To whom do I write the thank you card?

25 11 2010

As tough as things have been for most of us these past few years (we’re definitely included in this), I feel that I have so much for which to be grateful this Thanksgiving and now just need to know to whom I write the thank you card?

Between finally getting out of dreary and “frosty” Seattle, thanks to Keith (my incredibly creative and talented husband) landing an amazing opportunity at what we’re pretty certain is his dream interactive agency in San Francisco, and a healthy and happy enough circle of family and friends, I thought I had been blessed enough. However, by seriously shaking things up in our lives and shifting the energy around this year, it appears the universe is now directing some of that famous California sunshine on the many seeds I’ve planted these past few years.

So, why do I want to share some of what I have to be grateful for today? Well, beside it being Thanksgiving, and simply wanting to share my excitement over recent events, I think it is worth explaining that the type of content creation, publicity and media exposure I share below demonstrates what I can also do for my clients. It took plenty of hard, smart and efficient work, and a little bit of good fortune, but it was mainly strategy, tactics and persistent follow-up that made most of what I share below happen.

I'm at a networking event--Now What??? by Sandy Jones-KaminskiSome of the most significant sprouting is around my writing and content creation in the form of  the little seedling that is my book, “I’m at a Networking Event–Now What???” I’d say this little sprout is well on its way to becoming a nice sturdy plant and I have my incredible network of friends, family, contacts, colleagues and fans for helping me get the word out and consistently supporting my efforts in promoting my networking manifesto.  Plus, doing a few 12 Rules of Effective Networking webinars for some non-profits has brought me more good karma than I ever could have imagined and has enabled me to reach way more people than the number of folks that have attended my PIF (pay it forward) Parties to date.  I’ve seen the direct correlation between those webinars and the opportunities that have recently come my way, as well as the new Facebook fans, Twitter followers, Bella Domain Networking group members on LinkedIn, email/blog subscribers and more.

Earlier this year, I was also fortunate enough to get selected as a columnist for WomenEntrepreneur.com where recently my third article for my Networking is Connecting column was recently picked up by FoxNews.com (of all places).  Then, within a few days of that happening, and thanks to a Google alert, I found out that my book was in the #1 spot on the Inc.com 2010 Holiday Gift Guide for business books! Whah?? Such a gift! And with any luck, I’ll soon get to break-even with my publisher, Mitchell Levy of Happy About!

(Soon after the above we noticed that my book was finally ranked less than 100K on Amazon again and was ranked #44,867! It had been in the coveted less-than-100K rank soon after it was released, about a year ago this month.)

Lastly, after spotting the Inc.com recognition, and a few days of jumping up and down with excitement, yesterday, I learned (thanks to another Google alert) that, most likely due to all the activity around these things, I was the featured columnist on the WomenEntrepreneur.com home page (see below)! Sweet!

Now, to whom do you think I should write the thank you card?? Kind of a hard call isn’t it? 😉 Happy Thanksgiving all and please let me know if there is anything I can help YOU be thankful for by next Turkey Day!

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A more effective strategy for networking

6 01 2010

Yesterday ended with my little Bella Domain WordPress site hitting 11,000 total visits since launch (woo hoo!) and me finding an awesome book review of “I’m at a Networking Event–Now What???” from Steve Paul the blogger behind and founder of Notes From the Job Search Seattle. Here’s what he wrote about my recommended strategy for networking:

Tuesday, January 5, 2010 Pay it Forward

One of the members of our Tuesday group brought a book to our group last week that brought a bunch of ideas together for me and added some new ones that fundamentally change how I think networking should be done. It’s stuff that I’ve vaguely thought, and haphazardly tried, but have always thought was what I shouldn’t do.

Networking events have always felt like middle school dances. You know the ones, the boys are on one side and the girls are on the other, (substitute recruiters and job seekers) and each side spends pretty much the entire night talking about how much success they always have with the other side, just not venturing forth and testing those waters. 😉

I’m starting to follow a new blog, it’s on my list: Bella Domain. This is by the person who wrote I’m at a Networking Event, Now What?Sandy Jones-Kaminski. In the book, she postulates that the focus of networking events should not be “What can you do for me?” She proposes that every networking event be approached as an opportunity to ask, “What can I do for you?” Things like passing out business cards aggressively are strongly discouraged, instead, listen to the answers people provide and only share your card with people you actually might be able to help. She suggests an attitude of “Pay it Forward” for the event. For those that missed the book and movie, pay it forward is the idea of doing something for someone else as a way of saying thank you for things that others have already done for you. Instead of paying back what you owe, pay it forward to the next person. Turns out there is even research suggesting that this is a more effective strategy when approaching others in a networking mode. Immediately, it allows for a focus on what others are doing, rather than prattling on about how great we are when we probably aren’t all that convinced of our value to begin with. Most of us can get very convinced of our ability to solve problems within our area, so when someone says, “I need help with…. And describes what we know about, we can get into problem solving mode in a heartbeat, and then we don’t need to tell people we’re super, we just demonstrate it. Way more fun!

