bloglovinBloglovin iconCombined ShapeCreated with Sketch. Fill 1Created with Sketch. Fill 1Created with Sketch. Fill 1Created with Sketch. Fill 1Created with Sketch. Fill 1Created with Sketch. rssRSS iconsoundcloudSoundCloud iconFill 1Created with Sketch. Fill 1Created with Sketch. Fill 1Created with Sketch. Fill 1Created with Sketch.

Quality connections

Gone are the days when you attend networking events with a stack of business cards, trying to pass out as many as you can. The most seasoned professionals know that quality, not quantity, matters when it comes to relationships and networking.
If you’re trying to make an impression, ask thoughtful questions. Listen. And be curious.
A meaningful connection is worth far more than a printed business card.
P.S. There’s one seat left in September’s NYC dinner event. Get in touch if you think it is for you.

Announcements (plus a free ebook)

Have you heard? I’ve put together a free ebook on adventure and risk-taking. You can download it here.
Also, September’s NYC dinner event is almost sold out. Get in touch if you’d like to be considered. This private event is limited to fifteen participants in order to encourage meaningful conversation and constructive networking. If not this time, we can keep you on the list for future dinners.
Questions? Reach out or say hi @redheadlefthand.

52 ways to connect

  1. Make a phone call.
  2. Send flowers.
  3. Write a note.
  4. Return an email.
  5. Volunteer with a local organization.
  6. Donate books.
  7. Host a garage sale.
  8. Share a hug.
  9. Cook dinner for friends.
  10. Surprise an older relative.
  11. Join a club.
  12. Listen to a motivational podcast.
  13. Take a walk in nature.
  14. Smile to a stranger.
  15. Use first names in meetings.
  16. Start a book club.
  17. Enroll in a class.
  18. Visit a local market.
  19. Praise good service.
  20. Meet a friend for coffee.
  21. Ask questions.
  22. Say hello.
  23. Walk a dog.
  24. Follow a YouTube yoga video.
  25. Skype a long-distance friend or family member.
  26. Create a music playlist.
  27. Attend an event by yourself.
  28. Make eye contact.
  29. Say thank you.
  30. Write a recommendation.
  31. Visit an art gallery.
  32. Reply to an ignored or forgotten message.
  33. Go to a sporting event.
  34. Pretend you’re a tourist in your home city.
  35. Run a race.
  36. Support your local museum.
  37. Use public transportation.
  38. Plan a picnic with friends.
  39. Start a blog.
  40. Take photographs.
  41. Participate in an online course.
  42. Message someone whose work you admire.
  43. Research community efforts in your area: CSAs, food swaps, community gardens, library projects.
  44. Visit a National Park.
  45. Plan a date night.
  46. Go on a morning walk with a friend.
  47. Surprise someone with a gift.
  48. Make a thoughtful introduction.
  49. Bake something for your neighbor.
  50. Pack lunch for a colleague.
  51. Compliment genuinely.
  52. Write a list of 20 things you are thankful for.

How to write email introductions

Few things are as ineffective and frustrating as poorly written emails. Little information, no apparent connections, and enthusiastic instructions to “meet for coffee” can quickly end up in the trash bin.
People are busy.
Of course it is not always possible to be in the same room at the same time, so being able to make email introductions is an essential and valuable business skill. Yes, it is possible to write in a way that introduces two strangers and adds value to everyone copied on the chain.
Tips to keep in mind:

  1. Ask for permission first. Before sending out any emails with contact information, check in with all parties to make sure you’re using preferred addresses and contact numbers. Give notification that you are planning to make an introduction and make sure this is a good time for both parties to form a new acquaintance. Timing is everything when starting new relationships.
  2. While composing your email, explicitly state the reason why you are making the introduction. Explain the value you see for both parties.
  3. Briefly describe how you became aware of each individual. You don’t need to write long origin stories, but there is a difference between having worked with a project manager over the course of her career and having just met someone while standing in line for a sandwich.
  4. Don’t make either reader search for information. Clearly state the name and association of each party. Add relevant links so that each person can do additional research if and when time allows.
  5. Suggest intersecting areas of interest so that the individuals can meet with common overlap in mind.
  6. Lead with giving. You’re making the connection out of generosity, not a place of want. Never make an introduction expecting anything in return.

Have other tips for email introductions? Tweet me @redheadlefthand.

Top 10 posts from Project Exponential

1. 12 questions to turn small talk into real talk
2. 5 rules of hustling
3. What brings people together?
4. A coffee riddle
5. 10 questions to ask at a dinner party (instead of “What do you do?”)
6. The people in your life will make or break you
7. 19 things you can do instead of grad school
8. Stop trying to find your purpose
9. 7 sins of crowdfunding
10. Figure out what you want to learn and go do it

6 tips to become a better public speaker

Public speaking isn’t something to fear. With practice, presentations can connect you more deeply to your clients and your work and can even teach you new lessons about yourself. Use these tips to ace your next event, whether you’re toasting at a dinner party or pitching to an investor.

  1. Be honest. If you’re faking or pretending, people will know. Tell a personal story that’s relevant. Your emotion will come through and resonate with your listeners.
  2. Invest in your audience. This means you’ve taken the time to learn about them; you’ve taken time to think through their challenges, their struggles and their goals so you can cater your message accordingly. Look them in the eye. Show them you care.
  3. Practice. Write your speech and say it out loud. Notice sections that feel awkward and find the natural pauses and rhythms in your talk. When you get nervous, you’ll want to speak quickly. Take a deep breath. The more you practice, the more control you’ll have over your cadence.
  4. Watch others. Observe what draws you to certain speakers and repels you from others. What do they do? How do they do it? What draws you to what they are saying?
  5. Don’t worry about being perfect. Your humanness is what makes you interesting. Use mistakes to regain focus and concentrate on your main point. See if you can reduce your talk to one or two themes and keep these in your mind as you move forward. Relax and be yourself.
  6. Keep it simple. Sometimes the best messages are simply stated: they’re not overly complex or detailed, they’re not filled with graphics or images or slideshows. Work with a coach or trusted friend to pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses and remember: a personal experience can often mean more than any rehearsed oration.

Have more tips to share? What has made your speaking great? Did you fail (and what did you learn)? Tweet me @redhedlefthand.