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The Insider’s Guide to Working a Room

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There’s no substitute for a face-to-face conversation with people you don’t know. LinkedIn doesn’t do that.  Facebook doesn’t do that.  Nothing can substitute for an actual tête-à-tête with a real-live person.  Trust The Goddess on this one.

Here are a few new tricks that might just get you away from your screen and into that business gathering that you’ve been trying to avoid:

  1. Start with those who know. People who organize networking events want you to connect. When you arrive at a room full of people you don’t know, harness that sentiment by asking the organizers for introductions to key people. Not sure who the organizers are? Ask at the reception desk. They’ll point them out. Or, look for anyone with lots of ribbons and/or titles on their name tags. Chances are they are board members. Those folks pride themselves on knowing everyone. Ask them to introduce you to the people they think you ought to meet. It’s a great way to break into a conversation without the initial awkwardness of approaching a stranger.
  2. Survey the room before jumping in. Take a look around before wading into the crowd. You want to join a conversation where you’ll have some success, so take a moment to survey the landscape. Are there people standing alone who are waiting for someone to talk to? Or groups of twos and threes that are open to new participants? You can pick out those who are open to conversation by their body language. If they are facing outward, they are probably having a casual conversation and would be open to others joining in.
  3. Broadcast your willingness to talk – When folks are nervous, they often choose a body posture that screams “stay away” even when they don’t mean to. If you tend to fold your arms in front of you or focus your eyes above the crowd, no one is going to have the guts to approach you. Open that body; slap on a smile and look at the people around you. That’s the message of welcome you want to put out, even if you’re nervous.
  4. Lose the need for deep: Opening remarks don’t have to be profound. So many people avoid starting a conversation because they think they have to begin with a grand or cleaver comment. Breaking the ice can be as simple as commenting on the venue, the program or the food. Or ask people how they got their start in business. That’s a sure-fire way to get them talking and it’s usually quite an interesting story. The point is that you don’t have to be Shakespeare to open a conversation. Just be willing to talk and listen.
  5. Ask open-ended questions. Since your goal is to stimulate an actual interchange of information, you’ll do better with questions that open the door. These are questions that require more than a one-word response. Stay up after dark to watch the late-night talk shows. You can bet Seth or Jimmy never asked a guest a question that could be answered with one word. These guys know that the key to stimulating a conversation is to lead the speaker into a story, an idea or an opinion.
  6. Treat your business cards like keys, not flyers. Handing out business cards to everyone you meet is downright annoying. The Goddess was at a meeting this week where one of the participants stood at the door handing out his business cards as we walked in. My first reaction was to find the nearest waste basket. You give a card to someone who requests it or someone with whom you’ve established a connection. It’s a promise of further interaction. Shoving it at people randomly makes you look desperate and not particularly interested in connecting.
  7. Be generous. Want to open the door to an ongoing relationship? Offer something that has nothing to do with business. The Goddess’ networking guru, Keith Ferrazzi (author of my networking playbook, Never Eat Alone) is a big proponent of offering help or sharing a tip without expecting anything in return. Most people appreciate a favor like that and want to reciprocate. And that’s the basis of a real connection.

Want to know more? Check out “How To Work A Room Like You Own The Place” or Ferrazzi’s book Never Eat Alone.

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The Goddess is off to Chicago for the CLDA Fall Forum in Conjunction with PARCEL Forum ’15 October 18-21. If you haven’t registered yet, you can do it at the door or go theclda.com/fallforum. Learn the secrets of today’s supply chain and the keys to final mile delivery. Registration includes access to the exhibit hall, educational tracks, and receptions. For additional event and session information, visit theclda.com/fallforum or contact CLDA at info@theclda.com.

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CLDA Connections is a monthly blog and forum about face-to-face marketing for CLDA members from our very own Networking Goddess. We encourage you to share your networking tips, successes and goofs with each other through comments on this blog.

 

My Networking Secret

couple-bubblesThe Goddess has a sure-fire secret for diving into a room of strangers: it’s all about the two. You see, it’s easier to join a conversation between two people than to approach only one. I know – it sounds pushy. It sounds like an invasion. But, in fact it works and no one minds that you’re doing it. In fact, they’ll welcome you.

