Arouse in the Other Person an Eager Want

I have been on a Dale Carnegie kick lately.  Well, for the last 20 years.  That's "lately" in a larger sense.  A Carnegie maxim is “Arouse in the Other Person an Eager Want.”  People are far more alike than different.  And everyone is pretty much like you and me: we are all interested in what we want.  This is so obvious that we often don’t even see it.  The fish doesn’t know that it’s wet.  Everything you’ve ever done was done because you wanted something.

The only way to persuade someone to do anything is to talk about what they want and show them a way to get it.  There is no other way.  As simple as that sounds it is something we overlook all the time.  Arouse in another person an eager want and they will move mountains.  Fail to do this and they won’t move an inch.  As Carnegie said “If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.” 

Talking about our problems is a waste of time.  When we communicate with people, let’s see how quickly we can get to view things from their point of view.  The world is full of people who are grabbing and self-seeking.  So the rare individual who unselfishly tries to serve has an enormous advantage.  He has little competition.  Let’s be clear that this is not about manipulation.  Each person needs to gain from the relationship.  Long-term success in sales, marriage, networking and everywhere else is about win-win outcomes.  Always has been, always will be.


Let’s Talk About LinkedIn Recommendations

LinkedIn is one of the best places for you to showcase the professional that you are.  I often tell my audiences that one of the reasons that LinkedIn is so important to your success is because Google is so twentieth century.  When someone Googles your name they see a lot of information and some of it may not show you the way you would prefer.  By creating a robust LinkedIn profile you can present yourself in the most favorable light while increasing your visibility, showcasing your credibility, gaining clients or locating and securing your next position. 

You have the ability to allow people to write Recommendations for you on your LinkedIn profile.  This is a good thing.  A very good thing.  Of course you paint yourself in the best light when you create your LinkedIn profile.  You’re biased because you’re you.  By having people who have done business with you write testimonials regarding their experience of working with you, your credibility and viability increase dramatically.

Having trained thousands and thousands of people and hundreds of companies on the most effective uses of LinkedIn since 2004, I have seen a lot of LinkedIn profiles.  Most people are not leveraging the Recommendation section of their LinkedIn profile anywhere near what they could be doing.  I actually had someone bring to my attention recently that I have more Recommendations on my LinkedIn profile than anyone else on earth.  I didn’t believe them so I did a little research.  I found out that not only do I have more Recommendations than anyone else; at 740+ Recommendations I actually have more than double the number of Recommendations of any of the other 75,000,000 people on LinkedIn.
This serves me very well and I’m suggesting that adding Recommendations to your profile will result in greater success for you.  This is also another reason why you should connect with current and former coworkers, clients and networking partners.  These folks are in a position to comment on their experiences of working with you.  And you control what gets posted on your profile.  If for some reason you would like them to modify their Recommendation you can request it.  You can also delete the Recommendation completely if you choose. 

In a more and more competitive business world, having the ability to have other people describe the positive outcomes they have had in working with you can be a game changer for you, your career and your business.  All things being equal, people do business with and refer business to people they know, like and trust.  By having Recommendations on your LinkedIn profile you significantly increase your “know, like, trust factor”.  Most people spend inordinate amounts of time trying to realign the planets and solve business Rubik’s Cubes when in reality their businesses would be transformed if they increased their Know, Like, Trust Factor.


Give Honest and Sincere Appreciation

In keeping with my recent Dale Carnegie theme, one of the “Carnegie-isms” is “Give Honest and Sincere Appreciation.”  This is very important in all interpersonal relationships, whether online or offline.  We should never forget that all our associates are human beings and hunger for appreciation.  Remember the phrase: “the desire to be important.”  It is very significant.  Anyone can point out when someone has screwed up.  Unfortunately, the only recognition that many people ever get is when they mess up.  I suggest that we sneak up and catch people doing something right.

Don’t flatter people.  Flattery does more harm than good.  Appreciation is sincere and flattery is insincere.  One comes from the heart out and one comes from the teeth out.  One is unselfish; the other selfish.  Think about people’s good points and we won’t have to resort to something as cheap and false as flattery.  People aren’t stupid; they know when they’re being fed a line.  Give honest and sincere appreciation.

People do better work and put forth far greater effort under the spirit of approval than they ever do under a spirit of criticism.  We’re all very busy and we often take our spouses and business partners for granted and we rarely let them know that we appreciate them.  There are few things people need as much as nourishment for their self-esteem.  Realize this and take a minute to show appreciation.  We often forget that what we give we receive in return.  Pay it forward.  Show appreciation.  Do it without expecting it to come back to you immediately.  It will come back.  It’s not our job to rush the harvest.  Just plant the seeds.

