The Box

You may be wondering about why we have this box on the table each time we have a Monday Connection.

It is our referral box. It contains your business cards and you are free to add some new ones and have a look at the others and take out any that catch your eye.

Referrals are all important and another of our values is that we don’t do forced referrals like some networks do. We always like to hear of successful referrals and there have been a few, but in the main we feel that business generated within the group stays relatively private between the two parties.

The box allows anyone to take a card, leave a card and make contact after having had a conversation at a Monday Connections event. It’s all about building relationships.

We realize that as solo business owners that sometimes we can’t make it to a Monday Connection because of clients, sick kids and other things that life throws at us from time to time. By having your card in the box, you still have a presence at Monday Connections as it may be taken out and saved by another attendee for future reference.

If you are going through a re-branding, then by all means take out your old cards and put your bright shiny new ones in. About 10 will do and you can always replenish on your next visit if they have been taken. Do make sure your details on your card are correct… although that is how Mi & I met all those years ago because I had left off the .au on my email address and she phoned me to let me know!

First time visitors are welcome to put some cards in the box as you may feel a little shy. Because Monday Connections is a relationship based networking group, some lasting friendships have evolved and this may seem a little daunting at first but this is because we all want to get to know the other attendees a little better before giving a referral. Putting your cards in at the very first Connection will help others to “suss” you out and perhaps make contact with you!

Every now and then, the contents of the box are gone through and if someone hasn’t attended in over 6-8 months the cards are removed as is their membership of the Facebook page. You will always find our cards there as we are the founders and organizers of the group and we reserve the right to remove cards of people who haven’t attended for some time. The second photo shows what is left after a “cull”, so we are looking forward to having some new and updated cards put in the box at the next Monday Connection!

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Reflections

Our little group, still going strong after five years, met today to welcome 2017!  With a fantastic core group of members, it was still nice to see new faces, and we hope to continue to be a safe place for women in business to network without the pressure of elevator speeches and referrals.

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As usual, interesting themes were discussed, and our get-to-know-you speeches revealed such fascinating stories.  It is in the stories where it becomes clear that we are so much more than business owners.  We reveal our history, our passions, and sometimes our struggles.

photo2Originally meeting at the Connections Cafe, which was the inspiration for our group’s name, we have now been meeting at the Overflow Cafe for a few years.  I thought it was time to join the VIP club. Meg and I often stay on for lunches and the 10% discount will definitely be appreciated!

I hope everyone has a great 2017!

Mi

 

 

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Blogging…Is it your cup of tea (or coffee)?

cup of cofee

Both Mi & I have blogs as part of our websites. Mi is far more diligent in writing regular, structured posts whereas my blog is more of an occasional stream of consciousness.

You can read some of Mi’s articles HERE and some of mine HERE.

If you are not sure about whether blogging is for you, we have run some successful workshops on blogging basics and we could be cajoled into running another one if you are interested.

For those of you who are regular attendees of our monthly Monday Connection, there is an opportunity for you to “guest blog” here…. and let the world know about what it is that you do or your passion in life. Just in case you missed my passion you can read about it in this post.….. (nothing like a little shameless self promotion 😀 )

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Welcome to 2015

A warm welcome to 2015, both figuratively and literally!

As we enjoy a brief respite from the previous few days of scorching heat, many people are looking forward to beginning the new year with a myriad of resolutions.

Resolutions are good, but how many people really keep them?

What is it about a resolution that is kept? A successful resolution is a goal. It doesn’t matter what model you use, SMART, GROW or another; the common denominator with successful resolutions are that they focus on the positive rather than the negative. Writing them down, being specific about the steps that you are going to take to get that end result and a time frame in which to achieve each step is a start. Identify any obstacles to achieving your goal or goals and work out how to sidestep them or remove them. Include regular review sessions to enable you to make any necessary changes that will help you meet your goals!

If you are a more visual person, then a Vision Board may be the way to go.This is a little more involved than wishful thinking and cutting out pictures from glossy magazines. Start by doing a short meditation on what it is that you really want. An image or a word may come to your mind or possibly several. Again, be specific. If a new car is on the horizon, a picture of the model you want rather than a picture of a car yard is preferable. It’s a pleasurable exercise and can be done either on your own or with a group. You can make a book, a board, a poster… it’s your vision and it’s great to return to them later and see what has materialized. I did this with my current house… and got all that I envisioned and a couple of extras!

