Sunday, December 31, 2006

Joani and Danny

Last night Steve and I attended my friend, Joani Algiere's wedding. It was really fun, because it didn't follow the boring wedding style that seems to permeate today's world. Joani wore a beautiful black coaktail dress. She couldn't pretend to be the young, wide-eyed innocent and wanted to wear what really made her feel comfortable. Joani's mom, Marge Brown, the Mayor of Oregon, Ohio, was co-officiant of the ceremony. When she first addressed the couple, she said, "Joani and Danny..." That brought a laugh from everyone, because Dan is a very good lookin' 70 year old, but I would never address him as Danny.

The best man involved all of us in the toast. He is very funny, and he and Dan were in a team-building business together for years. Dan is Mr. Clean and the best man (I can't remember his name at this point.) is the other side of the odd couple. During the toast, when the B/Man pointed at us, we were all to shout, "However!" He allowed all us of to be participants in this event.

I got to thinking about networking events and how getting people involved makes for a better time for all. I think I do a pretty good job of this, but I can always do better. So for '07, I am making a commitment to have as many people as possible feel like they are an important part of every event we sponsor this year.

Do you have any suggestions as to what I can do to make this occur?

Saturday, December 30, 2006

What to Do?

Last week, Steve and I were at a holiday party. During conversation, one of the guests used an ethnic slur. Neither of us knew the guest before the party, and we both let it pass, but the same thing can happen during any networking event. I feel that I should have said something, but couldn't wordsmith the right response that would have allowed the offender to listen as opposed to becoming defensive. I took the cowardly way out. I don't feel so good about that.

What would you have done?

Friday, December 29, 2006

Massage Time

Today I got my monthly massage -- not a bad way to end the week. I reflected on the fact that Karen Shulman has been my massage therapist for the past 12 or 13 years. When I moved to Toledo, from Detroit, I continued getting monthly massages with a new therapist. Unfortunately, she developed breast cancer and had to let her clients move to other therapists. At that point I happened to be serving on a board with Karen, and while we were not yet fast friends, I decided she was the one to get my business.

What I love about Karen is her mind. She is a "drop-out" from the corporate world, and has business sense about her. We spend the whole time chatting which is just as relaxing for me as the physical massage. She also has a great sense of humor and in fact has written a book about her mother, entitled "I Never Meant to be Funny." Some of the stories are just smile funny and others are uproarious gut-busters. She donates some of the proceeds to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation in honor of her mom's triumph over the disease. This book is not a story about cancer (well maybe one story hints at it), but a friend has taken her copy to her chemo treatments to read to everyone there to give them a laugh.

Do you know someone that needs a laugh? This book should get the corners of their mouth curving up.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Nixon and Relationships

A tidbit of history that I did not know came to light with the death of former US President, Gerald Ford. Evidently when then President Nixon faced the replacement of Vice President Spiro Agnew, he had four finalist to choose from: John Connally, Nelson Rockefeller, Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford. Nixon choose Ford because he said, "Personal factors enter into such a decision," Mr. Nixon recalled for a Ford biographer in 1991. "I knew all of the final four personally and had great respect for each one of them, but I had known Jerry Ford longer and better than any of the rest."

Wow! My memories of Richard Nixon are of a cold, unfriendly man. I would not tie the word relationship to him at all, but evidently there was a human in side that skin, one who valued people and friendship.

Is there a person you've changed your mind about in regard to how open and friendly they really are?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Best Line

In the Certified Networker course, one of the CDs we listen to is called Standing in the Middle of a Referral by BNI Director, Alice Ostower. This audio is packed with information of how to develop referrals for networking partners. The best suggestion that Alice makes is very near the end of the recording, when she shares, "When you have someone on the phone, you can say, 'Before I hang up, who can you recommend that does ___________?'"

By using this phrase, you are asking the person at the other end to help you to make better connections and you are letting them know that you consider them the authority in this matter. It also helps you to work on behalf of your networking partners at a higher level. So many times, a business acquaintance will ask for help, but if we can't immediately answer that request, we just let it go. Instead, attach a sticky note with the request written on it to the phone . That way, each person you talk to can receive the question. Before you know it you may have developed a referral for the person you had not been able to help in the past.

Starting January 4th, when my BNI chapter resumes meetings, I am going to use this technique each week, choosing just one person per week to try to develop more referrals.

What commitments are you going to make to your networking acquaintances?

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Mayor Fights Brain Drain

Here in Toledo, OH, the mayor, Carty Finkbeiner, garners a lot of attention by his concern with "brain drain." Young people leave the city when they graduate college. Carty wants that to stop. Carty's style is to be very much a bully so I am sure it just drives him crazy that he can't just tell them what to do, as he does every city employee.

In a post written by Drew, he wrote about shopping styles. Many people buy what they want instead of buying what the recipient wants. How does this tie to Carty? He had a well publicized meeting yesterday with a little over 100 young people in attendance who answered his survey about how to keep them in Toledo. What did he do? He showed them a video about what he's been doing for the city. As I read the article in the paper, I thought to myself, "my god, he's got the surveys. Why didn't he create a new video, instead of using a leftover, that addressed their wants and needs." More entertainment, jobs, etc. But no, he gave what he wanted, not what they wanted.

Exercise Networking?

I just arrived back from our local "Y" as I decided I better get there today, because I probably won't get the for the next two days. I really don't like going on Sundays because it is so crowded and today was no exception.

One thing I just can't figure out is why people like to talk while they are working out. I just want to get there, do my run through of the machines and get out of there. Maybe it is because I don't particularly like to workout -- I just know that I need to do it. I have a goal, and that is to get done as quickly as I possibly can. Others are just jabbering away and I am truly mystified.

Can anyone clue me in to the phenomia of networking and working out??????

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Today is for Cooking

Today, I will spend a good portion of the day getting ready for Christmas Day when my two sons and their families will arrive. Now I have to tell you that dietary needs do make for complications. We have one who cannot eat dairy, a vegetarian, those who are averse to fish, and some who dislike other things like olives, raisins and probably something I've forgotten. What is neat is that no one complains -- they just eat what is appropriate for them. That said I am the mom, so I do prepare three different entrees for Christmas dinner. Now you understand why this is a cooking day!

You probably think that food is the centerpiece of our time together and while it is important, it is not what I love. We actually play stupid board games, put a 1500 piece jig saw puzzle together and sometimes even color with the kids. If I didn't get any other gift for Christmas this would be enough. Taking time to relax, to talk, to play happens so little in my world, especially with the kids. It's not their fault, it's really not anyone's fault. It's just our world.

So in advance I want to thank my kids for giving me the gift of being able to laugh till my gut hurts from playing Cranium.

What is your favorite gift from your family?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

My Gift to Sprocket

It is not easy for me to write this. Yesterday morning I decided that it was time to put our 17 year old cat, Sprocket, to sleep. I have been feeling that it was time for several weeks, but I was just trying to deny the situation. She just kept getting thinner and thinner and most pathetic. I couldn't let her go on.

Steve and I took her at the end of the day for her final ride in the car. She has been a fine cat, very much a queen in a household of loud, big smelly dogs and other cats. The dogs knew who was boss and it wasn't any of them. Sprocket had really sharp claws!

How this connects with networking is that it's about relationships. We love the vets we use. They are country vets. Not too expensive and while they love animals, they understand that they are animals. I do like one of the vets much better than the other. He's personable, remembers names, and shows that he really likes your pet as much as you do. Yesterday it wasn't his day to work and we got the vet who is more a clinician. He is very good at what he does, but he does not know my name, nor does he remember anything about us. (Believe me, even though their rates are reasonable, we have certainly contributed to their success over the years. He should know us!) On the way home cradling Sprocket's body in my lap, I felt badly that I hadn't thought ahead to ask which vet was on duty. I would have felt much better about Doc Martin's loving touch.

Isn't that what relationships are all about?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Networking Goals

I don't think I've mentioned this before. I realized early in the fourth quarter of this year when class registrations were not at the level I wanted, that I had been working in my office way too much. I was spending time in the cave getting valuable stuff done. However...I forgot my priorities -- do I want a clean desk (which will never happen) or do I want full classes? Having become clearer on the purpose of what I do, I decided to take a page from my sales history.

I would plan to have 10 networking appointments per week.

Since about the middle of fall I've been focusing on that one goal. It is pretty amazing to me as to how it changes my mind set. I had gotten lazy. I wasn't going to some networking meetings. I wasn't pushing myself to schedule appointments while at networking meetings. I was just skimming the surface. But not now! No sirree!

If an appointment cancels, I try to immediately fill it with another person. If I really don't feel like going to a networking event, especially ones at the end of the day, I give myself a pep talk and go anyway. I also send the list of people I've met each week to my training team. They are my accountability partners. That step also forces me to review how well I did towards meeting the goal.

As I move into '07, there is one resolution in place. This one says, "Continue to meet with ten people per week."

What are your secrets to success?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Seth's Words on Jargon

Seth Godin talks about how people don't buy from sales people when sales people use industry lingo. I teach the BNI Membership Success Program in NW Ohio. We spend time during this two hour training working on the 60 second commercials that BNI members deliver during the weekly meeting so that other members of the chapter know the type of referrals needed.

The members are taught to talk in very simple terms, but I can place a bet each time I teach, that several participants will say something like, "One thing I offer is multi-angled annuaramities." Now, for those of you ready to google that term, it is made up. But as soon as I hear a phrase like that, I stop the class and ask everyone else if they know what the term means. Again I can bet the farm, that all or almost all will have no idea what the person is talking about.

The sad part is that I'm one of the few people who will say, "Gosh, I have no idea what you just said." The even sadder part is that those who don't understand just don't do anything. Their minds clicks, "Next!"

What really mind pondering lingo have you heard recently?

Help Goes Both Ways

Once per month I give a short talk about networking to clients of Right Management Consultants, a firm that assists former employees of their client companies to position themselves to find new careers. Recently, one man talked about how difficult it is for him to ask friends and acquaintances for help. He said, "I have helped so many people through the years, but it is really hard for me to ask now." I hope I provided food for thought with my comments. I asked him how he felt when he was able to help others. Of course he said that doing so felt very good. I then asked him if he realized that by not asking for help he was keeping his friends from having those very same feelings. He said, "That never occurred to me!"

Networking is like that. Good networkers help others first, but they remember that one-sided relationships are not healthy. Allowing others to help is a huge facet of networking!

Is it easy for you to ask for help?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Networking Menu

Today, I am organizing menus for the holiday when my children and grandchildren will be here. It boggles my mind that as a young mom, I used to be able to put meals together at the drop of a hat. Now that Steve and I are alone, dinner is as likely to be catch as catch can. Ever so often one of us makes a real meal, but I have to admit that I may be out of practice just a bit. That's why places like Let's Dish do so well in today's society!

But anyway, as I was laughing to myself about my lack of skills in the meal preparation area, I thought about networking in the same way. I don't know about you, but sometimes I feel kind of rusty when I attend an event when I haven't been out there on the networking line in awhile. I forget to smile and approach people instead of waiting for them to approach me. I'm never really comfortable at big group type events, but the longer between each event, the more awkward I feel. I guess networking is much like working out. If not done regularly, it is not second nature.

Steve and I are going to a holiday party later this afternoon, so I'll be exercising my networking muscles.

Am I the only one who experiences this, or do some of the rest of you have these feelings?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

You Know What Bugs Me?

I feel out of sorts today. I hate unseasonable warm Decembers. I want snow, not just for Christmas, but I want snow for winter. But now that I have that out of my system, that's not what bugs me!

What bugs me is people who attend networking events without their appointment book with them. Now I ask you, is that stupid or not? Those in the know, understand that they are not going to sell anything at a networking event. Instead they are on the lookout for people they want to get to know better -- LATER. Later means an appointment where the two people can carry on an intelligent conversation, not drowned out by music, other conversations or even other interruptions.

Within the last several weeks, I made an appointment with a person who did not have his calendar with him. He promised he would remember. Well you know the end of the story. I drove 30 minutes to the meeting, only to be stood up. When we talked later this person didn't even seem fazed by the fact that yes, he had forgotten my appointment, and that he had robbed me of scare time.

So, please be on notice. At a networking event, I will not schedule an appointment with you unless I can actually see your appointment book.

Is there anything that really bugs you in the networking world?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Have You Heard of Talkshoe?

My friend, Deanna Tucci Schmitt, BNI Western PA, told me about Talkshoe, a website that allows for people to record conversations, presentations, educational session, etc. for free. Currently there is no advertising associated with a recording, but in the future there will be. I'm game!

Several years ago I tried to go the "teleclass" route with bridge lines. I would advertise the class, usually an hour in length, both online and I would market traditionally to the surrounding area. They were only somewhat successful. Where talkshoe is different is the recording. People can either just listen or they can dial in to become an interactive part of the session. Sort of like an old fashioned talk show. Once the show is over, it is listed on the talkshoe website for downloading. People visiting the site can choose to listen or download the podcast (recording) to a listening device (like an I-pod).

Deanna and I are going to do this with networking being the central theme. We will build visibility, credibility and hopefully recognition. But in my opinion we need to add a little something extrato gain a following. Maybe we should have a good girl/bad girl routine.

Give us some ideas. What should our shtik be?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Worst Job Question

Here in NW Ohio, I teach the Member Success Program for BNI. Monday night this week a new class was in attendance. They seemed kind of stiff, so I decided to handle introductions a little differently. Using a Scott Ginsberg question from his downloadable "55 Great Questions to Ask Someone Your Just Met" I used his, "What was the worst job you've ever had?" By the time the intros were done, everyone was laughing and much more relaxed. Training proceeded in a much more casual mode, both for them and for me.

Thanks, Scott, you make my life so much easier having your wisdom in it!

What ways have you used to get to know individuals in a group very quickly?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Comment on Charitable Giving

Since my first post today is about charitable giving, it was interesting to find Seth Godin had written in the same vein today. He talked about a company that sends $8 checks out with holiday cards that the recipient can give to their favorite charity. I love the idea.

When we started Certified Networker of Ohio, we decided that right from the beginning we wanted to give to charity. Each class that graduates has an MVP chosen from the member ranks. Before the class series ever begins each student is asked to list their favorite charity. At graduation the MVP is announced and this individual is presented with a check for his (or her) charity. Now, I have to tell you, the amount is only $50, but each charity representative has assured me that they love every dollar given to them.

How does your company give charitably on a regular basis?

When You Win, But You Don't

When you are out networking, the old 50/50 raffle tickets are sometimes sold. They add to the excitement of the event and also help groups to raise funds in an easy, not too intrusive way. Being the winner can get you into trouble if you're not a savvy player.

In the area I live, (NW Ohio) it is accepted practice that if you are attending an event that has a charitable connection, it is good form to celebrate the win, and then to magnanimously give the monies back to the charity. Conversely, if 50/50 raffle tickets are sold at an event that is strictly business, it is considered just fine for the winner to keep the money. Of course, no one ever refuses money donated back to a group that has organized the event.

I remember when I first became aware of the above rule -- or actually I was puzzled. During my daughter's high school years she attended a private school. My two other children attended public schools so I had no other history with the private world. We had some sort of dress up event where raffle tickets were sold for a car. (After all, this was Detroit!) I was so puzzled when the parent who won, gave the car back to be used for another fund raising effort. My brain would just not compute the logic. But knowing what I know now, this man was abiding by this unwritten rule. He had to give back his winnings for charity.

Have you encountered this rule or did your parents tell you about it as you were growing up?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

It's Double Digits

Yep, that's right. As a kid, I could not wait for December 10th to roll around because then it meant that with a two digit day we were getting serious about Christmas. And it did take FOREVER to get there. I thought about writing this blog on Sunday, but now as an adult the 10th came and went in such a rush, that I didn't make the time to write.

Scott Ginsberg recently threw out a challenge in one of his posts about having a platform. He suggested that bloggers -- serious bloggers -- write a post everyday for six months. Hmmmm. Can I do it???

I'll have to have an accountability partner. Want to keep me on the straight and narrow. Volunteer to keep me in line!

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Testimonial - By The Lake Spa & Wellness Centre

Ok all you WIN gals...PLEASE go to Kathy's for a sauna and massage....I just came from Kathy's and cannot express enough how GREAT I feel!!!






Love to All
Bonnie's Lampshades

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Follow up Comment

In a recent post Seth Godin wrote about following up with people. One comment I'd like to make is about those who send pre-printed notes to follow up or thank me for doing something. I'm sorry, but it just doesn't cut it with me. I know there is a whole industry out there that print those cute little note cards, but PLEASE, at least add a personal message if you are sending that type of mail to me. It you can't take the time to pen a few lines, then probably I don't really want to do business with you or introduce you to my best client.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Why Don't I Just Ask?

I am on the committee to help with an event next week. Some responsibility was to ask for silent auction items. I put off asking this one person because:

  • I would forget;
  • would not have the phone number with me;
  • would think about it while talking with someone else;
  • would.....
  • You get the idea. I was procrastinating.


Finally at the last hour, I called yesterday and the person on the other end of the line, Laine Gabalac, answered yes so enthusiastically, that I felt like I had done her the biggest favor. Laine is the manager of Let's Dish, a dinner prep business, where busy people, who still want to cook, but really don't have the time, can assemble entrees that are absolutely delicious. I just want to say, "Thanks, Laine. You made my day." I sure am hoping that the bidding goes really high on this item, but then again, I sure would like to get the winning bid.

When has someone made you feel like your request to them was the best thing you had ever done for him/her?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Avalanche Control and Networking

Over the holiday weekend I decided to take a walk in one of the Toledo Metro Parks, lovely Sidecut Park along the Maumee River. I love walking there especially in the morning, but unfortunately, I had gotten a late start and it was more like 11 AM. It was incredible to me that while I was enjoying just being outside, I wasn't hearing or seeing many birds or animals.

Near the end of my walk, I was practicing something I had just read. In a book about avalanche control, author Jill Fredston talks about how when she is searching for someone (usually a dead body) she looks not for the body, but what is out of place. I was in an area where normally I would see deer during an early morning walk. Soon, I saw a rounded shape that just was too "rounded" to be a tree trunk. Sure enough, it was a reclining deer, camoflauged perfectly by the standing tan colored grasses. But I have to tell you that my brain was working overtime to convince me that it was one of the many downed tree trunks scattered in the area.

This started me thinking about figuring out who to network with at events. I wonder if I could use the same technique? Do I zoom past people because I am not noticing what is slightly hidden or different? Could I pay more attention to those who are not bold and assertive? Is the very person I need to meet hidden by a crowd of others?

I will be doing some research on this. I'll let you know what I find out about my networking eye.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


By The Lake Spa and Wellness Centre (click here for directions)


Glenda Ashby - Maid In Canada
Karen Bambrough - Weekenders **Market Table**
Bookie Bell - Bookies Entertainment Service
Gloria Broad - Mary Kay **Market Table**
Heather Chapman - ExcluZiv Marketing
Colleen Collins - AdWorks
Michelle Dinga - Stardust Candle Corp. **Market Table**
Brenda Guiotto - DG Transportation Limosine Service
Gayle Jones - Lindsay Chamber of Commerce
Penny LaFraugh - Avon & eStore
Barbara Leffering - Quilt-A-Grafix **Market Table**
Alison Leslie - Artist **Market Table**
Dawn McColl - Victoria County Career Services
Janet O'Mara - Gregory and Associates
Patricia Partridge - Angel of Encouragement **Market Table**
Kathy Quinn - By The Lake Spa & Wellness Centre
Janet Reeds - Reeds Gift Baskets **Market Table**
Bonnie Stacey - Mission Success Group **Market Table**
Sue Sutcliffe - AWebThatWorks
Eileen Thopmson - CAPS
Bonnie Toms - Bonnie’s Lampshades **Market Table**
Deb Walkland - Guest of Bonnie Stacey

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Reaching Into the Community

Toledo Area Community Credit Union is a friend! Pat DeCesare, the Business Development Manager, offered their big community meeting room to Certified Networker for our Previews that we have about six times per year. There is a real savings in $$$, but also the setting is much nicer than the hotel we originally had used. Also, TACCU allows us to bring in our own cookies and drinks, rather than paying an astronomical amount for just one cookie!

Recently this credit union opened a new branch in Perrysburg, a suburb of Toledo, Ohio. Again showing how they want to serve their community they connected with the Perrysburg High School Band at their grand opening. The credit union did the normal act of having the band play, but then they got creative. They rented sumo wrestler suits, and recruited the band leader to don one of the suits. Then for a nominal fee, the students could get the chance to see it they could knock the director off his feet. Pat said parents were paying much more than the requested fee, because the money was going right back as a donation to the band. What a great entrance! What a great way to get the community's attention. The same of amount of money could have been spent on ads, or other traditional marketing. And certainly some was, but TACCU showed how they are unique. They stand out from the crowd.

