Networking – Top 10 Tips

Networking Tips

Job Search and Career Development – Top 10 Networking Tips

Advice from Wendy Smith. Wendy is a Career and Life Coach helping you find fresh perspectives on life and your career. She is the author of The WiseWolf Job Search Pocket Book – find Wendy’s books on Amazon 

Networking Tips – whether you are looking for work or looking for promotion at work, knowing how to network and work a crowd is invaluable. So here are my top 10 tips.

1. First – find your crowd. Go to every likely event that you can. Even in these days of virtual communication, personal contact makes all the difference. The more networking events, professional conferences, job fairs, professional associations, senior meetings, board meetings and other gatherings you go to, the better your chance of meeting someone who can help you. Getting into meetings and events with senior staff at work gets you noticed.
2. Networking Tips – don’t let lack of confidence be a barrier. If you necessary go with a friend; if you are nervous of crowds take a willing friend along. It can be much easier to have a conversation when you’re not the only one trying to think of what to say. If you don’t have someone to bring, then find the out layer on the edge crowd when you get there and start a conversation. Ask how they got there, perhaps, and who do they know. The chances are they are as nervous as you and will be grateful that you spoke to them. Don’t be shy or embarrassed that you’re unemployed. So are millions of other good people.
3. Smile. Smiles are contagious and they show energy. The more you smile the more pleasant the reception you’ll get – people like people who smile.
4. Do your introduction. Prepare your short introduction/elevator speech before you get there and practice saying it.
5. Keep the conversation going. After you start a conversation by introducing yourself, keep up the momentum. It’s much easier to converse when you’re on first name terms with the person you are talking to – so exchange names. Then ask a question using their first name. Once you’ve said hello, ask the person you’re talking to about their job or their field of interest. Show a genuine interest in them and what they are doing – people usually love talking about what they do. If you ask an open-ended question like “What do you think about…” you’ll be able to keep the conversation rolling.
6. Be prepared to answer questions. If the person you’re talking to seems interested in you and asks questions – answer them fully and don’t be dismissive of what you have to offer. Be prepared to explain what qualifications and skills you have and what you are looking for. If you are in employment, be ready to talk about your job and make it interesting.
7. Give out your Business Cards. Have business cards printed with your contact information (name, address, phone, email, LinkedIn profile, etc.) and ready to hand out. That way it’s easy for people to get in touch with you. Keep in them in your pocket or the side of your bag so you can get to them without making a production out of it.
8. Get Business Cards and offer help if you can. If you’re at a professional function, collect business cards. Send a follow up email thanking the person for talking to you. Let them know you appreciate anything they can do to help. Offer to help and contacts if you can. “Giving to get” works every time. Offering to help someone else with their career goals or with job leads, will pay you back with more help than you might imagine.
9. Don’t monopolize the conversation. Spend a few minutes discussion learning about others and talking about your goals, then move on. The more people you talk to, the more opportunities you’ll have.
10. Networking Tips – Don’t Be Negative. People don’t like negativity, so don’t bad mouth your (old) job, your (old) boss and the company. Rather put a positive spin on your situation and your future plans.

Wendy Smith is a Career Coach and Life Coach helping you find fresh perspectives on life and your career. Need help finding work, with problems at work, at home or with relationships? Book your free 30 minute, no obligation, trial coaching session with Wendy Smith now at this Link

Resources to help your job search

In the job market, there are always lots of useful techniques to learn or to refresh. From writing a modern CV to wooing at the interview, you’ll find lots of tips in my handy little pocket-book.

A concise and practical little work book, it is for all who have the courage to go out and learn the new skills necessary to find a job now.

Find this and my other books on my Amazon page at this link; http://ow.ly/BRSAL

Remember working with a career coach can really help both  job search and career resilience. Get in touch at the email address below – I offer a free half hour trial session by phone or Skype – email wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com to find out more

How To Work A Crowd – Top Tips

How To Work A Crowd – Top Tips

Job Search and Career Development – Top 10 Tips On How To Work A Crowd

 

How To Work A Crowd – whether you are looking for work or looking for promotion at work this is useful top know. Knowing how to work a crowd is invaluable. So here are my top 10 tips.

