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Twitter- You either love it or hate it!

  • There are those who feel it is self-indulgent and useless when it comes to promoting your business or career.
  • There are those who find it fun, powerful, engaging, entertaining or just plan addicting.

Regardless of which category you fall into, I want to share a couple of quick stories themed “How Twitter can help you face-to-face network”. I want to share some of the powerful connections I have experienced using those pesky 140 characters.

Great Connection Moment #1

On a date at my favorite NYC restaurant in December,  I tweeted about the delicious meal I was having and the spectacular quality of the ingredients. That tweet aroused the interest of the owner who does his own tweeting (love that!). Over the following weeks, we talked back and forth on Twitter about my love of the restaurant (been going there for almost 20 years but never met him) and some funny exchanges: quality of the food vs. quality of the date (smile). Fun. Authentic. Hysterical at times. Told him I was headed in there for brunch on yet another date with a different person a few weeks later. I was greeted with a reserved table sans the hour-long wait, special attention and a fully comped meal. Business owners and food lovers alike take heed. Brand loyalty is rewarded! All starting with 140 characters!

Great Connection Moment #2

Headed to the Do It In Person Party during NY Entrepreneurial Week a few years ago after just starting my business, I was certain I knew absolutely no one at the party.  I was on my own, but I enjoy meeting people so I thought, “this will be fun!”

After getting a drink, I wandered over to a guy, Nick, who looked nice and was not speaking to anyone at the time. We struck up a conversation about technology since that is his passion. Soon another person joined us- a lovely female copywriter named Sara. The conversation soon took a turn to social media (big surprise since it is one of my favorite conversation topics) and lo and behold we discovered that both Nick and Sara learned about the party on Twitter. How Fun!

We vowed to keep in touch and sure enough, the three of us continued to tweet.  A few months later had a meeting of the minds at a funky downtown hotel one afternoon.  Sara has since moved to Denver but we all send a tweet out to each other every once and a while keeping each other in mind for referrals.

Great Connection Moment #3

Matthew, a friend and colleague of mine who used to live here in NYC hosted a virtual telesummit of fascinating speakers a while back. I spent much of my time during the interviews tweeting nuggets of wisdom and observations to pass on. I was not alone in this. Another person named Jared was doing the same. With each interview it became more and more fun for me to share the space with him. And from that point on, we followed each other on Twitter and shared a few thoughts from time to time.

Not long after the telesummit, Matthew and I were in Seattle at a weekend event at which I was speaking and he told me he was getting together with a new friend who had recently moved to Seattle. Cool. But even more interesting was that the two of them had struck up a friendship first on Twitter and then over the phone. This was the first time they were meeting. When he told me it was Jared I squealed with delight! Oh I wanted to meet him too! And I did- he is as smart, quirky and generous in person as he is on Twitter.

And there are so many more of these stories! Stories from sporting events, coffee shops, concerts, lines at stores, Amtrak train rides and the list goes on!

Twitter is just a tool. A tool that can absolutely be used to help you to build your networking circle and provides for fun and often off-beat face-to-face networking opportunities with people you may not have interacted with in any other way!  Don’t be afraid! Try it! All you have to lose is a few 140-character thoughts!

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networkingA secret dream come true.

I never told anyone how much I really wanted to be featured in my alma mater’s quarterly magazine… I think I have dreamed of this since graduating from Wellesley 23 years ago. And this fall it happened! All surrounding one of my very favorite topics: NETWORKING

 

Take a look at three quick Networking No-Nos I warn you about. (check out pg 31)

Hint: Think Throwing Up, Baby Showers, Small Talk and Restroom lines…

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New Apartment Building in a New Neighborhood.

Yesterday, I decided to decorate the door to be more welcoming at the holidays as the “new girl” in my building!

Hung this wreath in the morning and when I arrived home, it made me so happy to come up the stairs and see this greeting me!

(and it jingled every time I open my door or when a neighbor slams theirs – there is a silver lining in all the door slamming!)

my holiday door

But even better is the situation with my neighbor across the hall who has a daughter under two. Since Thanksgiving they have had this Santa on their door and each and every time someone knocks on the door to visit (or when her parents arrive home to greet her) they say “ho ho ho”. She squeals with delight so loudly, I can hear her in my apartment.

santa on the door

Simple pleasures. All it takes is a few decorations on the door to make me smile.

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Are you reading this blog post because you are procrastinating?

Oh procrastinating business owner, does your “to-do” list include things such as:

  • Sign more clients (umm… yeah!)
  • Identify places to speak (if they could just hear my message…)
  • Find prospects (where are they hiding?)

Do you look at your calendar and realize that you have no meetings with key influencers or collaborators or … yikes… potential clients/customers? Is that why you are procrastinating today?

There is simple connection tip that works to solve this dilemma every time.

Get out from behind your computer and go meet someone face to face.

I’m not kidding.

Not a phone call. Go outside and meet them.

Don’t get me wrong, there are so many amazing connections made every day via telephone but there is something extra special about sitting across from another person. Challenge yourself to put one- just one- face to face meeting on your calendar for this week. Show up engaged and asking for referrals, collaborators and ideas.

