Tag Archives: networking

Social Media for the Professional Woman

Networking is key to building a successful business.  Not only should you attend networking events within your local business region, but also pay attention to online networking.  One of the top business networking sites today is LinkedIn, and with refreshed profiles, updated business pages and highly interactive groups, it’s here to stay.  Here is how you can efficiently and effectively maneuver through LinkedIn.

Profile Picture1. Update Your Picture!  Yes, this point is part vanity, part practical, mostly practical.  Make sure your profile picture is recognizable as you today – not ten years ago. A great picture shouldn’t be a glamour shot of what you look like touched up, unless you walk around with a makeup team on a daily basis.  Make it inviting, warm and add a hint of marketing by matching your attire with your brand colors or strategically post a logo in the background.

Connecting Picture2. Connect! It may seem like common sense, but you have to connect with people on LinkedIn to make it work for you.  When you send out invitations, keep it to people you have actually met or that you share a connection with.  In your invitation, explain why you’re connecting, unless you contact them on a regular basis, and then it’s okay to send a standard invite.  Be sure to check out who’s inviting you to connect; take a look at their profile, connections and groups.  Remember, once they’re a connection they can see your full profile and interactions.

LinkedIn Picture3. Join (and ENGAGE in) Groups: Explore all LinkedIn has to offer by joining groups relevant to you.  Search for your alma mater or one of your offline networking groups to join.  Active groups provide great information and events that can help you boost your business.  If you’re a woman business owner in the Midwest, consider joining the WBDC’s LinkedIn Group, Inspired Women, to engage with other professional women looking for advice, input and inspiration.

Resume Image4. Use It, or Lose It!  Make sure to update your not only your picture, but also your profile.  It’s a living resume, so keep it current.  You never know who’s looking for the skills and experience you have to offer.  Keep things interesting by making your headline relevant and engaging, with trigger words.  Learn more about headlines, and other parts of your LinkedIn strategies, in this free webinar recording.

LinkedIn Picture25. It’s About Business!  If you have a business, you should have a business page.  LinkedIn has come a long way in cultivating the business pages to better serve companies.  They now have header images, status updates, video advertising, product promotions and more for followers to interact with.

Spend 10 minutes a day implementing some of these tips, whether it be commenting in a group or updating your profile, and see what comes of it!  You never know what you’re missing out on until you try new strategies.

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10 Tips to Get the Most Out of a Business Conference

Attending a large business conference, especially for the first time, can seem intimidating.  Prospective and existing women business owners who attend the WBDC’s 25th Anniversary Entrepreneurial Woman’s Conference on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at Chicago’s McCormick Place-West will be one step ahead if they’re armed with these tips:

  1. Know before you go.  Look at the conference schedule in advance, and create a plan for the sessions you want to attend and the exhibitors you plan to target.
  2. Arrive early and stay late.  Getting there early will give you a chance to find parking, sign in at registration, read through the program book, and get a good seat. Stay for the reception: you might meet your next client!
  3. Conferences are a chance to see old friends – but also make new ones. Use the opportunity to expand your network of contacts.
  4. Take at least 100 business cards to hand out.  Ideally, your cards include all the ways that people can reach you, including the social media sites you are using professionally.
  5. Try to stay focused on the conference and not what’s happening back at the office. Limit the amount of time you spend talking on the phone and responding to work email.
  6. Consider sharing what you are learning – in real time!  Blog, tweet or post Facebook status updates, and make sure to add hashtag #wbdc25 to your tweets throughout the day.
  7. Be a gatherer of useful information. Take notes, underline important concepts and obtain business cards of others, including workshop presenters.
  8. The Breakfast Forum and Awards Luncheon are not just about sustenance and learning from the pros, but also more networking. Make sure you meet everyone at your table. Look around the room for familiar faces.  Ask for introductions.
  9. Check out the exhibit area – the Women’s Business & Buyers Mart – to make contacts with corporate and government representatives who are committed to purchasing products and services from women-owned businesses and may be able to steer business your way.
  10. After the conference, follow up with contacts you’ve made.  Make a list of what you learned that you want to apply to your business.

What additional tips would you suggest for getting the most out of a business conference?  Share them in the comment section below!


Chris Ruys is President of Chris Ruys Communications, Inc. and a contributing author to the WBDC blog.

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Networking Part 3: Follow-up

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Last time, we focused on what to do before a networking event.  The time before that, we discussed what to do at the event, and now, it is time to focus on what you must do after a networking event to make sure you maximize the investment of time and money you just made!

Remember your objectives (e.g. develop relationships, offer referrals and get referrals).  You are not done until you input the relevant business cards you gathered into your contact base.  So, on your way home or within 12 hours of the event:

  • Look at and read each business card you received
  • Identify where you met them, why you will contact them and when
  • Set a goal to reach a few contacts a day, or set aside a 1-2 hour slot per week, and reward yourself for making those initiatives to reconnect!
  • Follow your plan–most businesses fail because they don’t; those who succeed have a plan and work it.

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Networking Part 2: Preparation

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Nothing beats face to face for some products/services – especially people services. Last time, we talked about what you should do at a networking event, like WBDC’s Connection Points Industry/Service Specific networking series. Today we talk about preparation. Developing criteria for attending a networking function and/or joining an association or organization will help you decide what events and organizations are best for you and your business.

Some considerations:

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What is Networking?

So…exactly what is networking? There are many different definitions, but ultimately it’s about connecting – meeting, exchanging information and ideas, and staying connected. Dictionary.com defines networking as “Creating a group of acquaintances and associates and keeping it active through regular communication for mutual benefit. Networking is based on the question “How can I help?” and not “What can I get?”

Here are 5 reminders for effective networking:

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Networking and…Golf?

As the spring nears, get prepared to have your networking in gear.  Although it is important to think about networking all year round, somehow spring seems to call for a golf outing as an opportunity for networking. Even though people may think that women and golf don’t always go together (partly due to the fact that golf is a sport predominantly dominated by men), you may like to give it a try, given the personal and business benefits. I am excited to try it for the first time; here are a few noteworthy reasons that convinced me to sign up for my first golf lesson: 

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