April 18, 2008
Happy Friday Everyone!
I have an uncomfortable assignment for everyone this weekend. Unless you are a hermit, over the course of the next two days, you’re probably going to do something.
I am encouraging you, over the course of the weekend, to pick one place that you go and make a connection with someone there. I’m not talking about chatting up the cute bartender at the local beer joint…
You know that super friendly old guy that gets behind you in line at the grocery store every once in a while? Be super friendly back. Introduce yourself and give him your card. You never know who could be in need of your professional services.
A Great Opportunity
If you live in Dayton, OH (which I would imagine a majority of my readership does) don’t forget that there is a Dragon’s game tonight. The line at the concession stand is a fantastic place to turn around and say hello to someone new!
If you have a great accomplishment through this assignment (or even a great failure) post it here! We learn through experience, but sometimes it is easiest to learn through the experience of others!
April 16, 2008
Let’s talk about letterhead. The first question to ask yourself when deciding what to do about personal letterhead is, “Do I need it?” I’m going to be completely honest here: probably not…but it can’t hurt. If you are in professional organizations that may require you to send out written communications in your name not in the name of the organization then you may want to consider it (there are a handful of other reasons too). Now if you own your own business and it is set up as a sole proprietorship under your name and not a “Doing Business As” then you definitely need it.
The last thing that you want is for a professional communication to come from you on copier paper. It looks and feels cheap and will not have the same impact that letterhead will have. So, let’s talk about paper. You want to use something that looks good and feels good in the hand. My recommendation is to go with twenty-five percent cotton paper at a weight of at least twenty-four pounds. This is comparable to resume paper. Remember to only use text weight paper, cover stock and card stock would be overkill.
The design of your letter head should be very similar to the design of your business card. If you are sending someone a personal communication, chances are you have met them before and they have seen your business card. Sticking with the same theme will re-enforce that part of your brand in their minds. If you have not met the person, include a copy or your business card in the folds of the letter.
Your best option is to have the letter head printed at a company, preferably the same one that did your business cards, since they get the paper (which is relatively expensive) at a much lower cost than you will. Plus it will save you the time of having to create and print all of this yourself.
April 13, 2008
My next few posts, at least, are going to be about the fine art of personal branding. If you want to establish yourself as the absolute go-to for your particular field, you’re going to have to sell yourself as the absolute best in your field. Business cards, resumes, blogs, websites, portfolios: all these things are going to enter in to your personal brand. Before I get too far into this, I want to hear some of your ideas on personal branding.
What do you think is the single most important aspect of developing a personal brand? Let the comments fly!
April 10, 2008
This is a principle that I live by. In a recent presentation I attended given by Linda Watson and Susan Bridgman it was stated that your networking is only as good as your follow-up and that is true.
There’s a decent chance that I’m not someone you care if you ever meet (my feelings aren’t hurt), but other people feel the same way that I do. I can meet ten people in one night and if they don’t follow up, I don’t care that I met them at all and I won’t remember them the next time I see them. Now, that’s only a theory, because in reality I follow up consistently so if there is ANY mutual desire, a connection is usually made, thus grows two networks.
Here are some easy rules to follow:
- After you receive someone’s business card, take the time to look at it before you put it away. You might even want to jot down a note or two on the back of it so you remember who they are, but do this out of their eye site.
- Follow up with a general e-mail or phone call between one and three days later “It was nice to meet you..”, “I’m glad we had a chance to talk…”
- Follow up on specific inquiries at most three to five business days later.
- Add the person to your personal contact list and keep in touch even if it is just a hello once a month or information relevant to the discussion you had with them.
You have to do this for yourself, there is no reminder. In Pete Luongo’s book Ten Truths About Leadership he states that inspiration is the responsibility of others, motivation is your responsibility alone.