4,293 members  •  32 online now

Chicago Industry Experts, Leaders, and Entrepreneurs Blog

The Art of the Online Introduction

The Art of the Online Introduction's picture
by David Ritter (Nov 27, 2015)

Anyone of a certain age will remember being taught as a child how to introduce people. Of course, back then introductions were done in-person. Often, they are still done in-person and the ability to make a smooth introduction is a valuable skill. However, online networking is a big part of how professionals connect today. So, making e-mail introductions (e-introductions) has become just as important. 

WHY 

Networking In The Holiday Season

Networking In The Holiday Season's picture
by David Ritter (Nov 22, 2015)

Many professionals who network to grow their business or career are trepidatious heading into the holiday season. They are concerned about keeping the pipeline of business flowing or making progress toward a new job. There are good reasons for these concerns, but the season also offers opportunities that are not found the rest of the year. 

Realities 

It's Not Your Father's Networking

It's Not Your Father's Networking's picture
by David Ritter (Nov 14, 2015)

Some people cringe at the thought of "networking" because they have an image in their minds of some sleazy salesperson attempting to hard sell every contact in their rolodex and everyone they meet. Or, they have an image of someone desperately working a room for a potential job opportunity. Although we've all seen people do this, neither of these caricatures are actually networking. It is an outdated view.

The 7 Dress Codes For Business

The 7 Dress Codes For Business's picture
by David Ritter (Nov 7, 2015)

I've been asked many times what to wear when attending networking events as well as in the office and at other business functions. I am fond of saying that professionals are hired to make significant decisions, so they should be able to decide what to wear. But, I also understand that cultural norms have broadened and become more confused. So, while I am certainly not a fashion expert, I'll offer a business perspective. 

Networking Is Like Dating, But Better

Networking Is Like Dating, But Better's picture
by David Ritter (Oct 31, 2015)

It is often said that business networking is a lot like dating. It's true. There are many similarities. For example:

 

The Truth About Job Search Using Job Boards

The Truth About Job Search Using Job Boards's picture
by David Ritter (Oct 22, 2015)

Job boards (websites that list jobs) were supposed to make it easier for employers to find the right candidates for their openings and easier for job seekers to find the right opportunities. However, employers and candidates remain frustrated. They just have different frustrations than before job boards showed up.  

12 Types of Networking Groups

12 Types of Networking Groups's picture
by David Ritter (Oct 17, 2015)

People network for a variety of reasons and have different criteria for who they want to meet. Defining the purpose, objectives, and a networking plan all help to focus those efforts and improve results. When creating a networking plan, be sure to consider the very different characteristics of the many networking groups that host events. The following descriptions should help: 

 

You're At A Networking Event - Now What?

You're At A Networking Event - Now What?'s picture
by David Ritter (Oct 10, 2015)

Networking to grow a business or career starts with some fundamentals. For example, to generate results from business networking, strong networkers define their purpose, spell out specific objectives, and create a plan to achieve those objectives. That improves their selection of the events to attend. Then what? Once you show up at an event, there are some fundamentals to know:

Initiating A Conversation 

You attend networking events in order to meet people. So, initiating conversations is crucial:

6 Key Steps to Networking Success

6 Key Steps to Networking Success's picture
by David Ritter (Oct 3, 2015)

People network in order to meet other people. For some, this is purely social. However, for many, it is more about their professional success. Networking can be a powerful tool that can help with career development, business development, knowledge, and solving problems. In order to successfully leverage this tool, be sure to address the following key steps. 

9 Personal Touches for Business Networking

Recent Popularity
5
9 Personal Touches for Business Networking's picture
by David Ritter (Sep 26, 2015)

Digital (online) networking is virtually a requirement in the business world these days. Even people without any business development responsibilities should be building their digital connections and brand as part of their career development strategy. But, the value is much greater when those digital contacts are turned into real live in-person relationships. This is because people buy from those they know, like, and trust.  

Let Your Actions Speak For You

Let Your Actions Speak For You's picture
by David Ritter (Sep 19, 2015)

I meet a lot of people in my business. I hear a lot of pronouncements and promises about what people say they are going to do. Those might be simple things like meeting for coffee later, looking up an article they brought up when we met, or even just connecting on LinkedIn. I think they truly intend to follow through, but the realities of life get in the way. I understand this and try to make sure I don't make any promises I can't or won't keep.  

The Job Market Differentiator

Recent Popularity
5
The Job Market Differentiator's picture
by David Ritter (Sep 12, 2015)

Nearly all US workers look for a new job from time to time. And many people look for a new job fairly often. The US Department of Labor estimates that 25% of US workers have been with their current employer less than one year and 50% have been with their current employer less than five years. 

