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The Futureforth Blog

Helpful tips and articles about social media strategy, content marketing, and business networking. 

Filtering by Tag: tips

5 Tips for Better Business Networking

Dave Delaney

5 Networking Tips from Clark Buckner Long before Dale Carnegie wrote and released How to Win Friends & Influence People in 1936, networking has always been an integral component of successful business practices. My favorite Carnegie quote is, "You can close more business in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you." But in our digital age, where “networking” can be accomplished with the click of a follow button, how can business people learn to better connect face-to-face? And I want to emphasize that when I reference networking, I’m not talking about the walking spam can at events frisbeeing business cards around like Xena Warrior Princesss’ Super Chakrom.

Veteran networkers Alison Groves, community champion at Zapier, and Jacel Egan, media relations coordinator at TechnologyAdvice, shared some tips to help maximize the value you’re able to add to others through better face-to-face connections. Here are a few highlights from our conversation while hanging out at my favorite restaurant Chago’s.

5 Tips for Better Business Networking

    1. Show up. It’s really the most important step. Networking in real life requires showing up (both figuratively and literally) to events, mixers, conferences, and other opportunities that put you in a position to connect with like-minded individuals. It’s the first and most basic step, but even this step can prevent some from networking. While that may mean attending an event even after a long day at work, the future payoffs of such connections could be worth your time and effort. In our conversation, we discussed best practices for having meaningful conversations as opposed to the infamous scene in Dumb & Dumber.

 

  • Get uncomfortable. Meeting new people often requires that a person go outside of their comfort zone on a routine basis. Networking also involves allowing yourself to be known by others. This can cause some people anxiety, but such anxiety should lessen as that person continues to attend more events and learns to become comfortable with their discomfort. Tip: Taking an interest in others in the conversation greatly alleviates stress because the focus is on them rather than your own interests, anxiety about networking, etc.

 

 

  • Use technology. Let me clarify. Use technology as an asset, not a crutch. Online resources like Meetup and Eventbrite make the discovery of networking events much easier than it used to be. Through services like these, any person can locate a local event where they can network with others who share their interests. Nothing is greater than the face-to-face handshake so use technology to find opportunities to create intentional encounters.

 

 

  • Search local. Visit the website of your local Chamber of Commerce. Sign up for their email newsletter. See what events they’re planning that will connect you with other business people. Likewise, search for organizations in your region that are similar to Nashville’s Entrepreneur Center that work to connect entrepreneurs with each other.

 

 

  • If all else fails, hang out near the bar. Serendipitous opportunities seem to frequently occur at the bar. Even if no specific business networking opportunities arise, you’ll likely still have an entertaining conversation with someone. However, this more relaxed atmosphere may help anxious networkers relax while also forging a better bond than what typically occurs in the hallways of most conferences. My best connections have been totally unexpected and unplanned - this is just another reason why I am so enthralled with the Butterfly Effect.

 

To hear more ideas from our round table discussion, listen to the full TechnologyAdvice networking discussion above.


Clark Buckner is the online events manager at TechnologyAdvice, an Inc. 5000 company that is dedicated to educating, advising, and connecting the buyers and sellers of business technology. He hosts the TechnologyAdvice Podcast, and also keeps tabs on news and trends in the TechConference industry.

10 LinkedIn Tips for Profiles

Dave Delaney

Photo from Flickr by sheilascarboroughI had the great pleasure of providing an extensive training session at a large healthcare company in Nashville recently. The topic was how LinkedIn is a powerful professional networking tool. We often think of LinkedIn simply as a service to use when we are seeking employment, but it is much more than that. The following are ten ways you can optimize your personal profile and make the most of LinkedIn. Use these LinkedIn tips to make your profile rise to the top of search results and better grow your business network. Remember to always build your network before you need it. Seek ways to help the people you know by providing them with introductions and by letting them know of opportunities that may benefit them.

10 LinkedIn Tips

1. Optimize your profile with keywords and popular terms in your industry. What would you search for if you were looking for someone like you? Use the words that come to your head. Use Google's Keyword Planner to better define your keywords. It can help you find the most popular words.

