I attended an event at the local chamber of commerce today. It was about networking and it made me think of the importance of good old face to face meetings… remember them?
I know that we’re supposed to use all this technology we have at hand, and I have to admit that it’s great. Social media, blogging, websites, webinars… all good stuff. But, there’s a lot to be said for getting to know someone’s handshake. It’s kinda cool to see their facial expressions. To laugh together at something funny, as opposed to typing “lol”, or my favorite “Hahaha”.
So, there is a ton of information out there about networking. The presentation I went to today was very informative and enjoyable. I was, of course, networking at the networking presentation. lol
Years ago, I was reading about networking, and I loved this piece of advice. Don’t network by talking about yourself. Network by listening and asking questions. The premise is… If you’re interested in other people, they will find you interesting. That is, ask them about their business. Follow up with a question about what they just told you, or a general business question.
I’ve found this to be true, for the most part. Of course, you want to answer questions, but focus on listening. Yes, your elevator speech is important. But not as important as using your active listening skills when they are giving you their elevator speech. After all, you already know about yourself.
Something I picked up today that I thought was great. When you’re at a networking event, you might be feeling weird about talking to people you don’t know. Notice the person that’s off to the side, feeling awkward like you, and talk to them. You’ll both feel relieved, and you won’t have to worry about interrupting a conversation.
Think of ways to be a matchmaker with people who you meet. Introduce them to each other. Consider strategic pairings… power partners. Once you’ve met people who can complement each other’s businesses, put them in touch.
How do you feel about networking in person? Is it a thing of the past, or does it still have value in today’s business environment?
Even though I’m over 50, I’m okay when it comes to technology. Notice I didn’t use the word “savvy”. That indicates a level of proficiency that I’m not sure I want to advertise.
I used a computer in my business in the eighties. I sold computers in the nineties, and had one of the first, hardwired “carphones”. I skipped the bag phone and went right for the cell phone/pager combo. I used a computer in my home in the early nineties. Anybody here remember AOL chatrooms?
Anyway, my day job these days is for a “technology” company. Okay, it’s a cell phone company. I can help with basic trouble shooting, but there’s a lot going on with cell phones these days. I like to use words like “magic” and “gremlins” when I’m troubleshooting. Which is probably why they don’t ask me to do too much of it these days.
I was talking with a gentleman today. He was about my age. He said “my phone says it’s out of room. What does that mean?” So I starting explaining that the cell phone has a finite amount of storage space. I start talking about the cloud, and explaining why he should upload his stuff.
He stops me mid sentence and asks “Why are we both looking up? Is that where the cloud is?” I decided to hand this one off to a coworker. I know, I forgot I was a badass there for a minute.
Now, I’m really not much of a conspiracy theorist. My Mom called to tell me a few months ago that her cell phone had been hacked. I was able to almost convince her otherwise, and I got her the help she needed. The problem was, as I thought it might be, that she had every app she had ever used open. A quick lesson in closing stuff down got her back on track.
The thing about me and technology is that I can usually bang my head up against something until I get it right. In other words, given enough time, I can figure anything out.
But, let’s get back to the cloud. When I got my last phone, I retrieved all my info from the cloud. AND two pictures of some random guy I don’t know, in a room I don’t recognize. I’m glad to report that he seems happy. How cool is that…..not! Because, of course, that makes me think. I’ve got three thousand pictures in my phone. I really wouldn’t know if I was missing any of them in particular. Has someone else received any of my photos as the bonus?
If so, I hope it’s one of these:
Because they don’t know the history of holiday butter sculptures in our family!
To the point… I don’t get mad when technology doesn’t work. To me, it’s amazing that it ever works! I stand by “magic” and “gremlins” as a reasonable explanation of technology.
When I was a kid in elementary school, most people had a TV in their home, but not everybody did. I guess that’s why they trotted us down to the school auditorium every so often to watch Walter Cronkite. He narrated a show called “The 21st Century”. The show was, at first, called “The 20th Century” and took a look at history. It changed in 1967 to “The 21st Century”, a show about the future. I found and attached this YouTube clip so you can check it out.
It’s a funny video to watch, and it’s interesting to see what they got right and what they missed the mark on. It seems to me that some of the things we see today are way ahead of where they thought we would be.
Somethings though… Where is this 30 hour work week that was coming along with the increased technological advances? The thing I’m most disappointed with… No flying cars. There wouldn’t be any traffic jams in the year 2000. We would all be driving flying cars to relieve the road system.
Now I’m asking you to think of a time you were in a traffic jam. We have them every day here in the Washington, DC, area. Realistically, I don’t think we’d be better off if everyone was flying, instead of driving, in most scenarios. Anyway, I feel like I Walter lied to me.
The future is hard to predict. I remember selling computers in the nineties. Most people were buying their first home computers. The knowledge and familiarity were just not there. People would come in and say “My kid needs a computer for school”. It’s the same as people who come into a cell phone store now and say “My grandkid says I need an iPhone.”
I can’t be too hard on Walter. 3D printers are $3500 now. I guess it won’t be long before they’re affordable and we all have one. If you try to think fifty years into the future, I’ll bet you don’t know the half of it. It would be interesting to write down your predictions and revisit them in fifty years. I don’t have that kind of time, but maybe you do.
It’s hard to believe that we’re getting ready to ring in 2017! When I was a kid, 2000 was way in front of us. Now, the Year 2000 is long gone.
Happy New Year! Have a great 2017! I hope we get flying cars soon.