I first learned about this in an article by Inc. Editor-at-large, Kimberly Weisul, a self-confessed networking hater. And last night, I tried it. By golly, it works!

So the next time you’re confronted with a room full of strangers (all of whom clearly already know each other) forget the single guy at the edge of the room. Walk past the lost guy in the corner. Instead, head into the room and go for the twosomes.

Hear me out folks. The Goddess realizes it sounds crass to push your way into a conversation between two people, but, in fact, it is one of the easiest ways to overcome Packed Room Phobia. Yes, yes, I know. Your mother told you that it’s rude to interrupt a conversation. But, in this case, she may have been wrong. Here’s why: If two people are talking, chances are they arrived together and just don’t’ know how to start mingling with the others. Or they’ve just met and are, in the back of their minds, worried that they’re going to end up only talking to each other all night. So, your entrance into their little group either makes it easier for them to meet someone they didn’t come with OR, it gives them an excuse to move on to the next connection. Either way, they’re relieved to see you. And your chances of having a decent conversation are better, because now you’re talking to two people, instead of just one.

Face it. Approaching one person makes it harder to disentangle yourself from the conversation if it turns out you have nothing in common. You’re stuck trying to come up with whatever comes next after your initial introduction. If there are two of them, your chances of finding something in common double.

In addition, those “singles” off in a corner may truly not want to be there. They are hanging there so they can make a quick and obtrusive departure. You’ll know these folks because they are either staring off into space or glued to their phones. Why stand in their way if it’s a speedy departure they are yearning for?

So how do you enter a conversation with two people? Very politely. The Goddess will often use a line such as “Well, you two look like interesting people. Mind if I jump in?” Or, “I’m here to meet new people, but I haven’t met either of you. May I join you?”

It’s important to watch the body language before and after you join a twosome. Some body language tells you this is one intense or personal conversation. Other body language is open and welcoming. Take a minute to watch for cues that tell you whether or not your entrance will be welcomed.

And one more thing about a twosome – it’s easier to leave when it’s time to move on. Say something like, “I’ll leave you two to your conversation. It was great to meet you both” and off your go.

So go ahead. Try The Goddess’ secret to stress-free and easy networking. You might even find you like the challenged of an over-stuffed room!

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Register by September 18 for a discount on your registration to the CLDA Fall Forum in Conjunction with PARCEL Forum ’15 October 18-21. You’ll save $170 on the conference package. The conference is at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago and the hotel’s already almost completely sold out. Current CLDA members should register by going to theclda.com/fallforum to get their discounted rate. Registration includes access to the exhibit hall, educational tracks, and receptions. For additional event and session information, visit theclda.com/fallforum or contact CLDA at info@theclda.com.

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CLDA Connections is a monthly blog and forum about face-to-face marketing for CLDA members from our very own Networking Goddess. We encourage you to share your networking tips, successes and goofs with each other through comments on this blog.

 

How to Network at a Conference

Business conferenceConferences, like CLDA’ s recent Annual Meeting, present unique opportunities to build your business network.  At last month’s meeting in Orlando, The Goddess got the opportunity to spend four days with the folks in our industry who are bound and determined to be the best there is.  The networking was fierce; the business cards were flying and the connections were building.

It made the Goddess think about what makes networking at a conference uniquely productive.  So here, for your viewing pleasure, are a few tips for your next conference, whether it’s a one-day Boot Camp in Bridgeport or a three-day extravaganza at The Breakers.

