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5 essential tips to maximize your offline networking efforts

(Business News) Offline networking can be a challenge, as most of us get distracted by small talk and mingling, but business opportunities abound, and here’s how to take advantage of them.

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Making the most of your networking efforts

Have you ever gone to a networking event that seemed like it was going to be great, you attend, then leave finding that you didn’t find what you were looking for at all there?

Business professionals from all kinds of backgrounds often spend time networking inefficiently. Going to events with just a few of these tips in mind will help ensure that you make the most out of your two to three hour networking events.

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1. Ask first, talk second

Always ask in every conversation what the other person is looking for first. Not only does this make others warm up to you, they will be more likely to connect with you on a personal and business level if you seem interested in helping them achieve their dreams, goals, and desires.

2. Remember to ask the Magic question

I remember a few conversations I’ve been in where I first meet someone and we have a conversation that is filled with small talk. No one is asking ‘what are you looking for? What do you need from me? What can I do to help you get it?’ Weeks later, I run across people I’ve met at prior networking events and we do get into that kind of conversation.

The interesting thing is that there are people all the time we meet that are standing right in front of us that have the keys to what we need to get the next job, further our companies and projects, but sometimes we forget to ask the right question. Without remembering to ask direct questions about what you need and what they need, a gold mine of a great business relationship could be walking away from you that had been in front of you the whole time. Don’t let it get away!

3. Becoming a resource

Always mention what makes you different and how you’re valuable to others. Sometimes building our dreams isn’t always straightforward. I remember lots of business opportunities for me have that have come from being introduced to a friend of mine that happened to be the perfect resource. So when I’m networking, I often tell others that I’m a connector type personality and that I can connect them to any kind of specialist they are looking for – not everyone can do that.

Later when I go home, I often get calls from people I met at the event earlier to assist them in some way and from then on, I’ve proven my value to them and in turn it’s more likely that I’m able to see in a more detailed way, to what extent they have an ability to assist me in achieving my business goals.

4. Have a system in place that works for you

Most networking events are very similar. There are always long lines to check in. You always go get a name tag. Most events have a bartender and food, etc. Since many aspects of networking events stay the same it’s more efficient if you plan out who you want to meet ahead of time (if an online RSVP list is available), plan out just a few questions that you will ask everyone then make sure you ask those questions.

It helps to be systematic when you’re networking like this, since you only have a limited time to network. Think about all kinds of ways you can get the most out of your short time there. Just one hour of pre-planning may yield up to five times greater networking results.

5. Make sure you’re prepared and have backups

I often come to networking events with an extra ballpoint pen for those random times people want to write something and their phone has died. I also carry an ample amount of business cards, and extra phone batteries (in case my phone dies). I bring a felt-tipped marker for those times they want to write on the back of my glossy business cards.

Being prepared and always having two backups for most situations will help ensure you can keep networking without interruption. I’ve seen people run out of business cards and run back to their car to get more, but risk missing out on networking time at the event so always bring backups for your most common event-stopper situations and you’ll have the most effective networking event possible.

Matthew Winters is the owner of Austin Visuals 3D Animation Studio , a Full-Service 2D & 3D animation studio, advertising agency, and video production studio. As one of Austin's movers and shakers, he also founded Speed Friending Events which produces networking mixers and social events in over 14 cities nationally. Matthew is dedicated to providing solutions to social and technology related issues in the industry.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. seanhumby

    February 21, 2014 at 6:08 am

    Loved this article – full of great advice and tips. At any event there is as you say “people…..standing right in front of us that have the keys to what we need to get the next job, further our companies and projects” and by having the right conversations as a result asking the right questions then we can exchange ideas and create value.

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Business News

Ending a dismal year, Samsung says goodbye to CEO

(BUSINESS NEWS) Following a tumultuous year, Samsung now must face their CEO, Kwon Oh-hyun, stepping down.

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Among exploding phones, recalled washing machines and an indicted former chairman, Samsung has had a rough year. Just as they start to get back on track, they have one more crisis to deal with.

Kwon Oh-hyun, Samsung CEO, has officially announced his departure.

In a letter to the employees, Kwon announced his plans to leave the company by March of next year. His words touch on all of the typical sentiments, like that he “had been thinking long and hard about (leaving) for quite some time,” and that he wants to “move on to the next chapter in his life.”

What Kwon doesn’t make clear are his exact reasons for leaving.

He mentions that Samsung is in an “unprecedented crisis inside and out,” without sharing any specifics. Via his own words, Samsung needs to reshape their company to keep up with the ever-changing IT industry.

Kwon believes that young, fresh leadership could be the answer that Samsung needs.

