I just returned from New Orleans where professional organizers from around the world gathered for the annual NAPO conference. NAPO put together such a beneficial program. The experience was worth every penny. I took 6 classes, attended 2 panels and listened to 3 keynotes. I met and networked with organizers from all over, and rekindled older friendships. I am so inspired! I’m raring to go; I feel that anything’s possible!
One major take-away from the conference is to change my outlook on networking. I have not completely embraced the BNI mantra of “Givers Gain,” even though I am a member of BNI and have been working on it. I need to spend more energy asking myself: “What value can I give to my friends and business associates?” instead of focusing on how they can help me.
Peter Shankman, our closing keynote speaker, really opened my eyes to this. I went to his class and listened to his keynote address. He talks a mile a minute, has many pearls of wisdom, and is a world-class networker. During his class The New PR is Called Customer Service, we laughed and learned so much. (He reminds me a bit of my brother, Ben.) He pointed out that being passionate about organizing is contagious and urged us to really connect with people.
Here are some main points about networking from Peter Shankman and other speakers/teachers. I am going to attribute each idea whenever possible.
- Don’t collect friends. Your network is only as strong as its weakest link. Either really make that follower a friend, or unfriend them. ~ P Shankman
- We are a society of sharers. We trust our real friends, not Angie’s List. We trust friends’ recommendations 100 to 200 times more than we trust an ad. ~ Peter Shankman
- Willpower is contagious. (Willpower is doing something even when it makes you nervous or anxious.) ~ Kelly McGonagal
- Focus on the audience you have to get the customers you want. ~Peter Shankman
- Pave the way to Possibility: Have a plan for everything and consult your big picture goals often. ~ Tamara Myles
- When writing a FB post, make sure it either helps friends to get to know you better or provides value to them. ~ Peter Shankman
I have some insights about these ideas. One thing that hit home for me is that Facebook should not be a brag-fest. People get tired of that.
On the other hand, when you do have a really great accomplishment, like reaching a goal you have been working hard on, celebrate it. It would be a good idea to include your FB friends in the process, too. First, by sharing your goal and sharing each milestone with them. Then, it won’t be a surprise when you come out and say “Hey, look what I did!” It will mean much more.
Baby Steps. One of the presenters, Tamara Myles, touched on this, too. With all this great information come ideas, new goals to set, new processes to incorporate in my business and client work. But take it easy, girl. If I try to do it all at once, I will get overwhelmed. Yes, have a big list, but just work on 1 to 3 things at a time. When I get those done, or at least well in hand, I will move on to a few more goals that are a priority.
To sum up: Be passionate about organizing. Focus on people, relationships, and providing value to those I know, like and trust. Be a friend, a support, an advisor. Help people.