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Pick a number. Write it down.

It is just that simple.

I use a post-it note.

You can use your planner, your Google calendar or a good old-fashioned to-do list.

Each week, pick a number of connections you intend to make.

Who should you choose?

  • Did you like a blog post you read?
  • Is there a former co-worker that you can’t get out of your mind?
  • Was there a comment on a discussion thread that interested you?
  • Did someone on Facebook peak your interest?
  • Do you have a stack of business cards in your desk drawer? (okay- I know you do!)
  • Does someone have a business similar to yours and you are thinking she might make a great collaborator?

Identify your 2 or 5 or 10 people and reach out.

You can connect with them on social media. Send them a personal message via email. Or here’s a crazy idea- actually pick up the phone and call them! So many options.

Start connecting! Isn’t this what business is all about?

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For those of you who have ever spent more than an hour with me in your lifetime, you know  two of my passions are Christmas and Connecting. The joy I receive from the twinkling lights, snow, beautiful childhood songs pumping through the streets (or my apartment), and gorgeously wrapped gifts I have realized is so similar to the thrill I feel when I meet someone and find a connection-even the smallest little thing. You are a Wellesley woman? You can’t go a day without coffee either? You used to live in my neighborhood-Don’t you love Morningside Heights? You have cats you adore also? You are from Upstate NY-no way?! And the list goes on!

During this holiday season, there is so much encouragement to spread hope and good cheer. I encourage that wholeheartedly myself. However, for many the holiday season also comes with a tremendous amount of pressure-both in terms of time and financial expectations. It causes such a challenge because it is also the perfect time to be connecting and spreading  cheer to people you will want to build deeper relationships with in 2012 and beyond.

You can see where the conflict comes in!

You might think, “Bryn, it is difficult enough to finish all the holiday shopping, attend all (or at least some) of the parties, and finish decorating. I have no time or energy left to connect with MORE people.”

No worries! Below I have offered a few ideas to help you leverage both your limited hours in the day and your over-tapped bank account during this celebratory season.

My brainstorming session on this topic began with several assumptions:

  1. You need rich and prosperous connections to build your business, career, associations at large or volunteer activities in 2012.
  2. At this moment, you estimate you have less than 2 hours to focus on this connection activity before January 1st.
  3. It better not cost a fortune because you are “all in” this holiday season!

Strategy, it all begins with Strategy! Not the kind that requires a business plan (but gosh, if you have that business plan handy, you may want to pull it out and take a look at the goals that were not quite fulfilled this year or perhaps the goals you have in mind for 2012).

What I am suggesting here is to do the following 10 minute exercise: Clear your mind. Put yourself in a quiet spot where there is little chance of interruption for 10 minutes. Grab a piece of paper and a pen and take the following steps:

– Reflect on 2011-big moments of elation, tough challenges, and lessons learned then write the 4 people’s names that come to mind in reaction to that 2011 reflection.

– Think about what the first few months of 2012 will look like for your life, career, business, etc. and write down the first 4 names that pop in your head in association with that image of next year.

– Write the 2 people that nag at you in the back of your mind. They seem to always be on your “to do” list. Maybe you promised you would call/write/lunch but never did. Maybe you met the person and thought, “I really want to spend more time with this person and now it just seems embarrassing how much time has elapsed.”

THERE-you have 10 names! That wasn’t hard was it? Any repeats? You can consolidate the list of course and now you have less than 10. But no more than 10 here please. You do not get extra “connection points” for making a long list that will be too long to tackle and ultimately end in defeat.

Beside each of those names, write the action you plan to take to reconnect. Remember, we want to keep this simple but also stand out in the crowd.

Even with dear friends or former colleagues who might be waiting to hear from you, at this time of year being a bit original will only help you to make the quality connection for which you are aiming. Therefore, I would personally suggest you stay away from emails and ecards. Inboxes are flooded this time of year with offers, end of year issues, and those very same emails and ecards I am suggesting you avoid.

Let’s think creatively here-but still adhere to the last two principles of this exercise: not time consuming or expensive. Here are a few suggestions of mine. Hopefully, they will prompt a few of your own that are specifically linked to your community, your business or area of the world.

Make a minimal donation in their name. Do you know they have a certain passion, charity, or do a tremendous amount of volunteer work at a certain organization? The organization will be thrilled with any $10 or $15 donation they receive and you can often request a card or an acknowledgement email to be sent to the person you are honoring with the donation. I love when people have done this for me-rather than bringing me a small gift I may not need or food I do not eat. You get the picture. Very personal and all about them and their interests. When I have been a recipient in the past, I feel so “heard.”

Send a New Year’s Card. Really. These work brilliantly. First of all, they are nondenominational (Happy Holidays or blank cards work great for this). Plus, the holidays are winding down. You have time to write the card and it will be received when their mailbox has been cleared of holiday cards, catalogs and gifts. The card should include three components: A wish for Happy New Year-a line about the connection you have made in the past (great volunteering with you at that event-who knew we had so much in common)-and a line about the connection you hope to make in the new year (I will give you a call later in January when things have calmed down and we can schedule a time for lunch). Be certain that whatever you add here is reasonable for you. This is your chance to offer next steps that will be followed through with and it is up to you and only you to make that happen. So do not over-promise.