At any rate, Sandy’s book is outstanding. It’s one of those books that brings together a bunch of well known information and comes up with a new conclusion that feels much better than what I thought previously and completely demystifies what was a very intimidating event.

(post link – http://bit.ly/SPreview0110)

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Why I wrote “I’m at a Networking Event–Now What???”

1 01 2010

I found the email below in my Inbox this morning and it sure started my day off on a happy note! Salil describes exactly what I was hoping to achieve by writing my book, I’m at a Networking Event–Now What???I'm at a networking event--Now What??? by Sandy Jones-Kaminski

Soon after I read this, I contacted him to thank him for taking the time to write and requested his permission to share it with y’all. And, hey, if you read my book, and feel the same way Salil does, please become a fan of my book on Facebook. Thanks so much and Happy New Year all! 🙂

From: Salil
Date: Thu, Dec 31, 2009
Subject: I’m at a networking event
To: sandy@belladomain.com

Hello Sandy,

I recently purchased this ebook from Michelle Levy’s website and I am so happy with my decision. I had always struggled with networking events. I heard a lot about the importance of networking events but never knew what to do and how to initiate any dialogue or even take it to the next step/level. Some of your openers were very helpful. I also liked the specific action items you included in each chapter. The section on hosting your own networking event was also a great idea. I started acting on those and reached out to couple of people while standing in a queue. Prior to reading this book, I could never think of reaching out to people on my own. But to my surprise, the experience was very positive and I had very useful and fruitful discussion with those people. I am also thinking of hosting an event sponsored by my company early next week and I already have a theme in mind.

So once again, thank you for the great write up. I am definitely recommending this book to other people who I know are struggling with the same issue.

Salil.

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Not so secret Santas

23 12 2009

I must have been a very good girl this year because Santa definitely came early! Not so secret SantasI knew I needed to show my gratitude by sharing these awesome book reviews (and links) for my book “I’m at a Networking Event–Now What???” from this past week:

Matt’s review on his Career Horizons blog.

Randy’s review on his Hire Ground blog.

Who knew I’d have 2 not-so-secret Santas this year?! 🙂

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It’s not you, it’s them

10 11 2009

I just received confirmation that my first “real” book is NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON, so I felt it appropriate to commemorate the occasion with a blog post that explains why I wrote the book in the first place.

The first copy of "I'm at a Networking Event--Now What???" by Sandy Jones-Kaminski of Bella Domain, LLC

The 1st copy of "I'm at a Networking Event--Now What???"

Also, since I’ve started having to explain what my new book is about to total strangers (airplane seatmates, wedding table mates, and so far 1 press person – OMG!) I’ve become acutely aware of exactly what it is about the book that initially appeals to the folks that don’t know me or what I refer to as my “How do you not know this?” corner of the world. So, I thought I’d share a few of the questions I’ve been asked and how I answered them.

Stranger:  So, what’s your book about?

Me:  Well, the title is, “I’m at a Networking Event—Now What???” (I usually then pause and wait for the giggling to subside). It’s a practical guide to getting the most out of any networking event, and if you read it you’ll feel like you spent some time with a fairly entertaining, tell-it-like-it-is networking coach.

Stranger: What made you want to write a book about networking?

Me:  There were 2 things:

1)   I was tired of all the bad behavior I was encountering at the majority of the networking events I’d been attending and I also wanted to help the folks in the 80% group of the Pareto Principle out there that just don’t seem to be fans of the activity. I’ve found that besides some of them being shy, most usually aren’t fans as a result of having been on the receiving end of some of the aforementioned bad behavior such as watching someone scan the nametags of others while they’re supposedly listening to you, and

2)   Then, there’s the fairly well-documented phenomenon in the Seattle area called the “Seattle Freeze” (you can Google this) which relates to the arms-length-only friendliness of the Puget Sound area in general, and the lack of genuine welcome many new settlers to the area often experience.

Both factors motivated me to start hosting what I started calling Pay It Forward (PIF) Parties, and then I wrote a few white papers earlier this year on my “12 Rules of Networking.”

The response to the above generated lots of interest (1200+ downloads of my white paper), as well as the encouragement to write a book, and that gets us back to where I started.  As I was working on the book, I was always on the lookout for supporting evidence for my own theories and beliefs about networking best practices, and while I liked to think of them as rules (as in etiquette), I kept finding proof that they’re also the most effective.

For instance, one of the studies I site in the book comes from the folks at Upwardly Mobile Inc. and the Graziadio School of Business Management at Pepperdine University. They conducted a study on the habits of what they call, “elite networkers” and their behaviors as they relate to networking in general.

