Networking Groups – What Should You Expect?

Networking groups are a great way to get yourself “out there” but what should you expect?

Networking Groups

networkNetworking groups are like minded people getting together to share ideas, learn and expand their circle of influence. They can take the form of:

  • Chambers of Commerce
  • Themed Meet Up Groups
  • Groups based on faith
  • School groups

and the list can go on. You can find a group for almost anything you can think of where you can be involved and make new friends. The thing to remember is it’s a two way street. Don’t get involved expecting to get something if you aren’t willing to give something.

What Can You Expect

  • Education
  • New ideas
  • Friendships
  • Connections

collaboration imageYou get the idea. When we join a group of any kind, we are expecting something from it. I find groups where I meet like minded people who are willing to share ideas and a place where I will learn something new every day. In many cases, we are risking exposing our feelings to others, especially if we want them to be honest with us and we are honest with ourselves. This can lead to making new connections that lead to lifelong friendships.

We have to remember that we don’t always get what we expect and may have to consider changing groups until we find the best fit. Sometimes, we join a group and, over time, it becomes stale or no longer meets our needs. In some cases, we may need more than one group to fulfill our needs. Try new groups when you get the opportunity and find the ones that work for you. Note, I indicated ones, not one! The other thing to consider is whether the group is getting what it needs from you! Always show up with your best you.

What May Be Expected From You

  • Referrals
  • Honesty
  • Financial contributions
  • Teaching

junkBe honest and be willing to give referrals. Don’t give them just because you are expected to, make sure the people you refer deserve it. Just as you need to make sure you deserve referals.

Remember that networking costs money and be prepared to give your financial support when needed. For example, there could be a membership fee to help support things like printing costs or you may be asked to contribute regularly to help cover the cost of a room. I’m not saying to bankrupt yourself trying to be part of a group but don’t expect someone else to carry you.

Although you may be new to a field of expertise, there is probably something you can teach others. Think about other areas of your life and transferable skills. Or, there may be an opportunity to share something not related at all, but the group shares an interest. Be giving and not always taking.

Now, get out there and make some friends!

Make it a great day,

Barry

P.S. What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful for networking opportunities, chances to learn and chances to teach. What are you thankful for today?

TRADE SHOWS: Yes, No or Maybe?

Trade Shows

office-227169_1280Trade shows are a great way to create brand awareness. In my experience you need to understand that trade shows are not likely to produce immediate sales. Sure, you may sell a few pairs of socks, bath bombs or whatever your product is. If you are a service, you definitely are unlikely to produce sales at the trade show itself.

What you can expect is that you have the opportunity to start a dialogue with people. But, you have to get their attention first. Just setting up your table and banners won’t do it. You are just one voice in a sea of many.

What are some things you can do to draw people to your table or booth?

  • Set up an interactive activity like golf putting or a guessing game.
  • Have a draw where people can win something.
    • Make sure you are aware of any lottery laws in your area. For example, in Ontario you must have a license for a lottery. If there is a skill testing question involved, it’s no longer a game of chance. (If you are unsure about local laws, use your #LegalSavingsPlan to find out!)
  • Get out from behind your table and start a conversation.
  • Go and talk to the other vendors!

Give Something Away!

Free Internet Marketing Coaching

People are always looking for something for nothing. Go ahead, tell me I’m wrong. I won’t believe you because I’m as normal as the next person and I’m always looking. What can you give away?

  • Free consultation
  • Pens, notepads, etc. What I call swag.

My personal favourite is a draw. Just remember to watch out for rules around lottery etc. That’s why you will often see the need for a “skill testing question”. Also make sure to use appropriate disclosure about how you will use and protect information. When it comes to draws, I’m like a moth to a flame. This is a great way of gathering names to call about my business.

Up Front Contract

contractI have written about this before. (Click here to read my blog about the Up Front Contract.)

When collecting names and contact information, be up front about the fact you will follow up and how you will use the information.

As an example, I was sponsoring a hole in a golf tournament where I had a table with a draw. One of the participants said “You’re not going to be calling me are you?”. My answer was “Of course! But, when I call, you can tell me to get lost. Just be kind, I’m sensitive!” which resulted in a laugh and him completing a ballot. Some passed and that’s OK. It’s all about sorting. If there’s a ballot, there’s an opportunity for a sale. Approaches like booths are all about gathering names to set up opportunities to share your story. Don’t even try to sell there. Get the meeting, that’s the sale for that day.

Other Arrows In Your Quiver

  • website toolsCold calls. (Not for me but hey, I know some who love it!)
  • Door knocking. (Right up there with cold calls!)
  • Webinars
  • Advertising
  • Only limited by your imagination.

First, trade shows may or may not be for you. If they are, don’t let trade shows be the only thing you do. You know the old saying, “Variety is the spice of life!”. Now, get out there and make some new friends.

Make it a great day!

Barry

P.S. What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful for open minds, new networks and new friends. What are you thankful for today?

 

Who Am I?