As we come out of the holiday period, this is an ideal time to focus on your vision and goals for your business. Our first networking event for 2015 is a little earlier than usual, due to the Australia Day public holiday and we meet on January 19th at our usual meeting place. This is an ideal time to meet other women in business, and discuss with them in a relaxed and informal setting your plans for the year. Sometimes articulating a goal is the ideal way to make yourself accountable to keeping on track!

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Meeting places

Originally we began meeting in a small cafe called Connections….. on a Monday…….. hence our name! Quite a cosy spot (if the door was closed in winter), but we had to walk through clouds of cigarette smoke from the nearby office workers to get there. It was cheap and cheerful and at times a little loud!

This year we have been meeting at Clancy’s Restaurant within the Bruce County Motel, following on from a very successful end of year lunch there. The service there is great and occasionally Mi & I have stayed on for lunch to discuss other matters. The July Connection was a little different as it went “walkabout” and attendees were treated to morning tea made by one of our network members.

If you are interested in networking with a difference, come and meet with us….. the coffee (and tea) is good and importantly, no parking restrictions!

The next Monday Connections is August 25th at 9.30am.

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Networking etiquette

Is it ok to add someone you met at a networking event to your newsletter mailing list?

My answer to this is “no”.  I find it rude.  I may be alone on this but I doubt it.

Networking is about building relationships, not finding the next opportunity to sell.  Adding me to your list without first building a relationship grates at my sensibilities.  My initial reaction is to click “spam” but I know how damaging that would be to you if my email provider blacklists your domain as producing spam.  So think about this issue carefully.  If you are going to do it, send an email, say hello, treat me like a real person, ask whether I would mind.  If I yes, and only then, add me.

What do you think?

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On Having An Open Mind

Do you enjoy networking? I do!

I like to find out about what other people do and quite often at a networking event, I am able to introduce people to someone who might just be the right connection for them. You never know who might be able to provide just the right service either for you or someone you know. It’s a kind of “Pay it Forward” moment…..

Imagine then my surprise then, when over the weekend I attended a conference for Natural Therapists to learn more about marketing themselves. We were given a couple of exercises to do over the 2 days, both involving elevator speeches and /or defining our target markets.

I turned to the young, male chiropractor sitting next to me. Our task was to discover how each person got to the venue, was it hard or easy? What was our mode of transport and why had we chosen it? ….. and discover some of the values of the person we were talking with. 

The chiropractor went first.  He lived in the inner city, caught public transport because he didn’t believe in owning a car or contributing to pollution. 

My turn. I drive a large 4 wheel drive…… which I use to travel to Central Australia, Cape York .. (where did this need to justify come from?). He asked me where I lived and I told him “Glen Waverley” ….and that was probably the last thing he heard. “Never heard of it” he said … & as looked at me, I could see his eyes flick immediately to the grey hair……..I was irrelevant.

Conversation stopped. Network failure……. awkward…..!!!

The second networking exercise was practice an elevator speech – 12 seconds to get the other person curious about what you do. This time I was paired up with a young, female naturopath. 

She was to go first, so I asked what she did. ” I’m a Naturopath”…..silence…. so I prompted her…..

“What’s your area of speciality?”

“Oh, I’m a fertility…..” eyes flicked tot he grey hair and the conversation stopped.

I laughed and tugged at my hair, saying ” I realize that I may be a bit past the fertility stage, but I may have some people to refer to you!!”

With both therapists, I assume at some stage in their training they would have attended a lecture on having an open mind when it came to listening to clients as they gave their health histories. I know from my own training, whether it was hypnotherapy, coaching or homeopathy,  that being an “unprejudiced observer” of the client history is the key to building rapport and gathering information. There is much truth in the old adage “Never judge a book by its cover”.

Yes,  my hair is going  grey and I wear it with pride…… an invisibility cloak at times…. it lets me slip under the radar!  Just because my hair is going grey, it doesn’t mean that I am not going to be a good networking contact for you. Consider this, I may possibly have more people from my life experience and existing business, social or family contacts to refer to you.

Good networking is about having an open mind, open heart, being present and listening to what the other person has to say.

 

 

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