Do you network to 'pitch' your firm and get clients? Or do you network to build a bond with someone in your field? Whether you network for selfish reasons (getting clients) or a personal connection, it works, and statistics support its value:

» Eighty percent of all professional oppor- tunities are found through networking. *

» Effective networking can increase busi- ness performance by 30 percent. **

Networking is a two-way street. Your side of the street is about helping others, not asking them to help you. Asking for favors only becomes a possibility once you have provided some value to the other person. Think: What do you have to offer? In the meantime, find networking events that you will enjoy and find valuable. Maybe it’s a Young Professionals group in your city, or a Rotary Club where your colleague is on the membership commit- tee and knows every member by name. Go to events that will help you network with people who do what you do or who you want to know.

Then, practice your networking savvy:

» Have a plan once you arrive. Scan nam- etags at the registration table and pick two or three people you want to meet.

» Leave your friends. Remember you are working, so step out of your comfort zone.

» Create a positive impression with your appearance, open body language, smile and handshake. Then, be on your guard.

» Have an interesting and intriguing 10-second introduction when someone asks you what you do.

Be prepared to network everywhere you go. Always have your business cards or mobile gadget with you to exchange contact information with someone. And remember that if you’re starting to relax at a network- ing event, chances are you’re doing some- thing wrong—like boring the person you’re talking to, checking your text messages or feeling the effects of one too many glasses of wine!

*Source: The Professional Edge, Inc. 2014 survey of 100 professionals
**Source: Global Advisory Companies in US

Lynne Breil has brought her message of personal polish and politeness to organizations nationwide for 20 years. A former Miss America Semi-Finalist and a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), Lynne is a well- regarded expert on the topics of business behavior, presentation skills and professional communications.

With executive orders and restrictions across the country in a state of constant flux, not everyone is ready to jump back into meeting in person. While some planners are eager to get back to “normal,” the long-term adjustment to new meeting protocols and potential risks make some hesitant to gather.

While wearing masks and social distancing can help keep attendees safe, intentional design choices—such as including nature-inspired elements and materials and plenty of plants—can also help to calm attendees.

 

The times they are a-changing, and that has never been truer than when it comes to selecting an A/V partner and deciding whether the in- house A/V vendor or an outside third-party provider is the right partner for you. Due to advancements in technology, lighting and other A/V equipment that has come down in price, planners are now finding op- portunities to use previously out of budget technology with a much more palatable price tag. 

 

Retreats and off-site meetings present wonderful opportunities for groups to collaborate, strategize and build relationships away from their normal office environments. With proper planning, these sessions can be highly effective and even pivotal in setting a new direction. However, off-sites may present some unforeseen challenges that can quickly deflate the energy in the room if not anticipated and addressed in advance.