Design on the Haus
For our featured guest post this month, we welcome Susan Murphy, Principal of Murphy Motivation & Training, which takes a rigorous approach to help clients learn proven successful ways to take their communication, relationship building, sales and presentation skills to a higher level. Susan is a woman with a mission: to teach and coach the same behavior that led her from being a timid girl to a woman whose feet hit the floor each morning in flame-throwing communication mode.
By Susan Murphy
It’s summertime and the living is easy. Sometimes too easy. That can makes things more difficult when the Fall energy hits and everyone is raring to go after Labor Day.
Here are three things you can do to use your time well and become more productive during the lighter and slower days of this glorious season:
- Respect Nature: Get up with the sun. Consider opening your office an hour earlier than usual and getting out earlier. Yes, we know many of our clients (and we) don’t rule our lives by a meager eight-hour workday, but summer could be just the time to try that. You might be surprised at how you and your people learn to prioritize work if you know that, come five o’clock, you can be by at the pool or the beach instead of on the subway.
- Re-Connect: Although business is on the uptake, things do tend to slow down in the summer months. Use that time to see clients and friends in the business for breakfast or lunch. This time of year feels more festive. It is reunion time, too. Things are looser and connections are easier to make. Business Development never felt so good. Pick up a picnic lunch and meet a client by the river or in the park. They’ll think of you first all year long.
- Re-think Space: Who says you have to meet or work inside? Just as that client picnic revs up the relationship, being outside gives you and your colleagues or partners a boost. If anyone in your office has access to a pool, meet there. Take breaks with a dive. Read and write reports sitting on your front porch. Have your conference call from the front lawn or terrace.
Sometimes becoming more productive and more organized is a function of being more relaxed. Put the time-tested tenets of summer to work for you. And, don’t forget the keystone of organization and time management: keep track of your progress so you can see what works. That dive into cool water might just be the management tool you were looking for!
You’ve taken on the challenge of planning your own event, now it’s time to look at effective ways to get the most out of the events that you attend. The weather is getting warmer, so there’s no excuse for you to be sitting at your desk all day. It’s time to be out and about! Events can be fun, and they can also help you connect with potential clients and build the visibility of your firm.
Here are our best tips for making the most out of networking:
Be prepared. Know the event and who is attending. Make a plan to connect with at least five people that you don’t already know that you’d like to potentially work with down the line.
Do your research. Given the short amount of time you have to meet with each person, it’s crucial to leave a lasting impression. If you aren’t great at thinking on your feet, write out your elevator speech that describes what you do in a way that’s informative and engaging – so it invites further conversation.
Show up early. By arriving early, you will be able to approach people and strike up conversations more easily. It’s more difficult to jump into conversations once the room has begun to get crowded and people form groups. It’s a lot easier to talk to the person standing alone next to the veggies and dip – he would probably welcome the company.
Circulate at the event. Make sure to circulate around the room, and meet and talk to as many people as you can. There is no substitute for strong professional relationships with new people that can bring lasting value. People like to talk about themselves (it’s true!) so be sure to ask a lot of questions.
Follow up. After the event, follow up the next day with a quick email to say hello and reiterate your contact info. Follow up in a reasonable timeframe of two days or less so they remember you. Always connect with them on LinkedIn and add new acquaintances to your contact list.
Don’t forget social media. Find the right moments to Tweet and Instagram during the event, or post the event to LinkedIn. This can bring you more followers and help you get the most out of your investment!
Once you start to network in a smarter, more productive way, you’ll see your firm and your professional network grow. Remember that the successful outcome of any professional event comes from learning new information and, most important, enjoying it as well!
When it comes to marketing your firm, events mean networking. To put your business in front of new potential clients, get out there and attend industry events — like those we highlighted in our first post this month.
Ready to take your networking to the next level? It’s time to host your own event. This requires a significant investment of time and effort, but if you are willing to commit, it can pay off for you in a big way. Hosting your own event, whether on behalf of your firm or a professional organization, gives you positive exposure in front of your clients and potential clients.
Here are our top five strategies for planning your event:
1. Define your objectives: The first step to hosting an event is to decide what you want to get out of it. Is your goal to fundraise for a professional organization, raise the profile of your firm in your industry, or celebrate a milestone like an anniversary? Be specific, because your goal will guide the rest of your decisions throughout the planning process, including your theme, venue, activities, and speakers.
2. Hire an event planner: An event planner will take charge of coordinating the details of the event. They’ll also be there at the event to make sure everything goes off without a hitch. Choose an event planner who comes recommended from someone you trust, and be very specific when communicating your goals for the event to them.
3. Fill the room: Your guest list should be focused on your target list of contacts, including clients and potential clients. You should send a “save the date” announcement to your guest list at least 8 weeks in advance of the event, and follow it several weeks later with an official invitation. Make sure the invitation includes a deadline for RSVPs, which will encourage those invited to respond in a timely fashion.
4. Network: At the event, focus on networking. Make sure to connect with everyone you invited, but don’t get cornered by any one person or group. Without seeming rushed, you need to get in a few words with everyone you invited! Circulate throughout the room, and introduce your clients to each other — you might help them do business together. You should also make a short speech thanking guests for attending.
5. Document the occasion: A dedicated social media point person should post photos and tweets to your social media accounts in real time at the event, and a professional photographer should document it. Afterward, share the photos on your social media and website. Send a thank you e-mail to all who attended and include a link to your album on Facebook or Pinterest.
Posted by Beth Connolly