How to be a better networker for people who hate networking

With Sarasota Summer Showcase just around the corner (June 27), we thought this article from The Washington Post was very relevant and helpful for our members who are not very keen with the ins-and-outs of networking.


Most species hang out only with family members. Everybody else is a potential enemy. Good ol’ Homo sapiens have been successful because we’ve extended the definition of family by using mutually agreed upon stories — “fictive kinship” as Israeli researcher Yuval Noah Harari points out.

Families are not merely blood relatives. We’re in many families: We’re Americans. We’re IBM employees. We’re on the same softball team. Most simply, we’re friends. This allows us to collaborate on a scale that’s impossible for other animals. This is the secret to our success as a species. It’s also the secret to your success as an individual: friendship.

networking

Even so, you might feel awkward about going up to that person who could be important to your career with what feels like the thin veneer of “friendship.” But that’s a false distinction. One of the primary things every romantic couple has in common is not magic, it’s proximity. It’s really hard to fall in love when you never encounter each other.

Sure, reaching out may feel awkward at first, but there’s no need to be afraid of networking. The truth is, we often underestimate by as much as 50 percent how much others are willing to help us when asked. Remember, the rule of thumb is simple when making friends: Assume other people will like you, and they probably will. Here are some other tips to help you become an effective networker.

Start with the friends you already have

Research shows that one of the quickest and easiest ways to boost your network isn’t to pass your business card out on street corners; it’s to reconnect with old friends. And there’s no sleazy element to it at all — they’re already your friends. You just haven’t caught up with them in a year. Go through your Facebook friends list, your LinkedIn connections, or your address book, and send a few emails every week, asking, “What’s up?” Research shows that those dormant friendships can actually be bigger boosters to your career than any new connections you make.

Find your ‘Superconnectors’

Not all people in a network are created equal, contact-wise. Northwestern University professor Brian Uzzi and journalist Sharon Dunlap did research and found that there’s an 80/20 rule of sorts in networking. You probably met the vast majority of your friends through a handful of “superfriends” — your buddies who are the most socially connected. So when it comes to trying to expand your network and make new friends, do what works. Reaching out to these “superfriends” and saying, “Whom do you know that I should meet?” will produce disproportionate results.

Make the time and the budget

People say they want to increase their networks but few really make it a priority, dedicate time for it, or commit something specific to it, such as “I’m going to allocate an extra $50 a week to having coffees and lunches in which I connect with people.” Entrepreneur and best-selling author Ben Casnocha saw that top networkers committed a certain amount of time and money to their networking goal so that when opportunities came up, they didn’t hesitate.

Join groups

No, not some corny “networking group.” Again, that’s awkward and borderline gross. Do you know a bunch of friends who have lunch every week? How about a group that watches football every Sunday? A book club at work? These are fun, passive ways to make sure you stay in the mix and connect with others organically.

Always follow up

We all meet people but we rarely take the time to follow up and actually begin a friendship. Analyzing 8 million phone calls between 2 million people, researchers at Notre Dame found that what makes close friendships endure is simply staying in touch every two weeks. Now, you don’t need to connect with people that often if they’re not close friends, but the principle still stands: Checking in every now and then matters.

Just like your mother taught you, say thank you

Research from the journal Cognition and Emotion shows that gratitude is the quality that makes people want to spend more time with you. Gratitude is the tactical nuke of happiness and the cornerstone of long-lasting relationships.

If it’s that simple — just taking time to say thanks — why don’t we all do it? Researchers call it “hedonic adaptation.” I call it “taking things for granted.” When you first get your new house, it’s the greatest thing that ever happened to you. A year later, it’s that money pit that needs a new roof. The joy of the new never lasts. And this happens with everything.

Making time to feel gratitude for what you have undoes the hedonic adaptation. And what’s the best way to do this? Thank the people around you. Relationships are the key to happiness, and taking the time to say “thanks” renews that feeling of being blessed.

So here is my final recommendation: Do a gratitude visit. This isn’t just some cute idea. Research by psychology professor Martin Seligman at the University of Pennsylvania shows that doing a gratitude visit is one of the most powerful ways to feel happier and to make someone else happy in the process.

It’s quite simple. Seligman says to write a letter of gratitude to someone. Make it concrete; say what they did for you and how it affected your life. Then set a time to sit down with them, but don’t say why. When you meet, read them the letter. Both of you will be happier for it.