Finding worth sharing #1: 70% of executives credit networking as THE activity that leads to career opportunities, and 75% of study respondents said they spend fewer than two hours each week directly managing their networks. Bottom line: If done right, you can spend a manageable amount of time on it.

Have you actually developed reciprocal and quality relationships with your contacts? Can you count on them when you need a favor? Do they know that you’re there for them when they need the favor? These are the key questions most elite networkers can answer positively.

Finding worth sharing #2: Not surprisingly, the study notes that most people approach networking fairly ineffectively. They focus on quantity of contacts instead of the most important factor—the depth of the relationship (or my interpretation – trust between the 2 parties a.k.a. good social capital[1]).

I’ve noticed loads written about whether people will recommend you or not as the ideal measure, and while that matters if your only goal for networking is getting more leads (whether they be job or biz/sales related), I believe that good social capital should be the real goal. I strive to cultivate quality relationships that often turn into friendships where a natural by-product is that I know when/if I need some help or a favor I can unhesitatingly reach out and ask for what it is I need, actually receive it directly or indirectly, and then work to make certain that others know they can count on the same from me.

But back to the idea that “It’s not you, it’s them.” I also wrote my book because I wanted to encourage reluctant networkers to recognize that it’s not their fault that the person scanning the other nametags is doing so. You’re not boring — they’re just RUDE! And, I believe that we can help rehabilitate these people at the networking events we attend by “flipping the script,” and instead of being passive and waiting for someone to ask what brought you to the event, so that you can launch into what probably feels like a canned elevator pitch you may have even paid some coach to develop for you, you can act as if you’re walking into a gathering of your closest friends, and simply beat the other person to the punch and ask them what they’re working on these days and whether they need help with anything in their life right now. The idea is that by setting the example of showing genuine interest, and potential assistance, the recipient will hopefully follow your lead and respond in kind so you can actually have a meaningful conversation. And, if they don’t, you’ve just learned that you should save yourself a whole bunch of time, follow-up and trouble, and politely move on.

pif_logo1Based on my own experience, many of the Google alerts I’ve been reading, and the popularity of the PIF Parties I’ve hosted or attended, offering help to others first appears to be an approach that’s really starting to catch on. Hopefully, my book will provide the encouragement to get folks confidently back out there, and maybe I’ll get to meet them at an event soon because, quite frankly, I’m a little tired of running into most of the same usual suspects (a.k.a the 20%) at the networking events I attend. 😉 I welcome the opportunity to meet some new people in the New Year!

[1] Social capital is defined as the resources such as information, ideas or support that individuals are able to procure by virtue of their relationships with other people. The uniqueness of social capital is that it is relational…it only exists when it is SHARED.


 

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I NOW know somethin’ ’bout birthin’ a baby

9 10 2009

It’s here! Well, almost. Yes, it’s been like birthing a baby…I think. Whatever. I’m psyched because I’ve waited months to be able to announce this and now I can! 🙂

My new book “I’m at a Networking Event–Now What??? A Guide to Getting the Most Out of Any Networking Event” is now available!

I’m eager to share this handy little opus with the many folks out there looking to develop their networking muscle, and as a result, kick their business acumen up a notch. I’m also confident that they’ll find great value for their business or career after reading just a few chapters. I think this book will prove especially helpful to all the newbie networkers out there — whether they’re recent graduates or someone that’s found themselves unexpectedly in the job market after ten or more years of not worrying too much about their next career or business move. You know who you/they are…..

As you would expect from me, this book is full of straight talk, and frankly, as I researched this book, I received plenty of support that that’s what many people need right now. Effective networking skills CAN be learned and actually having a “social network” has become an integral part of everyday life. I think it’s time we all learn how to develop good social capital and pay it forward whenever we can.

I am extremely grateful to those of you who contributed to the book (knowingly and unknowingly), and also those who were kind enough to review it and then willing to write an endorsement or the Foreword. Please read what a few respected and successful professionals have to say below, and then perhaps you’ll order a few copies for your clients, friends, family or yourself via the publisher’s order page HERE or through Amazon by clicking the book cover below. Thanks for your support!

BROUGHT TO YOU BY BELLA DOMAIN: Order Networking_Now_What hereYou can order this book by clicking the button below:

BuyNow_low

ENDORSEMENTS FOR “I’M AT A NETWORKING EVENT—NOW WHAT???” THAT MADE ME BLUSH:

“If you want a great read with awesome advice on networking, then this book is a must on your book shelf. Sandy offers a truckload of practical “how to” strategies, tips, insights, best practices and examples to illustrate her points. Her pay-it-forward approach is a revolutionary idea I found especially intriguing. If you’re struggling for ways to expand your professional contacts and relationships, you’ll find lots of answers in the pages of this excellent book.”

