Networking Nuggets from Client Connections
Helping You Connect With Confidence                           August 2010
Kath the Connector
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Many people in the northern hemisphere tend to kick back a bit during the dog days of August, take it a little easy, slow down a bit on developing connections.
Are they nuts?
I trust that the following Nuggets will help you take advantage of others' lower activity levels so you can forge past them as you make and nurture mutually powerful connections. 
August's Top Tips
 purple triskele 
1. Meet prospects and other networking connections in the restaurant of a nice hotel.  This is a great alternative to convenient-but-noisy coffee shops.  If you avoid going at the restaurant's peak hours, the staff will be perfectly happy to let you and your prospect take all the discussion time you need - for just the price of a pot of coffee.  (Remember to tip your server generously even if you don't purchase any additional food.)
2.  While we typically network to gain more business, there's something to be said for simply earning good karma through your networking.  Just ask the person you're meeting with, "I'd be happy to refer appropriate prospects your way.  What should I listen for that would identify them as a good referral for you?"  This not only shows you're willing to be of service, but it also will make your own requests for referrals more productive, because it will force you to...
3.  Make it easy for your contacts to know when they meet a good prospect for your business.  How do you do this?  Develop a highly effective and efficient way "qualifier" for your services.  For example, I recently told a networking contact that if he hears somebody moan, "I've just gotta get 'out there' more", that would be a good referral for me.  Whether the person needs help becoming more confident and productive in face-to-face settings, or they're looking for a wordsmith who can tell their story powerfully, I can help - and my new networking buddy knows this.
How's This for Success? 
Barb Charlton, Realtor
Barbara Charlton is a Realtor (TM) who came highly recommended by a friend who is in a referral group with Barb.  Even though I don't plan on moving for another two years, Barb agreed to give my current home the once-over so I could start budgeting for needed improvements.  I ended up with a full page of suggestions that will make the house more sellable - and Barb did this at no charge to me.  She was thorough and gracious, even though she knew she would not be earning any money from me for two more years.
When another friend told me he was moving from south of the Twin Cities into the main metro area, is it any surprise I connected him with Barb? 
When you're focused on providing value and being of service, you make it easy for other people to basically do your networking for you...And how cool is that?
Really Good Resources
 light bulb
 1. You so want to check out the Tech Guide put out by Modern Inconveniences.  These "recipe cards" give you step-by-step instructions for using a wide variety of technology tools.  I often find it easier to use this Guide than to try to figure out how to  properly ask my question in online "help" screens.
2.  I love Biznik.  This free website is full of member-submitted articles on subjects ranging from "how to choose good colors for your business logo" to "the courage to be creative".  It also highlights local business groups, events, and other useful topics.  On top of all the practical information, I'm delighted by the playfulness of the site's owners and members.  A case in point is their tagline:  "Biznik.  Business Networking That Doesn't Suck."
3.  If you're huffing and puffing to find additional ways to distinguish yourself from the competition, you might get some new insights from an assessment known as StrengthsFinder.  This tool, developed by the Gallup organization, identifies your top five strengths and shows you "how to leverage them for powerful results."  This knowledge can help you describe why and how you provide value to your clients - plus it's just fun to know (at least it is if two of your top strengths are Input and Learning, as mine are).
Client Connections in Action
August 18th, 11 a.m.: Change Your So-So Selling Proposition Into a Unique Selling Proposition for WIN's Networking Factory, Amore Victoria, Minneapolis, MN.
August 18th, 2:30 p.m. (It's a busy day!):  Giving Voice to Your Value for Social Workers in Marketing, at Visting Angels, Hopkins, MN.
August 23rd, 10 a.m.:  Connect With Confidence for Quality Career Services, St. Paul, MN.
August 26th, 11 a.m. (tentative):  Ten Top Networking Blunders and How to Avoid Them for North Hennpin Area Chamber of Commerce, Osseo, MN.
Also, I don't have a firm release date yet, but I'm way excited that my first audio product is in the works.  I just recorded one of my most popular presentation topics, Ten Top Networking Blunders and How to Avoid Them.  I hope the CD and MP3 versions will be available by the time the September issue of Networking Nuggets comes out.  (Keep your fingers crossed, okay?)
Thanks to my friend Flickr.
Here are this month's heroes who graciously allowed me to use their images, posted in the Creative Commons area of Flickr, in this issue of Networking Nuggets:
purple triskele by shiftercat
light bulb by aloshbennett
In this part of the world, August is when farmers start to harvest the results of their labors.  I hope your harvest of networking success is bountiful, too. 
Wishing you a year of dazzling success,

Client Connections
Life is good.