Why Networking Is Important

Remember the old days (in the last century) when your parents told you to go to school, stay out of trouble, keep your nose clean, study hard, get good grades, get a good job, work there for 40 or 50 years, retire, move to Florida and enjoy the good life?  Were you told this like I was?  How’s that working out?  That may have worked at some point way back in the past, but even ten year olds know that it doesn’t work this way today.

Networking has always been a smart thing to do and never more so than today.  Especially today.  Networking is the cultivating of mutually beneficial, give-and-take, win-win relationships.  In a more and more interconnected world it is very smart to build strong networks.  The days of working in a silo and not connecting with folks outside of your silo are over.  Just look at Social Networking.  Facebook, Plaxo, Twitter, LinkedIn, Naymz, and the list goes on and on.  Your world is getting smaller with every connection you make.

Connecting is all about your friendliness, your ability to engage, and your willingness to give value first.  More than likely, your next job, business opportunity, client or strategic alliance is going to come from networking and not from old-school advertising or similar means.  This is a great time to be in business.  As long as you’re someone who gives value first.  People are looking to do business with people they like, know and trust.

Networking is important because in the world today, it isn’t just who you know, it’s who knows you and what you do.  Effectively networking and adding value to your network comes back in many ways and often in very unlikely places.  This makes perfect sense when you start to see all the hidden connections that we have with each other.  And although it’s a cliché, “What goes around, comes around” is pretty much right on the mark.  Build your network, add value, seek to serve and let the chips fall.  I’m betting they’ll fall in your favor.


Don’t Criticize, Condemn, or Complain

Most folks know that I am a bit of a Carneholic.  That's a Dale Carnegie-aholic.  "Hello, my name is Kev, and I'm a Carneholic."  Whether I'm speaking onstage on Online or Offline Networking, LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter or anything else (and God knows I fall into some rabbit holes), you can bet your life that at some point in my speaking or training engagement, the Carneholic will emerge.  This is because Dale's book "How to Win Friends and Influence People" has made such a major difference in my life.  And not just my life, but a lot of other people's lives also.
One of the Carnegie maxims is "Don't Criticize, Condemn or Complain".  This is profoundly simple wisdom.  And something that should be taught to every child from the moment of their birth.  We become like the people we associate with whether we're young or old.  And most of society is pretty darn negative.  So it's only natural that as we grow up we tend to get negative and cynical.  Carnegie understood that we tend to avoid people who are a pain to be around.  And people who criticize, condemn or complain tend to be a pain to be around.  At a conscious and also a subliminal level we like to be around positive people.
Regardless of how tempting it may be to participate in a negative conversation, try to resist.  It may be tough and you may fall into one again and again, but realize that it gets easier over time.  The fish doesn't know it's wet.  Most folks have no idea how negative they actually are, just like a fish doesn't even know that it's wet.  It's been in the water so long it doesn't even think about it.  And we're so immersed in negativity, they we don't even realize it most of the time.  Who said "the unreflected life is not worth living"?  Shakespeare, Plato, Pee Wee Herman?  I can't keep them straight.  Whoever it was, they were right.  The only way we can change habits is to start being aware of them.  Set a goal for a day to monitor whether you're criticizing, condemning or complaining.  You may be surprised.
Whether it's in the context of networking, dealing with co-workers, your spouse, your kids, whoever…we're always dealing with people.  And our joy, success and results in life are hugely dependent on our ability to get along with people.  Only in a huge way.  Set a goal to see how long you can go without criticizing, condemning or complaining.  Set a personal record and then keep striving to break the previous record.  You will find that you become much more conscious of your and other peoples' speech patterns.  And as you work toward removing these stumbling blocks to effective relationship building you'll also enjoy your relationships more and more.  And that makes it all worth it.


When you're networking remember that everyone has WIIFM written on their forehead in invisible ink.  "What's In It For Me?"  This is true regardless of the person's age, gender, occupation or anything else.  There are some things that we all share in common and this is one of them.  There is no subject that is more interesting to each of us than ourselves.  So the best networkers remember this and use it to create win-win relationships.  Now, let's clarify upfront that we're not talking about manipulation or slickness.  Although, if you look up manipulation in the dictionary it means "to handle skillfully".  Most of us could use a little more skillful handling although the word "manipulation" is usually used in a negative connotation.
So, knowing that people like to talk about themselves, it's not a stretch to realize that the other person is looking for a way for this potential networking relationship to benefit them.  And so are you.  And that's the definition of a mutually beneficial win-win relationship.  This is the essence of successful networking.  As obvious as this may sound, there are bajillions of people that don't understand this.  And they have all the evidence to prove it.  Sometimes you even see a lot of dead bodies in their wake.  Well, maybe not dead bodies, but folks that are very unlikely to ever do business with or refer business to these people.
As you're getting to know your networking partners always keep in the forefront of your mind that you should be thinking of ways that you can add value to their professional life.  As they are describing what they do for a living be listening closely to what a good prospect or referral is for them.  Don't be thinking about what you're going to say next.  Focus on listening.  After they're done explaining their ideal referral, start running through your mental Rolodex looking for good fits.  If you need additional clarification ask them for it.  The more that you know about what their ideal referral looks like, the more likely you'll be in a position to refer business to them. 
One of the nice serendipities of remembering WIIFM is that WIIFM often results in WIIFY.  "What's In It For You."  Because if there's nothing in it for them, there's probably nothing in it for you either.  Maybe short-term, but definitely not long-term.  And that's how you can identify a professional networker.  They are only interested in mutually beneficial, win-win, long-term relationships.  Actually, individually beneficial, win-lose, short-term relationships aren't even called relationships; they're called transactions.  And transactions are like commodities.  Things that you're just looking for the lowest cost of.  There are no people who are commodities, only people who think like commodities.  Remember WIIFM and you'll see a difference in your networking and your business results.


