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Shy People and Networking

eSAX-Ottawa-Networking-Event (3)

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: What Business Cards Say About Your Business

How much effort did you put into making your business cards? Did you account for how much your card represents your brand in one tiny handout? Today’s #AskTheFedora explains what your business card may be saying about you!

Transcript:

Congratulations on starting your new business! As a startup, you may not have much money to put towards marketing and branding. However, you must have business cards. It’s normal to think that you’ll do everything yourself, including getting some fancy paper and printing business cards on your home printer. When you start giving them out, however, they may actually look like a home-made business card. Be wary of this since business cards are often the first impression people have of your business. It’s worthwhile to take the time and spend some extra money with a graphic designer and have them printed with a local printing company. Make sure they are the BEST business cards you can offer. This is important because as mentioned, business cards are often the very first impression, and last impression as people are going-through all the business cards they received at the end of the night. Yours has to stand-out. You want people to keep your business card rather than simply file it or throw it away. Take the time and spend the extra $50 on fancy gloss or whatever neat options you decide because it really is a representation of your professionalism and your business. 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!

How To Connect With Speakers At Networking Events

Do you go to a networking event, excited to see the speakers but without the knowledge of how to capture their attention before or after their presentation? In this #AskTheFedora, Jarrod discusses how to do just that!

Transcript:

How do you connect with a speaker at a networking event? For the most part, speakers at networking events are very well known in their field or around the region and it makes sense that you would like to connect with them because you may be in a position to help their business, or they may be able to help yours. Show up early at a networking event because some of the best networking happens before the event actually starts. You’ll have a chance to chat, mostly informally, with the organizers of the event and speakers (because speakers always show up early to make sure all the technical stuff is right). Stay later at the event because some of the other best parts of networking happen after the event is finished. There may be hundreds of people lined-up to talk to the speaker immediately after their presentation, so go early and stay late and maybe you’ll have the chance to chat with them!

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!

Storify Recap: eSAX April 2015

Jarrod and his team of #eSAX sponsors have pulled off the latest and greatest Ottawa eSAX Networking event yet! With 230 people in attendance there was definitely a crowd, and most were enthusiastic entrepreneurs ready to mix and mingle and get their business network started! To capture the real essence and excitement of the event, we’re presenting the Storify Twitter feed of the night as a recap of the event!

eSAX-April-2015

The event featured: Master of Ceremonies Dylan Black (of Boom 99.7 FM) (@dylanblackradio of @BoomOttawa), Orleans Chamber of Commerce (@orleanschamber), Nancy Morris of Business Psychologist Specialist (@NancyMorris), and Dr. Wendy Knight Agard of Leadership Mentor (@WKnightAgard).

The event was sponsored by: Sax Appeal (@SaxAppealOttawa), Funhaven (@FunhavenOttawa), Gold Sponsor Dynamix Productions (@dynamixpro), Drink Sponsor Elite Accounting (@El1teAccounting), Photobooth Sponsor Investors Group Financial Services (@bmoquin), Silver Sponsors Sure Print (@sureorleans), Creative eQuilibria (@ceQuilibria), Seoplus+ (@seopluscanada), Hewett Ripley Communications (@hewettripley), Bronze Sponsors Accountapotamus (@Accountapotamus), Storyline Productions (@storylineottawa), Flashpoint Photobooth (@OttawaFPBooth). Thanks for making eSAX happen!

Read the Storify recap below:

Networking and Eye Contact

eSAX-Networking-Ottawa-Eye-ContactFor some, eye contact can be a strange thing. It can be intimidating, or it can feel very intimate, considering the general wisdom that eyes are a “window to the soul”. Eye contact is an important type of nonverbal communication which many believe can show mood and intention, and it is an important aspect of conversation and gauging the responses of those you are conversing with.

Considering your eye contact technique before a networking event can be a great way to help yourself have one less thing to worry about when you arrive. Understanding eye contact can not only help you to better interact with people, but it can also help you to read other people’s reactions to you and those around you.

The “Right Way” to Engage in Eye Contact

If you have ever wondered “what am I supposed to do with my eyes when I’m talking to someone?” then this is the section for you!

First off, relax! If you come at someone with an intense stare or darting and nervous eyes then you will only distract and unnerve them while harming your chances of a great networking connection. Many people may read your nerves as a sign that you are untrustworthy, so do your best to feel confident and self-assured.

When you are engaged in a discussion with someone it is important to maintain eye contact both when you are listening and talking. Keep your gaze non-threatening and non-aggressive by focusing on the middle area of the person’s face. You can focus on just one eye, as it is actually physically difficult to keep both of your eyes on another person’s two eyes. Try focusing on one eye, or on a spot on the face, or calmly move back and forth between the two eyes. Keeping your focus on the bridge of the nose or on an eyebrow can also give the illusion of eye contact without your conversation partner never knowing the difference.

