Author Archives: Michael Cannon

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Mark Twain on truth




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5 Things to Consider Before Joining a Networking Group

5 Considerations for Joining a Networking Group

Networking Groups can be a powerful way of adding clients and referrals… or they can be unpleasant drains on your time that take money and time away from your business. Here’s some things to consider when you are looking at joining a Networking Group.

  1. Cost – The big bugaboo – how much does it cost to join the group?
    • Some groups have yearly expenses and then add on an joining cost as a filter to make the cost of starting in the group high. This means that people getting into the group are serious about playing but is hard on an entrepreneur that is bootstrapping.
    • Do the groups offer renewal fees that stay constant or do they jack the price up every year? One group here locally recently increased their renewal fees from $300+ a year to almost double. That could be an indication that the group is wildly successful or that they losing money on meeting spaces or other costs so it’s best to check.
  2. Members –
    • My experience has been that traditional networking groups are good for professionals like insurance sales people, lawyers, chiropractors, and realtors because one sale or contact makes the sunk costs back for these occupations. Networking groups are not so good for entrepreneurs like Mary Kay, DoTerra, or coaches because they have to work harder at convincing the members that their services are “serious” businesses.
    • Is there a good old boy/girl network that exists in the group? You see this in a number of Chamber of Commerce settings where there are people who have been in the organization for a long time. There is a lot of inertia one has to overcome when working with these groups to get in with the “cool kids.”
    • Is this a group of people you like and can visit with every week? Do they spend much time networking with one another before the meeting starts and after the meeting ends or are they in and out? If you are new to a group and someone makes a point of coming over and introducing themselves to you and then making sure you meet other people, then the group is probably pretty serious about networking.
  3. Meeting Frequency – How much time are you expected to spend in mandated activities to keep your membership current?
    • Many networking groups meet weekly or less frequently. Make sure you pick one that matches your specific needs. I have seen many networking groups that meet once a month start out well and then collapse because they lose the momentum gained from meeting once a week.
    • The most successful networking groups have agendas they follow on a weekly basis. This provides structure but also accountability as you have to get up and share your message and demonstrate that you are an active “networker.”
    • Good groups are respectful of the time of their members. They begin meetings when they say they will and end the meetings on time.
  4. Unexpected Costs –
    • Some networking groups ask that you spend a couple of hours a week on outside activities – one on one meetups, social events, and so on. Check out what the group expects.
    • Every non-profit has committees and leadership positions that need to be filled. Sometimes these require a great deal of extra work but sometimes they provide you with a lot of visibility.
    • Are your networking meetings held at a restaurant? Some groups meet in the same place every week, some rotate the meeting places around with the membership. If food is involved, that could be an extra $10-$20 a week in additional cost.
  5. Technical acumen/savvy
    • A lot of groups pay to have a website or one of the members will run a site. See if they have a directory where you will be listed or a way to contribute articles or videos to add to the content. Make sure you get links back to your site if you contribute website content and that you retain the rights to those articles.
    • Given the rise of social media, good networking groups should at least have an active presence on Facebook to keep members informed of networking events and to promote activities of group members. If they are on Pinterest or Twitter, that’s a plus.

 You can find out more about networking and working with others by listening to the SMARTcut® Radio episode where we discuss the DISC personality model.


Saying Hello – Greetings That Are Positive

Take a look at the video below. Ferdinand Foch, commander of French Forces in World War 1, visited America in 1921 and was welcomed by a group of Native Americans. Having been a speechwriter, I can tell you that events like these are very scripted. What is said is generally planned in advance and little is let to chance because everyone wants to make the “right impression.” I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall to listen to what the discussions about this meeting covered – “Yes, Marshal Foch, the last General the Sioux met was Custer….”

How much thought do you give to what you say to someone when you meet them? This past weekend I had a chance to listen to Glen Morshower speak and one of the topics he covered was what do you say to someone when you see them? He said that most people, when asked how they are doing, respond with “I’m fine.”

How boring!

How blah!

Track how the intonation works – …   I’m  …   fine   ….

Are you really? You start off on a high note and then… sag.

We have a friend at church that, when asked how he is, always answers “I’m Happy!”

Note how this runs –   I’m   Happy!

The intonation goes up at the end, giving a positive impression and pushing energy out, resulting in a better feeling for both him and the person he is greeting.

Most studies state that you have 10 seconds to make an impression on someone when you first meet them. This impression carries over into every other contact you have with them and will affect your long term dealings with them. So give some thought as to what your style of greeting will be.

Make it positive, deliver it with a smile, make eye contact, and stand straight. More important, make it positive.

How am *I* doing? I’m glad you asked. I’mmm Grreat!

Selecting a Digital Tablet

SMARTcut Solutions - does device size matter?Recently Debbye and I had a chance to travel to San Diego and Los Angeles for a week for business. As I sat in meetings, wandered the airport, and tried not to get too claustrophobic while sitting in coach class, I studied the wide variety of electronic devices people were using. There were Apple fans in abundance (hey, it *was* California), Android users, Surface Pro users and more. Sizes varied just as much from flip sized phones to the 12.2 Samsung I was toting.

 Occasionally I overheard shots fired in the great Apple versus anyone else war and had to laugh. Electronic devices are chosen on a wide range of criteria and it was a hoot to listen to people justify their choices. Here is how I decide on what electronic device to purchase.

  •  Do I have any cost limitations?
  • What applications will I be using the most and will it have to do double duty as a phone?
  • Do I have to have a constant Internet connection or can I get by with limited Wi-Fi?
  • What data do I need to share with my desktop computer(s)?
  • Do I need the latest bells and whistles or can I get by with an older model?
  • Will I be running videos?
  • Will I be taking pictures, recording videos, or using it as an audio recorder?
  • Does it have to be limited by size?

Each of these criteria can lead you down a path that limits your choices. I start with cost because that effectively sets the boundaries on what I can seriously look at. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun to dream about what to get and it can help you identify what functions you have to have, but cost is the number one discriminator.

Of course size does matter. If you travel a lot, convenience may bump size to the top of this list. Disability can also require you to choose a larger than normal device. In my case, I like to take notes at meetings and events and the 12.2 inch format is like taking notes in a three ring binder.

So what factor is number one on your list when choosing a tablet or electronic device?