Monthly Archives: July 2014

Building Relationships Means NOT Networking

To Network Like an All-Star, Don’t Network. Instead, Focus on Building Relationships.
To become a powerful networker, it is critical to first understand that you DON’T build strong relationships by networking.
Networking is not even a term used to define human interaction.  It evolved in the 1950s as a technical term for connecting computers, so they could communicate with other computers in case of a nuclear attack.
Forging strong relationships in your personal and professional lives requires an approach that many people fail to understand and embrace.
What is THAT approach?
It requires that we seek out and attempt to establish mutually beneficial, “symbiotic” relationships where BOTH parties gain value from that relationship.
To that end, to be effective at building strong relationships requires that you care enough about others to learn their pain points.  Then go ahead and figure out how to provide solutions to the problems keeping them up at night.
This holds true whether you are in the midst of a job search, are “networking” for your career, or looking to build a rolodex of relationships to plan, launch and grow a viable business.
Start by being a FACILITATOR.   That means that there is power in bringing people together by introducing folks that can benefit from you making introductions to others.
To advance your own reach, you also want to become known as a subject matter in your field.  This can be accomplished by writing a blog, getting articles you have written published, write a book, serving on panel discussions, give talks, and become actively involved in your local community by doing volunteer work.
Start by writing down your IDEAL TARGET profile.
Write down in complete detail the attributes and characteristics of the type of people that you want to meet with the following details:
* What industries / sectors do they work in?
* What professional clubs, groups, and associations do they belong to?
* What are their interests and passions?
* Where did they go to High School…College…Graduate school?
* What professional certifications do they have?
* What types of professional training & development do they seek?
If you don’t know who you are attempting to target, you are in effect flying blind.   That never works when you are trying to forge new relationships.
Next, create a strategic networking plan of attack.   Why?  A plan that isn’t written down is only a DREAM.
Once you have a written plan you then have a strategy to follow including a calendar of the events you know you need to attend i nthe next 30, 60, 90+ days.
Your strategic networking plan should include:
1.) Your ideal target profile.  Sound familiar?
2.) List all of the relevant industries that your ideal customer belongs to and the key industry associations that serve these industries, and the upcoming events planned by these organizations.  You now have a calendar of upcoming events for your ideal targets. THIS is what it means to network STRATEGICALLY.
3.) List all of the business networking groups or trade associations that your ideal prospect/contact belongs to.
4.) What strategies do you currently pursue to find prospects, then qualify those leads in order to pursue in your new client acquisition efforts?
Craft a truly compelling and engaging “Elevator Pitch.”
1.) Clarify your target. You’ve done this already, right?
2.) Put it on paper. Again, it isn’t a viable working document until you’ve documented it.
3.) Format it. A good pitch should answer three questions:
– Who are you?
– What do you do?
– What are you looking for?
4.) WIIFM!  Tailor the pitch to your audience, not you.  When you talk to people at the WIIFM level you are simply addressing people’s primary concern: “What’s In It For Me.”
5.) Eliminate industry jargon.  Slang doesn’t help you.
6.) Practice, practice, practice (then get feedback.)
7.) Prepare a few variations in case you have more than one ideal target.
8.) Nail it with confidence.  That’s where practicing it comes in.  Ultimately there is no greater power than the “DOING” so get out there and PITCH yourself.
Be sure to brand yourself.  A “brand” is a promise that every experience that people have with you is consistently UNIQUE, INVALUABLE, and MEMORABLE.  What makes you all of these things?  In other words, you build your own brand by defining your unique selling proposition (USP.)  Your USP is the collection of all of your passions, strengths, skills, background, experience, education, training that distinguishes you from EVERYONE else.
To network does not mean you just got out to any and all events that you’re invited to. you need to have a plan of attack and that comes from developing a strategy but only after you define who you want/need to meet, build your brand, become an expert and focus on serving others by making introductions and solving people’s problems.
No problem, right?  It all starts with caring about others and NOT trying to SELL.  Build TRUST instead.   The strong relationships will follow.
Happy NOT networking!
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Executive Coach, Management Consultant, Business Coach
No Organization is Too Small to Plan BIG.