How To Work A Crowd – 10 Tips

1. First – find your crowd. Go to every likely event that you can. Even in these days of virtual communication, personal contact makes all the difference. The more networking events, professional conferences, job fairs, professional associations, senior meetings, board meetings and other gatherings you go to, the better your chance of meeting someone who can help you. Getting into meetings and events with senior staff at work gets you noticed.
2. Don’t let lack of confidence be a barrier. If you necessary go with a friend; if you are nervous of crowds take a willing friend along. It can be much easier to have a conversation when you’re not the only one trying to think of what to say. If you don’t have someone to bring then find the out layer on the edge crowd when you get there and start a conversation. Ask how they got there, perhaps, and who do they know. The chances are they are as nervous as you and will be grateful that you spoke to them. Don’t be shy or embarrassed that you’re unemployed. So are millions of other good people.
3. Smile. Smiles are contagious and they show energy. The more you smile the more pleasant the reception you’ll get – people like people who smile.
4. Do your introduction. Prepare your short introduction/elevator speech before you get there and practice saying it.
5. Keep the conversation going. After you start a conversation by introducing yourself, keep up the momentum. It’s much easier to converse when you’re on first name terms with the person you are talking to – so exchange names. Then ask a question using their first name. Once you’ve said hello, ask the person you’re talking to about their job or their field of interest. Show a genuine interest in them and what they are doing – people usually love talking about what they do. If you ask an open-ended question like “What do you think about…” you’ll be able to keep the conversation rolling.
6. Be prepared to answer questions. If the person you’re talking to seems interested in you and asks questions – answer them fully and don’t be dismissive of what you have to offer. Be prepared to explain what qualifications and skills you have and what you are looking for. If you are in employment, be ready to talk about your job and make it interesting.
7. Give out your Business Cards. Have business cards printed with your contact information (name, address, phone, email, LinkedIn profile, etc.) and ready to hand out. That way it’s easy for people to get in touch with you. Keep in them in your pocket or the side of your bag so you can get to them without making a production out of it.
8. Get Business Cards and offer help if you can. If you’re at a professional function, collect business cards. Send a follow up email thanking the person for talking to you. Let them know you appreciate anything they can do to help. Offer to help and contacts if you can. “Giving to get” works every time. Offering to help someone else with their career goals or with job leads, will pay you back with more help than you might imagine.
9. Don’t monopolize the conversation. Spend a few minutes discussion learning about others and talking about your goals, then move on. The more people you talk to, the more opportunities you’ll have.
10. Don’t Be Negative. People don’t like negativity, so don’t bad mouth your (old) job, your (old) boss and the company. Rather put a positive spin on your situation and your future plans.

I wish all those starting out on, or a continuing, a job search this week every success and if I can help, please get in touch.

Warm regards

Wendy
wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com
http://wisewolfcoaching.com

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Management – Challenging conversations and how to manage them

Challenging conversations and how to manage them

Today’s post comes from the ACAS website.  Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) aims to improve organisations and working life through better employment relations. You can download their brochure at this link pdf  Challenging conversations and how to manage them [302kb] You might find this book useful too Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most

Challenging conversations and how to manage them
Download the Challenging conversations and how to manage them in pdf form [302kb]
“Excuse me! There’s a problem.”

“What’s happened?”

“Where do you want to start?” Take your pick:

  • Simon’s been posting derogatory comments about you on a social networking site
  • Mary failed to get the expected promotion and is very upset
  • Phil is waiting to complain about a colleague making sexist comments in the canteen

Hopefully not a typical Monday morning, but we can all be ambushed by difficult line management issues.

The first question many managers ask themselves is ‘is it my responsibility to sort it out?’

If the answer is ‘yes’ there can still be a real reluctance to get caught up in very emotional or difficult performance and conduct issues.

Get it wrong and the employee may go absent, work less effectively or you may get landed with a grievance.

Get it right and you can improve levels of performance, attendance and employee engagement.

The new Acas guide pdf  Challenging conversations and how to manage them [302kb] and training package will help you to stay in control of whatever situation comes your way.

If you have an urgent issue to deal with and need to get some quick practical advice, the pdf  Challenging conversations – step by step table [45kb] is available.

Watch this video to see how conversations can sometimes go wrong

word  Having difficult conversations transcript [83kb]

Questions and Answers

What is a difficult conversation?

A difficult or challenging conversation is a conversation where you have to manage emotions and information in a sensitive way in order to:

  • Address poor performance or conduct
  • Deal with personal problems
  • Investigate complaints/deal with grievances
  • Comfort or reassure someone – for example, if they are to be made redundant
  • Tackle personality clashes

The conversation usually takes place one-to-one and can really test a line manager’s skills.

Why should I act now?

If you do not act now then you could:

  • mislead the employee by giving the impression that there is no problem
  • deny the employee the chance to improve or put things right
  • damage the productivity and efficiency of your business
  • lower the morale amongst team members

How can I make the conversations more bearable?

You can help make conversations with your employees less difficult by:

  • having a quiet word at the first sign that something is wrong
  • keeping in touch with your staff and the team
  • using employee representatives as sounding boards for how staff are feeling about issues

It is far better to nip problems in the bud, wherever possible, rather than waiting for them to become more entrenched or complicated.

What skills do I need to handle a challenging conversation?

Many of the skills needed to manage difficult conversations and behaviour are often referred to, in a rather derogatory tone, as ‘soft’. But there’s nothing soft about dealing with an emotional or confrontational employee who may appear to be trying to unsettle or undermine you.

In order to manage a difficult conversation you need to think carefully about:

  • the way you communicate
  • your ability to take control of a meeting and
  • your levels of self-belief.

Training can help to give you the confidence you need.

