Tag Archives: networking

Improve Business Communication Skills at Toronto Event

Professional Development and Networking Event: Key Communication Skills to Grow Your Business!

The key to successfully starting and growing a business is effective communications.  Your great idea will not get interest from anyone if you can’t share your vision, persuasively pitch your company to investors, and clearly market your products and services.

NCCA Canada is proudly partnering with YEDI and City of Toronto to co-host a half-day professional development and networking event at Toronto City Hall where you will learn how to develop these vital business communication skills. Our President, speaker extraordinaire and body language expert Mark Bowden will deliver a keynote not to be missed, which will be followed by your chance to join mini-workshops hosted by our industry professionals on the topics of pitching, networking, and clarifying your business vision.

This is an exciting and unique opportunity to meet coaches, trainers, learning and development professionals, entrepreneurs and business owners, gathering together to connect, share and learn. This event is open for everyone, but space is limited.  Please join us!

Toronto City Hall – Friday October 13th 2017, 10 – 2 pm
Cost: $20 (**free for NCCA Canada Members)

To Register with EventBrite: https://ncca2017.eventbrite.com

**Discount code will be emailed to NCCA Canada members.  If you didn’t get yours, please contact NCCA Admin and we will email it to you.  Hope to see you there!

Schedule:

In Main Chambers
10-10:45 – Welcome, Opening Remarks, Body Language Expert Mark Bowden’s keynote on how to use non-verbal communication to persuade, assist with selling and add credibility to the business individual

10:55-11:30 – Mini-Workshop 1 – The Art of the Quick Pitch

NCCA Executive Director and 3V Communication Coach Ric Phillips leads an interactive class on how to effectively pitch your business in a very short time, with or without a slide deck

In Member’s Lounge with Select Vendors

11:30-12:15 – Lunch and Networking

*Note – Member’s Lounge will be open to all for food and networking until 4 pm!

Mini-Workshops in Committee Room 3 (2nd Floor)

12:15-12:45 – Mini-Workshop 2 – Networking: It’s Telling Not Selling
Networking guru Colleen Clarke shares her top tips and formulas to make networking less painful and improve your elevator pitches – something every business person needs to help self-market better!

1-1:30 – Mini-Workshop 3 – Know Your Vision

YEDI President and successful serial entrepreneur Dr. Marat Ressin leads a dynamic seminar on understanding the importance of having a vision for the entrepreneur/coach/small business owner, and how to identify and communicate it to others. This skill is essential if you want to get buy-in, gain followers to your cause, or lead a team in business.

1:45-2:30 – Round Table – Coaching and Learning & Development Trends

Informal discussion on the coaching and learning and development industries, their trends and how they can help businesses and individuals grow. Hosted by Ric Phillips and L & D Consultant/NCCA Designated Trainer Lauren Waldman. Bring your questions!

Our half-day event is complete, but networking remains available in Committee Room 3 and the Member’s Lounge until 4 pm.

 

Register with EventBrite: https://ncca2017.eventbrite.com

What Does Your Handshake Say? Learn These Tips

Balanced Counter Shake

Everyone is talking about President Trump’s power handshakes, and today everyone is proud of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for not allowing Trump to bully-handshake him at their White house meeting yesterday.  I was contacted yesterday myself by Maclean’s Magazine for an interview on my thoughts on their non-verbal communication. That short video can be seen here, but be advised the interview was done before the video was made, so my comments do not necessarily match up with the images shown.

Are handshakes such a big deal?  Well, yes, they are.  They show non-verbal communication intentions on dominance, control, balance and openness. They are worthy of a bit of study, and I will give some tips on what to do or not do when shaking hands, particularly at a political or business function.

To start, ‘medium’ is the rule to remember. Walk at a medium pace, speak with medium voice/volume, gesture and shake hands with medium speed. This shows you are calm and in control of yourself.

After a calm approach, you should make sure you are engaged in eye contact and then smile as you extend your hand. Maintain good posture as you approach and extend the hand. Don’t bend at the waist (unless in Asia or with Asian delegates) and don’t over-extend your arm so you appear too eager and/or off-balance. Introduce yourself (e.g. Hello – I’m Ric. Nice to meet you!) and connect hands (not fingers) evenly, palm to palm. Be ‘firm but fair’ to the other people in your networking circles! Never crush a hand and never offer a seemingly ‘broken wrist’ or ‘just-fingers’ weak handshake. Both hands should be level – do not twist the hands to either extreme side, if possible. I am not a fan of twisting someone’s hand so that my palm is up and they have ‘the upper hand’ now, or vice versa. Let’s start off on equal footing, shall we?