Alan Collins, author of Unwritten HR Rules and former Vice President of Human Resources at PepsiCo

“Sandy Jones-Kaminski is the Supreme Queen of Networking and has lots to teach the rest of us about how to network professionally in a truly effective way that also makes one’s personal life richer, more meaningful and more fun. Buy her book, read it and then put her lessons to work to make you wealthy in contacts, opportunities, colleagues, and friends. Sandy’s insights and philosophy help you understand how to approach networking in a fresh new way. Her tools and tips help you actually practice networking much more powerfully. For urban professionals seeking to grow their meaningful professional contacts this book is simply a “must have,” and if a Norwegian bachelor farmer read Sandy’s book, and put it to use, he would be having a lot more fun at the Grange Hall and church suppers he has been too shy to attend.”

Susannah Malarkey, Executive Director, Technology Alliance, Seattle

“When it comes to networking, Sandy’s book nails it. While the wake-up call has finally reached just about everybody in terms of the importance relationships play in business and career success, as she notes, and I’ve observed firsthand, you still find about 80% of the folks out there struggling to really ‘get’ the process or understand how to go about it effectively. For this crowd, Sandy’s advice is invaluable. She breaks the entire concept of networking down into a series of easily digestible parts and then sprinkles in her own hard-won insights over how to build relationships that matter. Whether you’re a rookie or an old pro at the networking game, I guarantee you’ll walk away from this book with some new ideas, tools, and tactics that will help you be more successful!”

Matt Youngquist, President & Founder, Career Horizons, LLC

“This book is a unique and thoughtful approach to making you realize that networking is a part of every day life. Sandy really simplifies the act of networking and makes it easy and actionable for anyone. It’s the perfect quick guide for any college student or recent grad to learn the basics on how to approach and be successful in networking – and have fun doing it!”

Julie Ahn Goldthwait, former Vice President & General Manager, MonsterTRAK

“Sandy Jones-Kaminski is a skilled networker, but with a unique twist: she knows how to motivate and inspire people to change their focus from Me to We. The result: a wide network of professionals who meet regularly to help one another. Most networking groups—and networkers—focus on ways to benefit themselves. Sandy is a master at gathering people who want to benefit all—and she does so in a very natural, laid-back way. Don’t bother buying other networking books with the Me First mindset. The value of Sandy’s approach and the tools she provides are far more beneficial, and frankly, more fun.”

Eric Weaver, Account Director, Tribal DDB

“In our economic climate, the art of networking is a critical skill, and as a connector myself, I’ve seen many struggle to engage in meaningful conversation in casual business situations. In this networking primer, Sandy Jones-Kaminski succinctly and powerfully reminds us all of our responsibility to ourselves and to others as we navigate an ever-changing business environment. By embracing her pay-it-forward approach, you’ll open up a world of opportunity–and valuable connections–that didn’t seem possible before. And you’ll be able to turn a dry business affair into something interesting and fun!”

Katherine Hall, Immediate Past President, Puget Sound/Seattle Chapter, American Marketing Association

“Certain social networks see the world before the world sees their
network, others are seen by the world and marketed to before they know
what hit them, and still others have no clue of the world and the
world could care less. This book shares how to be genuine yet
strategic in your approach to building a network that matters and will
last. It is hands on, buoyant and stitched together with Sandy’s fun,
pragmatic yet philosophical approach.”

Aaron Fairchild, Managing Partner, G2B Ventures

Undeterred by challenge, inspired by opportunity, and energized by collectivism, Sandy knows of whence she speaks in connecting the art of networking to the science of linkage theory: she’s ‘been there / done that.’ And no one knows how to do it better…from making the entrance to working the room to managing the postscript. Once you read, no…once you internalize this provocative précis on human dynamics – – the only question you’ll be left asking is: “now what comes next from Sandy Jones-Kaminski?” Stay tuned…

~Barron T. Evans, ‘terminal’ networker — global bridge-builder

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Out of pocket, but still on the grid

18 09 2009

Because a few of my peeps have expressed some frustration re: my lack of availability these days (how sweet that they miss me!), I thought I’d use my blog to share two of the five things that have had me pretty much out of pocket, but still very much on the grid:

1) A book. It’ll be available for purchase online soon and at an upcoming networking event being hosted by the PSAMA on Nov 19, 2009. It’s entitled, “I’m at a Networking Event–Now What???” and here’s the cover: NowWhatBookCover

2) A blog for G2B Ventures. I’m the official editor and even named it.  It’s called G2B Matters. Give it a quick read if you’re at all interested in Environmental Intelligence for Better Business.

I hope you’ll let me know what you think about both! Thanks, peeps.

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