Who am I becomes incredibly important when we are having “one of those days”. Do you know the difference between your role at any given time and “who am I”?

Who am I

Barry ClermontWho am I: “I” is who you are at your very basic core. Your core values and how those drive your interaction with the world around you at any given time. For example, I grew up in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and came from a lower/middle class family. (Ssh! My siblings may not agree with that description!) Hamilton in the 60’s and 70’s was very much a manufacturing town. People in a community like that tend to be very down to earth and not really focused on amassing great wealth or impressing others with their brilliance. Don’t get me wrong, these people were a lot smarter than many people with doctorates that I have come into contact throughout my life.

As a result, I don’t consider myself any better than anyone else and actually sometimes struggle with being in a formal leadership position. This leads me to the difference between my “I” and my role or “R”.

Role

Our role changes at any given time, often many times within a single day! You may find yourself in the role of:

  1. Significant Other (Whatever that means for you!)
  2. Mother/Father
  3. Daughter/Son
  4. Student
  5. Leader or Manager

When you think about it, you could be all five. And, sometimes one or more may really suck!

MasksHave you ever had a day when either you disappointed someone or they didn’t live up to an expectation? In my experience, this could lead to either being frustrated because I lacked a skill or missed that I didn’t give the other person the tools they needed to meet my expectation. Ultimately, disappointed myself and ended up feeling angry or sad and feeling that I was a bad person or did something wrong. There is likelihood I was correct but it made me feel bad about myself.

Wrong! Don’t do that!!!

Understanding I/R Theory

It’s OK to be mad/sad/disappointed;

  • in how you delivered or didn’t on a promise; or
  • in how a project turned out; or
  • in a decision you made.

Barry the boomer!If I were to ask you out of 1-10 “how is your I today?”, the answer should always be a 10. This is how you see yourself as a person. Be careful not to confuse that with the role you are in at the time. Maybe as a father, you had to say no to a child and it made them sad or mad, or your wife or an employee. Sure, you feel lousy about having to say no and that’s OK. It doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you. Maybe even quite the opposite because that was the right answer for the circumstance. The problem is simply something is wrong with or in the role. And it may be that you have done something to violate a core value meaning you need to make a change in that role. When a project or job isn’t working, you can end it and walk away if you need to.

If you are constantly violating core principals, that affects the I. You have changed and when it’s for the worse, can destroy you. That needs to be fixed fast! If your employer is making you do something illegal or immoral, you may need to change employers. Maybe even a spouse. Do what you have to do to protect your “I”.

MeetCheep

Make it a great day!

Barry

P.S. What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful for positive people, great leaders and my family. What are you thankful for today?

 

Collaboration Tools

Collaboration tools can be so useful and yet so confusing!

Collaboration, A Fancy Word For Working Together!

Collaboration is working together, especially in an intellectual endeavour. For example:

  • Business planning in a group environment
  • Interactive online training
  • Creating marketing materials
  • Planning activities or events

Anything requiring input from multiple people to achieve a common goal could be considered a collaborative effort.

Collaboration Tools

There are different tools available to make collaboration easier:

  • Teleconference
  • Video Conference
  • In Person Meetings

Teleconference

teleconferenceTeleconference is great when you don’t need to share visuals or maybe combined with visual aids that can be shared by other means. This works well when you are working with people who may have limited access to broadband internet. For example, businesses with remote offices in northern Ontario may have difficulty using any kind of online video tools. This could ultimately lead to people “pretending” to be logged in but actually walked away and got coffee because it takes too long for their system to catch up.

You could use a teleconference to connect for audio and email presentations that the participants could then open locally on their computers and “click” along with the presenter during discussion. Thank God for Power Point! Well, thanks to Bill Gates and Microsoft.

 

Video Conference

GVO ConferenceGVO Conference is by far the most robust and best tool for the money. Fully functioning online conference software with available HTML5 functionality including the ability to share your desktop, video clips and presentations. You can even have group face to face where your broadband can support it.

Google Hangouts is readily available through your Chrome browser. In my experience, OK for 1-3 people face to face but can be unreliable with slightly larger groups.

Appear In is free for up to four people. Works well for video conference and desktop sharing but doesn’t have built in video or slide show ability.

Adobe Connect is very robust but also very resource hungry. You will need a good computer with a plugin in to run a room. This can be expensive and has a rather big learning curve.

There are many other tools like Webex and so on but I think you get the idea. In case you didn’t notice, yes, I’m trying to lead you to click on the link showing the GVO Suite of tools that includes the conference room! (Amiya, the name in the link is my granddaughter.)

In Person Meetings

In person meetingWe have all heard you can’t beat “belly to belly” for sales and much the same for learning and working together. I agree!

In the global economy of today, it often isn’t possible to bring people together in one place for collaboration purposes. By using tools like video conference, we can come from literally anywhere in the world to work together for a common purpose. Canada and USA are two of the largest countries in the world and going from one side to the other takes days, not hours, unless you are spending hundreds of dollars for air travel. Frankly, ground can be as much or more than air travel by the time you consider fuel, food and lodging!

