Network While You are Employed to Build Social Capital

corporatenetworkWhen I left the corporate world 20 some years ago, building a network at your place of employment was not the way of life it is today. Or is it?

I am still amazed at the number of corporate people who contact me with “help” as one of their first words. They have been in the same job for 8-10 years or more and while they haven’t been given a pink slip, they are beginning to feel uneasy. And they have not taken the time to build a substantial network.

Cradle-to-grave job security is a thing of the past. Plus a huge percentage of the good jobs never hit the public market. They are filled by someone who knows someone who fits the bill. The goal is to be that someone. Here’s how to get started:

Soul Search

  • If you were to change jobs, what would you like to do … the same or different responsibilities?
  • Would you move geographically?
  • Would you accept the same amount of money? Less?
  • What are your future aspirations … to be an employee, manager, president?
  • How much longer do you feasibly have to climb the ladder? Is age a hindrance?
  • Do you want to do your own thing?

After soul-searching, it’s time to:

  • Attend trade shows. One of my favorites because most people have more time to talk, especially when on “booth duty.” Also plan to “catch” one or two of the executives after they finish keynote addresses. I know it works because I use to do executive support in my days at AT&T and would field requests like that for vice presidents or help people who just “stopped by.”
  • Join a horizontal (within your industry) professional organization.
  • Join a vertical (same profession) organization.
  • Become involved in the groups. Committee work shortens the time it takes to build relationships.
  • Offer to speak (overcome the number one fear!) for no fee to groups whose membership is comprised of companies for which you want to work.
  • Reconnect with people who left your company, this time for the purpose of building solid relationships.
  • Strengthen relationships at your place of employment.
  • And … don’t let this happen again!

To learn more, read Breakthrough Networking: Building Relationships That Last.

Posted in Face-to-Face Networking | Leave a comment

Chicago Networking Expert Says Small Talk is Huge!


startconversationThe content can be the weather or other current chitchat. The role small talk plays, however, is far from minor. It’s an important conversation starter and often determines if you and/or the other person want to keep talking – hence the opportunity to build a relationship – or make a quick escape.

 Because the content may seem unimportant, you may think it unnecessary to prepare  … and just wing it. That works for the few people who can think succinctly on their feet and then articulate their thoughts fluently and effortlessly.

Gender differences in communication can also be small talk hazards. Men have three main topics in their small talk repertoire: sports, current events, business/jobs. Women have hundreds and since they disclose more about their personal lives they may get blank stares from men when they start talking about children and spouses.

Seven Tips to help you Make Your Small Talk More Meaningful

  1. Fill your small talk arsenal.  Get up-to-date on current news through whatever vehicle you use and then form an opinion so you can discuss it. It’s fine if you have a divergent opinion so long as you listen to others’ and remain congenial.
  2. Prepare a few questions based on the time of the year.
    1. Current business news
    2. Unusual weather
    3. College/pro basketball/football/baseball/hockey games and standings
    4. Movies and TV shows/ Oscar or Emmy nominees
    5. Questions/comments about the sponsoring organization
    6. It is generally advisable to steer clear of politics and religion.
  3. Practice by yourself. Talk to yourself in the mirror and watch your expressions and gestures. Are they appropriate? Do they need honing? Don’t imitate the U.S. president who raised three fingers when he was discussing two items!
  4. Practice with others. Try starting conversations with family, friends, clerks, neighbors, co-workers, wait staff, people in doctors’ waiting rooms, etc. Mentally record if you get the conversation started and if it goes in the direction you want.
  5. Listen better. Use your two ears and two eyes and one mouth to your advantage. Remind yourself of the proportion as you glance in a mirror at an event … in fact, every time you look in a mirror.
  6. Look confident. You automatically appear to be more knowledgeable and someone others want to get to know.
    1. Plant your feet.
    2. Hold your head high.
    3. Keep your shoulders back.
    4. Put your chest out.
    5. Hold your stomach in.
    6. Make direct eye contact.
  7. Observe and listen before joining a conversation in progress. Prepare your remarks and wait for an opening.
Posted in Face-to-Face Networking | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chicago Networking Speaker, Author Answers “What is Networking?”

