Oct 302010
 

Many might not know this,but I was not born with two ears…just one. Why am I telling you this? Because being born with one ear profoundly changed the way I view the world and everything around me. As a kid growing up on the island (Long Island, that is) in New York, I had to undergo multiple hospital stays to rebuild my right ear so it could look like a real ear.

The surgeries started when I was 6 years young all the way till I was 23. There were 7 or 8 in all, although I lose count (not something I care to remember). At times I felt like I was Frankenstein, cut up and stitched in all different places! They call it plastic surgery but I can assure you there was no plastic used rebuilding my right ear.

Most times I shared my hospital room with 3 other kids and each and every time I made a new friend. I learned quickly that having one ear wasn’t bad at all! Most of my hospital friends where quadriplegics, Cancer patients or kids with cleft pallets. This truly prepared me for a life with my new right ear. I guess you can say my one ear prepared me for two, and my two ears prepared me for a life of listening to others.

I have found in my lifetime many people will hear you, but not listen to you. Most people are so busy that they may pretend to listen to you when in actuality, they let all the other noise around them drown out what they should be hearing as they’re listening!

Every business that I have been a part of has been built on the foundation of really understanding where the other person is coming from. The Wealth Building Annex is no exception – our mastermind process is all about listening twice as much as you talk!

Lesson: Listen to the words people use when they are talking and formulate your answer only after you have processed what you have heard!

Guest Post By: Chris Krimitsos, Guardian of The Wealth Building Annex

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Aug 162010
 

What makes the difference between a good networking event and a crappy one? If there were 100 people there does that make it awesome?

Over the last 5 years I have been taking part in and running networking events all over the Tampa Bay area. There have been Big Events, small events, crappy events, and Amazing Events, but what makes an event awesome?

Here is what I have seen, in many groups there is too much focus on the organization and not enough focus on attendee engagement. It seems as if facilitators of events have given their group an ego of its own. It doesn’t matter what organization it is Le Tip, BNI, NPI, RGA, FNI, REN, Ali Lassen, TWBA, PBN, BLA, or any other networking organization with an acronym out there the ones that are growing consistently are providing 4 things.

  1. Friendly Environment
  2. Valuable Education and/or Insights to other members
  3. Attendee Participation 2-5 times
  4. Feeling of Appreciation

Members of you group are there to grow their business and build valuable relationships, if they experience this they will tell others about it. If you have to pay for advertising of your group that is a sign that your group needs improvement. You should never have to spend a dime on promoting a routine networking event, if you provide the 4 things listed above the group will grow itself, period.

Since I mentioned what works let me tell what bores most guests, and stuns growth.

What myself and many other people DO NOT CARE about at your networking event includes:

1) Who your board members are (What benefit does this give any individual members business? This is wasted time that your members could be speaking and learning more about anything related to business rather then who your Treasurer, and President, a whoever the hell you decided to give a worthless title to’ s purpose is.)

2) How much money members have made each other (Again, who cares?!? This hurts you group in so many ways because what I have seen is in a group of 30-40 there are only 4-10 maybe 15 tops who are making any of that recognized money. This stifles other group members who are not seeing the results and frankly you didn’t make your guest another dime by bragging about your fancy shmancy group income.)

3) Talking about the format for more than a minute (The people came to the meeting, give them the experience don’t outline it for them. People are curios and always want o know what’s keep them in anticipation.

Frankly when I go to a group with those 3 things I personally have no desire to go back, nor pay to attend it regularly. I have been fortunate to understand the principals and dynamic of a group and have built a 2-5 people a week group to over 50 attendees each week. I prefer 25-35 and we are now getting back to that. Numbers are great, but quality over quantity is the name of the game in business networking events.

My personal “Magic” format to a successful networking event:

  • Thank you intro (Turn off phones and so forth)
  • Question of the day to think about and answer with commercial (This is question of any kind that gets attendees to learn more about each other)
  • Approx 45 second commercial with answer to question of the dayAttendee Engagement 1
  • Gratitude Period– Give everyone a chance to thank one another or express thankfulness for anything in business or personal life- Attendee Engagement 2
  • Q & A– Allow members to ask one another a few questions in a organized format so others can learn more about the respective businesses (As a facilitator you must be able to create conversation and excite people to answer questions about their business) Attendee Engagement 3
  • Goal Setting and Review– Have members set a goal each week, and review their goals from last week (This creates more consistence and accountability within your group) Attendee Engagement 4
  • Other networking event announcementsAttendee Engagement 5

This format has know engaged members a minimum of 2 times and maximum of 5, everyone knows a little more about one another and looks forward to coming back and sharing their success in reaching their goals next week.

