I just wrote about why and how you can help connect people to people in your community. Find this post by clicking on this link:
Staying Connected – We’re Better Together
I produced a video yesterday for our local leadership networking forum, First Fridays Fort Wayne. I wanted to share the text of what I said on video. This is all about how we can stay connected during this quarantine environment that we are all hoping ends soon.
…We’ve moved meetings and events to Zoom and Skype platforms. We’ve been entertained by the sound of barking dogs, children asking a parent for something to eat, and squealing brakes of a garbage truck in front of our house while these meetings go on. We’ve hoped and prayed our internet speed holds up. We’ve been bombarded with emails, instant messages, and more meetings.
And we do all of this in relative isolation from each other.
We are suffering from what someone in our area has called technology fatigue.
Don’t get me wrong. Technology is great! But is cannot ultimately replace the face-to-face interactions that so many of us are missing.
So how can you stay connected professionally during this quarantine?
- Talk with another leader outside of your company. Pick up the phone, Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, etc. Literally, talk with someone you were connected with prior to the quarantine. It does not have to be about work or your career. Just make a person-to-person contact. A friend called me the other day to ask some questions. It was SO GOOD to hear his voice. We need this kind of interaction. Just like the old telephone commercial says, “Reach out and touch someone.” (just don’t physically touch them…we’re not supposed to do that!) You get the jist…
- LinkedIn connections. So many of you are on LinkedIn today. This is a great tool to stay connected. When you read someone’s post, comment on it. Send them a message.
- Write a note and mail it. Let me say that again – write someone a note and mail it. That still works! Encourage someone. Tell them you are thinking of them. Ask them to pass this idea along and to send someone they know a similar note.
- Email someone. About once a month, I send a few people an email thanking them for their contribution to our community. I thank them for how their company is positively impacting us all. It makes a difference in that person’s life. Try it.
- Recommend a book to read or a podcast to listen to. Do this through your socially media channels. There are many of us out here who are looking for the next book to read or a podcast that will help us grow. You can be a resource for someone’s personal, professional growth.
- Even in the midst of a quarantine, you can network. Attend a First Fridays online event. As I shared earlier, we have some great online events coming in May. Greater Fort Wayne (our local chamber of commerce) is offering a variety of sessions with flexible times/days to connect with others. Take advantage of these great opportunities. Make technology work for you to network!
- Give back. We all know how devastating this quarantine has been. So many businesses are at risk of closing never to open again. I’ve driven by small businesses in town seeing their site closed with For Sale signs out front. Support local businesses in any way you can. Order carry out from local restaurants. Buy a t-shirt from them. Buy other products that they offer. Recently I order a t-shirt and hand sanitizer from Three Rivers Distillery Company here in Fort Wayne. It was a simple way to support a local company who has pivoted their business to serve the needs of our community. It was an investment of $24 from me to do this.
I hope that this quarantine comes to an end very soon. We need to get our economies going and growing again. But in the meantime, do what you can to connect with local leaders.
Let’s keep our community’s foundation strong. Encourage one another. Help one another.
As my new t-shirt says, “We’re better together.”
Global Leadership Summit 2019 Registration
Make an investment in your leadership development. The GLS is coming to a city near you! I participate in the largest remote site in the world here in Fort Wayne, Indiana. There are sites all over the world as well. If you haven’t registered, there is still time. Use this link to register and learn from top leaders: Global Leadership Summit Registration link
Speakers included: Craig Groeschel, Bozoma Saint John, Patrick Lencioni, Jia Jiang, Jo Saxton, Bear Grylls, Ben Sherwood, and others
SPECIAL PRICING ENDS TODAY! (June 25)
Expand Your Relationship Reach by Jim Johnson
Much has been written about networking. There appears to be a change in how people view networking today. Let me be clear – I enjoy networking events. My brother and I started one that has grown to 3 major cities in 2 states! But it’s how we and those who participate in First Fridays Fort Wayne approach networking that makes the difference.
To many, networking is simply about meeting as many people as you can at an event and handing out business cards as if they were candy. Keep it upbeat. Keep it on the surface. High energy. This, in and of itself, is not bad. That approach may work.
But it doesn’t work for me. I want to encourage you to try a new approach.
How to Expand Your Relationship Reach
- Approach Networking Intentionally. Go to an event in order to seek out new relationships. That may result in exchanging business cards. Absolutely be upbeat. But make your goal to get to know someone better. Learn who they are, what drives them, how they impact the community, what leadership looks like to them in their current circumstance.
- Follow up & Follow through. Networking events should not become a one-and-done event. When you seek to get to know someone more, the networking event is only the start. After the event, follow up with an email or a LinkedIn message. Thank the person for their time. Thank them for sharing with you – allowing you into their world. Then invite them to coffee, breakfast, or lunch. Guess what? People will talk with you when you buy them a meal! They really will!
- Intentionally Prepare to Add Value. When you get together over coffee or a meal, come prepared with more questions to ask. Prior to this meeting, visit their website (personal or business). Review their LinkedIn profile and content. Your goal should be to have an engaging conversation that will lead to understanding the person better, understanding their business, and how you can help them connect with others, grow their business, and become better.