Door Knob“What is networking?”  Here’s my answer to the question that I am asked frequently: It is an active, dynamic process that links people into mutually beneficial relationships to build another vital kind of wealth: social capital. Think of the people you link with as your “knob turners.”

  • Active – You cannot sit back and wait to be contacted or approached. You have to make it happen! The knight or princess on the white horse will not drive up to your door with referrals or job offers.  You have to take the initiative.
  • Dynamic – No two interchanges are the same. You have to keep up with your industry, your business, your company, your community, your friends, and, most of all, you have to hone your techniques continually so you can apply them universally.
  • Process – Networking is a series of hierarchical actions and interactions that leads to an end: a result, a solution, a relationship, an answer, a sale, a job.
  • Links – The process connects, bonds and couples people with one another. Just as a chain is only as strong as its weakest link so is your network only as strong as your weakest link.
  • Mutually beneficial relationships – Networking is as much about giving as it is about getting. You and people you connect with and connect to others need to mutually profit from the interactions to make it work. Just as you can’t take money from your savings account until you deposit it, you can’t take from the universe until you have helped others. And you don’t need to keep track because the natural law of reciprocity makes sure you will get when you give.
  • Social capital – This kind of wealth helps you amass financial capital. Who you know is more important up front than what you know. Advanced degrees and experience seldom open doors for you; people do that.
Posted in Face-to-Face Networking | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Show Confidence not Egotism


confidenceThere’s a fine line between confidence and egotism. The former is a great asset to your career and business. The latter usually is a detriment.

Confidence is shown through your erect posture, strong handshakes, credible eye contact, positive leadership, standing up for yourself and the right clothing and words for the occasion.

Egotism is manifested through a need to dominate through body language and words; i.e. the “bigger fish” syndrome. No matter what you say to egoists, they have done it bigger and better, and they can’t wait to tell you about it! They are more interested in monolog than dialog.

So how do business people gain and exhibit the needed confidence without going overboard? How do you “toot you own horn” and still keep others interested and involved?

The answer

You learn how to promote yourself and/or business in a professional manner. While the methods may vary slightly, the principles apply equally well to entrepreneurs and corporate employees.

The process begins with a thorough knowledge of yourself including the focus of your business or job. Plus you know how you do it differently. That’s a must for people in transition. For entrepreneurs, it is the core of their marketing strategy. Corporate employees use it in their career planning process.

Plus you need to focus on how others benefit from what you do. Successful people learn early that others are not interested so much in what you do as in how they or others in their company or network can benefit from what you do.

Top-of-mind Positioning

Then you move on to establishing your top-of-the-mind positioning statement:  When people think of (blank), they think of (fill in your name). That first blank is all-important. You complete it with a business/job function/service or product that is commonly known, i.e. stay away from good customer service, reliability, etc. These words are a useless promotional tool if people don’t know what business you are in!

Your marketing efforts, which may include advertising, your behavior and appearance, online presence, direct mail, email signature, networking, ezines, media articles and interviews, publicity, promotion and more, all need to emanate from your positioning statement. Think of it as the center of your business universe, and all your marketing efforts are spokes from that wheel.

As a speaker, trainer, coach, consultant and author, I have helped tens of thousands of people nationwide from executives to administrate professionals enhance their confidence and increase their business and career success. How’s your confidence level?

Posted in Communication Skills | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Integrative Healthcare Offers Affordable Acupuncture Face Lifts

This blog first appeared on 

Acupuncture Facelifts Not Just For Movie Stars!

Posted · Add Comment

If you’ve been thinking about getting a facelift but don’t want surgery, then acupuncture facelifts may be just what, Acupuncture faceliftsyou need.