When you do break your gaze, make sure to show a smile, nod or other gesture to indicate that you are still interested in the conversation and not breaking off because you are looking to get out. It’s great to take a moment at networking events to scan the area and see if there is anyone waiting to talk to you, but be sure you don’t spend your whole conversation looking away.

Whatever you do, don’t overthink it and forget to actually be present in your conversation. Practice eye contact so it comes naturally and so you can be a focused listener and good communicator.

Beware Nonverbal Eye (and Eyebrow) Cues

Some nonverbal cues to be aware of include:

  • People who maintain longer direct eye contact are generally more comfortable with you, and this often indicates that they like you
  • But too much eye contact can indicate annoyance, anger, and discomfort
  • A flash of the eyebrows (a quick up-and-down gesture) indicates recognition and some degree of fondness for someone else (think of when people say “oh, hey!”)
  • Lowering of eyebrows shows dominance and aggression, while raising them signals submission
  • Head down, eyes diverted shows ultimate submission
  • “Side Eye” is the sideways glance with lowered eyebrows and a turned down mouth, which shows suspiciousness and hostility
  • Rapid blinking shows nervousness, slow and lazy blinking shows a feeling of superiority or disinterest
  • Darting eyes indicate the person is looking for a distraction or escape route and is a sign of insecurity
  • Staring at the “third eye” area of the forehead indicates an attempt to gain control, keep people on their toes and inferior

It is important to always look straight ahead and maintain eye contact as there are some misconceptions about eye contact that people commonly believe and judge others based on. These include:

  • Looking up while talking indicates lying
  • Looking down while talking or listening indicates confusion
  • Shifting eye contact shows hiding something

Don’t forget to adjust your mood!

You may be great at eye contact, but did you know that your pupils can give you away? Research shows that not only do wide pupils indicate excitement and narrow ones indicate negative feelings, but people also prefer other people with wide pupils to those with narrow ones.

This means it is ever so important to make sure you talk yourself into a good mood and excitement before you go to Ottawa networking events. eSAX is such a good one to start with because the casual atmosphere and presence of many other new entrepreneurs creates a low-pressure place to get out and practice.

Network with Great Business Cards

eSAX-networking-ottawa-business-cards-blog-marcheSAX-networking-ottawa-business-cards-blog-march-jpgWhen you prepare for a networking event there is one essential that you can’t overlook: your business cards!

Your business card is as important as any other first impression at a networking event in Ottawa. Your card should represent your company in both design and copy. It is highly recommended to use a professional graphic designer to help you, as they have the skills and expertise to make something truly great. However, there are many templates available on sites such as Vistaprint, Moo, and even Staples, if you decide to go it alone.

Consider the following elements of a business card to help you work with your designer or templates to make something great!

  1. Decide on what information you will include. Remember that this is a contact card, not a brochure. At a minimum you should include your name and your business name, your email address and website, and a phone number if you have one. Also include your, address (if you have one for your business), title, and tagline.
  2. Consider whitespace. This is the “empty space” on your business card. Cards with ample whitespace are often seen as more professional, as they are more visually balanced and less cluttered.
  3. Typeface: There are certain fonts that go well together, and a general rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t use more than two together in any collateral. Remember this rule if you have a logo with typeface in it, because that means you’re already starting with one font! Talk with your designer about the mood or feel you are going for in your business, and decide on fonts that best represent you.
  4. Paper stock: Do you choose Matte or glossy? I personally prefer glossy business cards, because they don’t stick together when you are trying to pull out one to hand to someone! Glossy is thought to look professional and to stand out, but they are hard to write on so you may consider a plain back so your contacts can take notes of your meeting. A popular trend now is spot gloss, as it is beginning to be more widely available. This lets you choose one area (such as your logo) to shine, while the rest stay matte. Also remember that premium stock is a thicker card, and helps portray a professional image.
  5. Add a promotion: At a networking event, people value business cards, but you can increase the value of your card by adding a special code for a discount or promotion. You could also ask them to fill out a survey to get entered in a chance to win in a draw, or maybe you are giving away a whitepaper if they visit your website. Any of these “extras” increase the chances that people will look twice at your card once they are home.
  6. Unique shapes and textures: An oddly shaped or textured card can be fun, and can help you stand out from the crowd, but be careful when deciding to do this. People may not be able to fit your round-shaped or wooden card in their filing system, and the may instead just decide to toss it out. This is a loss for of a valuable referral opportunity for you down the road.

Whatever you decide, make sure you are proud of your business cards. If you are happy with them, then it will be easy for you to hand them out and stand behind them. Your business cards should be an extension of your business, make sure they help you appear your best!