  1. Go with a purpose – You can’t talk to everyone at a conference, so go in knowing what you want to get out of it. Many of the members of our association went to Orlando to meet shippers looking for local carriers. Others wanted to connect with other delivery companies to widen their footprints. Still others were looking for other carriers in verticals they wanted to jump into. By knowing that purpose ahead of time, you can narrow down the list of people you want to meet; pick the panels you want to attend and go into the receptions looking for the people who matter to you. Remembering your purpose for attending the conference will help you plan out your time so you’re making the best use of every hour you’re there.
  2. Research those who will be there – It’s important to know who your fellow attendees will be and what geography they cover, what verticals they serve and what kind of services they offer. For many conferences, you can preview the attendance on-line or through the conference app. You can pick out the people you want to meet and get some background on them before you pack your bags. Use LinkedIn to check out their profiles or go to their sites to get an overview of both their company and their staff. In particular, look up the people who will be presenting at the conference. CLDA, like other good conference planners, chooses panelists who are the influencers in the industry. These are the people who can help you get better connected, can be great sounding boards for your ideas or who are willing to share their knowledge. That means it’s worth your time to check out their websites before the conference.
  3. Email the participants and presenters you want to meet before the conference – Introduce yourself to key people a few days before the conference. Let them know that you look forward to meeting them in person and hearing what they have to say. If you do it a few days before they take off for the conference, they will probably email you back and thank you. Then, you’ll have a bit of history to fall back on when you see them at the conference.
  4. Talk to presenters. Go to the presentations that include the speaker and panelists you want to meet (especially if you emailed them expressing interest in doing so). Arrive early and sit in the front row. That will put you in good position to reach them after the talk. Listen attentively to their presentation so that you can raise particular points with them about what they said.
  5. Create a schedule – Figure out which panels and presentations you want to attend and map out a schedule so you don’t miss anything important. Set appointments with people you want to meet. Arrange to meet them over coffee, drinks or breakfast. That schedule must include the networking receptions. Never – and The Goddess means NEVER – miss those. It’s easy to rationalize skipping these events after a long day of sitting inside of a hotel with an outside that looks so darned inviting. After all, many conferences are at lovely resorts with many tempting amenities. Do not yield to temptation!   The parties and cocktail hours are there to make it easier for you connect in a relaxed environment.
  6. Be open to other people’s pitches – Remember your goal is to build relationships at a conference instead of spending your time pushing your own agenda. Getting to know people is a good goal in all by itself. The Goddess can personally attest to the fact that this kind of attitude sows the seeds of long-term relationships. It beats handing out business cards like you’re dealing a hand of Texas Holdem in Las Vegas.
  7. Use social – If you’re active on social media, tweet or post about the conference while you’re still there (but NOT during the presentations, this is both distracting and rude). Tag people you’ve met and make positive comments about panels and the conference itself.   If, like CLDA, the conference has an app, make sure you’ve added your photo and information to your profile. Be active on the app during breaks in the action. Post pictures and comments that relate to the material presented, not the after-hours socializing. Save that for your personal Facebook page if you must.

Over 450 people taught The Goddess a thing or two about connecting at the CLDA Annual Meeting in Orlando.  Many thanks for that.  The Goddess offers these tips to arm you for the next CLDA conference, Fall Forum in conjunction with PARCEL Forum ’15 in Chicago. Visit www.theclda.com/fallforum for details and be ready to meet with more industry leaders and network your way to success.

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Want your voice to be heard on Capitol Hill?  Register for CLDA Lobby Day 2015 on June 10-11. The event connects CLDA members to their Federal legislators. This year, your participation is critical to underscore a CLDA championed bill (H.R.2483).  The bill seeks to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide standards for determining employment status, and establish a formal definition of an independent contractor.  H.R.2483 is a result of tireless negotiation, coalition building and research on behalf of the CLDA.  Register today! The deadline is June 2.

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CLDA Connections is a monthly blog and forum about face-to-face marketing for CLDA members from our very own Networking Goddess.  We encourage you to share your networking tips, successes and goofs with each other through comments on this blog.

 

 

Celebrating the American Way of Life 50 Years After Becoming US Citizens

Seeking freedom and opportunity, Irmgard and Otmar left jobs as translators at Landstuhl Air Base in their native Germany and boarded a ship for the United States on September 22, 1956. 50 years later, they celebrate the anniversary of what they call “the greatest decision we ever made” – becoming American citizens. To read the full article visit, http://www.duncaster.org/duncaster-news/Celebrating-50-Years-in-USA

Duncaster Retirement Community’s 5th Annual Golf Tournament

BLOOMFIELD, CT, June 26, 2013 – Duncaster Retirement Community’s 5th Annual Golf Tournament will take place Tuesday, August 20, at Wintonbury Hills Golf Course in Bloomfield. Proceeds from the event benefit programs, services and educational opportunities to Duncaster residents and staff, as well as support for local social service organizations and community projects. Sponsorships ranging from $250 to $7,500 are still available. For more information about the tournament, visit http://www.duncaster.org/duncaster-news/duncaster-retirement-community-to-host-5th-annual-golf-tournament

MINNESOTA LEADER ELECTED TO CLDA BOARD OF DIRECTORS

VADNAIS HEIGHTS, MN, June 5, 2013 – Mark Cossack, President of Priority Courier Experts in Vadnais Heights, Minnesota was elected to The Customized Logistics and Delivery Association (formerly the MCAA) board of directors at its recent annual meeting.

