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Ask the Fedora: Follow Up With Everyone After a Networking Event!

This week on Ask the Fedora: Follow Up With Everyone After a Networking Event!

Transcript:

Welcome to another exciting episode of Ask The Fedora. I’m your host, Jarrod Goldsmith.

Let’s say you’re at a networking event, but you met someone a month ago, but you forgot to follow up with them. Go up to them! Say to them, “Hi … We met at the last event and I’m really sorry, but I haven’t had a chance to follow up with you. Can we still go for coffee?” At least acknowledge that you didn’t have the time to meet with them. This is a good exercise – take the time to follow up with everyone you’ve met, even if you’re not sure you’d do business with them. If you forget it make for an embarrassing conversation next time, but suck it up.

Thanks for watching. Happy Networking!

Do you have questions about networking? Tweet us at @Askthefedora.

See you next time!

Do you have a networking question you’d like to ask? Email info (at) esax.ca or tweet your question using #eSAX!

Starring: Jarrod Goldsmith of eSAX and Sax Appeal.

With help from Wasim from Storyline Productions

Break the Ice at Networking Events

eSAX-Ottawa-Networking-Event (1)When you attend eSAX or any other Ottawa entrepreneur networking event, your goal shouldn’t be to just collect business cards.

These events are the place that you are building rapport that will establish long-term relationships that lead to future opportunities for both involved parties. It takes a good deal of time and effort to cultivate, but it all starts with the initial ice breaking at the first meeting!

How can you set yourself up for the perfect icebreakers?

Change your mindset

No matter how fantastic your opening line might be, it will fall flat if your heart isn’t in it. Be positive and be on the lookout for the diamond in the rough. This means, don’t walk in and decide there is no one good to talk to. Have your mind set on meeting anyone unknown and starting as meaningful a conversation as you would with someone you knew could set you up with a million dollar deal. Treating people this way will make people feel pleased to speak with you.

Mind your appearance

Your appearance, which includes your apparel and your body language, tells others a lot about you. Be business-appropriate in what you wear, and always make sure to have a smile on your face. Don’t forget to use eye contact when talking with others, and avoid crossing your arms.

Ask a mutual acquaintance for help

To start a conversation with an unknown person, you can ask any mutual friend or acquaintance to introduce you. This works perfect if you see someone you already know speaking to someone you don’t already know. Walk up and say hello to your friend and ask them to introduce you.

Directly introduce yourself

If you want to meet someone and you don’t have a mutual friend to do the introduction, you will have to just gather your nerves, focus your confidence, and go right over and say hello. It’s always best to start with your name, and asking them their name and what they do. Remember to hold off on shoving your business card in their face. People want to talk first, exchange cards later. The same goes for your elevator pitch. You want to do introductions first and not just spit out the pitch at them.

Wondering what to talk about if you can’t just talk about what you are selling? Try these:

  • How did you hear about this event?
  • Did you travel far to get here?
  • Have you been to this event before?
  • What TV shows are you into?
  • Do you know many people here? Who?
  • What is the most exciting project you are working on right now?
  • Bonus: “How did you meet Jarrod” (at an eSAX event) OR “Do you know Jarrod?” (at any event around town, as he will undoubtedly be in attendance!)

Ask open-ended questions that show you are interested in the person you are talking with. This is the key to starting a good business relationship.

Breaking the ice becomes easier with practice. Don’t forget to get your tickets to the next eSAX Ottawa networking event so you can make sure to keep practicing your networking skills and building up relationships!

Self-image at Ottawa Networking Events

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Often the focus of networking is our business. We spend so much time fussing over business cards or website content that sometimes we forget how important it is to work on ourselves. As entrepreneurs, we are selling ourselves to others and we can’t do that successfully unless we have a good self-image.

Self-image is not just what you look and act like. While it is about your brand, the energy you are projecting, and about the people you work with or network with, that isn’t all. Your self-image is the ideas you have inside of yourself, those that no one but you may know. These are the ideas you have about your abilities, appearance and personality and when pertaining to business they are the ideas you have about your business. There are two problems we could face when it comes to self-image:

  1. We have a negative self-image, and aren’t presenting ourselves in the best light.
  2. We have an overly optimistic self-image, and think we are perfect when we, in-fact, are not.