Networking as a Booth Sponsor

eSAX-Ottawa-Networking-Events-Booth-Sponsorship-Vendor-Tips-pngHave you thought about becoming a booth sponsor at eSAX, or any other event (Ybiz, anyone)?

Having a booth is a great way to increase the likelihood of sales, but all of the principles of networking still apply. You are promoting your business, but you are also out there making valuable connections that may lead to sales or future referrals down the line. If you do decide to take the next step in networking, consider these tips for having a successful experience!

Set your goals ahead of time!

You can get a lot out of an event, but you have to have a good idea of what you want to get out of it. Do you want to collect 50 random business cards, or do you want to really talk to people and end up with 5 genuinely hot leads? Perhaps you want to make a sale that night, or set up a meeting that you are confident will turn into a sale. Maybe you just want to impress some industry leaders and make strong connections with them. Whatever it may be, you should have some way of measurement so when you leave you can know you if experienced a successful evening.

You could just decide you want to treat the event as a market research opportunity. Ask verbal questions, or get people to fill out a short survey to enter in your prize draw. You can use paper surveys as well as surveys on a tablet for entry into two separate draws! Ask attendees industry-specific information to give you an idea about the marketplace, or business-specific things to find out which logos, banners, website, or tagline they respond better to. There is a great value to this kind of access to your target market, so don’t waste it!

Promote the event as though it were your own!

This is a great time for you to reconnect with old customers or potential customers, as well as business partners or other associates. Don’t leave the marketing completely to the event management team and just hope that your old connections will learn about the event and feel compelled to go! Increase the chances of gaining more leads by helping to spread the word. Use your blog, newsletter, and social media to advertise your attendance at the event. Mention any on-site promotions, raffles, prize draws, or door prizes that you are giving away. Even better if you can run a giveaway for a free ticket to the event (that you either purchase yourself, or receive from the event manager, as they often give more than one free ticket to booth sponsors). Make sure to tell everyone to bring a friend! Also, keep an eye out for the other sponsors and vendors that may be promoting the event, and cross-promote with them to give your audience even more reason to attend.

Connect with fellow vendors and event hosts, as well as the event sponsors.

Before the event be sure to make the rounds and meet everyone who is setting up their booths or setting up for an event. It makes a good impression if you prepare a special goody bag or treat for them. It can be as simple as a candy bar with your logo sticker on it, or a little bag with your brochure, business card, a pen, and a cookie. Not only will you be making new connections, but you are also likely opening the door for them to refer attendees to you through out the night, now that they know who you are and what you do. Not only that, but who knows what referrals they may send you way at a later time. It pays to connect with influencers!

Build Brand Awareness

It goes without saying that you should have complete branding – banners, table cloths, brochures, business cards, and even your clothing or fashion pieces. What more can you do to get attention and be remembered at an event?

Start by standing in front of your booth, smiling, and making eye contact. People usually feel comfortable approaching friendly-looking booth sponsors. Invite people to sign up for your door prize, take a snack or swag item, and ask them how they are enjoying the event. Remember that running a booth does not mean it’s time to become a salesman. It’s all about making the event attendees feel comfortable and at-ease, so ask questions and don’t just pitch your business.

Interactive displays are always a great way to get people to have more interest in your booth. If you have products, let people pick them up and try them out. If you are service-oriented, prepare a slideshow on a large monitor, or on a tablet that people can pick up and flip through. Conversation pieces are also great. Consider Abacus, the Accountapotamus hippo mascot, or Gerome the Giraffe from Creative Equilibria! These are great ways to encourage people to tweet or Instagram a picture and increase your business visibility! Make sure your handles and the event hashtag are somewhere handy.

You can also get more people to your booth with food! Make sure that the event doesn’t require a food permit of some sort, and then plan on bringing chocolate, cookies, cupcakes, or other treats that will pull people in. Also remember that if you are giving away swag, it should be relevant to the event attendees. The more likely people are to use the item, the better you will be achieving brand awareness.

And don’t forget the follow-up!

Connect on LinkedIn right away, and have a newsletter ready to go out the next day. Ask your newsletter subscribers to like your Facebook page, but also make sure this newsletter is knock-their-socks off great, chock full of valuable information that will impress them and ensure they want to stay connected with you to continue to receive such great tips and tricks to grow their business.

eSAX Ottawa Networking Event Recap: Jan 7, 2015

The latest eSAX event was another great success!

Despite the extreme cold alerts we were under, we still had over 200 people make their way to Funhaven to enjoy a night of networking.

Our sponsors and guest speakers helped to facilitate connections and help empower new Ottawa entrepreneurs.

Taking a look at the Twitter feed (using the #eSAX tag) can give you an idea of how great the night was. Of course, the cold was definitely an overall theme!

Thank you to everyone who attended, sponsored, and volunteered at the event! Together we make eSAX a unique and successful Ottawa networking event!