Kick It Up A Notch

Because people can't read minds, we make decisions about the folks that we meet and network based on things like clothes, body language, eye contact and other factors.  Of course, we also make decisions based on the other person's credibility as it relates to what kind of work they do.  But there is something that a lot of people don't think about when they're networking that they should notice about themselves and others.  Enthusiasm.  Are we giving the impression that we enjoy the kind of work that we do?  Are we giving the impression that we're interested in the other person?  Quite often, people don't realize that they are sending mixed signals.

Have you ever met the person who says they're excited and you're thinking "Why don't you notify your face?"  I meet them from time to time.  People are picking up subtle clues all the time as to the congruency of our messages.  Is what we're thinking, saying and doing in alignment?  This is a question that deserves some thought before we get into a networking conversation.

The word "enthusiasm" comes from the Greek word "entheos".  No, I'm not going to be like the father in My Big Fat Greek Wedding and try to convince you that all words can be traced back to Greece.  Entheos means "having God within".  If God is within someone it's probably a good bet that they're fully alive.  This isn't about religion, it's about inspiration and excitement.  When you're meeting people, kick it up a notch.  Don't start bouncing off the walls or acting weird.  Just remember that you're opening up a relationship and who knows where it can go?  This is exciting!  When you're a professional in your line of work, the other person is fortunate to make your acquaintance and you're lucky to make theirs.  This is the start of a mutually-beneficial relationship.

Put on your game face the next time you're networking.  You're there to meet people and see folks that you already know.  We all like being around people that have a little skip in their step and that are up.  Make it a goal to be positive and enthusiastic the next time you're out and about.  And the beautiful thing is that whatever we give we receive in return.  See how the energy in the conversation changes when you inject a little enthusiasm.  You will become someone that people want to be around.  And that's fun and profitable for everyone.

Twitter for Non-Twits

Do you think that Twitter is just about 13 year olds talking about what they had for lunch and the Jonas Brothers?  C'mon, if you're not currently using Twitter, you know you do.  If so, you're right.  But, that's like saying that the phone is about 13 year olds talking about what they had for lunch and the Jonas Brothers.  So, it's not about the phone, it's about the conversation.  My suggestion is not to listen to the conversations of 13 year olds, but that's just me.  Twitter is the world's best real-time business tool.  Now let's agree that anything that is on Twitter (or Facebook or LinkedIn or any other Social Networking site) is open for public review unless certain privacy settings have been set.  And if it's private either don't post it or use the privacy settings.  So, we're not talking about stalking here, we're talking about common sense.  Which, ironically, is the most uncommon thing in the world.

Now that we've covered that, let's talk about effectively using Twitter for a minute.  Imagine if you could be a fly on the wall to over 100,000,000 peoples' conversations around the world.  Imagine if you could search through these conversations by specific name, word, company or anything else that you can type.  Imagine if you could observe people talking about things that you could add value to or help them with.  Imagine if you could find like-minded people who have similar interests to you.  Now we're getting somewhere.  This is a small sampling of what can be accomplished by effectively using Twitter as a business tool. 

Let's also agree that just because someone's voice can reach around the world, it doesn't mean that the person is any smarter than when their voice could only reach the end of the bar.  So think of Twitter as a database.  A very amazing real-time conversational database.  That's what it is.  The internet is an electronic bathroom wall sometimes and sometimes it's an amazing communication tool.  The choice is up to us.  Just as in any other decision, the choice is up to us.  I recommend being selective about the conversations that you participate in and contribute to so that you and the other folks see value in it. 