An email or text is fine, too. Studies show gratitude gives our friendships a “booster shot” and predicts relationship satisfaction. Gratitude doesn’t just help friendships. It also improves work relationships. One study showed that although we say “thanks” regularly to family, only 15 percent show gratitude at work. And 35 percent of those surveyed said their boss never says it.

You’re not too busy — and neither are they — for a brief show of sincere gratitude. You may think they already know how you feel, but showing it is where the real magic is.


This article is By Eric Barker and adapted from “From Barking Up The Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong.” Copyright © 2017 by Eric Barker. Reprinted with permission by HarperOne, a division of HarperCollinsPublishers. Barker’s popular blog can be found here.


View original article in The Washington Post

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Welcome to The Chamber Team, John Vitolo!

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John Vitolo joins us as our new Membership Investment Representative, responsible for bringing in new Chamber members and connecting members with advertising opportunities. John’s career began in New York’s magazine industry, marketing publications such as Good Housekeeping, Bon Appétit, and Condé Nast Traveler; he also spent time in Boston, MA with Yankee Magazine.

In 2007, John made his way to Sarasota with Miles Partnership, representing advertising programs for travel destinations such as Visit Florida, Pennsylvania, and Louisiana. Both John and his wife are graduates of Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. The Vitolo’s have three children; 26, 21, and 11 and they reside in Sarasota.

You can contact John at jvitolo@sarasotachamber.com or (941) 556-4058.

7 Ways to Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Small Business

Grow your small business with LinkedIn by using these seven proven tactics.

There are nearly 30 million small businesses in the United States, but only half of them will make it past five years. To ensure your small business is in the successful half, we encourage you to capitalize on the various ways LinkedIn can evolve your business.

With LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, you can generate leads, produce sales, and hire top professionals to fuel your growth. Here are seven ways to grow your business using LinkedIn:

  1. Create a LinkedIn Company Page

We’ve found that LinkedIn members are 50% more likely to buy once they’ve engaged with your business on LinkedIn. But they can’t connect with you if you don’t have a LinkedIn Company Page. According to Forbes, only 57% of companies have pages. The remaining 43% are missing out on a free opportunity to generate leads, talent, and, ultimately, revenue.

If you don’t already have one, create a LinkedIn Company Page. Personal profiles don’t have the same marketing, advertising, and recruiting features as Company Pages, making them less effective at promoting your business. As you create your page, think about the kind of impression you want to create among potential customers and employees. This will help you select the right photos and messages to use on your page.

For a step-by-step guide on how to create an above and beyond Company Page, view our LinkedIn Company Page Best Practices.

  1. Promote Your Company Page

Once you have a Company Page, announce it to your clients, employees, and personal network. This will help you gain your first followers, who in turn will help to promote your Company Page on the content you post to it.

Promoting your page on other platforms or via email is also a great way to grow your audience. Here are some simple ways to get the word out:

  • Announce the launch of the Company Page on your personal LinkedIn profile
  • Encourage employees to follow the Company Page by making it a part of your onboarding process—Social Media Today reports that content shared by employees receives eight times the engagement as brand shared content
  • Link to your Company Page in the footer of your marketing emails or newsletters
  • Embed a Company Follow button on your website so visitors can easily follow your LinkedIn Company Page
  1. Share Content Regularly

The more you post, the more people you can potentially reach and convert. Best-in-class LinkedIn Company Pages are consistently updated to ensure that visitors have plenty of new content to consume and share.

To get started, try posting at least once per week. It’s not uncommon for companies to post three or more times per day. Post whenever you have something worth saying. Posting consistently shows Company Page visitors that your company is active on LinkedIn. Use LinkedIn’s Company Page analytics to see your top performing updates, your best times to post, and which members of your audience are the most engaged. With this information, it’s easy to make data-driven decisions to optimize your Company Page content.

In addition to posting often, here are a few more stats to help you boost engagement:

  • Posts with links receive up to 45% more engagement
  • Images see an incredible 98% increase in engagement
  • Posts that have relevant “best-of” lists get almost 40% more amplification

When a post gets good engagement, consider promoting it to a wider audience with LinkedIn Sponsored Content. Take the Sponsored Content Tour and discover how Sponsored Content amplifies your best content.

  1. Showcase Thought Leadership

Seventy-nine percent of buyers say thought leadership is critical for determining which companies they want to learn more about. To get started with thought leadership content, try to provide a unique perspective on your industry, product, or organization. Sharing your opinion on the future of your industry or creating a definitive guide to your product are just two ways to demonstrate your expertise and position your company as a credible partner.

