Saturday, July 10, 2010

How to Work a Room.....

It’s just before 7:00 a.m. it’s an early-riser business-and-education conference at the Metro Convention Centre. The attendees are a mix of over 800 entrepreneurs, educators employers and new graduates. Everyone has come to scout for clients, money, new contacts and jobs.

Donna Messer is one of the speakers, and she is not just there to speak, she is working the room, to meet as many potential new clients as possible. If there’s such a thing as a professional networker, it’s Messer, a business school lecturer and founder of ConnectUs, her company trains business leaders and MBA students to “network and get work”. As the conference begins, she straightens her badge, and strides into the crowd.

1 Know your audience.
Weeks before the event, Messer asked for a list of attendees.
“That way I could do a little research on people I want to meet and use that information to break the ice with them,” she explains. “Are these people entrepreneurs, educators, employers, funders or new graduates? I try to know as much as I can about the crowd before I get there.”

2 Be visible and travel light
Messer wears a tasteful red jacket with pockets. There are a huge number of navy and back suits here. She stands out in this colour, —but not in a bad way Her funky glasses perched on the top of her head, complete the picture. She pulls a small suitcase, which carries everything she will need for the day. Including plenty of business cards! Her jacket with two pockets is crucial, the right one for her business cards the left for those she collects. No fumbling. No giving out someone else’s card by mistake.

3 Circulate
She moves through the throng of people confidently, smiling. Her stride is brisk, yet casual. She knows where she is going. Her jacket is open and her body language says “I’m approachable. “Many people tend to wait for someone to approach them but their body language isn’t sending the right message.” Powerful people come to these events because they want to meet other skilled, talented people. Carry yourself accordingly. Don’t fold your arms. Look like you’re having a good time.”

4 Start fresh.
Messer’s first stop is the long breakfast buffet— not because she’s hungry. “People tend to be very accessible around the food. Talking and eating go together. It’s a great way to get started at an event,” she says, carrying her juice in her left hand so she can shake with her right.

5 Who’s who
To scope out the crowd and pick her targets from the hundreds of attendees, Messer circles the large room once, quickly scanning name tags. “Don’t read name tags while talking to people. Always maintain eye contact.” Sideways glances make you look furtive and shifty.

6 Approach VIPs first
Messer always introduces herself to other speakers. Common courtesy and a great source of additional referrals. She darts over to one of the morning’s guest speakers, a Business School professor, 15 minutes before his presentation starts. “Keynote speakers love to talk and can be great contacts, but after they give their speeches they’re always swamped.”

7 One, two or three.
The room is crowded, so Messer next looks for people who are standing alone. An individual contact is one-on-one and makes the most effective networking. Smile as you approach.” “Be careful if you approach two people, she warns, they may be in conversation, not just chatting, and they won’t welcome a third party.” Groups of three or more, are easy to integrate, stand quietly until there is a lull in the conversation, then introduce yourself with a few well chosen words.

8 Infomercial
Messer approaches a man near the podium and very briefly tells him why she’s at the conference. “Hi. I’m one of the speakers, I wrote Effective Networking Strategies, the book you received with your registration package. We train people how to build their businesses and their careers, my name is Donna Messer.” She says her name at the end so he’s more likely to remember it. Then asks the question. “ How can I help you?”

9 Handshakes
When meeting others, she’s the first to extend her hand. “It’s an old protocol, a sign that you’re eager to interact. Practice your handshake, it says a great deal about you, make sure it’s firm and dry.

10 Get to know them
While talking with strangers, Messer asks open-ended questions to determine quickly how to maximize her opportunity. “The first meeting is about them, and I try to find a common denominator between us.”

11 Card exchange
Messer asks for a business card before she offers her own. “It’s less presumptuous.” She makes note of any follow up on the back of the card. The card go into her left pocket.

12 Who do you know?
After moving through the room twice, she spots the conference moderator, someone she would really like to know. He’s alone drinking coffee, but rather than approach him on her own, she enlists a colleague who knows him to make the introduction. “An intro is like an implicit endorsement, and the next time we meet, there will be that association and that context.”

13 Win/win
The moderator mentions that he’s looking to get in touch with a professor from an American University, whom Messer happens to know. She offers to make an introduction. “Always try to be a connector, the person who brings people together,” she says. This not only makes Messer looked tapped in but may also make the moderator want to return her favour.

14 We came, we met, we will meet again.
After three hours, Messer has talked with at least two dozen new contacts. She makes her presentation, and gathers a huge list of additional contacts from her audience. She leaves the conference with plans to reconnect with everyone within the next week. “Remember, you’re not there to close deals or get a job. You’re there to get the right to follow up with a phone call, an email or a meeting. Maximize each opportunity, it makes the whole day worthwhile.”

Posted on July 5, 2010 by HAPPEN
By Donna Messer, invited speaker at Happen Inc. Canada.
Tag along as Donna Messer an expert networker, demonstrates the effective art of networking.