If we're not already connected on Twitter and you'd like to connect with me, please feel free to connect with me at www.twitter.com/kevinknebl.  I have no interest in spamming, stalking or trying to sell you something all the time.  I use Twitter as a tool to connect with people who I can add value to.  It's always about relationships, whether personal or business-oriented.  Just as in offline relationships, you can tell a lot about a person by what they talk about.  Just listen.  They'll reveal themselves.  It's no different with Twitter.  This is just a communication tool.  At the end of the day, we hang with the folks we like.  I'll share more information on how to get the most out of Twitter while adding the most value in future blog posts.  Let's connect.

Listening Is So Important

We never outgrow the need to have our feelings known and much of the conflict in our lives can be explained by one simple fact: people don’t really listen to each other.  In a more and more hyper-paced world we sometimes fool ourselves into thinking that we can do more than one thing at a time.  The truth is that we just end up doing one thing poorly after another.  We’ve gained unparalleled access to information and lost something very important.  We’ve lost the habit of concentrating our attention. 

The simple art of listening isn’t so simple.  Take the time to focus and listen to people.  Regardless of how much we take it for granted, the importance of listening cannot be overestimated.  The gift of our attention and understanding makes other people feel validated and valued.  Our ability to listen, and listen well, creates goodwill that comes back to us.  But effective listening is also the best way to enjoy others, to learn from them, and to make them interesting to be with.

LinkedIn 101

LinkedIn is the world’s largest and most successful networking site.  There are over 70,000,000 people using LinkedIn.  The average LinkedIn user is 42 years old and earns $107,000 per year.  Not a bad demographic.

If you’re working, a LinkedIn profile is a must-have, not a like-to-have.  This is because just about all savvy businesspeople go to LinkedIn to do their due diligence in regards to who to do business with, sell to, buy from, etc.  This is not about spam or stalking.  This is about adding value to every relationship because (and you can write this in stone) “All things being equal, people do business with and refer business to people they like, know and trust.”  My friend Bob Burg came up with that quote back in the early 1990’s and I use it every day all over the world, because it’s as true as gravity.
In upcoming newsletters, I will explain some of the ins and outs of LinkedIn to assist you in showcasing yourself in the best possible light, positioning yourself for your next opportunity, and connecting with strategic partners.

Here’s a gift for you: if we’re not already connected as 1st Tier Connections on LinkedIn, please send me a LinkedIn connection request.  Because I have been using LinkedIn for seven years and because I have over 16,200,000 connections on LinkedIn, when I accept your invitation, over 2,000,000 connections will be added to your LinkedIn account for free.  This will save you seven years of building your network and will add immense value to your LinkedIn experience.  Here I am: www.linkedin.com/in/kevinknebl

You can only add me as a connection if you have a LinkedIn account, so if you don’t, take the five minutes and start to set one up.  You’ll be glad you did!


We Become What We Think About All Day Long (whether we want to or not)

I had a great phone conversation today with an old friend.  Remember that technology – the phone?  Great tool.  Anyway, we were talking about success, goal-setting and things like that.  He knows that I read a lot of books on success, psychology, and personal development and he asked if I could distill in one sentence the essence of the many books that I’ve read on these subjects.  It didn’t take me long to formulate a sentence.  And it’s not originally mine.  There’s nothing new under the sun, and everything is just a variation on everything else.  So the sentence is “We become what we think about all day long, whether we want to or not.” 

There have been a lot of other people who have said this in the same or similar wording.  James Allen said “As a man thinketh, so is he.”  Or was that Jesus?  I can’t remember.  Earl Nightingale said the same thing.  So did Aristotle and Shakespeare.  There’s way too much intelligence there for me to fit in with that crowd, but I get their gist.  We become what we think about all day long.  And the kicker is the “whether we want to or not” part.  That’ll bite cha.  Or not, if you’re thinking about the things that you appreciate or desire. 

We are literally what we think, our character being the complete sum of all our thoughts.  Is it a coincidence that things always seem to turn out poorly for people who think that they will turn out poorly and vice versa?  I’m not saying that we should live in some fantasy world and deny reality.  I’m suggesting that we create the conditions of our lives.  We have all the evidence to support this right in front of our eyes.  The question is, do we see it?  As James Allen wrote in As a Man Thinketh, “Most of us are anxious to improve our circumstances, but are unwilling to improve ourselves – and therefore remain bound.  If we do not shrink from honest self-examination we can never fail to accomplish the object our hearts are set upon.”

Set a goal to watch your thoughts for the next day.  You may be surprised.  Just observe.  Don’t try to change your whole life or rearrange the planets in the next twenty minutes.  Just observe where your mind goes.  Watch it like you would watch a cat playing with a ball of yarn.  Don’t make a judgment on it, just observe it.  And then when you’re ready, when you notice thoughts that you don’t enjoy thinking and that you know don’t serve you, think of something else.  Think of something that you do enjoy.  Think of something that you’d like to have happen.  If you really want to make a quantum leap, don’t just think about something you’d like to have, do or become, give thanks that you already have, are doing , or have become that person.  Think this in gratitude and appreciation as if it already is your reality.  Because it is.  But that’s a subject for another post.