- Introduce Them to Other Leaders. Learn the skill of connecting people to people. You will help your community to become better and stronger when you become a connector of people.
- Continue the Connection. Share content you discover with new connections. Do this via email or on LinkedIn. Read content they’ve shared on LinkedIn and make positive comments. Share their content with other leaders who you know would find that information valuable. Drop them an encouraging email or text from time to time. Invite them to a ballgame. In other words, nurture the relationship.
The result of intentionally doing this has created so many meaningful relationships with leaders in my community. My 13 year old son constantly tells people, “my dad knows everyone.” That’s not true, but he recognizes that I have worked hard at building relationships, and we have talked about why I do this and why it is important.
I have found no down-side to developing relationships in my community. My life has been blessed by the people I’ve met:
- A seasoned leader who continues to impact emerging leaders, entrepreneurs, and a mentor to men and women who are growing their businesses. He is an author and a proud dad to 2 accomplished children.
- A leader who has served an Indiana Governor. She has been recognized with the highest award given to a citizen of our state. She continues to impact our community through her economic development work.
- A leader who influences young people through the arts. His choir has been a World Champion in a competition in China. His vision will impact at risk young people for decades to come.
- A leader who has served 2 Secretaries of Defense in Washington, D.C. He has shared what he has learned from world-class government leaders with local leaders here giving us a perspective few have had.
- A leader who was an award winning news anchor shared how to communicate like a pro. Her insights from her experience inspired many leaders in our area.
- A leader who recently shared his life story with me. From a high schooler who didn’t care about much to learn some hard lessons along his journey to an effective leader today who has fiercely decided he needed to self-develop for the good of his family, his company, and his community.
“So, should I go to a network event?” YES! There are so many events out there. I just want to encourage you to take a different approach to networking. Think about it…then take action.
You will not regret developing relationships. You will become better by doing this. You will help others become better. And, as a result, you will help your community become better.
(photo: my brother doing his thing. He’s a true connector!)
Leadership Forum Resource
Are you looking for a regular leadership forum where you can learn lessons from incredible leaders? My brother and I created a leadership forum in Fort Wayne, Indiana that we call First Fridays Fort Wayne.
Every month, leaders from across Northeast Indiana come together to listen to another leader share lessons that they’ve learned and bring valuable insights. We are now on YouTube and you can follow us there by searching for First Fridays Fort Wayne. You can also visit our website at https://firstfridaysfw.com
Plan on visiting our site and watch one of our events. We are in season 2. We have also launched this in Cincinnati, Ohio. And we are in the works to launch in a third site here in Indiana.
Preparing for 2019 by Jim Johnson
This is that time of year. Budgets have been turned in. We are closing out one year and getting ready for a new year. Strategic planning sessions have happened. Follow-up sessions may still be on the calendar.
What are you expecting for your business in 2019? Growth? Increase in revenue? Larger market presence? I’m sure most of that and more is true.
But what about YOU?
What are you expecting out of YOU in 2019? Now is the time to prepare. Here are some things you may want to consider:
If you know me, you know I am a big advocate of reading. The past 2 years, I set a goal to read 12 books/year. I did it 2 years ago. This year, I’m on track to read 19. My goal in 2019 is to read 24. How will I do that? I’ve already established a simple process that I learned from Jeff Olson (author of the Slight Edge). Read 10 pages/day. Most business books can be read in 1 month with this process. I am capable of reading 20 pages/day. This process works.
Make 2019 the year you better connect with the community of leaders around you. Find a meaningful networking group. Or start one like my brother and I did last year (we can help you do this!).
Make your work and your passions about serving others. What you receive back will be more than you can imagine.
Take time to think about big ideas and then take action on it. Experiment. Collaborate. Innovate. The world needs your creative passions to emerge! Get out of your rut and start asking yourself, “What if…?”
If you are looking for something to jump-start you, pick up the book Atomic Habits – Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results by James Clear. I just recently heard about this book and ordered it. I started it last night. It’s not about goals but about the processes (habits) we can create to help us achieve far more than we thought possible. It is outstanding so far! If you have read Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit or Jeff Olson’s The Slight Edge, this book is an excellent compliment to those.
The Most Interesting Person in the Room by Michael Hudson
You’ll love this article and video clip by Michael:
10 Reasons Why Exercise Makes You Better at Your Job by Reine Farhat
Sports have always been a big part of life, beginning when I was a kid. My father’s way of teaching me how to swim was by throwing me in the water and telling me to fight and try every possible way to get to the surface. This approach has actually helped me overcome any potential fears I may have had, and ever since, I have used sports to get through long study nights and long working hours.
For entrepreneurs who are working hard to build startups, and their employees, exercise is crucial for keeping you in good health. According to many studies, it also improves your mood and reduces depression. The road to building a company is rocky enough; an even mood will help.
Here are 10 reasons why exercising will make you a better performer at work:
It makes you determined. If you play a sport on a regular basis, then you probably have a coach who is always pushing you and shouting at you to help you get the best out of yourself. If you don’t have one, then you probably have your own ways to keep yourself motivated. Athletes always strive to push their limits; any obstacle in front of them is just another challenge. The same thing applies at work. If you stumble upon a difficulty and have too much work to do at the office, if you can’t get any investment or if your startup idea needs some adaptation, you will learn not to give up. You will work it out, because, it’s just another challenge for you.