I would suggest in person meetings may be advisable and preferable when kick starting a project or bringing it in for a landing. Consider something like GVO Conference for all of the in between work!

Collaboration

Collaboration isn’t always easy but the old cliche is “more heads are better than one”. Reach out to your business partners, whether you work in business, education or any other field, they are all business partners, and find the best way to work together. When you develop plans collaboratively, you get more buy in. People who have a vested interest don’t want to see “their” idea fail. Use whatever tools you need to bring the right voices to the table.

Make it a great day!

Barry

P.S. What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful for great minds, the internet and GVO! What are you thankful for today?

 

 

Over 50 and Looking For Something. But What?

Are you over 50 and looking for something but really don’t know what?

Over 50

Peanut Butter & Jelly SandwichMany of us go through life believing we are “on track”. On track for what? All of a sudden we reach 50 and the kids are gone. For many of us, our parents are gone and others are feeling like PB & J. Squished between the demands of our children and our parents if they are still with us.

We reach that time in our lives when the kids are grown enough that they don’t need us the same way any more. For some, our parents have become the needy “kids” in our lives and create demands on our time. Regardless, we “The Sandwich Generation” find ourselves redefining who we are and where we are headed. Somehow I’ll bet that most of us aren’t where we thought we would be at this point in our lives.

  • Pensions may not afford us the financial resources to have true financial freedom to travel at will.
  • The kids’ students loans are crushing them and we aren’t able to help.
  • Our parents need our help physically and in some cases, financially.

Most of us are in various stages at this point in our lives.So much for that dream of independence and being white haired jet setters we had when we were young adults!  Some are lucky enough to have great pensions, the mortgage is paid and parents are the jet setters we want to be. Others have remortgaged their homes, maybe more than once, to help with the kids’ educations, weddings or first home purchases. Still others are working more than one job just to keep roof over their heads.

What are you looking for?

  • A new life partner?
  • New friends with shared interests?
  • Extra income to meet current financial obligations?
  • Building a retirement income?
  • All of the above?

A New Life Partner

love-1643452_640First, let me say, I can’t really offer experienced advice in this area. I am lucky enough to have been married now for over 28 years to a wonderful woman and don’t foresee ever being in this position. All I can say is that if I were looking for a new life partner, I would first need to identify what my passions are and then put myself in situations where I meet others with like interests. The fact that they are out there would in and of itself mean we have commonality.

New friends with shared interests

CoachesI don’t know about you but when I was younger, my parents used to tell me that friends will come and go throughout my life. They were right. When my kids were younger, three out of four were involved in competitive soccer. I ended up managing a rep team, coaching indoor house league teams and generally facilitating their sports activities. As a result of the time required, we made our friends there.

Now, all of our kids are grown and doing very different things. As much as I miss those friends, we no longer have the same commonalities. We still talk once in a while but life has moved on. We now find ourselves looking to meet new people at a similar point in their lives to spend time with.

Extra income to meet current financial obligations

When I started my first full time job, I thought I would be retiring at 65 with a full pension and never expected to do anything different. Surprise! That company laid me off during the 80’s when they were trying to survive. I went to work for a competitor who ended up buying them out. By the mid 90’s, it happened again. I was “downsized”.

Two careers later, disaster struck our family and my business ended drying up. I went back to my roots to at least put some bread on the table. I was surrounded by other men in very similar circumstances, working as much as three part time jobs trying to make one income. I was lucky enough to find a job with a pension but it will be much smaller than originally expected and I will need to find another source to supplement my retirement income.

Building a retirement income

CompensationThere are definitely other options. You just need to open your mind to possibilities.

First thing to decide is if you will retire or re-engage. Some will have to take yet another job in retirement in order to survive and/or have anything for extras like vacation and travel. Whatever happened to that just being an expected outcome of years of working? Others will start a business of some kind.

I would suggest that you keep your mind open to different options. The author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Robert Kyosaki advocates that you consider MLM as a way to get seed money for other investments. From there you may decide to open a bricks and mortar operation, invest in stocks or just enjoy the residual income from that business.

All of the above

What if someone is in a situation where it’s all of the above?

Don’t let that scare you. Believe it or not, I have met people in one of our businesses where they were exactly that and they have found a partner, earned a living and built an ongoing and residual income that will not only look after them but will actually let them leave a legacy.

Whatever your situation, I advise working on yourself first. A saying I heard that resonates for me is “become the person you want to attract”. Read good books, watch good videos and put yourself around good people. Did you know that if you read 10-15 pages of a book every day that you would complete at least 10 books a year? Don’t let the job of becoming your best you be intimidating and don’t let the crabs hold you back. Start reading!

Best of luck on this journey we call life and if you think I could help, reach out!

Make it a great day,

Barry

P.S What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful for open minds, great books and great mentors. What are you thankful for today?