Effective Networking Email Template

Effective networking is a lot like matchmaking.  As you are out and about meeting people, always be thinking about who they should know.  By taking a sincere interest in people and learning what kind of work they do, you will be able to refer people and resources to them.  You can always tell when you’re dealing with a good networker when they say, “You know, I need to introduce you to so and so.”  That differentiates them from a lot of people right there but the great networkers take it one more step.  They actually facilitate the introduction.

Anyone can say that I need to introduce you to so and so, but the pros actually do it.  This may sound shocking, but so does the fact that people do things that they know are bad for them.  We all do this in different areas of our lives.  We’re all hypocrites in some way.  If you’re not, let’s get your name to the Vatican for instant sainthood.  The bottom line is that “To know and not to do, is really not to know.”

When I facilitate a connection by email I use a basic template.  I modify it to suit the particular situation, but I’ve found over time that the basic format works really well for most occasions.  Here’s what I often use:

“Linda and Fred,

You're both friends of mine who I think should meet each other.

Recently, I spoke with you, Linda, about __________.

 Fred is a good friend of mine and is also a tremendous ______________ professional.  He doesn't have any tape on his glasses, has no pocket protector and can spell P&L.  He's got both sides of his brain working very well.  (Let's talk about him like he's not reading this)

I think you'll see a lot of value in having a conversation with him about __________.  Fred doesn't put round pegs in square holes and truly takes a sincere interest in helping people.  If he can't help you, he'll steer you to someone who can.


Linda Smith's contact info (name, title, company, email, phone, website)

Fred Jones' contact info (name, title, company, email, phone, website)


This is about both of you so I'll step back from the conversation at this point unless you have something that you'd like to discuss with me.

Eager to serve you,                                                                                                                                                      Kev”

Facilitate introductions and expect nothing in return.  Do it because it’s the right thing to do and because what we give comes back to us.  If you’re making introductions because you think that people will now owe you, it will backfire in your face.  That’s a transaction, not a relationship.  The irony is that when we pay it forward and spread the love with no expectation of reward, it often shows up.  And it often shows up in unexpected places.  What goes around comes around.  Develop the reputation as someone who is a great networker and business matchmaker and people will beat a path to your door.  It’s always about relationships.


Listen Up

We never outgrow the need to have our feelings known.  When we meet people we need to remember that everyone likes to feel appreciated.  Whether the person is a white collar, blue collar or no collar worker, we are all so much more similar than we are different.  DNA has proven this.  I’ve heard that all humans are genetically 99% the same.  It’s the 1% difference that we tend to see and focus on.  Skin color, height, gender, hair or lack thereof…you know the drill.  I also recently heard that all life on earth is at least genetically 90% the same, whether you’re talking about a banana or a whale.  Well, I know some people that have much more in common with bananas than humans, but I digress.

Much of the conflict in our lives can be explained by one simple fact: people don’t really listen to each other.  We fool ourselves into thinking that we can do more than one thing at a time.  The truth is that we just end up doing one thing poorly after another.  We’ve gained unparalleled access to information and lost something very important.  We’ve lost the habit of concentrating our attention.  The simple art of listening isn’t so simple.

When we’re meeting and getting to know someone at a networking event (and by the way, everything is a networking event), in order to listen well, we must forget ourselves and submit to the other person’s need for attention.   Let them talk.  And don’t be worried about what you’re going to say next.  If you’re worrying about that, you’re not listening.  Many people worry that they’re never going to be able to get a word in.  Don’t worry about that, because until the other person has had their say, they won’t hear a thing that you’re about to say anyway. 

Regardless of how much we take it for granted, the importance of listening cannot be overestimated.  It’s only everything.  Remember this.  Actually, the less you say and the more you guide the conversation by the effective use of questions, the more the other person will consider you the most charming conversationalist in the world.  The gift of our attention and understanding makes other people feel validated and valued.  Our ability to listen, and listen well, creates goodwill that comes back to us.  And effective listening is also the best way to enjoy others, to learn from them, and to make them interesting to be with.  Listen up.

Always Make It Personal

There was a time in business when there was your personal life and there was your business life.  I think that most people would agree that those lives started to blur together a long time ago.  With the advent of Social Networking, the dividing line has completely evaporated for a lot of us.  Personally, I think this is a great thing.  We’re not talking about stalking here, we’re talking about transparency.  This is our opportunity to let people know that we’re not corporate drones and that we have souls and are compassionate.  Being a great businessperson, networker, or whatever and caring about people are not mutually exclusive.

