Professional and Business Networking and how Social Media is a tool in that process. He helps businesses, organizations, and individuals understand the power of networking and recognize that networking is a tool for giving.

When you give value to your network; your network will give value back to you. Using today’s Social Media tools makes Professional and Business Networking more efficient, improves decisions, and enables you to respond more effectively to your audiences.

Do you want to be more effective with your Professional and Business Networking? Would you like to be making more “warm” contacts instead of “cold” calls? Contact Tom to learn more about how he can help you and/or your organization reach your networking goals.

If You Want More Recommendations; then Give More Recommendations


Get More Recommendations

Have you ever seen a business use the message “The best compliment we can receive is your recommendation or referral?”

Although that is a very true statement; it is also true that the statement is not very effective in getting you more recommendations. Yes, it is a call to action; but it is a very weak call to action.

Marketing studies have long shown that a satisfied customer tells one or two people. Today, with Social Media, those numbers be drastically improved; all you need to do is get the recommendations.

So, how does that happen?

It starts with you; with your being proactive and reaching out to others.

The Key to Getting Anything; Is, to Give Something

If you have not noticed the old mantra of “Ask and you will receive” has changed; today the new mantra is “Give and you will receive”! What this means is that if you want recommendations; you are best served by giving a recommendation first!

The UPPROACH: Give a Recommendation First

Don’t wait for something to happen; make something happen! Take the initiative and write a recommendation for that person.

Get a Recommendation

Once you write the recommendation; it is much easier to ask for and get a recommendation. When you give something of value; people want to reciprocate. People do not like to be indebted to someone; therefore they look for a way to pay you back. When they can do it in kind; all the better.

So get started and start writing those recommendations and reaping the results!

Are you at a loss as to how to write a recommendation get our free report The Art of Giving a Recommendation.

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Tom Staskiewicz speaks and coaches on structuring Social Media and Professional Networking to help businesses, organizations, and individuals establish and manage their Social Media presence to increase efficiency, improve decisions, and respond to your audiences. Your Social Media presence doesn’t just happen and will not take care of itself. Tom helps you with those processes so your Social Media efforts will work for you.

If you are interested in learning more about how Tom can you and/or your organization develop your Professional Network or Social Media email Tom for information.

Referrals and Recommendations: Are You Getting Your Share?


Referrals and Recommendations Are Critical to Your Business and Career

Are you getting your fair share of referrals and recommendations? One of the great features of Social Media is the opportunity to collect referrals and recommendations from managers, supervisors, co-workers, vendors, customers, and a host of others.

We can talk forever about our personal accomplishments and experiences, but when you get someone talking on your behalf that is when you start firing on all cylinders. That doesn’t mean that you get thousands or even hundreds of referrals and recommendations, it just means that you get your fair share.

Referrals Can Be Key to Attaining Your Objectives

I believe that although one can do it on their own; referrals and recommendations are key to accelerating your business and career. Modesty and humility are characteristic of most people. While there are many exceptions; when you think of the majority of connections that you have; they are modest and humble about their accomplishments.

What does that mean to you? If you have the characteristics of modesty and being humble; you will not be very effective at self promotion. You will always be reserved in discussing your accomplishments, awards, and recognition; this means that you WILL need someone that will promote you and this is best achieved through referrals and recommendations.

Here are some examples of what referrals and recommendations can do for you:

  • Open doors that were otherwise closed.
  • Tell people what you meant to former co-workers, educators, and even friends.
  • Substantiate and reinforce statements that you make about yourself.
  • Lead to undiscovered opportunities.

If you are not receiving your fair share of referrals and recommendations learn where you get them; get our free report 18 Sources for Referrals and Recommendations.

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Tom Staskiewicz speaks and coaches on structuring Social Media and Professional Networking to help businesses, organizations, and individuals establish and manage their Social Media presence to increase efficiency, improve decisions, and respond to your audiences. Your Social Media presence doesn’t just happen and will not take care of itself. Tom helps you with those processes so your Social Media efforts will work for you.

If you are interested in learning more about how Tom can you and/or your organization develop your Professional Network or Social Media email Tom for information.

Social Media for Business: Is it Just for Conversing with Customers?


Is the Only Business Purpose for Social Media Conversing with Customers?