Cossack has been an active member of the association since 2009 and will serve on the board until the group’s 2015 Annual Meeting. Cossack will serve alongside one other recently appointed board member, Matt Lawrence, President of PaceRunners located out of Birmingham, AL.

Cossack’s extensive work history includes expertise in courier and trucking, financial services, insurance, and technology. He has held VP positions at multiple Fortune 300 companies and currently serves as the President of the Priority Courier Experts – VANEX in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. Priority began operations in 1997 and has grown into a 300+ vehicle fleet consisting of commercial vehicles such as tractor trailers, straight trucks, and specialty vehicles, along with a full range of parcel vehicles. Priority serves Minneapolis/St. Paul and the surrounding region. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science along with a Masters of Business Administration from the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.

The CLDA Board of Directors sets policy and guidelines; oversees committees; participates in the group’s legislative efforts on behalf of their members and is heavily involved in the association’s two major meetings in the Spring and Fall. The association’s board was extensively involved in the group’s rebranding as the Customized Logistics and Delivery Association (CLDA) in response to their members’ widespread involvement in the global supply chain. For the 26 years before that it was known as the Messenger and Courier Association of America (MCAA).

About the Customized Logistics and Delivery Association
The CLDA is the voice of the customized logistics and delivery industry which has $8.7B in annual revenue with over 7,000 U.S. firms, and it is proud to represent those who keep the wheels of commerce rolling in North America. CLDA (formerly MCAA) is the largest trade association in the industry providing time-critical and last-mile deliveries. Since 1987, the association has promoted and advanced the professionalism of the customized logistics and delivery industry through networking, education and advocacy. For more information see http://www.theCLDA.com and http://www.facebook.com/theCLDA

Media Contact
Andrea Obston aobston@aomc.com
(860) 243-1447 – office (860) 803-1155 – cell
(860) 653-2712 – home

For more information and resources on this client please visit the Andrea Obston Marketing Communications Online Newsroom at http://www.aomcnewsroom.com

ALABAMA BUSINESS MAN ELECTED TO CLDA BOARD OF DIRECTORS

BIRMINGHAM, AL, June 5, 2013 – Matt Lawrence, President of PACE located in Birmingham, AL was elected to The Customized Logistics and Delivery Association (formerly the MCAA) board of directors at its recent annual meeting.

Matt has been a member of the association since 2006 and is also a member of the Express Carriers Association (ECA). He will serve on the board until the group’s 2015 Annual Meeting. Lawrence will serve alongside one other recently appointed board member, Mark Cossack, of President of Priority Courier Experts in Vadnais Heights, Minneapolis.

Rounding out the 15-member Board are: Immediate Past President, Chris MacKrell, Custom Courier Solutions, Inc. (Saratoga Springs, NY); Fred Aryan, Lasership (Vienna, VA); Rick Chase, OnTrac (Phoenix, AZ); Tom Jowers, ADL Delivery (Tampa, FL); Julie Thomas, Priority Dispatch, Inc. (Cincinnati, OH); and Charlie Wolfe, Blaze Express Courier Service (New Orleans, LA). Their terms will end at the group’s 2014 Annual Meeting next May in Scottsdale, AZ.

The CLDA Board of Directors sets policy and guidelines; oversees committees; participates in the group’s legislative efforts on behalf of their members and is heavily involved in the association’s two major meetings in the Spring and Fall. The association’s board was extensively involved in the group’s rebranding as the Customized Logistics and Delivery Association (CLDA) in response to their members’ widespread involvement in the global supply chain. For the 26 years before that it was known as the Messenger and Courier Association of America (MCAA).