Handling Difficult Conversations – Acas training

This training will show you how to prepare for difficult or crucial conversations, how to manage and control the workplace discussion process and how to ensure you are talking to employees in as productive a way as possible. Acas will improve your confidence and enhance your knowledge and skills for reducing stress, taking action and tackling difficult conversations head on.

View Handling Difficult Conversations course details, dates and locations orenquire online.

Other related Acas training

Discipline and grievance

Conducting investigations

Performance management

Skills for supervisors

Danger – Spontaneity Ahead! Why You Need a Communications Strategy for Social Media.

We live in a complex but highly networked world!

Never before have so many people had the ability to communicate cheaply with each other, and the rest of the world, at length!

  • You can broadcast and you can have conversations through networking sites like Facebook, Twitter etc and through messaging services!
  • You  can publish and broadcast if you choose through blogs, and through sites like YouTube.
  • You can produce your own radio programmes and even become a DJ through music sites like Blip.fm sitting at home and on the move!
  • Increasingly LinkedIn is a key tool in professional networking and recruitment.

A little while ago this digital world belonged to techies and school kids.  Now it can belong to all of us.

Increasingly, it will play a role in both career and business survival.  A little while ago all you needed to know was how to surf the net to find and download information. Now you need to know how to put it back up there so that you can control and develop your personal brand.

Messages flow fast!  Once you have sent them, they continue to exist on the web for a very long time.  So to be purely spontaneous is to take a risk. If you are in business or hoping to develop your career, you need a strategy for your communications.

Before you start here are a few tips.

1. Integrate online and offline.

Your communication’s strategy needs to cover both your offline and online activities!

If you meet up with contacts you have made on the web, will they know who you are? No, I’m not talking about having a photo that bears some relationship to how you look today.  (Although, it makes sense to choose a flattering photo that does you justice, have a care if you want to avoid embarrassment)

What I’m talking about is authenticity and integrity.  Don’t express views on line that you don’t really hold, or that you wouldn’t be prepared to express in public, to your boss, your work mates, your neighbours and, of course, your customers! You’d be surprised what people remember and what people find on the web!

2. Start with a plan!

Before you jump in, make sure you have a plan!  Think about who you are trying to influence.  Who has an interest in you, your business or your career and what you do?

List them and then decide how important they are and how much influence they have over your future!  What heading will you put them under?  For example;

  • government
  • your sector
  • customers and potential customers
  • shareholders
  • potential business partners
  • board/top management
  • suppliers  and potential new suppliers,
  • managers,
  • staff,
  • trade unions
  • wider sector interests,
  • personal contacts
  • family,
  • your community
  • interest groups

You can take it as far as you wish!

Who has the priority?  You can score them out of five under each heading!

Those with the highest score are the people to concentrate on.

For social media you are usually looking at communities – what communities are you going to engage in?

Now how will you engage and what will that  engagement  look like?

What is the message and where are you going to communicate it – blogs, social network sites, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook etc.?

How much time have you got and how many resources do you have available? Do you have resources available to take professional advice?

3. Engage in Conversations.

Remember although organisations use social media to broadcast, that isn’t how they are best used.

When you use social media, it’s important to engage in conversations and get to know people just like in the offline world.

Don’t just get in there and start pitching – it will just put people off!  And on social media sites people get put off pretty quickly. You’d be surprised how quickly they can switch you off!

Don’t be anxious to promote yourself or your business at first!  You have to give, to get.  Add value and expertise and win respect in your conversations.  You need to win the right to pitch!

The courtesies are just as important as they are in the off line world!  Say please and thank you and acknowledge when someone has bothered to spend time with you or done you a favour!

If you are polite and engage in real conversations, relationships will begin to form.  You will see opportunities open up to talk about you and what you want to offer!

4. Monitor your “Brand”

Use tools like Google Alerts, and Yahoo Alerts to monitor what’s being said about you, your organisation, others in your sector and the market you are targeting.

Knowing what is being said about you and/or your brand can make you aware of your impact. Knowing what’s being said about your sector, your competitors and your market can also make you more competitive.

I use Google Alerts as well to find out about the latest developments in my professional discipline.

But simply putting your name and the name of your organisation into a search engine regularly will tell you a lot about your web presence!

5. Focus and Ignore the Noise

There are so many conversations taking place and so much interesting content that it is easy to be distracted.

I have to work very hard each morning to switch off from Twitter to concentrate on my in-tray! This is where your plan comes in!  Remind yourself what you are trying to say and the communities you want to address.

Stick to the plan!

But review it at regular intervals as you get to understand more about social media.  You can streamline your plan to better target individuals and the communities that you need to be a part of, as you gain experience and knowledge.

Streamlining saves time – as I’ve hinted above, social media is so enjoyable that  it can be the greatest time waster in the world!

Above all remember: “If content is king, then conversation is queen.” – John Munsell, CEO of Bizzuka.

I would love to hear about your own experience of social media and if you need any help please get in touch!

A shorter version of this post was posted here in June 2009.  I’ve revised and expanded it based on my own experience of social media.

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Wendy Mason works as a consultant, business coach and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you – email her at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)7867681439