I was at Borders Bookstore the other night and I picked up a book titled “The Social Media Management Handbook” by Nick Smith and Robert Wollan with Catherine Zhou. These individuals work for the consulting firm, Accenture.

In the book the authors discuss the importance of organizations facing the reality that Social Media is not just a passing fad. Remember that lack of acknowledgement has been a recurring theme for anything new for as long as man has existed.

Do you recall the naysayers when the first micro computers were introduced and how they were identified as a “toy”, a passing fad, and nothing serious? Initially businesses gave them little attention; but we soon realized that was a mistake as we watched multi-billion dollar businesses sprout up around the technology and large companies that discounted or choose to ignore the technology fail as a result.

The same scenario is developing for Social Media as we see multi-billion dollar industries sprouting up; while again people, and many businesses especially, chose to ignore what is happening. Can you really afford to put your head in the sand?

Social Media Is for Conversing with Your Customers

In the book the authors spend their time talking about how advertising is changing. They emphasize the increasing importance of Social Media and how people are again getting their referrals and recommendations through word-of-mouth only this time it is from Social Media posts.

Do not get me wrong; I believe what the authors are saying. In fact I believe that in the next twelve to twenty-four months if businesses are not showing their Facebook “Likes” or other indications on Social Media that people are paying attention to their business; those businesses will be in deep trouble!

I also believe that Social Media, like the micro-computer technologies of the mid to late 70s, cannot be pigeon-holed to a single function. People will continually find new ways to apply the technology and that is where I believe the authors missed the boat. They were almost singular in their approach to the usage of Social Media, but the reality is there are many, probably unlimited, possibilities; as we let our minds explore the options.

Social Media Offers Opportunities for Internal Collaboration, Process Improvement, and Greater Efficiency

Scenario 1: Social Media can be a collaborative tool. I consulted for a large multi-national organization a few years ago. I watched as their different IT groups used the same computer technology in different locations. As new updates to the their operating systems and/or applications were released; each group would independently test and validate the updates.

I had a difficult time understanding why they were not using a Center of Excellence (CoE) to coordinate the effort and share what they learned. In fact, one of my recommendations was that they create a CoE and assign each location to test specific components of the software updates and then share the results with the other groups to make the process more efficient?

Although a great idea at the time; the collaborative capabilities of Social Media today would make this an even easier and more efficient process. In today’s Social Media environment assignments could be carved out, results could be posted, findings discussed, questions asked like “What Ifs”, and the list again goes on. Maybe you make the process even more informative and collaborative by bringing in the vendor or other experts in to contribute to the discussion. The possibilities are endless and Social Media can make it happen.

Scenario 2: Long ago I worked for IBM and when our Division released new hardware and application software we would hear rumors of what others were experiencing. Some would report a terrible experience that simply did not work and they would put out an alarm or warning; at the same time others would report the same application to be the cat’s meow. The problem was that the people having difficulty had no way to talk to their counterparts that had it working well. Social Media could have easily fixed that.

IBM/MIT Study Identifies $948 Value for Each Collaborator

In 2009, IBM and MIT released a joint study where they determined that each collaborator on a project added $948 in value to the overall project. It was determined that the quality of the solution improved, the efficiency of the process increased, and the project life-cycle was shortened because of collaboration and this was only using email. Imagine how Social Media could have had an even greater impact!

Emails can be lost or some people may not receive them; when you move to Social Media many of those problems are mitigated by the method of distribution. Social Media can improve the speed of delivery and response. Social Media is a dialog, not a monologue or series of monologues. Social Media can be a virtual real-time process.

Social Media Summary

Businesses must recognize that Social Media is not a passing fad. Social Media is here and what we see today, however sophisticated some may think, is still in its infancy. Business owners and executives must be getting involved today or they and their organizations will be left behind when tomorrow arrives.

Yes, there are concerns and issues that must be figured out; but the solution to figuring them out is not ignoring the existence of the technology.
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Tom Staskiewicz speaks and coaches on structuring Social Media and Professional Networking to help businesses, organizations, and individuals establish and manage their Social Media presence to increase efficiency, improve decisions, and respond to your audiences. Your Social Media presence doesn’t just happen and will not take care of itself. Tom helps you with those processes so your Social Media efforts will work for you.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can apply Social Media within your business you can download our Top Fifteen List of Business Uses for Social Media or email Tom for information.