We need to remember that we’re not dealing with companies, corporations, institutions and son on – we’re dealing with people.  It’s easy to forget that sometimes, especially when you’re in line at the DMV and places like that.  We feel like we’ve become part of “the Borg” and that we are being assimilated.  Stay conscious and remember that these places are run by people.  Just like you.

It’s amazing what can happen when we take the extra minute to connect with people on a personal level.  It’s so simple to find fault with people and processes but it takes a more enlightened person to sneak up and catch people doing something right.  Look for opportunities to show appreciation with everybody.  At a seminar I was once leading I asked the attendees to compliment at least five people during the lunch break.  After lunch I brought someone on stage and asked him how he did.  He said that the first four went okay, but had a hard time with the fifth.  I asked why.  He said, “I met this really overweight lady and struggled and struggled as to how to compliment her.”  So I asked, “Did you come up with something?”  He said, “Yeah. I told her that she didn’t sweat much for a fat lady.”  I laughed so hard that I think some pee came out.  Not exactly what we were shooting for, but the attempt was there.

The point here is to take the time to make every interaction personal.  Find something good about everyone.  Take the extra second and ask how someone is doing and really listen.  You don’t have to solve all their problems or cure world hunger.  Just take a sincere interest in them.  Make things personal.  All things being equal, people do business with and refer business to people they like, know and trust.  True as gravity.  Great networking maxim.  Especially take the extra second when you feel you are dealing with a bureaucracy.  This is your test.  Spread the love.  Never pass up an opportunity to make it personal. 


Keep It Positive

We become like the people we associate with.  This is true whether we’re five or fifty-five.  There are certain kids that we don’t want our kids to hang around with.  The reason for this is because we intuitively know that we become like the people we associate with and we don’t want our kids becoming like “those kids”.  So, at what age does that change?  It doesn’t.  Adults are just kids with long, hairy legs.  Just like little kids, we become like the people we associate with. 

Knowing this, it may serve us well to choose to associate with positive, uplifting people.  I’m not talking about hanging around with people that are in denial that there is crap in the world; just people who choose to focus on the positive.  Everyone has crap in their life and anyone who tells you that they don’t needs a checkup from the neck up.  We all have crap, but it’s not what happens, but how we handle it.

Ever meet that guy or girl that you’re afraid to ask “So, what’s new?”  We’ve all met them and from time to time we are them.  That’s just being human.  The key is to choose to focus on the positive.  It’s much more enjoyable to spend time with people who are uplifting and positive.  It’s also a sign of their intelligence.  Because everything is a choice, including and especially our attitude.  Be a positive person and people will want to spend time with you.

Great networkers know that you only have a few seconds to make a first impression.  Remember that when networking, always keep it positive.  Anyone can complain about work, the weather, and the last episode of Lost, whatever.  Rise above that.  Find something positive to talk about with your networking partners and they will flock to you.  Be the person that people enjoy spending time with because they feel better when they leave you than when they met you.  Not because they’re leaving you, but because they met you.  Big difference.

Make it a goal that when you are networking or just going about your daily activities (they’re actually one and the same) to see how long you can go without saying something negative.  It may be surprising to find out how long you can make it.  When people start complaining about something, try and turn the conversation to something positive.  It’s not always easy, but hang in there.  Any dead fish can float down stream.  Swim upstream.  Surround yourself with positive and uplifting people and your whole life will change.  Life is too short to be bummed out.  Keep it positive.


Don’t Be A Twit

Everybody and their brother are now on Twitter or will be soon.  Twitter is a fantastic platform for making introductions and finding people that you want to communicate with.  The key wording there is “communicate with”.  Not communicate to, or sell to, or pitch to, or spam to, or scream at.  Once again, Social Media is a great magnifying glass on people’s character.  We can’t outrun our character and no matter where we go, there we are.

Quite often, when people get started on Twitter they think it’s all about having the biggest following.  This is a tell (see previous blog post for explanation of “tell”).  Wanting to have the biggest following is all about ego.  I can hear some folks right now.  “No it’s not, Kev.”  Uh…yes, it is.  When you build and sustain relationships on Twitter (as in the offline world) you don’t need to have a gazillion followers.  All things being equal, people do business and refer business to people they like, know and trust. 

Let’s think about this for a second.  Would you rather have 50,000 followers who, more than likely, are also just blindly follow anyone who can fog a mirror and never reading your tweets, or would you rather have a smaller number of followers that you have a relationship with who actually read your tweets?  Don’t take too long to think about this. It’s an IQ test.

Don’t be a twit.  Twits are trying to grow their followers exponentially just like people who promise get-rich-quick schemes.  As my beautiful wife, Karin, says “Where’s the evidence?”  You can always tell a tree by the fruit it bears.  Look at the tweets of the people who are promising things that are too good to be true.  More than likely they are.  Run screaming from anyone who promises to show you how to get a bajillion followers in 20 minutes.