For more ideas and advice on expanding your brand’s authority, download our Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to Thought Leadership to learn more.

  1. Target Sales Prospects

LinkedIn has over 500 million users to date. That may seem like a lot to sort through, but LinkedIn also provides you with tools to identify and target your ideal audience.

LinkedIn members are more likely than other social media users to keep their profiles up-to-date, making it easier for you to find the right people. Use LinkedIn profile data to search for LinkedIn members based on geographic location, education, experience, and even connections. Once you’ve found prospects using the search feature, visit their profiles. Their endorsements or recent profile views might surface additional qualified prospects, too.

For more ways to reach your ideal audience, learn how to advertise on LinkedIn.

  1. Build an All-Star Team

LinkedIn has helped 75% of job switchers make informed career decisions, making LinkedIn a top recruiting network. What are candidates looking for when making those decisions? Our research shows that 66% of candidates want to see company culture over everything else. To take advantage of this preference, consider enhancing your Company Page with a LinkedIn Career Page.

Career Pages allow you to target audiences with a personalized look into your company, culture, and career opportunities. They give you dedicated Life and Career Information Tabs on your Company Page that attracts and engage relevant professionals.

In addition to creating Career Pages, encourage employees to share job postings and “day in the life” content as well. This gives visitors a genuine idea of what it’s like to work for you and adds to your authenticity. If you have a few employees who lead the pack in sharing content, consider linking them to your Company Page’s Life Tab. Their shared articles and recent updates will automatically populate, providing visitors with up-to-date information. Watch our video below on how to use the Life Tab to attract the right talent for your company.

When building an all-star team make sure to do a salary comparison to help with hiring decisions.

  1. Hire Freelancers

You’ve probably had an employee who took on a task outside of their domain. You might have even done it yourself a few times. While the effort is commendable, learning on the fly can also be detrimental.

Fortunately, finding the right talent for the task at hand isn’t as tricky as it once was, even if you can’t afford the salary of a full-time employee.

LinkedIn ProFinder enables you to post your projects, receive free proposals, and hire trustworthy professionals all in one place. ProFinder will even pair you with local professionals to ensure you have the best experience possible. With 172 professional services available on ProFinder, it’s easy to find the perfect professional for any task.

LinkedIn vets all the professionals on the platform to ensure they are qualified and leverages your network to find entrepreneurs your connections have used, so you’re never in the dark about who you’re hiring.

By encouraging entrepreneurship, you get access to outside perspectives & broad experience of professionals of all kinds, from creating websites and designing logos to managing your books or crafting your marketing strategy. Plus, with none of the management or competitive salary overhead of a full-time employee, you can focus solely on the job at hand.


Article by LinkedIn Careers

5 Tips to Get The Most Out Of Your Chamber Membership in the New Year!

A chamber of commerce membership is oh-so-much more than just an “I’m a proud member!” sticker to put on the front door of your business. Member benefits like website listings, participation in exclusive promotions, invites to chamber events, and more put you at the forefront of the community when you’re a member of The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce.

But Chamber membership is a two-way street. While there are certain benefits you’ll receive year after year with your membership — interactive listings on our website, printed listing in The Chamber directory, invites to events, etc. — there is certainly a way to get more bang for your buck no matter what investment level you come in at. Let us highlight a few ways to get the most out of your membership.

1.) Attend Chamber Events

This one is a pretty obvious membership benefit that often goes overlooked by many. While we understand that you won’t be able to attend EVERYTHING with the dozens of networking events, workshops, and lunches we hold throughout the year, it doesn’t hurt to show up to an event once or twice if your schedule allows. This is a great way to get your name out there and to meet other business professionals in our community. Chamber events aren’t open to business owners or management only – staffers, please come!

2.) Interact with us on Social Media

Want to know a great way to get a conversation rolling online? Tag us in your posts! We’re active on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn, and Instagram to name a few. Chances are if you tag us in a photo or post, we’ll give you some social media lovin’ back. That means more interaction for your profile, and for The Chamber. Win-win!

3.) Post on our Website

With your Chamber membership comes exclusive access to sarasotachamber.com for you to post events, coupons, job postings and more. Use this access – you pay for it! The Chamber fields dozens of phone calls and email traffic every week with people looking for events, jobs, and deals. We can’t offer your awesome information if we don’t have it!

