We are trying to build out our office and it’s been quite a challenge. Getting the color scheme right, making sure that the office furniture matches, getting a mailbox, there are just so many things to keep track of and to get right.
We wanted the office to be warm and welcoming, so we spend a lot of timing deciding on which sofa to get. Ultimately we ended up with something that I feel is quite nice with a warm, straw brown color. It matches well with the wall paint that we have in the office, I quite like the feeling of this office now. Of course, I had a lot of help from houzz, it’s a superb website that shows you images of various home designs.
The next thing we struggled with was what to get for our refrigerator. We looked around the internet for some help and found http://minirefrigeratorzone.com, and they had a section on office refrigerator that was somewhat helpful. What I didn’t think about was the various sizes and options we had to choose from. We ended up with a steel refrigerator, against the suggestion of the article. We did not feel like a neutral color made a strong enough statement about our office environment, so we went with something that has a more professional look and feel.
Anyway, we feel like we did a good job with the office so far!
Like a lot of people, I was terrible at networking events. For the most part, I would stand there by myself. Then to not look awkward, I would pull out my phone to pretend that I’m looking at something important. this of course, makes it worse for people to talk to me because I’m too busy to be networking. Then when I happen to chance upon another individual to talk to, I sometimes would end up stuck with this person because they are in the same shoe as me. Then one day I had to be a host, and everything changed!
Being the host, I felt that it was my responsibility to be the life of the party. So I would scour the floor for people who were by themselves and I would approach them to talk. Also being the host, I did not feel awkward breaking off a conversation to go tend to something else. Naturally, there are good ways and bad ways to break off conversations, which I will talk about in a minute. Being in the position of a host, many things that would have felt awkward before, feels natural now. For example, you feel like you have the right to approach any person or group without being a third wheel. I mean, you are the host after all right?
This was another point of realization for me. Most people may not even know that you are the host. Because many are there to network, they welcome people into a conversation. In fact, many times it’s so can break off of the current conversation to go meet other people. In a setting where people’s goals are to meet new people, why should I be afraid of joining conversations?
If I am already in an existing conversation, now I will also bring in new people as they walk by. I try to keep an eye out for people who are kinda stuck by themselves so I can reel them in as they walk by. Especially people who do not know how to handle the situation, they welcome the opportunity to join any group that they can. Now that there’s a third person in the conversation, it is now very trivial to break off of the conversation and go talk to someone else. In situations where nobody walks by, I would even suggest talking to “that gentleman over there.” Most of the time, people are receptive to this idea.
If I am unclear about anything, feel free to ask questions!
We are in the holiday season, this makes it the perfect time for you to look back and give thanks to all those who have helped you throughout the year. Did someone go out of their way to introduce you to a potential client? Or did a person go out of their way to babysit/house-sit/pet-sit for you? No matter how little of something seems, a “thank you” is a powerful tool you have in your arsenal and this is the perfect time to sit down and use it.
A great place to start is to remember large events that has happened throughout the year. This could be a company party or a conference that you went to. All the people you were able to connect with and learned something from, put them on your list. For example, if you went to a conference and applied an idea that was presented by one of the speakers, this would be the perfect time to shoot them a thank you email to tell them how much they have helped you this year. If it is a new contact that you connected with, shoot them an email.
The next place would be your calendar. Look for the meetings and coffees you had this year and reflect on the outcome and results of these meetings. If you have not yet wrap up an idea or concept that came out of one of these meetings, be sure to reconnect! If there’s not much you can remember from the meeting, at least just shoot them an email to thank them for their time (again, if you’ve already done it). People love being thanked, take advantage of that.
Last, but not least, your family. Without their support, you will not be where you are today. The long hours, the time spent away from home, and the missed after school events. All of these deserve recognition of what your family’s gone through to support you. Be grateful, be happy, Merry Christmas!
Understanding how people can be influenced is a great skill to have while networking. You can read about these in various text books, but I will list them out for you here:
Reciprocity – if you need something from the people around you, always do it first. For example, if you want them to one day help you find a job or connect you to a potential client, do it for them now. You need to develop and foster this relationship early on so that you can reap from the benefits later.
Consistency – make sure you do what it is that you promise you will do. This requires you to keep a clean todo list and make sure to record what it is that you have promised. It is easy to make a promise and then forget about it, don’t! You can expect it in return by being clear about what it is that you want.
Social – ensure that you are a well-connected person and demonstrate that you are well connected when the time is right. This comes back to the earlier point of developing a relationship and nurturing it. People love to do business with those that they are familiar with, so being in their circle gives you an edge.
Authority – build your reputation. Being well-connected to people allow you to better build your reputation as being a connector. It is this aspect of being able to connect people to the resources that they need that allows you to build yourself as the authority figure. People come to you for help because you are open and you can get the right people on the job.
Being able to influence is not about being well-known or popular, it’s the ability to act and get results for the people in your social circle. By nurturing the relationships around you, you are more connected to the people in your social circle and better understand their needs. It is the act of understanding that’s truly the power behind being an influencer.