Posts tagged ‘networking’

Networking Is More Than Gathering Business Cards

Business-Card-Etiquette-7-Tips-To-Improve-Your-Networking-300x192Believe it or not, gathering business cards is not the goal of networking; it’s building relationships. Networking is an essential skill in building business, but starting conversations with strangers is no small feat. Walk into a networking event with confidence and work the room effectively with these three secrets:

Practice a your handshake— A good handshake is essential in networking. As stated by Kathy Magliato, a world-famous heart surgeon, “You can tell the character of a person by their handshake.” Practice your handshake to master it. A handshake needs to be firm and confident.

Confidently state your name— Similar to your handshake, the way you state your name in a networking event can make or break a new acquaintance. Make sure your voice is strong and clear and state your full name, “Chloe Smith,” not just “Chloe.” Stating a full name exudes confidence and pride.

Be genuine— Last, but definitely not least, be empathetic, genuine and listen to what other people are saying. Remember, the goal is not getting a business card—it’s being remembered and building a relationship. You need to care and respond to other networkers’ thoughts.

NJC Printing provides quality digital and offset printing to businesses in St. Louis, Missouri and throughout the Midwest. Please visit our website at www.NJCPrint.com to learn more about us or to Request An Estimate.

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Have a Pocket Full At All Times!!

business card handEverything we do in business today is digital — sending mail, signing contracts, attending meetings, even networking. The business card is one thing that digital will not fully replace anytime soon.

Here are five reasons why the old school business card is still important — and why you should have a pocket full of them at all times.

Article Contributor: Jonathan Long, Founder and CEO, Market Domination Media  http://www.entrepreneur.com

1. Swapping contact information digitally is impersonal.

Networking is about making genuine connections. Sending contact information via text or email on the spot is convenient but it is also extremely impersonal. Engaging in eye contact and actual conversation is how real relationships begin.

Two individuals with their heads buried in their phones typing away won’t create any kind of significant memory of the encounter. You can easily transfer the information from a business card to your mobile device after the conversation.

2. They are the most effective direct marketing tools.

Email marketing, search engine optimization and paid media all do a great job of attracting leads and prospects, but they still aren’t as effective as an in-person meeting sealed with a handshake along with a business card exchange.

You can encounter a potential lead or contact at any time — tradeshows, industry conferences, happy hour, airport lounges — and arming yourself with business cards at all times will ensure that you never miss an opportunity to make a valuable business connection. Keep some in your pockets, wallet, money clip or laptop bag so the next time you encounter a prospect you are prepared.

3. A business card is the first impression of your brand.

When you meet someone that could potentially be a great prospect or connection, don’t you want him or her to walk away with a great first impression? A memorable business card does a lot more than just pass on an email address or phone number.

When you make a connection via your business card, You don’t want your brand  associated with the word cheap. A retail store trying to make a great first impression wouldn’t create a storefront sign with a piece of cardboard and a Sharpie. You should have that same mentality when it comes to your business cards.

4. Creative business cards get shared — continuing to market for you.

A business card is a physical object that a potential prospect leaves the encounter with. Your brand stays with them.

If you meet a prospect and exchange email addresses and phone numbers you each walk away with another contact on your mobile phone — it ends there. If you hand over a creative business card that makes a great impression that person is likely to show it to other people — putting you and your brand in front of additional prospects.

5. Business cards show you are prepared.

Have you ever had someone write his or her contact information on a cocktail napkin and hand it over to you? How about someone that had a mobile phone with a dead battery? It isn’t the most professional approach.

If you met two individuals and one was scrambling to find a pen and something to write on and the other person simply pulled out a business card, who would you want to do business with? Showing that you are prepared at all times is a great indicator that you are professional.

Fear not. Conversations will still end with, “Let me give you my business card,” at least for a little longer.

 

NJC Printing provides quality digital and offset printing to businesses in St. Louis, Missouri and throughout the Midwest. Please visit our website at www.NJCPrint.com to learn more about us or to Request An Estimate.

3 Effective Tactics to Help You “Connect to People”

connectingNetworking is such a valuable skill because it allows you to create new bridges. And it IS a skill–meaning it can be practiced and learned like anything else. You don’t have to be a born extravert to network well.

Networking allows you to reach new connections, which in turn will connect you with their own contacts, expanding your reach far more quickly than you could on your own. You can use networking to market your business or even yourself.

In other words, while it’s about who you know, it’s also about who OTHER people know, because those people might open you up to a whole new audience and new sales opportunities.

Here are three tactics to get your networking game into gear:

1. Get off your couch and into the real world. If you’re browsing on Twitter, Facebook, or sending out cold emails, it’s no wonder why doors aren’t opening for you. get-off-the-couchYou’ve got to play the game. And sometimes, that means getting off your butt and actually meeting people.

Be proactive. Contact someone and ask him or her out for a 10-minute coffee break. Don’t expect a VIP to invest time in you unless you have an existing connection. Who do you know who knows this person and could introduce you? What networking events would host valuable networking contacts? And if you’re at one of those events, talk to people. Networking–and all human connection–is about initiative. If you don’t put yourself out there and say hello, no one else can do it for you.

2. Offer your contacts value, instead of just expecting value from them. The idea of networking makes people feel uncomfortable because we associate it with awkward, self-interested sales people working a room and handing out their business cards. Real networking isn’t about getting–it’s about mutual giving.

ValueNetworking done right is a two way street, where both parties work to make a human connection that provides reciprocal value. So for every networking interaction, ask yourself, how can I provide value to this person?