When someone starts following you on Twitter take a look at their profile.  Then take a look at their tweets.  What are they tweeting about?  Look at their tweets from the last few days and get a feel for what they like to talk about.  Is it self-serving or are they adding value?  Adding value, what does that mean?  It means are they tweeting things that you find valuable.  Again, don’t think too hard about this.  That darn IQ test.  Is this someone that you would find interesting enough to have a drink with at a networking event?  If so, you may want to follow them back.  If not, don’t.

The key to success is service.  Always has been, always will be.  The people who truly succeed have figured this out.  In all ways, seek to be of service.  Don’t be a twit.  Add value with your tweets.  It’s okay to tweet a shameless self-promotion from time to time on Twitter.  But don’t do it all the time.  Always seek to be of service and success and followers will show up.


How May I Serve You?

There are a lot of strategies and techniques that are proposed to break people’s attention and get them to focus on us and our message.  I find that most of these maneuvers are very self-serving and pretty simple to see through.  I also believe that only every waking moment of our lives we are sending messages that I call “tells”.  In Vegas, a “tell” is a sign that you give off unintentionally regarding what you’re holding in your hand.  Actually, we give off “tells” all the time.  The question is whether we are aware we are doing this or not.

Not to be sexist, women tend to pick up on tells more frequently than men.  Maybe it’s their intuition, or their experience in reading through a lot of b.s. from guys.  Who knows?  As guys, we often don’t realize that our body language, eye contact, intonation, listening, or lack of these things is sending a message.  This post isn’t designed to be an armchair psychological analysis, but if you’ve been around for a while you know what I’m talking about.

Because I’m not smart enough to memorize all kinds of clever ninja moves when it comes to networking and building relationships, I choose to use a very simple approach.  When you’re meeting someone for the first time, after you get to know a little bit about them, ask them “How may I serve you?”  And ask it sincerely.  This will probably cause the other person to stop in their tracks.  And that’s a good thing.  You have gotten their attention.  Now, this isn’t about manipulation or cleverness, this is about taking a sincere interest in the other person and letting them know that you are wanting to help them in some way.

Unless you’re talking to Hannibal Lechter, you’re going to start your relationship in a great way.  Actually, if you were speaking to Hannibal Lechter, he’d probably be thinking about how he would serve you. Maybe with a little Chianti and fava beans.  But I digress.  Think about the last time that someone asked you how they could serve you.  I’m guessing that it’s been a while.  If not, please introduce me to the person that asked you how they could serve you.  I’d like to meet them.  That’s the kind of person I’d like to know.

Seek to serve and everything else will fall into place.  Don’t waste your time trying to memorize clever opening lines and other networking Rubik’s Cubes.  If something seems hard to learn, it’s usually because it is.  It’s a BFO- a blinding flash of the obvious.  Always seek the natural way.  What could be more natural in starting a new relationship than asking “How may I serve you?”  And always remember that we only get back what we give.  It’s a universal law.  I’m willing to bet that when you are known as a person of service and value you’ll have a lot of people that will respond in kind.  So…how may I serve you?


Don’t Forget About Traditional Networking

You would have to be Tom Hanks living on an island with a volleyball named Wilson not to know that Social Media is hotter than a blowtorch right now.  And while that’s all well and good, there are many, many people who seem to have forgotten that traditional networking still exists.  Actually, it’s stronger than ever for real networkers because the effective use of Social Media opens up tons of doors for traditional networking.

Up until a few years ago, you never had to differentiate between “offline” and “online” networking.  Social Media/Networking has changed all that.  And while they may seem separate, in fact, they are far more alike than different.  The irony is that we are not networking “with” computers, but “through” computers.  And the best networkers move it offline as quickly as they can in order to develop true relationships with their networking partners.

Organizations like BNI and Le Tip have been around for decades because “All things being equal, people do business with and refer business to people they like, know and trust.”  True as gravity.  Every city in the country has weekly face-to-face networking meetings that are goldmines for effective and professional networkers.  The key here is “effective and professional”.  As in anything there are amateurs and there are professionals.  The professional networkers understand that networking is about building and enhancing mutually-beneficial win-win relationships.  Not transactional relationships.  There are no people who are commodities, only people who think like commodities.

Check the business section of your local paper and at least once a week there will be a listing of all the upcoming networking meetings.  It may serve you well to schedule at least one networking meeting per week into your calendar.  “But, Kev…you don’t know how busy I am.”  That’s what amateurs say.  Try this one on “I’m too busy to kiss my wife or spend time with my kids.”  How’s that fitting on you?  Not so good, huh?  Be that way, and soon you won’t have any wife or kids to worry about.  Same thing with your network.