Reputation Matters

Reputation Matters's picture
by David Ritter (Sep 4, 2015)

Many of us have heard the advice to be more concerned with your character than with your reputation because your character is who you are, while your reputation is who others think you are. I agree that your character and your behaviors, which define your character, are more important than your reputation if there is ever a contradiction. However, your reputation matters. Whether we are talking about an individual or a corporation, your reputation matters a lot. 

Master the Silent Conversation

Master the Silent Conversation's picture
by David Ritter (Aug 29, 2015)

Most professionals who network to grow their business or career understand that they need to ask questions and really listen to what others tell them. Listening to others is more important than what we tell them about ourselves – especially when we've just met them and in the early stages of building a professional relationship. That's how we grow to understand their interests, concerns, hopes, and pain points. Beyond these important listening skills, we can move our networking from good to great by mastering the silent conversation that's always going on in the background. 

Tell Your Story & Be Liked

Tell Your Story & Be Liked's picture
by David Ritter (Aug 22, 2015)

Everyone (and I do mean EVERYONE) is selling something! It is obvious with people in sales / business development. They are selling some kind of product of service. People looking to advance their career are selling themselves – whether in a job search or even doing their best work to position themselves for a promotion. People who do not have jobs or businesses persuade others, even if that is just with respect to their point of view.  

3 Reasons To Document Networking Follow-up Actions

3 Reasons To Document Networking Follow-up Actions's picture
by David Ritter (Aug 15, 2015)

Anyone who networks with other professionals to grow a business or career knows the importance of following up with the connections you meet. Most commonly, people follow up an initial encounter by meeting over a cup of coffee, but it may be at the office or for a drink after work. If all goes well, the follow ups continue and a relationship is built.

REVIEW: NEAN (Never Eat Alone Networking)

REVIEW: NEAN (Never Eat Alone Networking)'s picture
by David Ritter (Aug 14, 2015)

I recently attended a lunch meeting of NEAN (Never Eat Alone Network). As you would expect from the group's name, the premise is that you are going to eat lunch anyway, so spend that time productively networking. The group meets in the Fox River Valley (St. Charles and Aurora) mainly for lunch, but sometimes in the evening. 

FORMAT 

The LinkedIn Debate - Quantity vs Quality

The LinkedIn Debate - Quantity vs Quality's picture
by David Ritter (Aug 8, 2015)

Ever since the launch of LinkedIn, a debate has raged about whether or not one should accept invitations to connect from strangers. LinkedIn's official position is that networkers should not accept such invitations. But, there is also a strong argument to maximize network size. 

Why Connectors are More Valuable than Decision-Makers

Why Connectors are More Valuable than Decision-Makers's picture
by David Ritter (Aug 1, 2015)

Most networkers are either working on building a business or their career (or both). So, most want to connect with decision-makers (i.e., someone with the authority to make a purchase decision or a hiring decision). But, these decision-makers are NOT the most valuable contacts in your network. 

How Introverts Beat Extroverts In Networking

How Introverts Beat Extroverts In Networking's picture
by David Ritter (Jul 25, 2015)

You walk into a room full of people and your instinct is to turn around and walk back out. The thought of walking up to a someone there (or a small group) and introducing yourself makes your mouth go dry. After attending a large event, you need some alone time to recharge your batteries. Congratulations, you're an introvert. 

Networking Remains A Contact Sport

Networking Remains A Contact Sport's picture
by David Ritter (Jul 18, 2015)

Technology has made it much easier to identify, reach, and manage information about networking connections. Most young professionals grew up with social media and take these technology tools for granted. Seasoned professionals have also integrated these tools into their daily lives. As great as these tools are, they are no substitute for real live in-person interactions. 

The Most Important Networking Skill

The Most Important Networking Skill's picture
by David Ritter (Jul 11, 2015)

Many people think that in order to network effectively, they have to "tell" as many people as they can whatever message they want to get across. That could not be further from the truth. If fact, the best networkers are actually the best "listeners". 

Learning The Value Of Networking

Recent Popularity
5
Learning The Value Of Networking's picture
by David Ritter (Jul 4, 2015)

Many people who network to grow a business or career learned the value of networking through someone who was a powerful influence in their lives (e.g., a parent, boss, or mentor advising them to get out and network). Other lucky people learned this lesson through a positive personal experience. I fell in the second group. 

