The 10 Don’ts of Networking

Don’t dress down. Looks matter, whether you like it or not. Before you can “wow” people with your impressive set of skills, you’ll need to awe them with your appearance and body language.

Don’t dismiss people who don’t look important. “You should behave here like everyone you interact with has the potential… to get you a cover story in The New York Times.” Sometimes it’s the secretary that will get the job done, not the president.

Don’t expect a job. Getting a job might be more about who you know than what you know – but don’t be so obvious about it.

Don’t be uninformed. No card, no contact. Be up to date with what is going on in your field and in the field whose business you are trying to get. It’s okay to learn something new, but if you don’t know something crucial then you have just lost their faith in your abilities.

Don’t collect business cards like candy. “Don’t trick-or-treat for business cards.” Make an honest connection with someone before you start soliciting for business. They are more likely to give it after a positive interaction verses a cold call.

Don’t only think about yourself. “Networking can be described as the process of interacting or engaging in communication with other for mutual assistance or support.”

Don’t be vague. “I want to go back to school… maybe do something in the business world.” Almost everything has something to do with business. Have clear goals in mind.

Don’t reach too high. Having Mark Cuban, Warren Buffet, or John Maxwell on speed dial would be great – for you. But would you really be able to offer them much help? Maybe… but probably not.

Don’t monopolize anyone’s time. This isn’t a phone call or an email exchange, so give people space to mingle. If they are giving hand signals to a partner across the room to help them escape, you’ve lost the opportunity.

Don’t follow up with a sales pitch. Before you ask for a favor, you need to develop the relationship further, Sue Clement writes on Businessknowhow.com. She recommends referencing something you spoke about at the networking event and then offering the person something they can use – whether that is an introduction or a helpful article.

Chemeketa Community College

Whether you’re about to graduate high school, returning to college after some time off or want to make a career change, Chemeketa has a place for you.

If you’re ready to prepare for your future, Chemeketa’s faculty and staff are committed to your success in the classroom and beyond. The college’s open enrollment policy means students from all walks of life are welcome. Their diverse student body means you’ll not only learn class content but how to work with people from different backgrounds – a huge asset in today’s job market.

Don’t thing you can afford college? More than 60% of Chemeketa students receive scholarships and financial aid. Low-cost tuition and fees means your money will go further at Chemeketa. While a college education costs real money, they are doing everything we can to keep their tuition among the lowest in Oregon and provide you with affordable textbooks.

Chemeketa offers a variety of services and opportunities to help you succeed in college and beyond. Advising, counseling and career services can put you on the right path to graduate and start your career while internships and work-study jobs can give you job experience while you’re still a student. Writing and tutoring and study skills services are available to all Chemeketa students. Veterans, disability, CAMP, and TRiO programs offer additional college support to those who need it. They also have additional resources and programs to help you meet other personal needs.

Chemeketa Community College strives to fulfill its mission, vision, values, and core themes every day with every student. When they carry out their mission Chemeketa hopes to provide opportunities for students to explore, learn, and succeed through quality educational experiences and workforce training. They strive to be a catalyst for individuals, businesses, and communities to excel in diverse and changing environments.

Chemeketa works to carry out their mission through collaboration, diversity, equity, innovation, and stewardship. They collaborate to ensure purposeful, effective programs and services that support all students, and welcome diverse perspectives and the free exchange of ideas. A college community enriched by the diversity of their students, staff, and community members. All the while they act with personal and institutional accountability for the responsible use of environmental, financial, and human resources to meet the needs of current students without compromising the needs of future generations of students.

Why do you do it?

Many questions are asked regarding the big question WHY? What’s interesting is that simple word helps to define so much of what we do in life. If someone asks you why you work where you work or why you do what you do for work, what do you tell them? When kids ask ‘why’ for everything that occurs we have answers, sometimes we have to resort to quantum physics to get the answer but there is an answer to their question of why.

But sometimes, the answer is not so available. The deeper questions of the universe, at times, don’t allow us to know exactly why things are the way they are. We may or may not be able to know the answers to these bigger questions of why. Mysterious isn’t it. So what’s the point? My point is that we can only control our own ‘why’. We can only determine what we determine to do and then be determined to do it. The haunting question behind what we do is why we do it. Martin Luther King Jr. Gave the “I have a dream” speech. He did not give an ‘I have a 7 step plan’ speech.

People join and become a part of great things because of why those things are done. This is because the ‘why’ is an underlying purpose that grips the heart of a person and compels them to gravitate toward something great. This can be something great for themselves, something great for their family, or even something great for all people. The ‘why’ within us drives us to how we will deliver on what we will desire to share or become or do or have.

Start with the question, why. When you know why you can picture what it looks like when you get there. When you can picture what it looks like to get there, you can determine the how. When you have the why and the how, anything is possible.

Excellent Customer Service

“I can help next in line!”

You recognize this cashier and begin to order a large coffee with cream when the cashier says –

“Hi John, it’s great to see you. Can I get you the usual?”

Now, that’s great customer service.

Sadly, with the advancement of the internet, and big box stores, getting that personal touch can be lost. But hope is not lost.

While it can be a struggle it is not only possible to build a relationship with your customers, but incredibly doable. As a managers, we might tell our staff that we as individuals do not pay them, our guests do so offer them the best service possible. Even a complaint can be an opportunity to go above and beyond. So don’t shy away from asking how things are.