PACE has been in business since 1997 and is fully equipped to meet customers’ logistics needs throughout the Southeast and Midwest U.S. Services include daily break bulk/cross-docking operations, scheduled and expedited routes with all vehicle types, courier services, distribution services, and warehousing solutions. Pace operates 24/7 with a relentless servant spirit, character and integrity, and a commitment to understanding their customers. Their mission is: “Serving and Improving Lives Through Logistics”. http://www.pacerunners.com

About the Customized Logistics and Delivery Association
The CLDA is the voice of the customized logistics and delivery industry, representing those who keep the wheels of commerce rolling in North America. CLDA (formerly MCAA) is the largest trade association in the industry providing time-critical and last-mile deliveries. Since 1987, the association has promoted and advanced the professionalism of the customized logistics and delivery industry through networking, education and advocacy. For more information see http://www.theCLDA.com and http://www.facebook.com/theCLDA

Media Contact
Andrea Obston aobston@aomc.com
(860) 243-1447 – office (860) 803-1155 – cell
(860) 653-2712 – home

For more information and resources on this client please visit the Andrea Obston Marketing Communications Online Newsroom at http://www.aomcnewsroom.com

Customized Logistics and Delivery Association Joins Coalition to Promote the Critical Role of Independent Contractors

WASHINGTON, D.C. , June 5, 2013– Today, the Customized Logistics and Delivery Association joined dozens of other industry associations in the support of independent contractors by adding its voice to the It’s My Business Coalition. The Coalition’s goal is to emphasize the critical role independent contractors play in the economy.

The announcement of the Coalition’s kickoff was made by former Senator Blanche Lambert Lincoln (D-AR) who is serving as its National Chair. Senator Lincoln served on the Senate Finance Committee while in the United States Senate and is very familiar with the Section 530 Safe Harbor and other provisions that govern the role of independent contractors.

The Coalition will launch a national campaign to communicate the positive role that independent contractors play in today’s economy. “The CLDA has joined this effort because our members see independent contractors as a key part of our ability to deliver the goods and services that fuel the economy,” says Rob Johnstone, President, CLDA. “Our members offer same-day delivery wherever and whenever a customer needs it. Independent contract drivers give our industry the ability to provide flexible scheduling and to ensure that a courier will always be available at any time to meet customers’ needs. Independent contractors and those they work for provide valuable services with an ability to respond to changing customer demands. Their entrepreneurial spirit should be welcomed and encouraged by policy makers in Washington and around the country. Increasingly, though, we are seeing policies put in place that make it harder for businesses to utilize their services. These threats to this model impact the ability of these small business people to work, support their families and pay taxes. These policies also threaten the very heart of the supply chain to keep up with the escalating needs of commerce. All of us involved in this system want to work together to meets the needs of the marketplace and continue to fuel the US economy. We see this coalition as a way to deliver that message.”

CLDA joins other members of It’s My Business including dozens of independent contractors and their customers across numerous industries, including financial services, real estate, transportation, medical and health services and insurance, among other fields. A list of Coalition members may be found on the coalition website, http://www.itsmybusiness.com.

The coalition website, http://www.itsmybusiness.com, also has additional information, including:

• Fact sheet about independent contractors and their role in the economy.
• Fact sheet about the taxes paid by independent contractors.
• Fact sheet about independent contractors’ job satisfaction.
• Fact sheet about the contributions of independent contractors to job creation.

“We see the Coalition as one more pro-business, pro-growth effort that helps all of us in the private sector continue contributing to the nation’s economy and we are pleased to be part of this effort,” concludes Johnstone.

For more information, see http://www.itsmybusiness.com or http://www.theclda.com.

About the Customized Logistics and Delivery Association
The CLDA is the voice of the customized logistics and delivery industry, representing those who keep the wheels of commerce rolling in North America. CLDA (formerly MCAA) is the largest trade association in the industry providing time-critical and last-mile deliveries. Since 1987, the association has promoted and advanced the professionalism of the customized logistics and delivery industry through networking, education and advocacy. For more information see http://www.theCLDA.com and http://www.facebook.com/theCLDA

Media Contact
Andrea Obston aobston@aomc.com
(860) 243-1447 – office (860) 803-1155 – cell
(860) 653-2712 – home

For more information and resources on this client please visit the Andrea Obston Marketing Communications Online Newsroom at http://www.aomcnewsroom.com

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