Sorry so long I just needed to get this off my chest!

This is Joe Malinowski telling all of you wonderful people to have a wonderful week!

May 302010
 

I walked into a bank for the first time in years yesterday…

You see, I tend to look at banking as a line item on my checklist and all I want to do is check it off in the most efficient way possible. Walking in and waiting in line to complete a financial transaction is not efficient in my eyes. So, I’ve spent years becoming really good at online banking, frequenting ATMs and calling 800 numbers to answer any questions I may have. And I’ve been very happy. But yesterday, I had to set up an account that I was unsure how to structure and because my boyfriend goes to the same bank, I figured I’d tag along and do everything I needed to while I was there. (Side note: my boyfriend is the exact opposite of me when it comes to banking. When we walked into the bank, he was greeted by a symphony of hellos from the employees who obviously knew him well. And when he pulled out checks he wanted to deposit, my mouth dropped out of shock as I asked, “you don’t deposit those at the ATM?” He laughed when I later commented, Wow…you’re so old school!”)

We sat down at a desk across from one of the Account Managers (who my boyfriend was talking to about movies, just as they did every time he came in) and I immediately began asking the questions I needed answered in order to open the account appropriately. Though the gentleman answered kindly and knowledgeably, you could tell I had caught him a little off guard in my forwardness. My boyfriend sensed the discomfort and jumped into the conversation with more movie talk. I sat back and surrendered to the situation: I was in a “belly to belly” situation here…I needed to play the game of relationship building in order to get my needs met.

This situation got me thinking…as we’re deep into the age of the Internet, just how important are those “belly to belly” situations?

The Internet has changed the game for all of us business owners and here’s why:

1) You now have access to a Global market.
2) The playing field has leveled (you have the same resources at your fingertips as giant corporations).
3) The point of entry is a comparatively cheap (you don’t have to have a $1 million marketing budget to get the word out about your company).

This boils down to the fact that you and your business have great potential to hit it big. The trick to the Internet game, however, is learning to use this “global” tool to make your audience feel intimate and local. With the advent of Web 2.0 and Social Media (interactive and user-centered experiences), out of touch, non-interactive and static websites are quickly losing business to their connected, interactive counterparts. All this being said, it is still about being in touch with what your customers want so you can offer it to them when they need it.

One of the biggest complaints about the Internet is that it’s allowing us to become way too disconnected and out of touch with one another. Even though Web 2.0 answers that issue with its interactivity (c’mon…how cool is it that I can know exactly what my college roommate is up to on a daily basis when I get onto Facebook?), it’s vital that as a business owner, you never lose touch with the foundation of those “belly to belly” interactions that may feed your business.

There are two kinds of business people out there: those who love to network and those who loathe it. A few of us fall smack dab in the middle…we know it’s vital to business so we do it, and we enjoy it just enough to continue with it at our own pace. No matter where you are on the networking spectrum, it’s imperative for you to accept the fact that those in-person interactions are the best places to not only build relationships with clients, but also build relationships with business allies who can elevate your own game.

The bottom line is that in order to thrive in business today (let’s be honest, none of us want to “survive”…we want to thrive!), you must utilize the tools around you – from the “old school” ways of belly to belly relationships to the new ways of the interactive online world.

Even though I was frustrated sitting in the bank for an entire hour, I was thrilled when I downloaded the iPhone app that keeps me digitally connected to the accounts I had just set up. I recognized in that moment that this bank had done an amazing job marketing. They knew they had a world of customers just like me, who wanted to be “left alone” to do my banking business (just give me the tools and I’ll do it fast!). And they also knew they needed to service people like my boyfriend, who wanted to know everyone’s name and make every transaction in an actual banking facility. All they did was make sure to have their services and products available in ways that appealed to us both.

So, what do your clients want? How do they want to have access to it? How are you integrating your “belly to belly” interactions with those of your online presence?

Katie Krienitz is the Chief Operations Officer for The Wealth Building Annex (http://TheWealthBuildingAnnex.com), a mastermind and resource community for Entrepreneurs. She’s also a Relationship Author who sells her book online. You can find out more about Katie at http://KatieKrienitz.com or http://MyTrueLoveTV.com.

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