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 112009
 

why

Have you ever been watching a commercial on TV and it has your attention the whole 30-45 seconds then the product it was advertising pops up and you ask yourself what the heck did any of that have to do with this product?!?

NOTHING! It had absolute nothing to do with anything more than getting an emotional reaction out of you.

But you did pay attention, had some kind of emotional reaction, and then saw the intended product right?

When you are out at your business networking events around the country try t o use these same principals. Keep it short, interesting, and have some kind of call to action. Whether that call to action is generating an emotional or a physical response either way your product or service will be noticed.

In any business networking function where you get to do a short commercial you typically get 30-45 second, and remember you are also planning on attending more than once. At least you should be! Consistency is key. You want to spend a little time each month or even each week to change it up. Think about how sick you get of seeing or hearing the same commercials on TV or radio, other networking attendees feel the same way about yours. If other guests of the event can copy your commercial after hearing you 2-3 times you need to get on the ball and change it up.

When you attend a networking event and someone stands up to do their commercial then you hear the same opening line you did for the last 3 weeks we tend to zone out until the next person speaks .

Here are 3 quick tips to take into consideration when making your commercial.

1) Make it short, less than 45 seconds
2) Create curiosity to generate a physical or emotional response
3) End with mentioning your company and possibly a creating tag line (if you can think of one on your own ask others for help)

This should help you get more out of your elevator spiel while networking. Good luck!

Now let’s go get some business!!!!

Apr 282009
 

walking-ad

People don’t care about you until they know how much you care.

Business networking events are going on all over the world, whether it is a Chamber of Commerce, FNI, BNI, NPI, or any other networking organization hosting a function the principals each was founded on are relatively the same. These business networking gatherings all serve the purpose of getting you in front of other likeminded people to brainstorm and align yourself with. The question is what is your purpose for being there?

If your purpose is to generate business by become a valuable asset to others you are right on the money, but if it is to build you marketing list and solicit business haphazardly without providing value to fellow members first you are off target and are going get frustrated very quickly. Value is the name of the game. What value do you bring to a business networking organization? Who do you associate yourself with regularly? Are you a student of life and business?

Knowing the answers to these questions and becoming a student are the type of characteristics which are attractive to those who have become successful in the business networking arena. The networking veterans understand the power of association and so should you. You are the cumulative amount of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Are the people you are around enriching and adding value to your life or are they ridiculing and frustrating you?

The simple act of having a positive mental attitude is a valuable asset in networking your business. Your enthusiasm, your willingness to learn and help others, your commitment, are all of what makes networking organizations around the world grow and it is also is the engine which keeps many businesses afloat.

I encourage you to become a student of personal development if you are not already, learn questions to ask others when you meet them that will help you identify how you can benefit their life, show genuine interest in becoming a asset to all the you meet. By implementing these actions your business will begin to grow exponentially without you actively personally promoting it. You will have become an asset to others and you will then have a team of trusted associates assisting you in keeping your pipeline filled.

When you can stop thinking about how to grow your business alone and begin to focus on others you will be surprised how much begins to come your way.

Good luck, and stay tuned for the launch of Business. Networking, Life.’s first book!