From a physical perspective, self-image includes your dress and tidiness, and it also includes your facial expressions and body language. The only way for you to reflect on your own ideas of your physical perspective is for you to ask others what they think of you, and to observe others and compare yourself to them. You could do research and conduct your own personal analysis, but we are generally not an objective party when judging ourselves. Think of it this way: watch someone you respect and admire and take note of everything from what they are wearing to what they do with their hands and how they position their feet. Then ask yourself what you are doing with yours. You may have not realized that you had room for improvement until you conduct an inventory in this way (or as an impartial and trusted friend or connection).

The psychological aspect of self-image takes into account our internal perceptions of ourselves – our self-worth and self-esteem. No matter how hard we try to force ourselves out there and act like we are confident and happy, it will not translate to others. Whatever you need to work on, whether it is confidence in yourself, or confidence in your business, you need to work through it before you interact with others. If you have secret negative thoughts they will leak out in your tone or intonation when speaking to people, or perhaps an offhanded sarcastic comment, and the intuition of others will alert them that you aren’t being authentic. So work on full self-acceptance and love of what you are doing so none of those negative thoughts are floating around!

The same idea goes for over-confidence. If you think you are the best thing since sliced bread, you may want to tone it down a bit and find some humility, before others pick up how full of yourself you are. Again, look at someone you respect and admire and see how they broadcast themselves.

Remember that working on your self-image is an ongoing project. You’ll work on it before a networking event, but you’ll also work on it during the event.

One way that your self-image will improve is by setting realistic and achievable goals for yourself. When you meet these goals, you will get an instant gratification that will help you to feel more confident. Set steps for yourself, such as:

  •         Check-into the event
  •         Talk to at least 3 new people
  •         Reintroduce myself to at least 3 people from past events

It is important to have these experience of achieving goals, so you can build on the success each time. Over the year there are 4 eSAX events (and countless other Ottawa networking events), and if you meet 3 new people and revive 3 relationships each time you will quickly build up a large and strong network.

Don’t forget to purchase your tickets to the next eSAX event, and keep coming back so you can experience your self-image improvement throughout the year!

 

Start Networking Like A Pro

By Jarrod Goldsmith

“I hate networking events”.

How many times have you heard this or said it yourself?

For most people, the concept of networking conjures up images of a scary, slimy and fake experience with everyone in the room trying to hawk their products and services.

We’ve likely all met someone who barely says hello before launching into their ‘sales-pitch’ with something like: “I do this, that and the other thing, I’m so great and you need my services”.

Really?

When I hear this the first thing that comes to mind is that the person is obviously a networking rookie. Often I’ll stop them in mid-sentence and ask them a simple question like what’s their name. Seems harmless enough right? After a second or two of awkward silence while they compose themselves (having lost their place in their memorized sales-pitch), I introduce myself and extend a hand in greeting. So as to not make them feel embarrassed, I then ask another harmless question such as if they have attended this particular event before, do they know the organizer, what part of town do they live in etc.

You’d be amazed at how people ‘open-up’ by just having a regular conversation without bringing-up business. Asking non work-related questions will make people feel more relaxed and comfortable. But never forget you must be absolutely genuine in wanting to know the answers as people everywhere have an uncanny knack of seeing-through-fake. Check out this short Ask The Fedora video for some good questions to ask when meeting people for the first time.

Always maintain eye-contact and do not scan the room looking for other people to meet while in the middle of a conversation with someone. At that moment, make them the most important person in the word.