Remember the next event will be April 8, 2015. Get your advanced tickets now!

eSAX Networking Ottawa Keep Calm

eSAX Tips for the Startup Networker

eSAXOttawaNetworkingSuggestions

Are you a new entrepreneur wondering if you should make networking a priority in your business?

Aspects of every business are relative to each business owner. That’s why you’ll never hear someone tell you an absolute that will make or break you. This means it is important to look into the facts and get some personal experience that will guide you in your decision-making.

Some people hate networking events and are able to have great success without stepping foot into one, but others love networking events and make many connections at them each week. It’s easy to say that you might as well network because any additional exposure for your business is good for business, but it is true that if you are uncomfortable and miserable you won’t be doing any favors for yourself.

Before forcing yourself into networking, consider some of the following ideas that may help you to realize some of the benefits you can get from the events.

Suggestions

  • Jump into networking when your business is new, especially if you don’t already have a ton of contacts in your industry. It will help you to build a strong foundation of supporters that you will lean on for the life of your business.
  • Don’t look at networking events as an opportunity to sell. Look at it as a chance to meet people that MAY end up being important mentors, partners, investors, or sources of referrals.
  • Have your website up and your business cards ready to go as these events are key to increasing your brand visibility. This is your opportunity to get the community used to seeing your logo and business name.
  • Use networking events as practice to improve networking skills and get comfortable talking about your business. This includes your 30 second elevator pitch!
  • Consider a networking event as a chance to do some research. Find out what are the current trends and demands in your industry or target market, or talk to many people that may offer insight and solutions into your own pain points.
  • Understand that coming away with just one new quality contact (mentor, colleague, friend, etc) is a very successful night.
  • Pick the networking event that is right for you. With an event like eSAX there is more of an emphasis on the social aspect, as well as mentorship and support of the small business community. You can also find events for your specific industry.
  • Decide if you are interested in “Hard Networking” groups that have a heavy focus on referrals (and also require membership fees and attendance) or “Soft Networking” such as eSAX networking events or your local chamber events that are more casual
  • Let yourself socialize! New business owners spend so much time on their business and neglect the social side of their human nature. Let yourself unwind a little bit and enjoy talking to like-minded entrepreneurs that are just as passionate about their business as you are about yours!

When starting out, it is easy to overlook networking since you have so much you are already devoting your time to. eSAX makes it easy to attend networking events in Ottawa with the scheduling of the events quarterly. Surely you can at least make time to spend one night of networking every three months! If you’d like to network more, but are nervous about it you can check out the “Find the Fedora” posts on the eSAX Facebook page and follow Jarrod to some great local events!

eSAX Ottawa Networking: Following Up

eSAXOttawaNetworkingFollowUpBlogbyJessicaHewettRipleyAfter you go to a networking event, you’ve certainly left with some business cards. Some may be people you feel are potential clients, and others you may feel could be potential mentors or otherwise important people you should stay in touch with. Don’t make the mistake of neglecting those that you aren’t quite sure where they would fit in. Remember that when you network with someone you are connecting to the hundreds (or even thousands, if they are like Jarrod!) of people that they have in their own network. Plus, you may end up seeing these people over and over at networking events all over the city, so you might as well get to know them now!

Here are my simple tips for networking follow-ups:

  • Start by organizing the cards you’ve collected by noting somewhere on each card where you obtained it (ie: eSAXOct14) and any information that you’d like to remember about each person or business.
  • Next, add each new connection on LinkedIn. Draft a short message about how it was nice meeting them at (specific event) and that you’d like to stay in touch via LinkedIn. Once they accept your connect request you can organize them into categories by tagging them. I find this especially useful if I remember that I met someone at an event, but can’t remember their name. You just filter contacts by tag and easily find who you are looking for!
  • The next step is to send out a personal email within 24 hours of meeting. Don’t send a form message to everyone, make sure it is personalized and picks up where your conversation from the event left off. This is also where you bring up a possible one-on-one follow up coffee or lunch meeting.
  • We have to be sensitive to everyone’s time (because as entrepreneurs our time is our most valuable resource), so when you set up a meeting make sure each of you know what to expect so you can both be prepared. This follow-up meeting should be to develop rapport, and you should exercise your skills in asking about other’s businesses and letting them ask about yours. You are building relationships, not making sales (although these relationships may lead to sales in the long run).
  • Finally, keep a list of contacts that you want to make a point to reconnect with. This may be through sending them another request to meet, or sending them valuable resources (such as event invitations or great articles they may be interested in). This is also where I make a point to add them to lists on my Facebook and Twitter, so I can regularly engage with them on social media.

Meeting the right people at networking events in Ottawa is vital to the growth of your entrepreneurial career. If you haven’t seen it in action yet, just wait to see how the referrals start to roll in once you start becoming a known face, voice, and name in the community!