Messer is a keynote speaker and conference moderator. I can be reached at I’m hosting a networking event on July 22nd, 2010 at the Living Arts Centre, I will be sharing the details on LinkedIn as well.

Is Your Life Working the Way You Want it to BE?

Is your life working?When things happen in the world that seem so far beyond our individual control, it can feel unsettling.

But don’t give up on your goals and dreams just because “the time isn’t good”... you can still make 2010 the year you uncover a whole new you for the better!

Even in tough times, you get to decide how to respond to certain conditions, opportunities, and outcomes—both good and bad.

Life will always be a series of choices and YOU get to decide on what will move you closer to your goals, or farther away from them. External forces will always be part of the equation, even during the good times when the world is thriving.

When people ask me about the single most important ingredient to success, I always share the same response: realizing what’s making you achieve success, and then realizing what is stifling your success.

Sometimes recognizing the things that are NOT working in your life can be painful, yet VERY powerful to shaping the life you want.

Don’t try to rationalize them, make excuses for them, or hide them. This is when it’s even more critical to take personal inventory and evict those excuses, rationalizations, and hidden habits that don’t serve you. These things will keep you from the life you want to be living. Let me give you some examples. Ask yourself if you relate to any of these questions:

Do you want to be active, fit, and strong? Then you have to stop making excuses about your weight, diet choices, and lack of exercise.

Do you want to be in a loving relationship based on friendship and respect? Then you have to stop rationalizing why you and your partner are not communicating well.

Do you want to embrace Monday mornings and feel excited about going to work every day? Then you have to stop hiding your true passions and go after whatever it is you really want to be doing day in and day out.

Do you want to lose the debt forever? Then you have to stop ignoring your spending habits and get real about a creating budget that will pull you out of debt and allow you to reach financial freedom.

Do you want to feel more connected to the people in your life, such as your children, friends, and colleagues? Then you have to stop complaining about your poor relationships and figure out why you don’t feel as connected as you’d like to be.

These things can be painful to look at because the truth is that you have to do something about them in order to make it work in your life.

You’ll have to say no to the second helping of dinner and the dessert to follow and go through the action steps to get into shape... You’ll have to confront your partner about the areas that need work... You’ll have to get past fears about changing your job or professional path... You’ll have to cut back on your spending and be a bit more frugal... You’ll have to take a good hard look at your personal relationships and perhaps consider your own shortfalls and weaknesses in communicating your needs and concerns.

Plain and simple, you will have to do something uncomfortable.

Successful people don't waste time in denial (or complain or make excuses for that matter). They face situations like a warrior. They look for the warning signs, they find out why things aren’t working, and they go about fixing them- even when fixing requires problem solving, hard work, risk, and a level of uncertainty.

It’s okay to identify a problem even though you haven’t a clue about how to go about solving it right away.

The first step is just recognizing the issue, and then having faith that you’ll figure it out with careful attention to it. That’s how successful people live—in constant focus on goals, on results, on problem solving, and on the actions that get them to where they want to be.

Following are three things to do constantly in pursuit of your goals and dreams, however big or small:

* Awareness: Keep your awareness on the feedback you are getting from life and decide to address the situations immediately. Don’t bottle up feedback, cast it aside, and avoid it like you would a pile of dirty laundry or a stack of unopened bills. Life tells you things every day. Do this. Don’t do that. Think about this. Try me. Forget that. We live in a world that seemingly encourages us to live on autopilot. Successful people fly manually every day and so should you. When those feedback signals come in, listen to them and use them in planning your next step.

* Commitment: Commit to finding out why things aren’t working and learn what will fix them. Once you start the process it will be much easier to continue. Nothing fruitful stems from inaction.

* Trust: Trust that making changes to the situation will ultimately bring about the best results. Sure you might go through a bit of discomfort during the change, and some unlikely or unwanted outcomes, but in the end you will triumph!

So are you ready to admit the things that just are not working out?

Make a list of the things in your life that are working against your success and ask how the situation can be improved. Commit to tackling just one of those issues and be brave!

If you need help organizing those “things” in your life, try using the following list of categories. I recommend reflecting on each of the 7 areas and ask yourself, what’s not working here in each one and then brainstorm 3 potential solutions.

1.) Financial Goals, 2) Career/Business Goals, 3.) Free Time/Family Time, 4.) Health/Appearance Goals, 5.) Relationship Goals, 6.) Personal Growth 7.) Making a Difference

Remember, by facing what is not working, you can only improve your life!

I'll be back in two weeks with another edition of Success Strategies. Until then, see how you can discover ways to immediately implement what you learned from today's message!
© 2010 The Canfield Training Group
All Rights Reserved.

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Are you "stuck" in this area?
If you need to change your behaviors, create new self-talk, and develop a plan to get what you want from life, I would be honored to help you move beyond your barriers at my powerful Breakthrough to Success program being held this August in Scottsdale.

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Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul© and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get your FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at: