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Social Media: Making Connecting and Communicating [too] Easy

Social Media

Social MediaWhen I first thought about Social Media as a Big Idea, it seemed like a good topic. Until I started to think about it. Because forms of Social Media are ubiquitous – we all use them, so what can I tell you that you don’t already know?

Well, take a look, and find out.

Continue reading Social Media: Making Connecting and Communicating [too] Easy

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Networking

Networking
Networking
Networking

For some people, the idea of networking seems less appealing than dental extraction. You’re in a room full of people you don’t know, and you have to ‘make contacts’. Business networking gets a bad rap.

But let’s look at it objectively. Talking to people, making alliances, helping others, and finding people you can trust… They are hardwired into whatever it is that makes us human. We are social beings.

The ‘Social Network’ that is Facebook did not become a global colossus because it invented something new. It did so, because it gave us an easier way to do what we do naturally: connect with other people.

Strip it of its management-speak baggage, and networking is not just a big idea. It is The Big Idea that gave humans our route to world domination. It is the source of our common humanity.

Continue reading Networking

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How Good is your Business Card?

If you are self-employed or own your own business, then networking will be one of your most important activities.  And just as you would not expect a carpenter to turn up to a job without a full set of chisels, so you will need the tools of your networking craft.

By the way – if you get your business card given to you and cannot influence its design, skip down a bit and enjoy the links to some of the most imaginative business cards you’ll ever see.

A Sharp Business Card

If business cards are to networking what chisels are to carpentry, then what does a sharp business card look like?  One way to get a feel for what makes a good or a bad business card is to look at loads.  I never throw a business card away, and from time to time, I try to draw some lessons from them.

Business Cards

Five Lessons for Great Business Cards

  1. Keep it simple
    Don’t have more than three zones of content.  Each zone is a compact block of text or graphics that works together, for example, a logo, or a logo and strap-line may be one block; your contact details may be another.
  2. Make sure that the style gives the right message
    We all read something from style, so make sure that people read the right thing from the style of your card.  Run off a number of mock-ups and give them to friends or colleagues and ask them: ’what does this card say about me?’
  3. Colour is important
    Colour conveys a message about you, so choose it with care and, unless you are using full colour images, keep the number of colours down.  While colour conveys a style, don’t rely on it to convey important information, which should be in a strong dark colour for maximum readability.
  4. Make sure it says what you do
    If I take your business card, I will want a prompt to help me remember what you do and why I found you so interesting.
  5. Use the back
    A standard business card has two sides to it.  One way to get more content or more creativity onto your card is to use both sides.  For the marginal extra cost, you get a lot of extra real estate.

The Sixth Lesson for Great Business Cards

There are no rules to good design, and the best designs follow no rules.  Here are five blogs with wonderful business card designs.

42 Awesome Business Card Designs

Cool business card designs

18 Smokin’ Hot Business Card Designs

Cool Business Cards

100 (Really) Creative Business Cards

Management Pocketbooks you might enjoy

In The Networking Pocketbook, Jon Warner cites the statistic that 90% of us don’t have a calling card.  I suspect that’s mostly the 90% who don’t really need one.  However, far more worrying are his statistics that, of the remaining 10%, 35% show only name, address, and phone number, and 40% are out of date or have incorrect information and therefore have to be amended by hand every time they are given out.  My collection does not quite bear out that statistic, but there are certainly a good handful that have scribbled comments names, numbers or addresses on them.  It looks bad.

.

You may also like:

The Personal Success Pocketbook

The Meetings Pocketbook

The Impact and Presence Pocketbook

The Salesperson’s Pocketbook

The Key Account Manager’s Pocketbook

So here’s the deal

Take a critical look at your business card.  Is it time for a refresh?

If no, take a look at some of the cards in the links above and enjoy being awestruck by the creativity.

And, if you have a card you are proud of, or some advice on how to create one, let our readers know by adding a comment below.

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The Pocketblog Guide to Exhibitions and Conferences

On 21 and 22 April 2010, Management Pocketbooks will be on stand 571 at Olympia, for the annual CIPD HRD Conference and Exhibition.

We hope to see you there.  If you are coming to this one or going to another; whether you are attending an exhibition, an exhibition and conference, or are exhibiting, here are our top tips for making the best of your networking and learning opportunities.

Tip 1: Use your time effectively

Exhibitions and conferences are exhausting and time consuming. Your reason for going may be pleasure but for most of us, it is business.  So make sure you plan to capitalise on business opportunities.

  1. Research who will be there. Are there any of your clients, suppliers or prospects? If there are, check where they will be and go prepared.
  2. If you can do so, arrange to meet people at the exhibition. You’ll both be there and both be in need of a cuppa from time to time.
  3. Tour the exhibition hall systematically. Talk to people on stands that interest you – regardless of whether you sense a business opportunity. Let random connections create unexpected opportunities from time to time.
  4. Allow time to stop and have a break. You’ll need it and it will give you the time for an unexpected conversation.
  5. Schedule any conference events into your organiser to ensure you don’t miss them.

Tip 2: Practise the art of influence

A simple way to be more influential is to be seen as an expert. To speak with real authority, find something specific you can really specialise in. Ironically, the narrower your specialism, the more you will be seen as an expert. Try it:

  • ‘I specialise in training’
  • ‘I specialise in leadership training’
  • ‘I specialise in leadership of change training’
  • ‘I specialise in leadership of change training for SMEs’
  • ‘I specialise in leadership of change training for high tech SMEs’

While we are on the subject of authority; remember to dress the part. Rightly or wrongly, we judge each other by the clothes we wear. Dress to impress – let your clothes reinforce your authority; not undermine it.  And don’t forget a big stack of business cards – not just for the fishbowl competitions: for doing business too.

Tip 3: Make your exhibit count

Make sure you let people know in advance that you will be there, and where you will be (we’ll be on stand 571).  On your stand, it makes good sense to appoint someone to co-ordinate your activities and also direct good practice.  For example:

  • Take an interest in the people who take an interest in your stand.  Playing it cool and chatting nonchalantly with your colleagues will not impress and may intimidate.
  • Ask people question when they come onto your stand.  If you bombard them with your pitch, you have a one in a thousand chance of saying the right thing.  Questions will help you figure out what they want to know about.
  • Don’t use your mobile on the stand.  If you need to make or take a call, step away from the stand.
  • Don’t put your freebies and brochures on the edge of the stand.  If a delegate is just ‘stamp collecting’ then the give-away has no value to them or you.  If they really want what you have, making them ask will give you a chance to engage with them.

Tip 4: Get the most from the Conference

Three colleagues went to a conference.

  1. Chris thought it was just as expected: all either familiar ideas or irrelevant rubbish
  2. Vic thought it was just as expected: all the talks were interesting and everything was brilliant
  3. Sam thought it was just as expected: a lot of the speakers had one or two real nuggets to take away and think about, with a few surprising insights from unexpected places

Who got the most from the conference?

So here’s the deal

Plan your time, prepare your personal pitch, use your stand well, and tune your radar for unexpected nuggets of insight and opportunity

The Essential Conference-goers Management Pocketbook Collection

There is no Conference-goer’s Pocketbook or Exhibitor’s Pocketbook – yet.  So in the meantime, take a look at the following Pocketbooks to prepare yourself:

  1. The Influencing Pocketbook
  2. The Networking Pocketbook
  3. The Negotiator’s Pocketbook
  4. The Customer Service Pocketbook
  5. The Learner’s Pocketbook

If you don’t own any of these, you can buy them at a £1 discount on stand 571 and, if you buy five Pocketbooks you can get one free.  How about:

….…6.  The Positive Mental Attitude Pocketbook

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