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The Hispanic Professionals Networking Groups seeks to increase the visibility of Hispanic business professionals by fostering a great unity through networking opportunities. NEW YORK * MIAMI

Monday, December 22, 2008

Networking is Not Passing Out Business Cards (article)

Networking is Not Passing Out Business Cards
By Juanita Ecker

Networking styles can leave a lasting impression, positive or negative. Let me share two experiences that recently happened to me.

In one, I attended a networking event in which we divided into small subgroups. Each person in the group had the opportunity to explain what he or she does. After one woman gave her 10-second commercial, she passed out her business card to the rest of us in the group. I was not interested in her business, nor did I want her card. I graciously took it anyway. When we were returning to our original seats, she asked me for my card. Two days later, I received a call from this woman asking me if I would like to get together to learn more about her business.

At another event, I started up a conversation with a woman I had briefly met before. As we engaged in conversation, we discovered that we both had an interest in the "law of attraction." We enjoyed a very stimulating conversation about our beliefs and attitudes on this subject. I recommended a book that helped change my perspective. After 15-20 minutes, we exchanged business cards and agreed to meet for coffee at a later date.

Of these two people, whom do you think I am more interested in doing business with? In the first example, the woman thought that by passing out and collecting business cards, she was being an effective networker. She and I did not engage in a conversation, nor did we build any kind of rapport with each other. When she called me to ask if I wanted to get together, I was annoyed with her tactics.

In the second example, I felt as though I made a new friend. We spent quality time getting to know each other. Don't people want to do business with people they know, like, and trust? That's what networking should be-laying the foundation for a long-lasting professional relationship.

Don't be like the woman in the first example. Instead, choose to cultivate relationships with those you meet. Here are some tips for using your networking time effectively.

Join groups where your customers go

Who are your perfect customers? What type of business or social functions do they attend? Some people assume that joining the local chamber of commerce is the best use of their networking time. What kinds of industries are represented at this event? Are the people who attend those meetings your target market?

Have a networking strategy

Choose a networking event that you can attend regularly. Your financial investment in joining an organization won't pay off if you only attend meetings sporadically. Don't go to an event with the intention of making a sale or collecting a bunch of business cards. Instead, set a goal to meet three to four new contacts. Strive to have a meaningful conversation with each person you meet. Take the time to build rapport and cultivate new business relationships.

Form strategic alliances

When you form a strategic alliance with an individual, you will have the opportunity to consistently exchange reciprocal leads with each other. Identify the companies that provide a different type of service but deal with the same type of customer you do. Set an appointment with these strategic partners so you can learn about their business and they can learn about yours. Think of ways you can refer business to each other.

Approach networking from a perspective of giving

Whenever you meet new people, ask yourself, "How I can assist them with their professional goals?" Do you know of someone who is looking for their product or service? Can you share some information that might be useful to them? Can you pass along an idea that has worked for you and may help them as well? Look for opportunities to help others grow their business.

Is your "net" working? Rather than pass out business cards, cultivate long-lasting business relationships. When you do, your network will get bigger and more valuable.

©2008 Professional Image Management

Juanita Ecker, president of Professional Image Management, is a business etiquette and international protocol consultant. She can be reached by phone at (518) 279-9388 or online at http://www.professionalimagemanagement.com

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Networking That Doesn't Suck

Ah, the Holidays...cheer, optimism, parties, gifts and peace on earth....what's there not to love?

At last night's LatinVision event, party and cheer were definitely there, running around like overworked elves. As always, Carlos and crew pulled off an awesome event with such good taste that he must have learned it from HPNG. (c'mon, I had to!)

Leave it to depressing economic conditions to have Latinos bump up their networking skills. It had been a while since I had seen so many people really getting in there.

Not quite desperate, but certainly with emphasis on making the connection. Hey, it's a start.

Seen at the scene: online music guru: David Chitel, insurance maven, Reymundo Abrahante, Javier Pabon of the hosting location, Orensanz Foundation, marketing maverick: Anthony Aldano, Windy Lopez, Rodrigo Mora, TAG Latino superstar: Steve Villegas, Edith Nanazia, my gal pal Jeannine Blanco, the chief of tv closed captioning: Emilio Mahomar, the always super-sexy, Liliana Gil of Johnson & Johnson, my graphics god: Juan Aycart, the lovely Carmen de Jesus, party elf Grace Hannon, and many others.

I'm looking forward to the rest of the upcoming Holiday events, Latino and otherwise.

The HPNG Facebook page has become a hotspot for people posting their Holiday events, so if you haven't already, join the HPNG Facebook Group and get updated.

See you at the next one!



Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Go Robert, GO!

2008 HPNG Latino Leadership Conference Chairman, Robert Rodriguez is featured in this month's Latino Leaders magazine.

Congratulations Robert!