The Holy Grail Of Networking

The Holy Grail Of Networking's picture
by David Ritter (Jun 27, 2015)

Most professionals who produce great results from networking use a methodical approach. They can clearly articulate their purpose, objectives, and their networking plan for achieving those objectives. They also practice and become proficient in a variety of networking techniques. The "Holy Grail" of these networking techniques is to develop very strong referral relationships with a relatively small number of "Partners".

Referrals vs Leads 

Go Big And Go Small In Business Networking

Go Big And Go Small In Business Networking's picture
by David Ritter (Jun 20, 2015)

Networking to grow your business and/or career is all about building relationships. You invest in those relationships over time and they often pay dividends later. There are many ways to meet the people with whom you want to build relationships – from personal introductions to attending any of the wide variety of networking group events. When attending networking group events, I recommend you go big and go small!

Go Big 

What Every New Graduate Should Know

What Every New Graduate Should Know's picture
by David Ritter (Jun 13, 2015)

Although the job market for new college graduates is better in 2015 than in recent years, the sad truth is that most have not landed the kinds of jobs they expected to - if they've landed any at all. There are many reasons for this, including: the total volume of graduates compared to entry level openings, a mismatch between the graduates' majors and the fields where hiring is strong, and even many seniors ramping up their search after most companies have already extended the offers they are going to make.

Counterintuitive Networking

Counterintuitive Networking's picture
by David Ritter (Jun 5, 2015)

It's pretty easy to see why networking is such a valuable tool for business professionals. Just look around. Virtually all of the successful people you can think of have a strong network. These connections help with information, influence, unique skills, etc. Generally, people network with those who have common interests and can offer mutual benefits – i.e., they can help each other. So, you may be surprised by the suggestion that you should include competitors in your network too.

One Action That Will Super-Charge Your Marketing

One Action That Will Super-Charge Your Marketing's picture
by David Ritter (May 30, 2015)

WHAT:

Most people who are involved in business development, whether for a large company or as a solo entrepreneur, already leverage professional networking in some form. However, while relatively few of those people incorporate public speaking engagements, doing so can super-charge your marketing efforts.

I know – speaking in front of a group is the biggest fear most people have. Well, let's set that objection aside for now while we examine why and how it can be such a powerful tool. Then, we'll return to conquering the fear. 

Career Networking Is Still Networking!

Career Networking Is Still Networking!'s picture
by David Ritter (May 22, 2015)

Professionals build networking relationships for several reasons, but at the top of the list would be to grow a business (i.e., sales / business development) or for their career (i.e., a current or future job search). In either case, networking is about building relationships. The sales part comes later – whether selling a product / service or selling yourself / your services.

How To Set Your Networking Pacemaker

How To Set Your Networking Pacemaker's picture
by David Ritter (May 17, 2015)

If you know anyone who has had a pacemaker implanted to mitigate the effects of a slow heartbeat, you know what a dramatic difference it can make. It would not be an overstatement to say that setting a networking pacemaker can have an equally dramatic impact on growing your business.

What's Your Story?

What's Your Story?'s picture
by David Ritter (May 8, 2015)

We've all heard them – great stories. It's why we love going to movies and reading books. We identify in some way. Either we envision ourselves in place of the main character or at least we admire or empathize with that character. We have a connection.

The same can be said about famous people. In general, the public want to know their stories. How did they achieve their success? What did they overcome? What can I learn from that? Could that be me?

How To Prepare For 'Networking' Success

How To Prepare For 'Networking' Success's picture
by David Ritter (May 2, 2015)

Most people go to networking events thinking that they start their networking activity when they get to the events and then follow up selectively after. While these are obviously core networking activities, you can improve your networking outcomes with a little preparation in advance.

Why You Should Be Opportunistic!

Why You Should Be Opportunistic!'s picture
by David Ritter (Apr 26, 2015)

Last week I recommended creating a strategy for developing strategic relationships. In addition, I suggest being opportunistic. Creating a strategy is about setting goals and objectives, then creating a plan for being in the places where the people you want to meet will already be networking. However, you may also meet interesting people in a variety of unplanned places.

@properties Co-founder on May 14 Greater Chicago Networking Extravaganza Panel

Recent Popularity
5
@properties Co-founder on May 14 Greater Chicago Networking Extravaganza Panel's picture
by Lillian D. Bjorseth (Apr 24, 2015)

Thaddeus Wong, co-founder of @properties, rounds out the panel of successful entrepreneurs at the 13th Greater Chicago Networking Extravaganza from 5:30 – 8:45 pm May 14, 2015 at TechNexus in Chicago. He joins Gary Rabine, CEO and founder of Rabine Group, and Genevieve Theirs, founder of Sittercity.com. All three have been inducted into UIC's Chicago Area Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame. Moderator will be Jason Jacobsohn, event co-producer and business advisor, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative.