4.) Submit Your News

This one goes hand-in-hand with what was previously mentioned. When you have some newsworthy information to share, send it our way in the Press Release Tool located on the website! We’re always looking to brag about the amazing things our members are doing. Whether your business recently completed a remodeling project, your staff headed out to the community for a volunteer day, your business won an award, or you have other great news to share — we want to know about it so we can share your news on our social media pages, add to the news section of our website, and send member news out in our email newsletters.

5.) Reach Out

Is there an area of your business that could really use some help? Maybe you’re looking for some creative marketing ideas or want to form partnerships with other business professionals in town. Whatever it may be, always be sure to reach out to us here at The Chamber to see if we can help make some connections. If we don’t have immediate answers, just give us some time to think about things and point you in the right direction.

If there are any membership benefits that you have questions about or think that you might be under-utilizing, give us a call or set up a meeting! We want to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your investment. Utilizing your membership benefits makes your business, our organization, and our community stronger.


If you have any questions about getting the most out of your membership, we want to hear from you! Please feel free to call Craig McGonigal, our Membership Engagement Manager at The Chamber at 941-556-4034 or shoot him an email at cmgonigal@sarasotachamber.com.

Member Tip Monday: 2018 Membership Seal

As the new year approaches, make sure to update your Membership Seal on your website, social media and print materials! Seal-of-Membership-2018-MD-WEBThe membership seal gives you the opportunity to promote your business as a Chamber Member on your business cards, promotional material, website, social media, and much more.

Showcase your credibility in the community and with potential customers by proudly displaying this seal. According to a Schapiro Group study, prospects are 80% more likely to buy from you if you are a member of a Chamber of Commerce.

How to get your Membership Seal:

Your seal of membership is located in the “Members Only” section of the website so it stays exclusive to you, our dedicated member. Log into “Members Only” with your username and password and click the “Membership Seal” link on the right-hand side. Right-click and choose “Save As” to download the graphic.

If you need a larger file or vector image for your print pieces, etc., please contact Dillon Buckland, Communications Coordinator, at dbuckland@sarasotachamber.com or (941) 556-4039.

Click here to login to the “Members Only” portal.

Members, Please Note: Printed Versions & Decals will be mailed out early 2018!


Forgot your username or password?

Contact Megan Neal at mneal@sarasotachamber.com for login information.

Congratulations, Janet & Sharon as Ambassadors of the Quarter!

Congratulations, Janet Arena!

Janet Arena HeadshotJanet was born in Philadelphia.  Lived most of her youth on a farm in Bucks County. Went to Penn State—majored in business education. Very active in a service sorority, cheerleading, and the theater. Went on to Pittsburgh where she taught two years before going to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in East Africa where she taught business procedures to government employees. While there, she took the challenge of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro which she did in three days—19,340 feet (with no oxygen).

Came back to the U.S. where she taught at Suffolk Community College and Nassau Community College on Long Island. At the same time, she completed her Master’s Degree at Columbia University.

Janet moved to Connecticut where she accepted the position of Chairperson of the three high schools in Milford, CT. In 1979, she became President and co-owner of Stone Academy, a business and medical training post-secondary institute.

She moved to Florida in 2003. After working at various jobs throughout the area, she accepted the position in the Marketing Department at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. She is presently involved in various committees for four Chambers, ushers at seven venues, house manager at Venice Theater, serves on the Gala Committees for Goodwill, Save Our Seabirds and the American Cancer Society, works Meals on Wheels every Saturday; Vice President of the Penn State Alumni Association; Executive Committee member and treasurer for the Big Ten Alumni Group.


Congratulations, Sharon Litchfield!

 

Sharon Litchfield HeadshotSharon has lived in the Sarasota community for over 40 years and has been married to Andy for 32 years, with one son, Adam, both of which keep her grounded. They have two rescue dogs, Levi and Ziggy, who are inseparable and a joy every day. Sharon enjoys all activities that Sarasota provides, from walking the Ringling Bridge to exploring what downtown has to offer on a regular basis and all the festivals that Sarasota brings to our community. She loves traveling and exploring other areas outside Sarasota and look forward to many fun trips this summer.

Sharon will be celebrating 27 years at one of the finest private golf clubs in Sarasota, FL, home to the Champions TOUR from 1986 through 2001 as part of the PGA TOUR Golf Course Property Inc. clubs for over 17 years at TPC Prestancia in Sarasota.

Sharon’s involvement with The Chamber is extensive as she serves on three different councils within Thc Chamber: Chamber Ambassadors, Member Services & Small Business Support Council, and the Finance Committee.