Pump your hands 2-4 times, gently and evenly, and repeat the person’s name after they introduce themselves to help you retain that new information if necessary.  There is usually no need for extra tactics, like using your free hand to clasp the hands while shaking (the double) or patting the shoulder of the person you are engaging (the pat-down). In the North American culture these extras are not necessary, but if someone does that to you, it’s almost natural to return the favour, to even the score. Go ahead and do unto others as they do unto you.

Dominant people may want you to enter a room first and will gesture to let you go first, and may even lightly touch/pat your back, as a ‘guide’ through the doorway.  It looks polite (and it technically is) but it also is another example of them ‘steering’ you somewhere and being in control because they can see you the whole time, and you need to ‘trust’ them when they’re behind you.  In evolutionary terms, you never wanted a potential predator or someone you didn’t know/trust to be behind you where you’re vulnerable to blind attack.

Regardless of what is in their mind or their style of greeting, you should always aim for a balanced and equal meet to start the relationship on the right foot. Just don’t be surprised if others have favourite tactics they wish to use on you.  Whether it is at a formal business meeting or at a relaxed social outing, learning how to hand shake with balance and confidence, and learning how to match the other person’s style is all good practice!  Go ahead – put your best hand forward!  🙂

 

The Art of Small Talk and Deeper Conversation

My friend and fellow Communication Expert Mark Bowden was recently on the TV show The Social, and revealed some great verbal and non-verbal communication tips for us to use or avoid when in conversation.  Many people have a difficult time with the art of small talk, not only with getting the conversation started, but with keeping it going and making it more meaningful.  This lack of confident communication can affect us both at work and in our social lives.

One of my most popular communication coaching programs (and has been for a number of years) is called “The Art of Small Talk & Winning First Impressions.”  It’s no wonder it’s so popular – small talk is no small matter!  🙂  If this topic interests you and you would like to improve your soft skills, here are some useful links for you to explore.  Enjoy!

Link One – The Art of Conversation on The Social (article and Mark’s TV appearance):

http://www.thesocial.ca/real-life/relationships/the-art-of-conversation

Link Two – Just the video:

Link Three – A little about my interpersonal coaching programs, and how to connect with me to request a brochure and set up a free initial consultation if interested:

http://communicationcoach.ca/#interpersonal

Link Four (and more)Effective Communication Skills – Never be Stuck for Words Ever Again! Ebook (epub) by Ric Phillips on iTunes, Nook, Kobo and Lulu (prices vary beyond my control):

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/effective-communication-skills/id465102075?mt=11

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/effective-communication-skills-ric-phillips/1113132339?ean=9781257554706

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/effective-communication-skills-never-be-stuck-for-words-ever-again

http://www.lulu.com/shop/ric-phillips/effective-communication-skills-never-be-stuck-for-words-ever-again/ebook/product-20860764.html

PDF Version herehttp://www.lulu.com/shop/ric-phillips/effective-communication-skills-course-workbook/ebook/product-638214.html

Enjoy your small talk more from now on, and have deeper conversations with more impact.

Successful Networking Top 10 Tips

To be successful at networking first of all you cannot allow yourself to be a wallflower. Here are my personal tips for success at a networking function so that you can be prepared (which will help combat any anxiety you may have about going and meeting strangers) and come off looking and sounding smooth and successful.

1 – At home, write out a list of your strengths, attributes, special skills, etc. so that you know why someone should be interested in your services, your resume, etc. Now these strengths are in your head to boost your confidence and remind yourself of why people should talk to you or listen to you.

2 – Visualize the room; visualize smiling, shaking hands, talking to people, exchanging ideas, asking questions, exchanging cards, etc. Visualization works well, especially for shyer people, and many successful people in business, sports, entertainment etc. use visualization to get an image of a successful action before going out to the event.

3 – Show up with confident posture, a controlled walk, a smile and firm handshake, and lots of eye contact.

4 – Use the immediate environment to get the conversation started, like talking about the venue, the host, etc. and then find a common bond to keep it going. For example, talk about different networking functions you have attended, talk about any common interests regarding vacations, work, hobbies. Small talk first is normal, then get down to business.

5 – Now, have questions prepared to ask, to get people to talk about their needs, and then shape your conversation to reflect how you or your services could help in those areas. Don’t be pushy. Soft sell yourself. Build interest. For example instead of saying “I sell office insurance…do you need some?” you might instead say “Do you have your own office? What insurance rate are you paying, if I may ask? I am just wondering if you are getting the best value for your money. I am in the industry, so I am aware of the fair market value of the offices. What size of office do you have?” etc. Now they are more ready to be “helped” by you.

6 – Remember to repeat their name back to them, actively listen, and keep a mental database of some details of the person with whom you are speaking to.

7 – Always collect a business card if possible, and feel free to be the first one to ask for it. Ask with some enthusiasm and at the time when he or she has just talked about what they do or how they can help you. Smile and offer yours. Ideally, if you are talking about yourself correctly, people will ask you for your card. However, if they don’t, you may choose to offer.