Strategic Relationships Require A Strategy!

Strategic Relationships Require A Strategy!'s picture
by David Ritter (Apr 17, 2015)

Some people go through the motions of networking without seeing real results. If you want results from networking, you must first define the results you are looking for – meaning, define your goals. With clear goals in mind, you can define specific objectives. Be sure they are also measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound. Now, you can plan the networking activities that will achieve your objectives.

Spread The Good Word! - The Word About Good Events!

Spread The Good Word! - The Word About Good Events!'s picture
by David Ritter (Apr 10, 2015)

Spread the good word! You've probably heard the statistic that for every person we tell about a positive service experience, we tell two about a negative service experience. Some say the ratio is higher. That seems to hold pretty true for those who attend networking events too.

Showcase Your Wisdom, not Your Age in the Work Place

Showcase Your Wisdom, not Your Age in the Work Place's picture
by Lillian D. Bjorseth (Mar 5, 2015)

I'm sharing this insightful post by Sarah Donahue, CPA, who is a presenter at the April 17, 2015, "Maximize Your Career – Business Tools for Women over 50" conference that I am producing. It first appeared on http://www.bizwomenover50conference.com/blog.html

Business Women Conference Participants to Benefit from Networking Opportunities

Business Women Conference Participants to Benefit from Networking Opportunities's picture
by Lillian D. Bjorseth (Feb 27, 2015)

 

 

I know the value of networking and especially the power of building relationships face-to-face. Before I became an entrepreneur, I got my last two jobs - at Nicor Gas with one phone call and AT&T with two phone calls - because I had gotten to know the top public relations people through the Suburban Press Association, now defunct.

Network Wisely at Holiday Parties

Network Wisely at Holiday Parties's picture
by Lillian D. Bjorseth (Dec 22, 2014) 

 

A few major opportunities remain for business networking before year’s end. Do it wisely so you are remembered favorably.

Your Network Is Full Of Answers - You Just Have To Ask!

Your Network Is Full Of Answers - You Just Have To Ask!'s picture
by David Ritter (May 24, 2014)

Most of us know that we do not have all the answers. The key is knowing when and who to ask for help.

I've made the point before that people network for one or more of a handful of reasons: to grow a business; to land a job; to learn; to find an answer to a problem; or to socialize. The first three are the main drivers for business professionals. While building a broad, deep, and diverse network over the entire course of a career is a continual process, the focus of our networking may shift from time to time.

Don't Blow The Sale By Selling Instead Of Networking

Don't Blow The Sale By Selling Instead Of Networking's picture
by David Ritter (Apr 19, 2014)

Do you blow the sale by selling when you should be networking?

Improve Your Networking ROI

Improve Your Networking ROI's picture
by David Ritter (Apr 5, 2014)

Are you getting the return you want out of the time you invest in business networking?

More people are actively networking than ever before because they recognize the enormous potential that solid relationships can deliver. But, a lot of people seem to simply wander aimlessly through the networking excercise telling themselves that they are doing something productive. If you really want to increase the return on your networking investment, consider the following.

CLARIFY PURPOSE

The Truth About Social Media

The Truth About Social Media's picture
by David Ritter (Mar 29, 2014)

The truth is social media tools are great, but if you want to close a deal or land a job, read on...

THE STATS

Social media use continues to grow in the U.S. and around the world. Indeed, it permeates everyday life for the majority of Americans. 72% of all Internet users are now active on social media and that number goes up to 89% for 18-29 year olds. Even 60% of 50-60 year olds are active on social media.*1

Five Reasons To Attend Technori Pitch

Five Reasons To Attend Technori Pitch's picture
by David Ritter (Feb 1, 2014)

This past Tuesday evening, I attended the monthly Technori Pitch. What, you may ask, is a Technori Pitch?

"The Story" Behind Dave & NetworkedChicago.com

"The Story" Behind Dave & NetworkedChicago.com's picture
by David Ritter (Jan 13, 2014)

Welcome to NetworkedChicago.com.  It is my sincere hope and expectation that this website and our related offerings will help you to achieve the success you seek.  Whether you network for business development leads, to find business partnerships, to increase career opportunities, or to expand your professional knowledge, you will find a world of opportunities in the many networking organizations and events found on this site.

Gelie

Gelie's picture
by J.D. Gershbein (Jan 13, 2014)

There are some women whose name transcends their brand. They get to be so well known, stand for something so powerful, and leave such an indelible impression, that their given name alone carries the message. 

Oprah. Madonna. Cher. 

Add one more to the list: Gelie.