Figure out how you can help them before you interact: Can you be already known for leaving insightful comments on their blog? Can you offer them a unique solution to a problem? Could you help them find a valuable contact? Maybe they’d like the satisfaction of having someone to mentor–someone who listens to them and actually shows them a way they’ve applied their advice.

3. Respect those you’re networking with. If they are a valuable contact, treat them that way. Many who take the initiative to meet up with high-level VIPs know that it’s not enough to contact them. You have to make it easy for them to reply, because they are incredibly busy. By definition, if someone’s valuable enough for you to go out of the way to connect to, his or her time is more valuable than yours. Position your conversations with that fact in mind.respect

If you’re emailing to get in touch with someone, make answering the email as easy as saying “Yes.” So if you’re proposing a meet-up, make your intentions clear immediately and provide a specific time and location (letting them know you’re willing to be flexible). If you’re setting a meeting in person, don’t ramble. If you’re trying to learn from someone, understand how to ask good questions and allow your contact to talk more than you.

At the end of the day, networking is about two people offering one another mutual value. There’s nothing sleazy about building relationships with someone who is interested in the same things as you and would benefit from the relationship, too. Just learn how to offer value to another person, and soon you’ll have a stronger business and be able to reach more people than ever.

NJC Printing provides quality digital and offset printing to businesses in St. Louis, Missouri and throughout the Midwest. Please visit our website at www.NJCPrint.com to learn more about us or to Request An Estimate.

Off The Clock Networking

When you’re on the job, you do everything you can to reach out and drum up new business. Maybe you’re managing multiple social media pages to reach consumers. You’ve sent direct mail to new markets where you can find potential customers that would benefit from your products or services. But just because you’re doing all you can on the clock doesn’t necessarily mean you should rule out after hours networking. Think of the advantages of getting out there to meet new people while your competitors are confined to their businesses. Here are some easy networking strategies to consider next time you’re off the clock.

Don’t Be Bashful
Let’s face it. Being shy is not an option when it comes to networking. So you’ve got to put yourself out there and think of every interaction as a networking opportunity. And if you’re on the shy side, you can overcome that by being prepared. Unless you engage, you never know if that stranger beside you on a plane or the table next to you at a restaurant could be a customer. So don’t just think of traditional wine and cheese networking events as the only place to find new business. Volunteer opportunities, for instance, are a great way to get connected to others with similar interests. Also, remember to always have business cards handy for any unexpected opportunities you meet.

Perfecting Your Pitch
Studies show that the younger generation, an up-and-coming portion of the consuming population, have short attention spans because they were raised in barrage of information from the readily available content the Internet puts at their fingertips. They may not be the only ones. As technology continues to expand, consumers have more options to become distracted and don’t have time to listen for elongated periods of time. That’s why you should never rule out your best elevator pitch.

Make the pitch short, simple and relevant to the person you’re engaging. People want to know what you have to offer without sorting through information to get to your main point. Give it to them up front instead of dancing around what they’re really looking for. Remember that although you’re trying to be concise, you also need to find a way to stand out from everybody else.

How to Keep Them Hooked
The best way to keep people engaged is to find commonalities. If you talk about a shared hobby or passion before you talk business, your new connection is sure to remember you and possibly follow up to work with you. When you’re out there networking, never attempt to force a business relationship. But that doesn’t mean you should stop talking with them just because you don’t see potential. The personal connection may eventually result in a referral or at least a substitute fourth for your golf league.

NJC Printing provides quality digital and offset printing to businesses in St. Louis, Missouri and throughout the Midwest. Please visit our website at www.NJCPrint.com to learn more about us or to Request An Estimate.

4 Things to Help College Grads Gain the Advantage in Job Hunting.

College graduations are looming for thousands of students across the country. That means students will be looking to enter a competitive job market. If you’re one of those students, it’s time to prepare for the real world. Here are a few things you should be doing now to gain an advantage over your fellow classmates.

Update your resume
Resumes are still the ticket to getting an interview in most careers. Make sure your resume has current and compelling information. Most importantly, have a few professionals proof read it for grammar and spelling. One mistake and your resume will end up in the trash.  You’ll want to customize your cover letter and resume for each job application. While you’re at it, open a LinkedIn account. It’s the Facebook for professionals.

Upgrade your wardrobe
Sweatpants and hoodies may work for the classroom, but won’t cut it in the business world. Research the industry you’re looking to break into to get a sense for the dress code. You will need at least one business suit and good shoes for interviews. You’ll want to get something versatile so you can accessorize in case there is more than one in-person interview. It’s time to start building your business casual wardrobe as well.

Prepare for interviews
Interviews can be scary, but if you are well prepared you can get through them like a pro. Google interview questions and come up with common questions to expect. If you have some ideas on how you want to answer some questions—even if they don’t ask the common questions—you’ll be ready.  Don’t forget to research the company granting you an interview and mention concepts they practice that you appreciate.

Don’t sell yourself short
If you haven’t already, start networking now. If you plan on staying in the community where your school is located, search out a young professionals group and also find out where industry leaders hang out. If you’re relocating, get on LinkedIn and use the connections of professionals in your community. Chances are they know people in other cities that can help you land an interview.

Don’t get discouraged. You’re entering a competitive job market. Aim for your goal, but be prepared with a back up plan. Find a job that provides you with necessary experience so you can eventually land that dream job.

– NJC Printing provides quality digital and offset printing to businesses in St. Louis, Missouri and throughout the midwest. Please visit our website at www.NJCPrint.com to learn more about us or to Request An Estimate.

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