Best Western Dallas Inn & Suites is one of those big companies that still tries to have those unique interactions with their guests. The vision of Best Western is to lead the industry in superior customer care. Andrea Reyes, Manager, had this to say concerning customer service, “Every interaction counts, and we want to be the reason our customers smile.”

Those extra personal touches go the extra mile and bring in more revenue. I’m more likely to be loyal to a store that knows my name and remembers me, than the one that just sees me as another source of revenue. So take the time today to chat with a customer. Ask them how things are, or even follow up on a past conversation. Your customers will thank you for it.

For a great example of customer service in book form, look for Mark Sanborn‘s “The Fred Factor” on a bookstore shelf.

Pet Owners Independence Day

Fed up of going out to work every day, slaving at a desk to earn a crust, while your dog, cat, rabbit, or fish lounges around the house? Well, Pet Owners Independence Day aims to change all of that nonsense. The idea of this holiday is that we owners get a turn at lying on the carpet, atop the fridge, take a swim in the fishbowl, while our fluffy friends try out their talents in the workplace. Let them earn the treats for a day.

Admittedly, there could be just a few drawbacks to this holiday… For one thing, will the average cat or dog be up to take a letter, let alone a phone call? For another thing, just how good is a typical owner likely to prove at catching mice, gnawing on bones, burrowing, or keeping the scratching post in trim shape? All that remains to be seen- but it’s a great idea, anyway, and should add a touch of animal magic to the day!

Here are some ideas of just how to celebrate this quirky holiday with your legless, two-legged, or four-legged companion:

1. Go fishing, and if you forget to bring along the poles, just poke at the fish with your hands and play in the water. It’s what your cat and dog like best anyway. The creek in the Dallas City Park is a great spot to find minnows and crawdads.

2. Play fetch. And when you’re done, play fetch again. You can never throw the ball too many times.  Plenty of open fields at school playgrounds and parks provide ample opportunities for play.

3. Chase the cat. Despite the popular belief, the cat actually enjoys this game. At least, that is what the dog tells me.

4. Eat new things. Try something new, even if it smells a little funky.  You never know what you might like at one of the many restaurants in Dallas.

5. Run some zoomies around the house. Your cat and dog can show you the best routes. Just be prepared for a couple of bumps in the wall.

6. Nap on the couch. The laundry can wait.

7. Laze about in the sun. Vitamin D is a good thing.

8. Learn something new. Despite the old saying, even old dogs can learn new tricks. Keep your brain active.  Try the Polk County Museum to see what you might learn about our beloved County.

9. Cuddle with someone you love, then suddenly spaz out and take off. They’ll thank you for it.  Afterall gut laughter is many times the best medicine.

The Go Giver – Bob Burg & John D. Mann

I had gone to a conference in 2010.  I was really struggling to wrap my head around the validity of our company’s offering when a colleague suggested that I stop worrying about what it was and just learn how to give myself away.  That comment stunned me.  Aren’t we here to do business?  I rely on commissions to pay my bills.  The colleague-turned-mentor said something I’ll never forget, “listen, you’re a go-getter.  But you’re also a giver.  You’re trying to separate the two.  Stop it.  You need to learn to be a go-giver.”

Give and get… at the same time?  I was lost.  She said she had a book in her room that she’d lend me for the rest of the conference if I wanted to implement the one thing that had made her successful.  I thought. ‘The one thing? This one thing was the one that made you so successful?  I’ll take it.’

I read a little bit that night.  But had to ask if I could finish it before we got together again the following month.  She said that’d give us a chance to talk further.  So I held onto it.  I didn’t just read it.  I devoured it.

The Go Giver is a parable-like story that shares how the main character learns how to give in order to receive.  He meets a mentor that shows him the importance of being kind and giving what you do have in order to give enough value to others that they only want to consider you for doing business in the future.  Stories are funny that way.  They share implementable universal truths that help us become who we need to become in order that we can accomplish great things.  It helped me produce better numbers.  Numbers that meant more to clients than what I was selling.  The numbers I gained was in humans who valued the things I was sharing with them.  And yes, my numbers grew in how much I made.

Learning to give is one major step in learning how to be open to receive.  You can even borrow it, I bought it on CD so I can hear it over and over again.

Winston Churchill Day April 9th

Let’s be honest, life is hard. Sometimes it feels like the odds are stacked against us and we are not sure where to go or what to do next.

Winston Churchill, Britain’s great hero and Prime Minister during World War II, was once asked to give a commencement address at Oxford University. Churchill was a leader admired and loved by the people. He had led Great Britain through a time of defeat, despair, and great loss, but had continued to provide inspiration exactly when it was needed. You can imagine the anticipation of the students, faculty, and family members as Winston Churchill made his way to the platform. Dressed in coattails, he carefully removed his gloves and top hat to deliver these words, “Never give up. Never, never give up” He then turned and went back to his seat. It was perhaps the shortest speech on record but also the most remembered at Oxford University and around the world. It was a message of hope and encouragement.

Without going into a lot of drama and details I will tell you that I recently went through one of those life-changing events. This event should have left me a mess, feeling alone and no idea how to pick myself back up. Instead, I found a community standing behind me, willing to give me a shoulder to cry on or an encouraging hug.

Yes, life is hard. There are always going to be challenges, some greater than others. The nice thing is that we don’t have to surmount them alone. We have people in our lives that want to help us; whether it’s personal or professional. The trick is to reach out and ask for it. We at the Chamber of Commerce would love to help in any way we can. If we can’t help you then we darn will help you find someone who can. Today, in honor of Winston Churchill, we at the Chamber say, “Never give up.”

~Sarah Javins