Create a Social Media Call-out. For those of you who love social media like I do, this will be a fun and effective way to connect-but only if two factors exist. 1. You love love love social media (because this connection activity should not be a chore) 2. The person you are targeting ALSO loves social media (maybe you even met them there!) Here are a few ideas:

Twitter: Create a tweet that talks about them. Use their handle of course. Talk about a special offering they have (providing them with a little publicity) Talk about the impact they have made in your life/business. And then-tweet it at least three times over the course of a few days so it will get more exposure.

Facebook: Dedicate your status to them with the same premise as Twitter. Write about their impact, the special project they are working on, their website, the contributions they made to the community, etc.

LinkedIn: You can dedicate your status here also-and even link it to your twitter account with the new LinkedIn function if you choose to keep it under 140 characters. Also, LinkedIn is a great place to show your appreciation with an unsolicited recommendation! It does not have to be lengthy. Maybe a paragraph or two but the impact will last throughout the year.

Have fun connecting and reconnecting with these people. Taking action on less than 10 people before the beginning of the year (10 minutes on each one is all!) and reap the benefits throughout all of 2012. I am now off to do this exercise myself. Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones!

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Yes, I admit it. I love Twitter. Tweetlove is addicting.

New friends. Old friends. Industry leaders. Breaking news. Links. Pictures. Videos.  Social causes. It’s all here. And more.

I love Twitter. I appreciate Twitter. I remember where I was when I first learned about Twitter. (yes, this probably really makes me a geek, doesn’t it? See my prior blog post)

I have so many clients, collaborators, friends and community members who do not understand. They don’t get it. And that’s okay. I am a HUGE Twitter advocate and the #tweetlove is flowing on a daily basis but I understand it’s not for everyone.

However, I thought I would take this self-indulgent moment to talk about 10 reasons I love Twitter and how it has helped to transform my business! Maybe you will gain an insight or two regarding how Twitter can support yours.

10 Reasons I LOVE Twitter in my Business:

Research: Rarely do I go to a conference or event without first researching the people involved-coordinators and speakers. I review the conversations surrounding the event. I look for what the social buzz is and usually jump in and comment. Connecting with people this way makes the huge room of people so much smaller when I arrive.

Build Community: Based on ME. People on Twitter see what I talk about, what I promote, who I talk to, what I care about and can get a sense of who I am. I build my community without any fancy technology adding people who “might” resonate. I want you to clamor to be in my tribe so we can get to know each other! Sure there are a lot of people following me and people I follow who I have not yet met. But I am always keeping in mind it is about quality not quantity.

Make Friends: Yup. I make friends on Twitter. Friends where just like other forms of social media, my aim is to eventually move the conversation from Twitter to the phone or a cup of coffee or an event. I can count off the top of my head over 3 dear friends, 20 business colleagues, 8 clients and hundreds of collaborators who I met on Twitter. Plus there are all those “friends” who just talk to me on Sunday when we are chatting about Giants Football.

Find People in Airports: Honestly better than Foursquare. One of my favorite things to do when I travel is to tell everyone on Twitter where I am. And about 8 out of 10 times, someone I know or who I follow/follows me is in that airport or city with me. I meet them for a hug or a hello at a Starbucks.

All About the Fast-talking: Everything in 140 characters or less. Streams moving at the speed of light. Conversations thrown out and whizzing past me. I love it. It’s me-fast-talking at its best. And if you’ve spent even 10 minutes with me, you know I am a fast-talker!

Breaking News Source: I admit it. Twitter is where I find most of my breaking news. Not only by following established news sources but bloggers and other Twitter news junkies. Natural disasters, NYC neighborhood news, world issues, etc. all come to me through Twitter at least at first glance because I can get a brief view, photos, links and opinions all in one place.

Lovin’ the Hashtag: Sometimes, I just search hashtags for the fun of it. Sometimes I just add them based on how I am feeling (like #joy). But the best use of this hashtag concept in my business is to see who is in a particular Twitter stream while at an event, before a conference, or determining who is talking there who I can connect with and get to know.

Favorite Brands and People: I follow the brands I love, the celebs I love and the thought leaders I want to hear from. I talk to brands-like Starbucks, 3M and USAir-to their customer service team and their marketing team. Hotel room upgrades, free coffee, rebooked flights and book excerpts are just a few of the “gifts” I have received via Twitter from various brands.

Insights into People: You get to see the random thoughts of people you know. It is so funny to see what they are thinking about beyond their business and their main message. People with their favorite sports teams, pets, music, movies, and causes-great connection points for further conversation and relationship building.

All Organic: I talk about what I love-connecting, my cats, coffee, post-its, planning, strategy, Muppets, social media, my family, NYC and the list goes on.  And here is just one more little bit of Twitter Trivia about me-a few weeks ago I stayed up late on a Sunday night to watch my twitter “odometer” move from 4,999 followers to 5,000. Such a proud moment since I grew this community organically with no big technology intervention to go out and find thousands of people for me to follow and to manipulate them into following me. All organic. Just how I like it!

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts.

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