To provide an example, I was at an Ottawa Chamber of Commerce Mayors Breakfast a while ago and had the chance to chat with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. When Mr. Trudeau is engaged with talking to you, he makes you feel as if you’re the only one in the room by giving you his undivided attention, not to mention his welcoming body language of legs apart, often on a slight angle facing you, head tilted forward and hands at his side or lightly clasped in front of him (pictured)

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson (Far right) Justin Trudeau (2nd from right) Jarrod Goldsmith (Far left)

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson (Far right)
Justin Trudeau (2nd from right)
Jarrod Goldsmith (Far left)

Next time you’re at a networking event, try a few of the above tips and start networking like a pro. Doing so may very well change not only your outlook on networking, but how others view you.

For more networking tips, check out the weekly Ask The Fedora videos on YouTube!

What People Want To Know About You When Networking

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Networking events provide a great opportunity to chat with other business people that you don’t get to see that often, but it’s important to remember that time is limited and we shouldn’t take up too much of any one person’s time.

With that in mind, what are some things to focus on? What are the things that people really want to know from you at each event?

What’s new

Any new projects, partnerships, or ventures? As a business connection, people don’t want to hear your latest sales pitch, but they do want to know what you are doing and where you are focusing your energy, so they can recommend potential clients your way when they come up. Don’t overwhelm them with information, just give them the highlights of what you’ve been up to since you last saw them.

Who to meet

Is there anyone new to the business scene that they should meet? Perhaps you just met someone who has an awesome new startup, or you met someone new to town at a previous event that your connection should meet. People appreciate you helping them to expand their network with quality business people. These light referrals give you bonus points in both person’s eyes. If it ends up being a lucrative connection, they may be especially thankful and remember you even more in the future.

What’s coming up

Make sure to mention to your connection what events are coming up that you are attending. People always appreciate learning about a new event, and spreading the word will help the event to gather the greatest entrepreneurs in Ottawa. Be sure to mention where they can get tickets, if necessary, and tell them where you heard of it. Lots of times new events spring up and it takes word of mouth to get them up and running.

Where’s the food

If all else fails and you can’t think of what to talk about, mention the food! Point out where the drinks are, or where the food is (this works especially well if there are roaming servers with trays). It may be a small talk, but it’s better than nothing. Not all conversations have to be deep to be meaningful! You can parlay talk about the event’s food into talk about restaurants in town, new recipes, cooking shows, and more. Be creative!

The continued connections that you make with people are what really counts. Keep your relationships going by purchasing your tickets to the next eSAX Ottawa networking event!

What Networking Can Do For You

eSAX-Ottawa-Networking-Event (2)You’ve heard time and again that networking is about relationships and not sales, but perhaps you are wondering: “what will networking really do for me?”

Gain experience

When it IS time to sell, whether at a client meeting, trade show, or wherever else, you’ll want to be ready to interact with people and feed off of them to tailor your pitch to meet their needs. Networking gives you a chance to gain experience in talking about your product and gauging people’s reactions. Do their eyes glaze over when you talk about the technical aspects, but they seem really interested in hearing about success stories? Networking helps you become an experienced sales person, without the pressure of sales!

Gain confidence

In addition to wanting to know how to talk to people and expect what they will want to hear from you, you’ll also want to make sure you have the confidence to sell your product. It’s more than memorizing your elevator pitch and reciting it in front of a mirror. To really sell your products and services, you have to have the confidence to discuss them backwards and forwards. Networking gives you the chance to do this, and the more you network the easier it will be to talk about your business.

Gain referrals & opportunities

Yes, referrals really happen. They might not flood in the day after an event, but over time you may find lucrative deals roll in from people you have gotten to know. In addition, perhaps you will find the chance for joint ventures, partnerships, or new business ideas that you may have never considered had you not gotten out and networked.

Market research

Developing a business on your own, with no outside input, is a terrible idea. We are incapable of being impartial or objective. That’s why networking is a great opportunity to find out what others think. Networking events, such as eSAX, provide you with the chance to talk to HUNDREDS of people and find out what their reaction to your business idea is. Ask them about their pain points, and see if your product or service can solve for it. 