What unique marketing have you seen from others in your business community?

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Our October meeting was a huge success! We had a record attendance of 37. Our membership now sits at 28!

I want to thank Leslie Traill for speaking to us about Astrology and Meditation and how it influences our lives and our business. Thank you to everyone who brought a door prize as it is always nice to leave with an unexpected gift! Finally, thank you to Kathy Quinn of By The Lake Spa and Wellness Centre for opening her doors to our group and cooking us a wonderful lunch!

Welcome to our new members:
Colleen Collins, AdWorks
Patricia Partridge, Angel Of Encouragement
Sharon Leven, Schoolhouse Graphics
Janet Reeds, Reeds Gift Baskets
Bonnie Stacey, Mision Success Group
Collette Yvonne, Panic House

October pics...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Pop, Hop, Never Stop

The title of this post is my attempt at using Sam Horn's rhyming technique to develop better and more creative ways to market your business. Her book, POP, How to Stand Out in a Crowd, does just that. My friend, Scott Ginsberg, The Name Tag Guy, recommended the book when he was in Toledo for the Women's Entrepreneurial Network conference.

Now, I gotta tell you, I am not the most creative cracker in the box. If I were to describe myself along those lines, I guess I called myself a saltine. Square and maybe a little salty. But following Sam's instructions and methods, I think I could actually come up with some good stuff about my business. My new business card and tag line developed by Terry Maxx, Maxx Grafx, says, "Evolving a community of profitable referral partners." So I've been playing with the word evolve to see all the words that could rhyme with it.

Let me give you a word of warning. You do need to follow Sam's instructions to do the exercises in Chapter 2 before continuing to read the book. Otherwise you will find yourself very frustrated at about 2/3's of the way through because you are unable to really do the exercises. Ask me how I know!

International Networking Day

I spent last week at the International BNI Director's Conference in Long Beach, California. One aspect that I love about these conferences is the willingness of all directors to share their ideas with one another.

Early Friday morning at about 6 AM I had a "one to one" (BNI's vernacular for a meeting between two people) with Geoff Kirkwood while we walked along the beach. Heck, I was still on EST and Geoff couldn't decide what time zone his body was in either, since he'd flown in from Australia on Sunday. Geoff is the national director for BNI/Austalia and is also a very creative person. (He's also a major flirt!) I feel very lucky to have met him at last year's conference. He is the spark behind a new BNI initiative -- International Networking Week/Day. This first ever celebration is scheduled to happen the first full week of February from this point forward. This year (2007) it will be Feb 5 - 9, with the 6th being the official networking day.

Can you imagine what could happen if groups all around the world concentrated their relationship building on that one day? Gosh, maybe leaders would actually talk with each other instead of just posturing.

If you could plan an event for this day, how would you celebrate?

Monday, November 6, 2006

Madness Curve

Yesterday, I walked into a meeting a little late, having been delayed at the previous meeting. Within about 30 seconds I wanted to turn around and leave the meeting. The president was trying to deliver a message. She was interrrupted.

One member, who tends to be a trouble-maker, decided that she had the floor. There was lots of "you said this; someone said that; I didn't get treated right; my problems are bigger than yours; etc."

It is a good thing that I was not the person leading the meeting because I would have told that person to shut-up or leave. Not too politically correct.

It all made me mad....mad that women do that snippy thing. Men don't do it. Yeesh!

Talk about going backwards on the relationship module. There was not a speck of relationship building happening.

Saturday, November 4, 2006

Funny Things That Can Happen

Yesterday, I was in Akron presenting to the Great Lakes Region Chapter 34, of the Association of YMCA Professionals. My good friend, Jody Alexander, Executive Director of the Fort Meigs Center for Health Promotions, YMCA in Perrysburg, Ohio,
was the person who arranged this speaking engagement for me. (And by the way, she won an award at this event for "Budget Management.")

The funniest thing happened that in all my years of presenting this takes the cake!

I had just begun the first session -- the one most presenters fear -- the first one after lunch. I knew that I had to be upbeat, and have a quick rhythm to keep the participants awake in the hot room. About ten minutes in, I realized that many were laughing and smiling and I congratulated myself that I was getting them engaged.

Well-ll-ll, not quite! We were in this beautiful room with windows looking out over a breath-taking, cascading river. IT WAS WINDOW WASHING TIME! Yep, you got it, the whole nine yards of the dangling ropes and the horizontal, ladder-type apparatus descending outside those very windows. Then the crew started squeegeeing the windows. Talk about distraction. But I have to give a hand to the "Y" professionals. They exhibited their professionalism. One participant got up from her seat and pulled the drapes closed as far as they would go, and the others just came back to the topic at hand. We barely missed a beat. And I don't think they fell asleep either.

Okay, presenters, can you top that? What's the funniest distraction you've ever had when you've been presenting?

Thursday, November 2, 2006

This is Deep

I have a question of the day.

Why do only a handful of people volunteer and follow through on helping with projects?

Today I am helping with an event. Of the total membership, five of us are working on this project. We have asked other members to help with specific requests ("Would you be willing to distribute invitations within your office?") and have in most instances run into a brick wall. We did not create the idea for the event but were asked by the leadership to create this event. I know the event will be successful, but it could have been an "out of this world" success if a few others would have added the little bit of extra effort we requested.

I have to admit that there are several people within the membership of this organization who have lost credibility points with me. I cannot rely on them to help in the future. This affects how I think about them outside of this event, too. Of course, coming from the opposing point of view, the five on the committee were great.

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Person to Person

I make personal least most of the time.

Why do I use my time this way?

When I'm part of the process, I get benefits, too!

Scheduling time for three busy people to get together can be a challenge, but I feel the reward of the respect I get from the other two in the equation. Additionally, when I'm in the meeting, at first I do the talking to introduce (and describe why I thought the two should meet), but then they take over. It is always amazing how much more I learn about these two people, both of whom I think I know pretty well. It usually turns out, that there is a whole side of them that I don't know.

Just yesterday, I introduced my friend Sara North to Andrew Sprenger, a personal trainer. She asked great questions of Andrew that I had never thought to ask him before, including if he is insured. What I learned will help me to better refer him in the future.

Networking is all about connecting. While the typical Business After Hours scenario comes to mind when I hear the N word, it is not always that way. After all, it is about two people developing a relationship or taking a current one to a higher level. No matter what the scene, I want to be part of the introduction for a selfish reason -- it's helps to take my relationship with both people to a much higher level. Shush, don't tell anyone.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Butterfly or Mole?

Okay, here's my theory.

Those who say they love networking events are social networkers who like a butterfly flit from person to person without stopping to really connect. These are the people who also like to partake of all the food and drinks. They may be known as the king(or queen) of networking because they know so many people. A good networking event for them is a fun networking event.

Those who go to networking events because it is good business sense to do so, may not have fun at all. These events may be the ultimate challenge for them. They may be shy or not good at small talk. But when they measure the return on the investment for their time, they say, "I met a very good contact and we talked for quite a long time. We have an appointment to get together next week." Those people stay under the radar that identifies flashy networkers, so they may be unknown in their community. They could be called the networking mole.

Which are you, butterfly or mole? Which do you think is better?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Finding the Why

Module 8 was Friday. It is my favorite. In the four years of teaching Certified Networker, now to over 300 people, it really is a turning point for both the class and me. Through a process in class, the students find out (probably for the first time) why they do what they do. It is important to know that, because that is the emotional power for their success.

The participants in this current Friday morning class have been stars in every assignment. They all rose to the occasion with this work. We jokingly call this the Kleenex session and Friday was no different.

Denny Austin, shared that he saw did not personally experience being bullied as a youngster, but that he saw it enough. Working as an investigator on Worker's Comp Fraud cases, he has actually investigated a couple bullies from his past. The old saying of, "What goes around, comes around," certainly describes this situation. Denny said, "The reason I do what I do is that I want to be a good example to my three boys of what is the right thing to do."

Pat Golba-Lynch, also a member of the Friday class, sells Arbonne like many other women. But her story is different. A teacher's impatience with her left-handedness, made her lose her confidence as a youngster. Now Pat, helps women to feel confident, or to gain the confidence that she knows is so important. That's why she choose to become an Arbonne representative after a long time teaching career.

When you think about your career choice, why do you do what you do?