#Networking – Where do I go?

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Find a group or organization that offers valuable information and potential connections.

This can be a challenge, especially if you are just starting out. We struggle even now finding ones that are the right fit. Here are a guide from a previous post:

On a scale of 1-10 how influential will the speakers and/or other guests be to my:

    1. Inspiration
    2. Education
    3. Connections

If it’s 4 or higher, start planning your outfit. Even if there is a 40% chance you might meet someone who says something that inspires you it’s worth giving it a try.

  • Is the host a friend/contact/work associate?

If yes.. You are going for sure.

  • Were you invited directly?

Not by a mass email promotion, but did someone say, “Hey Aryn, come to my event.”?

Always go where you are invited. It’s a good policy that will reap huge benefits.

  • Is it in a venue or neighborhood that interests you?

Being in the events business, I like to see and experience different venues and neighborhoods. I use the event as an excuse to scout.

A few places to start:

MeetUp offers a wide variety of groups, everything from professional book clubs to lawyer’s play racquetball. These tend to be free, but check your specific ones for details.

Another great out of the box option is Toastmasters. It sounds crazy, but dedicated professionals are always looking to better themselves, and this is one of the places those people go.

Professional organizations are usually formed around the idea of networking, it’s their mission to get you connected. Reach out to them directly or search their websites for information. Depending on the costs, it may or may not be worth joining. See if the events/education opportunities look interesting to you first.

In the events world, we joined a few: Meeting Professionals International (MPI), Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) and the International Live Events Association (ILEA). These memberships are not cheap, so you will have to weigh the benefits for you. Then the key is to actually go to the events they offer.

Industry meetings and conferences can be a great place meet new connections and clients. Again these can be costly both in time and resources so choose wisely.

Here are some things to look for:

  • How big is the event? If you are comfortable standing out in a convention center filled with people, bigger is better. If you are someone, like us, who likes smaller, more intimate workshops and discussions that’s the one for you.
  • Is Networking built in? In either case above, look at the agenda. If it is wall to wall keynote speakers and lecture style breakouts, there won’t be a lot of time for meet and greet.
  • Are the speakers and subjects a fit for you and what you are looking for?

Some other ideas are; your local business district offices like ours – WHBID, Small business bureaus, your local Departments of Commerce and our favorite, start your own group on Facebook, LinkedIn or MeetUp and see who shows up.

Tip: Once you find an event, look and see who is speaking and/or attending. Look them up on LinkedIn or Twitter before the event (not in a stalkery way). Pull out some details and facts about their work to have conversation starters. Reaching out to them directly also can be great and arrange to have a drink/coffee together there.

Take a professional development class. This is a great way to meet peers, if not potential clients. There are many resources for this. Most universities have continuing education courses and most professional organizations either host classes or can point you in the right direction. Again, these can be costly, so make sure it is something you really want and /or need to do.

Our next networking post we will get you ready for your first event.

^Ax3 #Networking #Friendshelpfriends

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Thinking About Networking

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It’s who you know and have built relationships with more than anything else that gets you where you are and where you want to be. Expanding that base in a meaningful way is not easy. No, it is not enough just to have 1000+ connections on LinkedIn. In comes the Networking Event.
I hate them, love them, hate them, love them… Some people excel at them. I do not. There have been times when I could muster being “on” and then they were fun. Most often it is a struggle just to convince myself to sign-up, muchless go.

Here are the four things I ask myself to gage if it’ll be worth the effort:

  • On a scale of 1-10 how influential will the other guests be to my:
    1. Inspiration
    2. Education
    3. Connections

If it’s 4 or higher, start planning your outfit. Even if there is a 40% chance you might meet someone who says something that inspires you it’s worth giving it a try.

  • Is the host a friend/contact/work associate?

If yes.. You are going for sure.

  • Were you invited directly?

Not by a mass email promotion, but did someone say, “Hey Aryn, come to my event.”?

Always go where you are invited. It’s a good policy that will reap huge benefits.

  • Is it in a venue or neighborhood that interests you?

Being in the events business, I like to see and experience different venues and neighborhoods. I use the event as an excuse to scout.

Meet-Ups, professional associations and schools all offer opportunities to connect with new people. They all require time, effort and sometimes money. Both time and effort are extremely valuable, they are your most precious asset. Choosing which event or gathering to go to can be as stressful as walking in that room of strangers. Take my list above and add your personal touch and use it as a guide. Sometimes a quick supportive nudge from your friend or partner helps too.

Bottom Line: Pick your networking wisely and try to have fun!

^Ax3 ^AC #Networking #Business #FriendsHelpFriends

The Boss

Lessons from the Edge

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Who is the boss?

In my business the client is the boss. The client does not however, always know what’s best, that’s why they hired you. While it’s not a good idea to pull out the creative integrity, or reputation argument too much or too soon. If the client is compromising your ability to do the job they hired you for by delaying the process to an extreme, sabotaging your relationships or other wise being truly naughty, then you have every right to stand up for your brand. Do it professionally and do it in writing. Once the situation is resolved amicably, seriously re-consider keeping them as a client in the future.

Bottom Line: Life is too short for bad business.

Blended

Lessons from the Edge

So, you’re the new guy to a seasoned team. Your young and ambitious and feeling like you want to make your mark. After all, the big bosses are watching.

Let me suggest not putting the project into the blender and hitting whip. Hang back, make yourself useful, keep asking what you can do to help and try it the tried and true way the team has established first. Keep notes and after the project is completed, in post-mortem, add your suggestions.