2. Paul Kaye started a discussion on LinkedIn's Help Forum to define the maximum number of characters (not words) permitted in each section. By using the maximum count with your keywords, you will improve your profile in search rankings.

3. Under Privacy & Settings. Turn off your activity broadcasts. You have probably been alerted when your connections have changed their profiles, made recommendations, or followed companies. You can turn off these notifications, so your connections won't see every tweak and addition you make to your profile. It also helps if you don't want your boss knowing you're looking for a job.

4. Use a professional profile photo. If you can swing it, hire a photographer to create an impressive headshot. You can also use your smartphone with a photo editing app like Google's Snapseed (iOS / Android) to create a decent headshot.

5. Use LinkedIn to search for relevant industry groups to join. Begin with the industry you are in. For example, I belong to the American Marketing Association (AMA). Find groups in your geographic location. I belong to NAMA and the Nashville chapter of the AMA. When someone finds your profile on LinkedIn, they will learn more about you by the groups you associate yourself with.

6. Create and lead your own LinkedIn Group. My group is the New Business Networking Club. There are several benefits of running your own group. You become the leader, you can introduce fellow members to one another, and you can send emails to every member of your group - whether they are a connection or not.

7. Reserve recommendations for the best people you have done business with. If a person you have no professional experience working with requests a recommendation, consider endorsing them instead.

8. Send personalized connection requests and avoid the default. In your request message, remind the person who you are and where you met. What did you talk about when you met? Perhaps you can follow up with further details. At this time, LinkedIn will automatically send the default connection request if you request it via mobile (applications).

9. Create a public profile URL. Don't be a random group of letters and numbers. Click Edit Profile and Edit the URL below your profile photo. You want it to include your full name if possible. Mine is www.linkedin.com/in/davedelaney for example.

10. Take a moment to see how your profile appears when others find you. You can also customize what appears here by selecting the sections under Profile Content. Click Edit Public Profile to take a look and make tweaks. Be sure you look fantastic to potential business partners, employers, employees, and clients.

It's Crucial

Your LinkedIn profile is crucial for your professional networking efforts, even for students. Take the time to walk through these steps and optimize your profile. Don't mistaken LinkedIn as only a tool for job seekers. It is also a powerful business development and networking engine.

Did I miss a tip? Leave a comment with your own.

Photo from Flickr by sheilascarborough


This article originally appeared in The Tennessean newspaper.

A Must See Twitter Magic Trick!

Dave Delaney

Do you believe in magic? How about magical recommendations of cool people to follow and Twitter hashtags to check out? Sounds magical, right? Okay, maybe not exactly magical, but it's still pretty neat. A few months ago the talented folks at Twitter created an account called MagicRecs. All you have to do is follow it and you will receive occasional recommendations as direct messages. It's a fantastic way to find new people to follow on Twitter.

@MagicRecs

In the above example, you see that @AnnaWhiteArtist was just followed by a few of my friends. This made me click through to check out Anna White to learn more about her. Her Twitter bio link is to her Etsy store where she creates custom portraits on old book pages. Clever!

Twitter Magic Recs

In this example, I can see friends were tweeting about the IBM Connect Conference (wish I had been at that one). By clicking the link in the tweet, I can see search results of everyone tweeting the #IBMconnect hashtag. Cool, eh?

You can interact with @MagicRecs by sending it custom commands too.

  • “Hi”, “hello”, or “hey” will prompt @MagicRecs to respond with a greeting.
  • “Help” will return a DM list of available actions.
  • “Tweets on/off” to turn on or off recommendations for Tweets it thinks you may find interesting.
  • “Users on/off” will enable or disable @MagicRecs from sending you recommendations of users it thinks you will enjoy following.
  • “Good” tells @MagicRecs that you like the recommendations it’s sending.
  • “Bad” tells @MagicRecs that you do not enjoy your personalized recommendations.

I am surprised to see that only 49,000 of Twitter's 645,750,000 users are following MagicRecs. Are you?