There are a lot of people out there right now who thought they had safe, secure jobs and then one day they wake up and their world is turned upside down.  When’s the best tie to plant a tree?  Twenty years ago.  When’s the second best time to plant a tree?  Now.  Complaining that there isn’t enough time to network is the same as complaining that there isn’t enough time to eat right and exercise.  Everyone has the same twenty-four hours a day.  In reality, no one on earth has a time problem- we have priority problems.  This may hurt, but it’s true.

Take a few minutes and either look in your local paper or online and find a few networking meetings in your area this week.  Go.  Show up.  Add value.  Ask people how you may serve them.  It may blow their minds.  And that’s a good thing.  Pay it forward.  Dig your well before you need the water.


LinkedIn Reaches 70,000,000 Users

LinkedIn recently hit 70M users worldwide.  While less than 40M are in the USA, LinkedIn’s American growth is staggering.  I was using LinkedIn back in 2003 and I was like a voice crying in the wilderness.  I would encourage people to start using the site for networking, job searches, business due diligence and other purposes.  Quite often, people didn’t create a profile at the time, but they are now.  Boy, are they now.

The world is getting smaller.  Whereas only a few years ago you would almost never heard of LinkedIn in the press, now you’re hearing about it every day if not multiple times a day.  Most people have figured out that Social Media isn’t a pet rock, mood ring or hula hoop.  This isn’t going away. 

Facebook and Twitter have been very social by nature and LinkedIn has always been about business.  But I’m seeing changes on LinkedIn.  I’m finding that some people are forgetting (or unaware) that LinkedIn is about business and they are “socializing” LinkedIn.  I’m all for building social relationships but some folks are shooting themselves in the foot by some of the things they’re posting and doing on LinkedIn.

Here are a few LinkedIn tips:

Remember that LinkedIn is about business.  It’s typically not the place to talk about things in your personal life.  Leave that to Facebook and Twitter.

No one is getting on LinkedIn to be sold to.  Overt solicitations are like a fart in a church on LinkedIn. 

Build business relationships.  All things being equal, people do business with and refer business to people they like, know and trust.  Add value.

Make it personal.  While I said that LinkedIn is about business, people do business with people.  Don’t be afraid to let your personality come through on LinkedIn.  Being professional and having a personality are not mutually exclusive.

Treat LinkedIn like you would a party that you’ve been invited to.  You wouldn’t run into the party screaming “Here I am!”  Observe the etiquette and respect the fact that you’ve been invited to the big room.  You’re the same person online that you are offline.  Be a person that others see value in connecting with.

Facebook is the World’s Largest High School Reunion

With almost 500,000,000 people on Facebook, if it were a country it would be the third largest country in the world behind China and India and right ahead of the USA.  Online communities of this size would have been difficult to imagine even a few years ago.  The world is getting smaller.

Back when I graduated from high school I had a little black book with my girlfriend’s  and some of my drinking buddies phone numbers.  No matter how good you are at keeping in touch with people (holiday cards, postcards, phone calls, etc.) eventually you lose touch with a lot of people.  Fast forward to the last few years and I think we can all agree that Facebook is the world’s largest high school reunion.  I think that about 90% of my high school class has reconnected on FB.  It has been a lot of fun catching up with people and seeing what’s new in their lives since back when the earth was cooling.

I find that although there were cliques in high school, reconnecting years later those cliques have gone away.  Some of that is definitely a function of maturing, but I think that the transparent nature of FB has also contributed to this.  Because we can see what our friends are doing for a living, who they’re married to, what hobbies they have, how twisted their sense of humor is and tons of other pieces of information about them, we feel like we know them well although we may not have seen them in decades.

Let’s make sure that we are on the same page regarding this not being stalking.  Rule number one of Social Networking: if you don’t want someone to know something particular about you, don’t post it.  This may sound blatantly obvious, but many people don’t see what’s right in front of them (just ask my wife, Karin).  Stalking is when someone violates your privacy and looking at someone’s FB profile is not stalking.  Just wanted to clear that up.

Knowing that the world is getting smaller and that we are all becoming more and more interconnected, I suggest that we look for opportunities to build relationships in ways that we never had the opportunity to do in the past.  If I look at your profile and I see when your birthday is, how much effort would it be for me to send you a happy birthday message on FB or by email?  Not very difficult at all.  But most people don’t invest the few minutes that build relationships.  I think that’s a shame.  There are a million ways that we can spread the love.  Take a few minutes and learn about your FB friends.  How many kids do they have?  What kind of work do they do?  Where do they live?  What kind of hobbies do they have?  These are all opportunities to reach out and start a conversation with someone who’s your FB “friend”.  In a more and more interconnected world, relationships are the glue that hold it all together.  Spread the love.