In 2014, she returned to USFSM to pursue her Masters in Hospitality and Technology Leadership and graduated in April 2017. Her involvement in many fundraising charitable organizations over the past 25 years includes United Way, Susan G. Komen, MDA, BBBS, Southeastern Guide Dogs and Be The Match Foundation as a Registered Bone Marrow Donor.

Sharon’s philosophy that you need to give back to your community and give to those in need to have a meaningful life.


Congratulations, to both Janet & Sharon! We greatly appreciate the dedication that you give to The Chamber and to The Chamber Ambassadors’ program. Janet and Sharon’s longstanding commitment through The Chamber Ambassadors and other Chamber Programs, make them excellent representatives of The Chamber and its’ programs. Thank you & keep up the great work!

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For information on the Chamber Ambassadors program or to join, please contact Megan Neal or Craig McGonigal

Partnering to Build Your Business

The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce

1945 Fruitville Road | Sarasota, FL 34236

http://www.SarasotaChamber.com

SOCIAL MEDIA ISN’T OPTIONAL: WHY YOU NEED TO START TODAY

If you have too many customers and you can’t keep up; if your business’ revenue streams are more like Tsunamis, social media is optional for your business. If not, you need to embrace it today. Here’s why:

We are a very mobile society. Businesses can’t count on the foot traffic they once did or people just driving by and stopping in. We’re in our cars, going to the next appointment at lightning speed. There’s no time to just drop into a new store or business.

Social Media Establishes Know, Like and Trust

social-media-isnt-optionalIf you sell something that no one else does and people feel like they absolutely must have it, then forget about social media because you needn’t establish know, like and trust. For everyone else, it’s essential in the sales process. Someone buying from you must first know that you exist, then wants to like you/your company before doing business with you, and finally, they need to trust that you are providing a worthwhile product or service that is of good quality or value. Without those three very important things, you won’t be very effective in today’s non-ad-driven marketplace.

There’s good news and bad news about how consumers make decisions today. The good news is your business can stand out with very little money investment. You don’t need radio or television to make an impression anymore. There are millions of people you can reach through social media. However, the bad news is you can’t blast them with your marketing message and expect them to respond by pulling out their wallets. Now you have to develop a connection with them and establish “know, like, and trust.” This takes time. Old marketing success took money.

Your Content Gives Buyers Something They Need

When you share helpful, valuable content on social media you do more than establishing know, like, and trust. You provide helpful resources for customers who are trying to make decisions (and you can influence them through providing the much-needed help, particularly in a long buying cycle) and you give them social currency.

Just as you want to provide content your audience finds valuable, so do your customers. There’s a lack of great content out there. It’s hard to find it and there’s an unquenchable need. When you provide content your audience enjoys and thus shares, you become a source for them to build up, and meet the needs of, their tribe as well.

This makes your audience feel good because their tribe appreciates what they’ve shared. You’re making your customer (or potential customer) look good. That’s something they will remember and keeps your business being on your customer’s mind.

Social Media Is No Longer Mere Entertainment

facebook-demographicsIf you have been ignoring the social webs because you think it’s all pictures of gourmet meals and cat videos, you’re in for a surprise. 88% of Millennials (Millennials are the largest generational cohort in the history of the US and make up a quarter of the population currently) get their news from Facebook. While this may be a little disconcerting for some of us, the fact remains and speaks to the importance of social media in the lives of so many.

If you think social media is only for the young, think again. 72% of adult Internet users use Facebook, according to the Pew Research Center. 62% of the entire adult population in the US uses Facebook. Why aren’t you on it again? Before you answer, take a look at the chart of Facebook demographics.

Social Media Establishes a Connection

Today’s buyers want to feel a connection with the companies they do business with. From being involved in R&D to voting on names for new products, from selecting new flavors to supporting a larger cause, people want to “feel” something about the brands they support.

You can’t meet every one of your customers. You can’t take them out to coffee and get to know them because it doesn’t scale. As much as you may have an interest in them, it’s not possible to form personal, one-on-one relationships with each, but you can reach them en masse and make them feel like they know you and your business.

Social media allows you to give them a better look at who you are by setting a tone for your business and telling your business story. It also allows you to celebrate your customers in a way traditional marketing can’t. You have the opportunity to reach them all-day long, every day with content they will find value in for no more money than that associated with your time.

Social media isn’t a passing fad. It’s a business necessity today. If you’re not meeting your customers’ needs on social media, you can bet there is someone out there who’s willing to take up the slack for you.

Image via Graphic Stock

Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog. She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.