 

Get expert advice

Networking events have a mix of entrepreneurs with varying degrees of experience over many different fields. While you may find a lot of people who are new to business and networking, you’ll want to seek out those who are there to give advice. At eSAX, attendees include professional business coaches, or staff from the Ottawa Public Library and Invest Ottawa, who help businesses start and grow. Through networking you are able to meet with influencers who would otherwise be very difficult to meet. While the Mayor won’t have time to mix and mingle with everyone, you will find that company CEOs and sucessful startup founders will spend more time with you. It is the gift of networking that once you start doing it you get to learn a lot of things that would not had been possible otherwise.

 

Networking does a lot for you and your business if you do it passionately and honestly. Don’t miss out! Make sure to get your tickets to the next eSAX Ottawa networking event!

 

The Principles of Networking

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Networking doesn’t come naturally to everyone right away. People get better and better at networking with practice, and with learning all they can to become better networkers. If you ask people for tips on networking, they may all give you different answers. Different things work for different people, but there are some underlying principles that will work for pretty much everyone.

#1: Don’t sell

Networking is about getting to know people, not about making sales. Don’t feel as though the night was not successful if you did not make a deal, and don’t write people off if you don’t think they are going to buy from you. Relationships on their own are valuable, getting to be known in the Ottawa business community is valuable, and you never know who may end up knowing someone who DOES want to buy from you!

#2: Listen

There is no better way to exhaust yourself than to run from person to person at an event, blasting out your elevator pitch at full steam. It’s also a good way to annoy others. Practice listening, not just nodding while you plan what you are going to say next. Process what people are saying, and make an attempt to remember it for the next time you see them. 

#3: Value people

As networking isn’t about sales, you should have some real interest in people, and not just what they can do for you. Each person you meet has a unique story: where they came from, how they got started, and what makes them a success. You can value them for the advice they may give, or for the valuable market research potential they provide (when you ask them about their pain points and if they feel your product or service would be beneficial to them).

#4: Be prepared to give

If you don’t ask, you may never receive, but what’s more important is for you to be ready to help others. If someone asks you for something, or even if you sense that people may take you up on an offer, you could end up being a hero for lending a helping hand. This doesn’t mean you have to give out free products or services, but it may mean that you lead them to a good new connection, or give them a tip or advice that they need. Gradually you will find that you are reciprocated with the statement: “Now how can I help you?”

#5: Be approachable

We talk about facial expressions and body language all the time. It is important to smile and be relaxed so that people feel comfortable walking up to you and saying hello. Being approachable is also about the conversations you have with others. If people see that you are easy to talk to, they will be more likely to introduce themselves.

#6: Think outside the event

Think networking only happens four times a year, at each eSAX event? It’s a nice thought, but networking can happen anytime, anywhere. You may see someone in the grocery store that you met at an event, and you’ll have to remember that relationship-building is a continuous process. Always be “on-brand”, which means that you always want to be a good representation of yourself and your business. 

#7: Be trustworthy

Relationships are based on trust, which means successful networking requires you to be a most trustworthy person. Be genuine, authentic, and sincere in all you say and do to establish yourself as a trustworthy person. Anything else will undermine your efforts and undo all the hard networking you’ve done.

 

Concentrate on these principles of networking, and make sure to get your tickets to the next eSAX Ottawa networking event!

Shy People and Networking

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It is all about meeting new people at different Ottawa entrepreneur networking events. If you are a business owner, you know that it is important to share your business with others. Therefore, the more you meet with new people, the better your opportunity to harness those contacts becomes. However, many people are introverted they find mingling with people to be quite a challenge. So, the question becomes: should I force myself out to networking events or not?

The answer is simple: Yes, you should get out to events! Shy people can be just as successful at networking, if not more so. Since they are more attuned for listening, they end up being the exact type of person that others like to talk to.  Now, just follow these tips to get rid of hesitation, and start on your way to successful networking!

Have no fear

Do you allow the label of “introvert” or “shy” be your excuse for not attending events? Perhaps you should take another look at what is stopping you. In many cases, introverts function very well in situations, so long as they know what to expect. If you are unsure of what is going to happen, or what is expected of you, this may be what is holding you back. Don’t let fear be the reason you aren’t getting started on building your business. See if you can find a friend (especially one that is extroverted or already knowledgeable about the event) who will buddy up with you to help you gain confidence. Practice going to events, and observe what others do. You’ll soon get over your fear.

