Monthly Archives: May 2008

Verbal Spam

It was a small class, hosted by a small organization. The person who was giving the class was in a position in one of the local businesses, and the class was titled in such a way that we thought it would be about general skills within the topic.

It wasn’t. It was about “how to do x, with business y”. It might have been of some use if we had been in a position to utilize the services of y, or if the information presented were more broadly applicable. In the entire 1 hour presentation, I learned exactly 1 thing of value, and it is something which I will likely never use personally. It may someday benefit a client.

The presentation was the equivalent of verbal spam. We came to learn, not to listen to a one hour advertisement.

Presentations, classes, seminars, and conferences are about good information. They aren’t about self-promotion. Ok, we all know we give presentations for promotion, but it is EXACTLY like article marketing. If you advertise outright, you lose your audience. Your presentation must be informational, useful, fun, unique, and contain a good measure of the “ah-ha” factor. You get a moment at the beginning to introduce yourself, just enough to validate your credibility. And you get a moment at the end to hand out something for them to remember you by. That’s IT. The rest is about building a relationship where you are attending to their needs – as in, giving them something they need.

You’ve sat through bad presentations where someone did nothing but promote themselves. Don’t be one of those! Prepare something of value that assumes the listeners WON’T be hiring you. Give them value, and give them the courtesy of choosing for themselves. You’ll catch more interest that way, and people will remember you longer. That means they’ll be more likely to pick up the phone and call YOU when they have a need.

People recognize verbal spam. And they are very sensitive to it. Shove your business at them, and they’ll leave in disgust. Avoid self-promotion, and they’ll come back to you because they respect your knowledge.

Who You Know

I’m not a power pusher. I don’t think I ever will be. My desire not to be made it hard for me to grasp a concept about networking. While it is NOT all in who you know, sometimes, who you know can make a difference to your business.

If you know the person who is on the end of the phone when someone calls an organization and asks who can do what you do, you might get a referral.

If you know the person who leads a particular organization, they may think of you when they need a speaker, or a service.

If you know someone who knows a lot of people who make decisions, they may mention you when the topic changes to something that might benefit you.

Now, the real catch to this is, you never quite KNOW who the “right” people are! You may think that knowing the mayor could help you. But if you are a little guy, the mayor really doesn’t give a rip about you, and it will be a long hard road to make any headway there. On the other hand, if you know the mayor’s secretary, you may actually get further, faster!

One of our students is a pretty ordinary person. Very nice – an easy person to love. Since she has been in our class, we hear her name regularly, and she refers people to us. She is not someone whom anyone would single out as being a person of power. But she knows people, and they respect her because they know she is sincere and good. We’ve met the mayor, and we’ve met many people in positions of power. Some of them remember us, most do not. Someone like our student though, is someone worth knowing for many reasons.

Get to know everyone that you have the chance to network with. You never know which one is going to be someone who helps you in ways you did not anticipate. Don’t USE people – develop good, helpful relationships with them. Our student recommends us in part because while we were teaching her, we went out of our way to help her when things were difficult for her. So it was about kindness and friendship first. The benefit came unexpectedly many months later.

So go… and GET to know…

Grow a Garden!

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