Acupuncture has been used for centuries by the Chinese to help promote health and beauty.  It is based on the flow of energy (chi) throughout your body.  This energy flows through different pathways and when it’s out of balance, you become sick.

Acupuncture involves inserting very tiny needles to select points along different pathways to help restore the flow of this vital energy and stimulate the body’s natural energies.  It has been shown to stimulate different responses in the body helping to heal and revitalize.

Acupuncture facelifts were popular among the wealthy in China but now with A-listers crediting facial acupuncture for their youthful complexion, and aging Baby Boomers trying to stave off wrinkles without the use of surgery or injected chemicals, the technique is once again gaining popularity.

Whether it is called facial rejuvenation, acupuncture facelift or cosmetic acupuncture, the aim is to reduce or erase fine lines and soften deeper ones.  Additionally, patients may experience the firming of jowls and a reduction in the size of under-eye bags.  It is not unusual for clients to report enhanced skin tone, increased energy and eyes that sparkle.

Results typically become visible after the third and fourth treatment and occasional maintenance is needed. What’s more, acupuncture’s ability to improve a variety of skin conditions has now been documented in legitimate clinical studies.  Its effectiveness is no longer a question of hearsay or testimonials.  Also, it’s non-surgical, doesn’t have any side effects and is very comfortable.

If your features are tired, your eyes baggy and your skin is without luster, yet you do not feel the need for cosmetic surgery, then acupuncture facelifts may be the perfect partner in your quest for rejuvenation and renewal.

Posted in Miscellaneous | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

AT&T Said One Thing; GoDaddy(R) Another. Me? I Get to Start Over Blogging as if it Were Day 1!


whew[1]It was 2009 when I began blogging. It was technical confusion then … and it still is. Below I’ve reprinted what happened back then

But first …

Now that AT&T can host WordPress, I decided there was no longer any need to pay two hosts and wanted to move my blog onto my home web page, So I checked with GoDaddy and was told several times that the site could be moved with all my hundreds of blogs intact. On to AT&T, who is my ISP. Was told “no.” Back to GoDaddy and heard “yes.”

Had my webmaster call since I figured she had more techie knowledge. She got the same song and dance.

So??? I now pay only one hosting fee; however, my hundreds of posts went bye-bye.

Good thing I saved them in Word (no problems there yet) and can re-share all that great face-to-face networking and communication skill knowledge again.

Stay tuned. I’m back in business!

(Dec. 17, 2009) Starting a Blog Can Be a MAMMOTH Task!

I was sure it wasn’t true. Download in five minutes, and you will be on your way. It even hinted that a non-techie like me was supposed to get started blogging by herself.


It took me longer than five minutes, five hours, five days … not quite five weeks to be able to do what I like … write and share my opinions.

It all began before it was even snowing in Chicago. Heck, it was still suit coat weather. My web master suggested I check with my ISP just to make sure my server would accommodate WordPress. I thought, “What a simple task and one that would verify we were ready for that five-minute download so I could be on my way.”

What ensued was not what I expected. After several conversations with AT&T, one technical person said, “No, you have to switch to a UNIX-based server. We don’t support mysql on our other servers. (Quickly found out I couldn’t do that because my shopping cart is designed in asp.)

However, when I called back, I got a technical person who said I could do my five-minute download if I switched from a basic to an enhanced package. Done.

I checked back once more to make sure all was well. Guess what? I now got a technical person who again said no dice. You need to switch to a UNIX-based server. Your enhanced version supports Mssql, but not Mysql. (I even called mysql and talked to a delightful customer service rep … all to no avail though.)

Finally got a new website from GoDaddy because, guess what, they support mysql!

Oh, and when my AT&T bill came, I was charged for the enhanced version even though I had it less that a week! (They did remove it from my bill, which delights this former AT&T employee.)

Posted in Miscellaneous, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment