Networking Tips For Nervous Networkers

Networking Tips For Nervous Networkers

Compiled by Audrey Sellers Source: Andrea D. Vanacker | PPAI Media

Networking brings a heap of benefits, from expanding your client base to building professional relationships that can last a lifetime. The more people you meet, the larger your network becomes.

Are you enthusiastic about the opportunity—or are you feeling a bit overwhelmed? According to Andrea D. Vanacker, an author and speaker, it’s okay to feel pressure to make the most of events like trade shows and conferences. The key is to remember that networking isn’t rattling off your elevator pitch all day or rounding up dozens of business cards. Networking is about embracing the power of connecting with others.

Do you get sweaty palms at the thought of networking? Keep reading this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, where we highlight Vanacker’s tips on how to make networking easier.

Start networking online. If you’re nervous about meeting people face-to-face, start by reaching out digitally. Both in-person and online networking opportunities can be effective as long as you focus on having meaningful conversations that people will remember, says Vanacker. Send LinkedIn messages to clients you look forward to seeing at an upcoming event or join discussions in professional groups online. Vanacker notes that a quick email or even a Facebook message can also help you connect with others without the pressure of meeting in person.

Keep it casual. If you’re nervous about traditional networking, start with something smaller like a breakfast meeting or afternoon coffee. You can also get to know other people over lunch, says Vanacker. Casual get-togethers allow you to discuss work but also find common interests. They also eliminate the stress of needing to build rapport and establish authentic connections since you’re there to enjoy a light conversation with a short time limit.

Turn stress into curiosity. When you don’t love the idea of networking, approach it differently. Instead of going into an event to make a certain number of connections, think about it as an opportunity to meet interesting new people. Get curious about the other people at the event. Ask questions such as what they enjoy most about their job or what their biggest achievement was in the past few months, recommends Vanacker.

Reconnect with old acquaintances. Remember that networking doesn’t have to mean meeting new people. It also involves reconnecting with former colleagues or prospects you haven’t talked to in some time. Vanacker suggests reaching out to people you have lost contact with and simply saying hello and seeing how they’re doing. You don’t even have to talk about work — you can ask about the other person’s kids or pets, for example. Remember that they’re human just like you and appreciate a kind greeting.

Not everyone is a natural networker. If you tend to be networking-averse, try the practical tips above to feel more comfortable starting conversations.


How To Make Your Last Impression Count

How To Make your Last Impression Count

Compiled by Audrey Sellers Source: Molly Talbert | PPAI Media

Everyone talks about first impressions and how you have just seconds before someone sizes you up. Some research shows that a tenth of a second is all people need to determine if you are trustworthy. First impressions matter because you won’t have time to charm your prospective buyers or talk about your background. However, last impressions count just as much, asserts Scott Cochrane, vice president – international for Willow Creek Association.

Unlike a first impression, last impressions happen more than once. A last impression is simply the impact you made in your most recent interactions with clients, prospects and colleagues. Cochrane says a last impression is the leadership deposit you made with a person, team or group. These last impressions are powerful, he adds. How you leave a conversation or meeting will lead others to form their view of your leadership.

Have you ever considered how to make a better last impression? Cochrane says there are a few ways you can be intentional about your last impressions with others. We outline his thoughts in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

Send a clear message with your last impression. Clarity is key in every interaction. If your message to others is unclear, they will think of you as a leader who is unsure or uncertain about where you are leading them, notes Cochrane. Know what you want to convey, stick to your message and ensure that others understand what you are expressing.

Show respect—always. Leaders set the tone. They don’t wait for others to show respect to them—they are gracious and respectful first. You may not always agree with your colleagues, and you may find yourself working with difficult clients. However, Cochrane says that to make your last impressions count, you should always treat others with the utmost respect. When other people leave the conversation knowing that you always respected them, everyone wins.

Genuinely connect with those in your path. To make your last impressions count, remember that the people around you aren’t just your coworkers and clients—they’re people with many diverse interests and needs. Recognize this by working to build genuine connections and taking an interest in their lives. If you do this, others will come away from the connection feeling like you really cared about them.

Show the way forward. Cochrane points out that every time you connect with someone, you make a vision deposit. This means every casual conversation, every Zoom meeting and every client call is a chance to remind others what they are working toward and why it matters. Seize every opportunity to share your vision and map out the path to achieving that vision.

Every interaction matters—even ones that may seem small. Think about how you want to be remembered and the impact you hope to make on those around you. First impressions are important, but last impressions are the ones that stick. Remember that a last impression is the lasting impression, so make it count.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Eight Steps To A Smart Marketing Plan

Eight Steps To A Smart Marketing Plan

Compiled by Audrey Sellers Source: Molly Talbert | PPAI Media

The best marketing plans aren’t complicated and drawn-out or even beautifully written. They simply outline what you sell, how you’ll sell it and who will want to buy it. With a marketing plan, you can ensure that you use your marketing dollars effectively to reach the right people.

You might have an annual or quarterly marketing plan, and you may have product marketing plans or social media marketing plans. These plans give you and your team a framework to prioritize work and get that work done, says Molly Talbert, a content marketing manager for Asana.

If you could use a refresher on how to create a marketing plan, read on. We break down Talbert’s eight steps to writing a marketing plan in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

1. Set a clear strategy. You need a marketing strategy before you create a plan. Talbert says a marketing strategy is the theory while the marketing plan is the action. She recommends asking questions such as: What is the goal? Who is my audience? What are my channels? Do I have the necessary resources?

2. Establish your success metrics. It’s important to know your goals and what you are measuring before diving into your marketing plan. For example, you might want to set goals around cost per lead or lead to customer conversion rate. Your key metrics should help you measure and track the performance of your marketing activities, says Talbert.

3. Study your competitors. Take a look at how your competitors are marketing themselves. This can give you ideas on how to make your business stand out, says Talbert. Maybe you’ll discover a new angle your competitors haven’t approached yet.

4. Integrate your marketing efforts. Your marketing toolbox is packed with tools like email, content, SEO, events and more. Make sure your marketing plan includes multiple supporting activities that all add up to a powerful marketing machine, says Talbert.

5. Get creative. Your marketing plan is a chance to let your creativity shine. Talbert recommends thinking about your audience and how you want them to feel and what you want them to do when they see your marketing. Promotional products allow you to engage with your target market is many unique ways.

6. Use your marketing plan. Once you create your marketing plan, don’t file it away on your desktop and never use it. Go to work on using your plan, especially once you have created or refined it. Talbert says you may want to consider a work management tool that can help you and your team mark major milestones and view your entire marketing plan. This can help ensure efforts aren’t being duplicated.

7. Tap into tech tools. From Google Docs and Slack to Trello and Asana, you have various tools at your fingertips to help streamline your marketing plan. In fact, Talbert says marketers can choose from thousands of tools to create the right tech stack for their team.

8. Track and analyze. Once you put your marketing plan in play, always measure performance. Talbert suggests periodically measuring your marketing efforts to look for improvement areas and understand what is working well and what you may need to adjust.

A marketing plan is like a road map for your business. It helps keep you on the right path, and when you learn what works, you can scale your tactics to drive even more growth.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Molly Talbert is a content marketing manager for Asana.


Read time: 2 min
598 words

Five Simple Things To Do When Your Business Feels Chaotic

Five Simple Things To Do When Your Business Feels Chaotic

Compiled by Audrey Sellers Source: Julie Bawden-Davis | PPAI Media

Business owners are often prone to burnout. Their to-do list seemingly never ends, and they feel like they need to be everywhere and do everything. If you run your own business, you know that life can feel chaotic sometimes. Whether you have a team of people working with you or you work solo, it’s important to carve out time to take care of yourself. If you’re running on fumes, you’re not doing what’s best for your business.

Fortunately, there are many ways you can begin to cultivate a self-care practice, says journalist Julie Bawden-Davis. When you make time for self-care, you’ll gain the energy and objectivity to examine your business and determine how to keep moving forward.

Wondering how you can possibly find the time for self-care? Read on. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we outline Bawden-Davis’ easy self-care tactics for business owners—or really anyone who is feeling overwhelmed.

1. Step away. When your business feels out of control, your first instinct may be to double down on your work. However, overworking isn’t the best solution. You may love what you do but remember that your business isn’t your whole identity. Think about other things that you enjoy and make time for them. Whether you enjoy hiking, baking, painting or some other pursuit, be sure to prioritize these interests. When you step away from work and enjoy other activities, you can come back refreshed.

2. Pay attention to your physical health. Stress can take a toll on your body. If your business feels chaotic, it’s important to manage your stress. You can do this by getting adequate rest and eating well regularly, says Bawden-Davis. Replenishing your body with sleep and healthy food will keep your mind alert and focused, she adds.

3. Get moving. Exercise is another often-overlooked way to manage stress when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Bawden-Davis points out that moving the body will help you handle rough days at work. You don’t have to do the same kind of exercise, either. Try activities you don’t normally do. For example, if you usually walk around your block, try an online yoga class or go for a spin on your bike.

4. Create time for reflection. You may feel like you don’t have to sit and contemplate your business, but reflection is a valuable way to combat the chaos. Bawden-Davis recommends creating a safe, quiet place to reflect. Maybe this means spending a few minutes in the morning as you sip your coffee to think about what is going well and what you want to do differently in your business.

5. Reach out to others. As a business owner, it can feel like all the pressure is on you. That’s why it helps to connect with friends, family members or other business owners. Sometimes just talking through your challenges with other people will help you see things from a new perspective.

Running your own business can be incredibly rewarding, but also challenging at times. If you feel hectic trying to do it all, try the tips above. From prioritizing your physical health to building in time for reflection, there are many ways to care for yourself so you can show up in the best way for your business.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Julie Bawden-Davis is a journalist and blogger who specializes in business and personal finance. She has written 12 books and more than 3,000 articles.

Read time: 2 min
590 words

Nine “Good” Behavior Traits That Could Be Harming Your Career

Nine "Good" Behavior Traits That Could Be Harming Your Career.

By: Sara London | PPAI Media PC Today

In the workplace, developing and refining the right behavior traits can help you grow your career. Whether you work in sales, management or another role, you know it’s better to listen to your colleagues than interrupt them and it’s best to show up prepared for meetings than scrambling for your notes. While some traits are truly helpful, others may unintentionally damage your professional reputation. Wondering if you may have developed a few behavior traits that aren’t especially beneficial? Keep reading this issue of Promotional Consultant Today. We share thoughts from author Sara London on some of the top anti-skills to watch for and avoid at work. 1. Empathetic vs. flip-flopping. It’s good to understand where others are coming from, but you can be empathetic to a fault. If you constantly go back and forth on your views or you can’t seem to make a decision, you could come across as weak or insecure, notes London. 2. Confident vs. arrogant. Confidence is a key trait, especially when you work in sales. However, if you find yourself feeling unheard, you may go into defense mode and start slipping into an arrogant mindset. London says a good way to delineate between the two is to ask for and accept feedback. You can also commit to staying open to others’ ideas. 3. Multitasking vs. distracted. You may feel like you’re charging forward on your projects and tasks but doing too many things at once can be a sneaky way of keeping yourself distracted. Set a timer on your phone and commit to doing one thing at a time instead of distracting yourself with many tasks. 4. Fun vs. unreliable. You can be well-liked and still be responsible. While you may start out simply wanting to make your colleagues laugh, you could cross the line and end up damaging your professional reputation. If you try to imitate the fun bosses on TV, you may be seen as flaky or erratic, notes London. 5. People pleaser vs. dishonest. It can feel uncomfortable giving honest feedback. You want your team members to like you, and you may worry how they will respond to a negative review or bad news. If you don’t always share all the details or omit certain facts to avoid confrontation, you may be inadvertently creating a dishonest company culture. 6. Nice vs. passive-aggressive. Nice people usually want to avoid confrontation. As a result, they may become passive-aggressive. According to London, passive aggression can show up in multiple ways, from “forgetting” deadlines to withholding important information. 7. Tenacious vs. stubborn. There’s a fine line between being persistent and being downright obstinate. Don’t let a desire to win prevent you from seeing others’ opinions. Stubbornness is not an attribute, but an anti-skill, notes London. 8. Mellow vs. apathetic. Are you usually easygoing and level-headed at work? This is good—unless you become so indifferent that you consistently let others make decisions for you. Someone who is apathetic used to care significantly about something that they don’t really care about now. This could also be a sign of depression, so monitor your feelings. 9. Mindful vs. discriminatory. If you take your desire for inclusivity too extreme, you may be unknowingly reinforcing stereotypes, says London. Your perceived progressiveness could be an anti-skill. Many seemingly positive behavior traits may be doing you more harm than good. Whether you’re an easygoing person who likes to have fun at work or you always try to see other people’s points of view, stop and consider if your traits have veered too extreme.