8 – When you go home, write out information on the back of the card or on a sheet of paper, stapled to the card. These details help build and maintain rapport for the next and subsequent meetings, emails, and phone calls. Everyone appreciates being remembered!

9 – Email them within 24 hours to say that it was nice to meet them, and perhaps mention a detail you remember, and the suggestion to ‘keep in touch’.

10 – Unless you had already planned a meeting previously, follow up a week later and see if you can arrange a drop-by visit or a coffee, if you think this relationship has potential. It is okay to initiate contact. Be a leader!

Effective Business Networking

Hello fellow professionals out there!

Today’s topic is on effective business networking.

Last week I attended an H.R. (Human Resources)-related networking function here in Toronto, as the guest speaker was the author of a book I had first read a few years ago and I really enjoyed the positive message about living life to the fullest, and having great communication skills (at least that’s what I got out of it).  The book is called Tapping the Iceberg by Tim Cork, and I highly recommend it.  Anyway, I went to this networking function to see if I could get my book signed (which I did) and maybe meet some HR professionals who might be interested in learning more about how communication coaching could benefit their company executives and managers, or how a group workshop can be both cost-effective and beneficial to their staff training.

I met as many people as I could without rushing conversations, and I asked for introductions to others whom I had not met.  I politely interrupted some people (with a smile) to include myself in their conversations, and I spent time with them in deep, meaningful learning exchanges, complete with a swapping of cards.

While I was there I noticed that some people seemed to be a bit shy starting conversations with people they had not met yet (i.e. “strangers”), even though we had name-tags on.

Now I understand that it can be difficult for some people to make small talk with strangers.  That is why I have a course on how to overcome that social challenge.  However the interesting thing to me is that this particular event was specifically set up to network, and even focused on one industry (HR) – which one might assume would increase the level of comfort in the room even among strangers. Not so I guess.  There were still those who were wallflowers and who were just talking to their friends and only engaged with others if approached first.

The lesson I want to share with you is to remember that at networking events you have a choice:  be a Guest or be The Host.  A guest sits waiting for others to take care of them, and a host pro-actively ensures others are having a good time and meets and greets constantly.  The host is remembered and the guest is often not, especially at a large event.  You are there for a short time and with a mission – to find and build connections.  There is no reason to be shy with starting conversations with a smile and no reason why you don’t have the right to pursue career advancement by networking.  Networking at a networking event is like shooting fish in a barrel – as long as you are not shy with the trigger.

Be The Host.

Happy hunting,

Coach Ric
Tweets:
http://twitter.com/CommCoach
Videos:
http://www.youtube.com/CommCoach73

Proof that Networking Works!

I recently attended a Networking Seminar, hosted by the Pakistani Professionals Forum of Canada (www.ppfcanada.com) where the famous author/presenter/columnist Colleen Clarke (www.colleenclarke.com) was the guest speaker.

Now for me, this was an early Christmas gift, as I have been reading Colleen’s columns for 3 years now, and incorporating her articles into my coaching/teaching sessions whenever I help people with their employment skills, cover letters, resumes, interviewing techniques etc.

During group discussion at the seminar I had mentioned my opinion on how immigrants could better enter or deal with the Canadian professional workforce. Simply speaking, I suggested that there will be at least 3 cultures on the table: Canadian, Original or Mother Country, and Corporate Culture. So, which one is the easiest for everyone to find some common ground?

The International business culture for sure. Yes it is important that new Canadians understand why we love hockey and Tim Hortons, and why we think we are in some ways better than Americans, and why B.C. hates Ontario. And it is also important that the Canadians learn about other cultures, rituals and histories, especially those belonging to our new co-workers, bosses or clients. But the easiest starting point for anyone is the business or corporate culture of North America. This is the easiest transition for an immigrant.

So if you are a newcomer to Canada, make sure that you are learning how to write letters, memos and emails in our style. Make sure you are learning which expressions and idioms are acceptable. Make sure you are learning business etiquette on the simple things like how to shake hands with a smile and eye contact, how to negotiate without being perceived as too strong or too weak, how to make small talk with your co-workers at the water-cooler. We all agree that hard skills are not enough these days in Canada. We need excellent soft skills too.

Speaking of, after the seminar I approached Colleen to buy her book and chat once more, i.e. network! That evening she called me and interviewed me on my views previously mentioned in the seminar. We talked for 20 minutes and had great rapport. I believe she will cite me as a reference in an upcoming weekly article. I felt thankful that my ability to communicate my ideas in the seminar and face to face had paid off with a new, important contact. My story is more proof that effective professional communication skills are important for networking, for understanding, for success in business here.

Do you know anyone who is in need of small talk, rapport-building skills? If so, please direct them to my website (www.communicationcoach.ca) and let them know I offer free consultations.  🙂

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and let’s all have a bright, successful money-making New Year!