Though Kwon’s departure may seem like another hit for the company, it could be a new chapter for Samsung as well.

And it is a change they desperately need. Recently, Samsung has made the headlines with scandal after scandal.

Earlier this year, Jay Y. Lee, former Vice chairman, was found guilty on multiple charges of bribery. The charge, which Lee is now serving five years in prison for, also resulted in the impeachment of South Korean President Park Geun-hye.

Samsung also lived through two major recalls this year. They officially took the Galaxy Note 7 off of the market after various accusations of batteries overheating led to fires.

Samsung also recalled 2.8 million washing machines because their “violent vibrations” caused some users to be injured.

Major scandals like these are enough for any company to flop. However, Samsung is still in the game. Kwon’s letter calls for the company to start anew, which is exactly what they need to do to stay afloat.

Of course, creating devices that do not cause injuries and fires will be a start. In addition, new leadership will keep the company relevant and hopefully, revive their reputation.

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Business News

Identity-protecting roller stamps are a must for any office

(BUSINESS NEWS) Your identity is one of the most valuable things, that’s why Guard Your ID has created a stamp for when shredders won’t work.

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The massive Equifax hack made nearly everyone feel vulnerable, but the truth is that every day we knowingly engage in activity that puts our privacy at risk.

Just think of how many times you give up your telephone number when signing up for a new magazine subscription. Or the numerous times you thoughtlessly threw away mail containing confidential information.

There are so many opportunities to accidentally reveal private information but luckily, there are an equal number of ways to prevent it. Though you may think that identity theft could never happen to you, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Of the various tools invented to help you protect your identity, one of the newest is actually very simple. The company Guard Your ID has recently introduced privacy protection rollers and stamps. These gadgets are simple, quick and effective to help shield your identity on virtually anything.

The oil-based ink works on both glossy and non-glossy surfaces without smearing or rubbing off. These stamps work by creating an encrypted pattern which makes text unreadable.

Though shredding is another effective way to protect your identity, the rollers and stamps are more environmentally friendly. At some centers, shredded paper cannot be accepted as recyclable material. In addition, you can stamp more things that you can shred.

For example, you may want to cover up a label on a prescription bottle. The protection stamps are more versatile than shredding, and also more cost effective.

An Identity Protection Stamp can be purchased for under $20 and has a shelf life of 2-3 years. A wide format roller is also available for larger surfaces. In addition, refillable ink can be bought for the wide rollers.

It may seem like a nuisance to start stamping every label, bank statement and mail that contains any piece of private information on it, but in the end, it may be worth it. Just think of how much time you will spend freezing your accounts and recovering your identity if it is stolen.

It may seem silly, but today even a simple stamp goes a long way in protecting your identity.

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Business News

Zuckerberg used VR to highlight hurricane Maria destruction

(BUSINESS NEWS) Mark Zuckerberg tapped into his Occulus VR conference abilities to highlight the damage Hurricane Maria did to Puerto Rico.

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We know at this point that Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria, but it can be difficult to understand the true extent of the damage without being there. We’ve seen some images and some video but Mark Zuckerberg is taking it to another level.

In a new partnership with the Red Cross, Zuck is taking to virtual reality to assist relief efforts.

In a presentation from Facebook’s Silicon Valley headquarters, Zuckerberg took Facebook users on a 360-degree tour of the hurricane destroyed island, using a combination of artificial intelligence and satellite imagery to determine areas with the most significant need.

Explaining his use of technology and its purpose, Zuckerberg said, “We use artificial intelligence to build what we call ‘population maps’ so you can look at satellite imagery of an area and get a sense of where it is that people actually live and the density of different places and where there’s infrastructure going to in those places. That’s going to help the Red Cross figure out where people are who need help.”

He also went through Facebook’s plans to restore internet connectivity on the island, which has been struggling to get power and resources back after the category 3 hurricane slammed the island with 125 mile per hour winds last month.

Zuckerberg said his company has already sent employees to the island to investigate damage and get networks working properly.

Speaking on the importance of internet and its integral role in the island’s ability to communicate domestically and abroad, he said, “When you are in the middle of a disaster like this, it’s really important that people have access to the internet. But it’s also important so that when relief workers go down there, they can coordinate with each other and know where people need help.”

There has been a bit of blowback from the VR tour though. A few of Zuck’s critics are calling him “tone deaf” saying that having the avatar chit-chat in front of flooded and destroyed home made it seem like he was cashing in on a natural disaster to plug his Occulus brand.

While his intentions were probably in the right spot, no matter how it came off, this is the first time that VR has been used for disaster coverage and we’re sure it won’t be the last.

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