It reduces stress. Stress is an undesired companion, especially if you are an entrepreneur. “I do exercise in the gym before work, then I do some cardio, like taking a long walk or jogging after work,” says Lebanese entrepreneur Mark Malkoun, the co-founder of ReachFast, an application that helps iPhone users call and message their recent contacts more easily. “Entrepreneurs endure a lot of stress due to the nature of their work, and exercising can help a lot to reduce this stress and offset the harm that it’s causing to our bodies and minds.”
It makes you a better team player. Whether in the gym, in the pool or outdoors, workout buddies always encourage each other to perform better. If you’re involved in a team sport, like basketball or football, this increases your team work ethic. Team players are also a great addition to any startup. By team players, I mean those co-workers who help each other and collaborate to get a specific task done efficiently, and who work hand in hand to take their startups to a whole new level.
It makes you more accepting of failure. Team sports not only make you a better team player, but also help you accept failure. When playing against another team, one of the two teams will fail. Acknowledging that you failed is good, as it helps you reconcile with yourself. In the workplace, accepting that you failed when accomplishing a task or when launching an idea or making an important decision, will first, help you understand the mistake you made and learn from it, and second, work even harder to avoid it in the future.
It makes you more responsible. George Washington Carver who once said, “Ninety-nine percent of all failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses.” In team sports, just as at work, admitting that you broke the rules lets your colleagues, your teammates and your boss realize that you are a straightforward person who takes mistakes seriously and doesn’t cover them up. This will make them trust you more and maybe rely on you more often.
It gets your creative juices flowing. A study has shown that aerobics are more likely to boost your creativity. Exercising doesn’t train your muscles only, but also your brain. That is why sometimes when you are out of ideas and go out for a jog, you feel much better afterwards and the ideas start coming.
It replaces your morning coffee. Have you tried working out super early before coming to work? If not, try it. It fuels your body with energy and jump starts your metabolism, to get you ready for a long day at work. And if you’re bootstrapping, it’ll be a good way to cut down on your coffee expenses.
It makes you a good listener and teaches you self-discipline. Hind Hobeika, a competitive swimmer and the brain behind Instabeat, acknowledges that swimming has taught her self-discipline, “which is SUPER important as an entrepreneur”, she wrote in an email. It has also made her a good listener. “Swimming has taught me to listen to a coach and train with a team, which is the similar to listening to mentors and working with a team,” she says.
It gives you time to reflect. I personally enjoy swimming a lot, and I try to do it four times a week. During that time, I’m able to stop thinking about the outside world and focus on my technique, endurance and pace. It’s also a good time to collect my thoughts and reflect. Hobeika agrees: “Swimming is my alone time, the only time I’m not connected to anything but myself, so I’m obliged to listen to my thoughts and do a lot of reflection.”
It lets you meet potential partners or customers. Last but not least, exercising is a social activity. It allows you to meet new people or to get to know your colleagues, employees or co-founders better. “Sports give employees an opportunity to meet both colleagues and friends through a healthy medium,” said Derv Rao, co-founder of Duplays, a Dubai-based platform that connects players to sports in their local city. “Relationships are built above and beyond those formed by conducting business together.” (Disclosure: Wamda Capital has invested in Duplays).
Companies should offer sports to their employees, he says, because these companies “have demonstrated a direct impact on the bottom line through lower sick days, better employee performance at work and a healthier social life, leading to increased employee happiness and retention.”
Sometimes it is good to just throw your laptop away, get out there and enjoy a well-deserved workout. Not only will it make you feel better, it might help you come up with the next best idea. And just like kids fight their way in the pool to reach the top, entrepreneurs and employees should do the same too, but not only in the pool.
Reine is the Arabic Editor at Wamda. You can reach her at Reine[at]wamda.com, on Twitter @farhatreine or connect with her on LinkedIn.
Never Forget a Face Again by: Scott Rosenfield
If you network or are out making sales calls, this might be helpful to you.
Drawing a blank on her name? Spend an extra second looking at her face—people who do so are better at remember names, says a study in the journal Psychological Science.
Researchers hooked 40 people up to a helmet that tracked eye movements and showed them random faces and names. While both women and men looked at the eyes, nose, and mouth when viewing a face for the first time, women spent longer scanning the features—and in turn, they were about 12 percent more likely to correctly recall someone’s name than guys.
Researchers believe that the more time you spend studying a face, the more landmarks there are in your memory to remind yourself of who you’re seeing the next time around.
And while the differences weren’t huge—a guys generally recognized five faces out of ten; women could accurately name seven—if it saves you an awkward moment, it’s worth a shot.
Train yourself to do it better by quickly scanning across as much of someone’s face as possible when you meet, says the study’s lead author, Jennifer Heisz, Ph.D. Be sure to look over the arch of their eyebrows and chin—two zones that guys regularly miss. The more you do it, the more it’ll become second nature, and you can kiss awkward run-ins goodbye.