Bottom Line: Your new team will not only feel respected, you might learn a thing or two.

Crew Are People Too

 

Lessons from the Edge

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The great Jeff M. and his amazing EMT crew

As a daughter of a union organizer, how my crew and my employees are treated is very important to me. It is not just a moral or integrity issue with me, it is also a quality issue.

A crew that is well paid, fed, had a decent turn around in a habitable hotel and feels they are respected; work harder, give more and are more willing to go that extra bit to make sure your event, project, whatever is perfect. They also are more likely to be loyal.. not just to the person who hired them, but to the brand they are working for. Collaboration and teamwork are what make a great event. All parties working together for the common goal.

In the recent past I worked with a client that insisted on treating all of us like the “hired help”. While some of this was cultural, all of it was unnecessary. This behavior made all our jobs much harder. The effect this had on the morale was palpable and it was difficult getting to the goal line. The event went off smoothly and the client in the end was happy, but at a cost.

For those out there who’s management style looks more like a Feudal System.. a word of warning, your employees, crew or whomever you rely on to keep you at the top, will take their pound and when the invaders come.. you will be standing alone.

Bottom Line: It’s the 21st Century and “Team” is the ruling philosophy.

Staying coachable

Morning,

Staying coachable is something you hear a lot in the self help books, talks, conferences and sales meetings. It’s a quality that managers are looking for and it is a good thing to be. It goes way beyond just a specific task or job.

I have often longed for, but never found a mentor. It a seems like that would be a great thing to have. Someone to guide you, help you through without re-inventing the wheel all the time and someone who you could really turn to when things got confusing and hard and say, “Is it me?” and get a straight, hard answer. This is my fantasy of what a mentor relationship would looking like, mostly pieced together from the movies. Big A suggested that some people just are not cut out for mentoring and there for don’t every really find one. Don’t get me wrong, I have great friends who I lean on and get advice from, and they are incredibly helpful on a host of levels. I would be sunk without them, truly. They are involved in my life in a very mixed way. My fantasy mentor is much more objective and in some ways more blunt than a friend could ever be.

There are places you can go to hire mentors and coaches. I am sure that some of them are very good. I wonder though does this become the focus, getting coached, instead of just learning the lessons presented to you.

Life is a great teacher. In the absents of a single mentor I have always tried to stay reflective and analytical about my experiences and then adjust my actions and sometimes even my course. Most things I do, I keep and eye out for what works and what does not. I get feedback from the other people involved. Looking at the big picture and ask, “Is this worth it, am I getting to where I want to be?” Reviewing the smaller momentary interactions, to the actual tasks that needed to get done and done well. I think I “post mortem” just about everything in my life, to a fault sometimes. Every opportunity and action is a learning opportunity, not just intellectually but personally too. This is not to say there are not themes that circle around and come back more often than I would like but, even those are the opportunity of, “Ugh.. got to learn that one better, obviously.”

My discovery has been that if you feel your life is moving in an upward spiral or like a stream, that there is advancement and evolution of any kind, then you are winning. This is not measured against anyone else’s evolution or path, but what you know about yourself without the noise. Heraclitus affirmed that you can never step into the same river twice. It is still a river. It still flows. You are still experiencing it at the same location and vista, but the river has evolved. Be the river.

The great barrier to life is fear. Fear stops everything. All thought, all creativity, all evolution, all feeling and nothing can grow. It is arid and barren.

6bc1855315eb3b59466821caaddd28e1Another quote I like a lot is, “Fear is excitement without breath.” I like this as an idea. This is true when you are talking about walking into a new situation or a job interview, but I am talking about the fear that keeps you from making the changes, seeing the lessons that you need to grow and do to find happiness. I often visualize that I am in a boxing ring with Fear. He has red satin shorts and a Mexican devil mask. Yes, he hits hard and sometimes, even though it’s my visualization.. he knocks me out and sometimes that is just what I need to get me mad enough to snap out of it. Anger is the other side of fear. If you can get there, that is easier to use as motivation. (Some people say sadness is the other side of fear.. I say take your pansy ass back to hippyland and get outa my face.) The idea is to get on with it anyway way you can. Staying in that pool will not lead to anything good.

A dear friend of mine is stuck and in a cycle of fear, shame and doubt. I wish for them something to knock them out of it and start something new or a new way. Something…

Be the river..

ποταμοῖσι τοῖσιν αὐτοῖσιν ἐμβαίνουσιν, ἕτερα καὶ ἕτερα ὕδατα ἐπιρρεῖ.
Potamoisi toisin autoisin embainousin, hetera kai hetera hudata epirrei
“Ever-newer waters flow on those who step into the same rivers.”

Bye for now. Thank you

Is it fun? Duh ..

Lessons from the Edge

One of the things I get asked all the time is, “Why do you do whatever it is that you do?” My answer, “It’s Fun.” Being a business owner, an entrepreneur, a freelancer or a work a day guy is not easy. Work is called work for a reason BUT we spend a majority of our lives at it. Making deadlines, hitting margins and moving your business forward are all better served if you like what you are doing. When you are having fun with what you do, you are more efficient, more pleasant to be around – I know I am –  and generally more successful.

There are bad days and bad moments- sure – but, overall ask yourself – Is what I do fun? Do I like it overall?

If the answer is yes then Congratulations! If the answer is no, then it’s time to start working on a plan for change. There are a lot of free college courses online from some of the best universities now and sites like General Assembly (https://generalassemb.ly/) that can help get you to where you want to go.

Bottom Line: Everyone should be able to answer, “Because it’s Fun.”