Make your presence felt

Once you’ve finally decided to attend an event, don’t make the mistake of being a wallflower. It doesn’t count as successful networking if you aren’t interacting with others. If you are just absorbing the stories of others and collecting business cards, they will probably not remember you when you follow up. Make yourself engage in two-way conversations with people. Share interesting facts about yourself and your business. You may not win over everyone, but you’ll win over no one if you don’t put yourself out there.

Use technology

We are lucky to live in a day-and-age where social networking is an available tool to help us to build and strengthen our networks. If you tend to be shy in person, perhaps you can use Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn to engage with others more frequently. Check out event pages, and make sure to follow the people you would like to get to know better. Make meaningful comments, and respond if they talk to you. You may still be nervous to talk to them in person, but it will help you to feel a bit more confident.

Smile

When we are nervous, our face and body language can reveal it to others. It’s important to make an effort to smile and try to put ourselves at ease. It might be a challenge, but it is worth it because otherwise you could be repelling people. Turn on your smile to invite people to talk with you.

Attend events

If you are shy and you want to overcome it for networking, getting out there is your best bet. Attending frequent events will help you to meet with like-minded people that you really enjoy interacting with, and it will also help you to overcome your shyness.

The more you get out there, the more comfortable you will become in these situations. Don’t forget to get your tickets to the next eSAX Ottawa networking event so you get regular practice!

Ask the Fedora: Networking Skills Can Be Learned, Don’t Worry!

This week on Ask the Fedora: Networking Skills Can Be Learned, Don’t Worry!

Transcript:

As a new entrepreneur everyone says you have to do networking. But you may be saying to yourself “I hate networking and I don’t like talking to people because everything they say is a sales pitch and I’m going to be sold sold sold”. Well, if you don’t network, you’re not going to have any work. It’s something to learn. They call it a networking skill; The more you go the better you get. A few years ago when I was just starting-out, I would tell everybody my ‘elevator pitch’….”oh you need me, I’m so great blah blah blah”. I soon realized that maybe this wasn’t the best way to approach things. As a new entrepreneur you have to go through this process and see what works best for you and your company. There are always going to be people who look at you funny, but there are others who will buy-into what you’re doing. Whatever happens, keep going to the events as it’s something you need to do in order to be in business in five years from now. Keep the networking up, and if it doesn’t come naturally, it will. Don’t worry. Take a deep breath.

Do you have a networking question you’d like to ask? Email info (at) esax.ca or tweet your question using #eSAX!

Starring: Jarrod Goldsmith of eSAX and Sax Appeal.

With help from Wasim from Storyline Productions and Jessica from Hewett Ripley Communications!

Ask The Fedora: Why You Should Love Your Business Cards

You want to be absolutely confident about your business, and part of that means being confident when you hand out your business cards. If don’t feel ready, don’t give them out. Jarrod explains more in this week’s #AskTheFedora!

Transcript:

Congratulations on finally getting your business cards in the mail! NOW we’re ready to start networking. If you really love your business cards, you’re going to really love giving them out to people. If there are still a couple of tweaks you need to do to your business card I would say don’t give them out yet. For the first four versions of my business card I wasn’t so happy with them. When someone would ask for one, I always felt a bit shy which was not a very good first impression. I actually stopped giving business cards for a while until I had my fifth order of business cards. At that point I was so happy to promote my business because I absolutely loved the cards. When you’re creating your business cards, make sure they are perfect and then it will be a much easier opportunity to get your business known around town because of your awesome business cards. Happy networking everybody. See you at the next event. Because #eSAX makes networking work

Do you have a networking question you’d like to ask? Email info (at) esax.ca or tweet your question using #eSAX!

Starring: Jarrod Goldsmith of eSAX and Sax Appeal.

With help from Wasim from Storyline Productions and Jessica from Hewett Ripley Communications!