The Gold in Networking

Networking is a great way to get clients and customers in your pipeline if you know how to do it well. When people are face to face with you, they have a much better opportunity to decide if they want to work with you, buy from you, or refer to you.

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Get out from behind your computer because meeting prospects in person is the most effective marketing strategy.

I am an introvert and networking is not easy for me. But I am learning how to do it and actually enjoy it. I went to my first networking event in Honolulu in July and the second one in August. By the time I went to the third event in September, I actually knew people and had fun! One woman recognized me from high school 40 years ago, came up to talk to me, and then introduced me to a bunch of interesting people.

The tip that has helped me the most in networking is simply to be a good listener. People love to talk about themselves and their products or services. People long for someone to be attentive to them. The best good tact for sales is to be genuinely interested in other people and give them the opportunity to talk about themselves.

But don’t wait for people to come up to you, it is totally OK at networking events to walk up to anyone and everyone and introduce yourself. THEN begin to listen.

I just finished Dale Carnegie’s classic, How To Win Friends and Influence People. I highly recommend it. Dale says, “The world is full of people who are grabbing and self seeking. So the rare person who unselfishly tries to serve others has an enormous advantage. He has little competition.”

The famous Dale Carnegie sales trainings are based on Dale’s basic principle: Be a good listener. Encourage people to talk about themselves.

Styles of Networking

There are different styles of networking, so choose the one that works best for you:

1) The Quantity Method

I have a networking coach in Honolulu who tells me not to come to any networking event unless I bring 100 of my business cards and keep them accessible in my left hand as I introduce myself to people.

He has stacks of business cards organized by date and event, and emails each person after the event saying how glad he was to meet them.

He says it is important to have a professionally made name plaque attached to one’s right side at collar bone level.

He made himself a plaque that says “Greeter” and he stands at the door to any event and greets people as they walk in—on his own authority!!! That’s pretty gutsy.

2) The Quality Method

I prefer this method, which is more my style. I hone in on the list of the 25 organizations my networking coach gave me and decide which ones are going to be attended by the kind of clients I want—which in my case is executives. To me, it is a waste of time to go to a networking event full of people who are not my kind of clients. My networking guru thinks I am a snob.

3) The Volunteer Method

I spoke to a very successful businessman last week who said he scrapped all the networking events because they just weren’t worthwhile for him. He markets to chief executives. His opinion is that Chamber of Commerce events are full of people who are selling, but not buying.

His most powerful way to get clients is to volunteer in places he can meet his target population. For him it has been most productive to be a voluntary board member of highly visible companies.

Think about your prospective clients and customers and where they might congregate or network. . . and find the way to be there.

For networking events, follow these simple tips my coach gave me: Polish your elevator speech, dress appropriately, have your name plaque made professionally, and take a stack of business cards. Then approach people, introduce yourself and ask them about their businesses. Ask questions, listen for their pain points, and tell them briefly how you could help.

You will be very successful, and your life will be enriched with interesting people.

Developing Your Top Talent

Are you developing your rising stars so they can take on more responsibility—perhaps ultimately taking over your leadership?

There is a strategic advantage to invest in the development of your upcoming leaders.

One is to delegate more and more of your duties to that person(s) so that you can focus on the most important thing—being the Visionary (and for some, the Rainmaker.)

The second advantage is to have a qualified, highly trained replacement. What would happen to your company if you got hit by a bus tomorrow?

Assuming you have identified the upcoming leaders, do you have a development plan for them? Have you made a list of the skills and knowledge that each one needs to learn?

Don’t assume the junior leader understands the role you are grooming them for. Start with the basics: clarify the responsibilities and spell out what it takes to be highly successful in the position.

Then outline the relational aspect of the position—the best ways to work with the people with whom your upcoming leader will interact. Discuss the quirks, needs, and communication styles of the customers or vendors the new leader will be working with.

Then review the tactical elements of the job: the tasks to carry out, the processes to follow, the available tools and resources. Write these on a list and keep it updated.

Consider sending your most promising leader to the Vistage Peer Advisory Group for Key Executives. In the Key Group, your person will have the best professional development available in Hawai’i, including:


  • 1) A peer advisory board of smart Hawai’i executives with several hundred years of expertise in the room.
  • 2) World class speaker seminars on the latest best business and leadership practices.
  • 3) A confidential place to bring business challenges and new ideas for solutions and input.
  • 4) Ongoing feedback from peers on your executive’s communication style and leadership skills.


Watch this 4 minute video to see what actually happens in a Vistage peer group meeting.


Thought Provoking Quotes

“Without conflicting frames of reference, the social system scrutinizes only limited features of its problematic environment. It operates at the mercy of its blind spots because it cannot prepare for what it does not see.”Ron Heifetz

“Those who failed to oppose me…who readily agreed with me and accepted all my views…were those who did me the most injury.”Napoleon Bonaparte

“If you’re the smartest person in the room, find another room.”Michael Dell, Dell Computers

“None of us is as strong as all of us.”Ray Croc

Wiped Out? Key Signs You Need a Change

I coach many clients who feel awash at sea and tired of “going it alone.” They feel lonely at the top – the expression isn’t just a cliché! Many of these clients are leaders who feel they don’t have professionals at their level to bounce ideas off. The people they are closest to them rarely have the answers or training to drill down and find solutions to their challenges.

Want To Learn More?

Contact Nina today for a complimentary conversation on how you can improve your leadership style.

For example, many of my clients feel they don’t have enough time. When I work with them, we begin by looking at their daily time management habits. We look at how they can prioritize better, and what else they can delegate. We look at streamlining systems and procedures for more efficiency.

We examine how strategic planning might help them. It could be that they’ve been putting out fires for so long that they’re used to the drama of hectic activity. Some people are addicted to the adrenaline of stress! There could be procrastination issues, with malaise or even fear at the root We also look at their work habits such as multi-tasking, which takes way more time in the end due to inattention, accidents, and having to repeat things.

We even look at lifestyle habits such as diet and exercise. One of my clients was a business owner who ate a ton of candy. Every month I went to see her, she mentioned that she mostly ate candy and drank sodas. She even admitted she ate M&Ms for breakfast! When I asked her if she thought there might be consequences to these eating habits, she sounded unconcerned and even defiant, stating: “I can do whatever I want and nobody can tell me what to eat.”

I didn’t argue with her about her eating habits, but a year later she got a pretty serious diagnosis of diabetes. She began to realize her eating habits directly affect her wellbeing and ultimately her professional performance. Originally she wanted to focus only on professional growth, but a “whole person” coaching style helped her understand how her diet and lifestyle choices affect the ability to reach her goals.

A key sign you need a change is the feeling of anxiety or overwhelm when you first wake up in the morning. Do you dread the day and going to work? Maybe you need better self-care or more vacation time. Research shows that the healthiest and happiest people are those who take ALL their vacation time.

I was coaching a client this week who said he used to love coming to work, and now he groans at the thought of it. I asked, “How many hours a week do you work?” He said, “I get up at 4:00 am and I work until 7:00 pm or so—Monday through Saturday!” I asked when he had a vacation last—and he just laughed. I said, “What if you get a heart attack from the stress? How much time will you lose then? You may be spending your time in Heaven!”