The Benefits of Being Professional

Acts of Professionalism Can Super Charge Your Career.
Our careers, business ventures, and professional pursuits are driven by the nature of the relationships we forge and maintain.  That is why being professional can pay off for you in  all of your professional pursuits.
Often seemingly innocuous acts can have the undesired consequence of alienating others, thus cannon-balling any hopes we have to pursue a successful career, grow a business, or forge stronger relationships.
Following are acts of unprofessionalism to avoid in personal, social, and business dealings if you wish to achieve career, professional, and business success:
1. Avoid Little ‘White Lies’:  You know, those insincere comments you let slip in the moment?  Comments like: “We should definitely get together.”  That translates into: “I have no intention of following up with you.”   We do this to avoid discomfort. But those little white lies can and often do add up, to reflect a lack of (perceived) sincerity.
2. Craft Compelling E-Mail Communications: There are many ways to sabotage yourself using email. Some bad practices to avoid include using vague subject lines, not including a “call to action” or statement clearly defining what you are seeking, using long drawn out rambling messages. Also, email is an extremely difficult medium to use since there is no voice tonality to gauge the emotional state of the sender, so being clear with words used to convey feelings are critical.
The worst types of emails are often the ones in which you suggest having a meeting.  you may say: “Let’s schedule a time to talk.”  This is a really bad communication practice, since you fail to suggest specific days and times you are available.  By not providing dates and times you creates a burden associated with unnecessary back and forth, to confirm a meeting day, time, and location.
3. Poor Follow Up: Do you apologize often for taking a long time to follow up?  Not only does that send a very poor message, but it likely reveals a much deeper issue you have such as poor time management, disorganization, or inability to manage areas of your business effectively.  And people REALLY don’t like doing business with those kinds of folks.
Do you want to be known as the person who almost always remains true to their word?  Or do you want to be THAT person who commits to something, and people who know them roll their eyes because they know you will likely NOT follow through?  Being seen as reliable ensures people see you as a “Go-to” take charge kind of person who they can do business with.
4. WIIFM Practitioner: The sad truth is most human beings are selfish creatures (it’s in a our nature) who worship at the temple of “WIIFM.”
You may have heard of WIIFM… “What’s in it for me?”  Most of us can spot those people a mile away, and are turned off by such behavior.
For example when you are networking, rather than looking at the experience of meeting new people as an arduous (and awkward) task of cultivating “leads” to sell to (acting like a hunter) take a page from the farmer playbook.
Plant seeds by bringing value to your relationships.  In the professional business networking organization ‘Business Networking International’ they teach you that “giver’s game.”
Try bringing people together, by making introductions.  People who focus on helping others and bringing people together are seen more favorably and others will gravitate towards them.
5. Not Having an Agenda: While we all have “agendas” or goals and purposes in our dealings with others, we often fail to provide people with actual agendas.
You should get into the practice of always providing an agenda when you schedule meetings with people.  Not using agendas for meetings and calls is a tremendous lost opportunity. By providing agendas you can maximize meeting time, help others prepare for conversations with you, do necessary research, have answers, and generally know what your desired outcomes are.
6. Last Minute Cancellations: Look, it is a fact of life in this fast paced world with so many work-life balance challenges we can get overwhelmed, over-extended, and struggle to manage our schedules.  Sometimes, you have to cancel on people. when you know you cannot honor scheduling commitments it always helps to give people as much heads up as possible, and if you need to cancel, then it is your responsibility to provide make up dates and times.
And this leads me to the next act of unprofessionalism…
7. Not Apologizing: Look, it is always a good practice to simply say “you’re Sorry” when you have to cancel/reschedule.  Don’t make excuses. We all have them.  Simply say “I’m sorry” and suggest reschedule dates.
8. Procrastination: This is a tremendously dangerous self-inflicted wound. By putting off the unpleasant tasks we create a ripple out effect by creating chaos, scheduling challenges, missing deadlines. Break up daunting projects into manageable parts, and start early to give yourself ample time, esp. when you hit a roadblock midway through the task/project or get bombarded with other unexpected tasks.
9. Being Insincere: Nowadays with online communication including chat and “social” media, it is easier than ever to be someone else online. But when you misrepresent yourself, you are not building an accurate reputation.  When people meet you “face-to-face” they will be turned off that you misrepresented yourself.  That creates ill-will and can destroy your brand.
10. Overextending:  Sometimes we get so caught up in the helping that we end up committing to too much and then may have difficulty seeing projects through to completion.
There you have it. My top 10 list of ways you can maximize your professionalism. I’m sure I’ve missed a lot, perhaps even your own pet peeve?
What do you think?
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Executive Coach, Management Consultant, Business Coach
No Organization is Too Small to Plan BIG.

The Chazin Group Turns Ten

I Am Proud to Announce That The Chazin Group Turns Ten This Month.
Back in 2004, I launched The Chazin Group while toiling away working for others, as a way of unleashing my passion for helping others.  It was really just an interest of mine at the time, that I pursued when I wasn’t working.
The focus back then was to help as many people as possible realize the goal of finding their ideal dream job, or successfully going out on their own to start their own business.
It has been quite a journey since then, with MANY ups and downs along the way.  My travels have taken me all over the country, from senior citizen centers to prisons, military bases, community centers, Chambers of Commerce, business incubators.
I have spoken to over 500 High School students, given talks in 50 colleges and Universities, taught as an adjunct professor, authored the book “Bulletproof Your Career in These Turbulent Times,” appeared in the media and on television, launched MeetUp groups, given job boot camps, and conducted a weekly radio program: “Chazin The Dream” on pursuing one’s passions and interests.
In 2009, I left Corporate America to dedicate my efforts full-time to focusing on serving clients.
So after TEN YEARS spent conducting 500 presentations to 12,000 job seekers, and coaching and consulting with 750 businesses (many of which were start-ups and entrepreneurs) I feel like I am only now just beginning to make a difference.
I have met so many insanely talented and motivated people along the way who for many reasons were never fully appreciated by their employers or given the opportunity to rise.  So many supremely talented people were forced to go out on their own after careers of being under-appreciated, under-compensated, and often downsized, outsourced, and off-shored.
By staying true to my commitment to help others achieve their life’ and career goals, I have been able to live my own dream by maintaining a clarity of focus and sense of purpose in doing what I do.
And after a decade of this roller coaster ride called being in business for oneself I am more energized than ever.
To all the folks that I have been fortunate enough to work with, I want to take time out to say “Thank you” for the trust you exhibited in me.
To those folks that I have not had the good fortune of working with yet…why not give me a call to discuss how you too can realize your life’s pursuits and find your passions whether that means going out on your own or finding your DREAM job!
If you love what you do you’ll never work another day in your life.
Start pursuing your dreams NOW!  Life is simply too short to toil away in jobs that don’t fulfill your passions, expertise, and interests.

Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Executive Coach, Management Consultant, Business Coach
No Organization is Too Small to Plan Big.