Author Archive

Networking for People Who Hate Networking

October 14, 2010 2 comments

Would you rather get a root canal than schmooze with a bunch of strangers?

This week’s literary selection is “Networking for People Who Hate Networking” by Devora Zack. Ms. Zack is the President of Only Connect Consulting, Inc. and is a nationally recognized expert in the field of leadership development.

In “Networking for People Who Hate Networking”, Ms. Zack explores the inner workings of the introverted vs. extroverted personality type. She helps to dispel some of the myths or stigmas that seem to be attached to the introverted personality type. The book is easy to read with a good bit of humor.

Very early in the book she provides a comprehensive self assessment that aids in determining how strong your preference is for your dominant style. Introvert, extrovert or somewhere in between.

The “Crash” course on Introverts and Extroverts in chapter 3 is an excellent look at the difference in the two personality types. According to Zack introverts are reflective, focused and self-reliant, while extroverts are verbal, expansive and social. A few more traits of these 2 divergent cultures include:



  • Think to talk
  • Talk to think
  • Energize alone
  • Energize with others
  • Enjoy few stimuli
  • Enjoy simultaneous stimuli
  • Need concentration
  • Need diversion
  • Prefer one on one discussion
  • Prefer group discussion
  • Value privacy
  • Value public sharing

Zack’s re-write of the golden rule (Treat others as you want to be treated) to the platinum rule (Treat others as they want to be treated) is pure genius.

The book is an excellent “field manual” for introverts and provides numerous guidelines and “how to” examples for different networking situations.

Ms. Zack smashes the dusty old rules of standard networking advice and introduces the sparkling new rules of pause, process and pace. She then fully explores these concepts in great detail for a variety of networking situations.

This book is not just for introverts or people that don’t like networking. As Ms. Zack suggests in the book, there are 2 distinct cultures that behave in drastically different ways. This book will benefit both introverts and extroverts. Each will walk away with a better understanding of how the other half ticks, allowing them to develop new ways to effectively interact with the other.

Categories: Book Review

Executive Suite 3rd Quarter Small Business Index

October 6, 2010 Leave a comment

The 3rd Quarter Executive Suite Small Business Index Survey is complete. This is a survey of The Executive Suite Clients as to their opinions on various business issues.

3rd Quarter Highlights

  • Overall combined reading for the quarter was +95. This is the first time in the history of the survey that a combined positive (optimistic) reading was observed.
  • Present Situation Index +42.5, Future expectations Index +52.5 indicating tepid optimism.
  • Significant reversals posted in Q3 from Q2 in both Present situation and Future expectations.
  • Collectively, members appear to feel better about their situations.
  • Current and Future economy readings continue to drag.

Q3 2010 Small Business Index

Categories: Executive


August 3, 2010 1 comment

I have been reading quite a bit lately and always seem to be on the prowl for a new title, generally in the business category. Knowing this, my wife forwarded me a link to “Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation”. We have an inside joke at our house involving my youngest son and the word “fascinating”, but that’s a whole other story. Suffice to say, the title fascinated my wife so she forwarded it along.

I’m actually very glad she did. In Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation, Sally Hogshead explores why you’re captivated by some people but not others. Why you recall some brands and forget the rest. Why you hear some messages, but are deaf to others.

As it states in the books inside jacket cover, “to explore and explain fascination’s irresistible influence, Sally goes beyond marketing and delves into behavioral and social studies, evolutionary anthropology and a national study of thousands of consumers to emerge with deeply rooted patterns for why, and how we become captivated.”

The seven triggers are:

  • Lust – We’re seduced by the anticipation of pleasure.
  • Mystique – We’re intrigued by unanswered questions.
  • Alarm – We take action at the threat of negative consequences.
  • Prestige – We fixate on symbols of rank and respect.
  • Power – We focus on the people and things that control us.
  • Vice – We’re tempted by “forbidden fruit”.
  • Trust – We’re loyal to reliable options.

For personal interactions, each of the above triggers leads to a different style of communication, and a different type of relationship. The more accurately you identify your personality triggers, and the more intelligently you hone them, the more influential your message becomes.

Brands apply these triggers, too. Volvo uses trust. Godiva uses lust. Fedex uses alarm. Apple Computers uses several triggers, most notably prestige and power. Triggers help companies sell products off shelves, persuade shareholders to invest, and convince key employees to stay.

The gold hallmark of a fascinating message:

  • Provokes strong and immediate emotional reactions
  • Creates advocates
  • Becomes cultural shorthand for a specific set of actions or values
  • Incites conversation
  • Forces competitors to realign around it
  • Triggers social revolutions

This book was a quick, interesting and informative read. Sally’s conversational and no-nonsense writing style coupled with a bit of humor makes the book quite enjoyable. As a non-marketing type, I now find myself much more in tune with the brand “messages” that I’m exposed to. I understand why I must “CALL NOW” as there is a “LIMITED SUPPLY” of the new gizmo!! It all makes sense… Hurry, get the phone, Billy Mays has hit my alarm trigger!!

This book would be excellent material for marketing folks, “C” level exec’s or anyone that is interested in a deeper understanding of “why” people act and respond to certain messages. I will read this again at some point because the book really was fascinating. Also check out Sally’s website and find out your own F-Score, you might be fascinated by your personal triggers.

Categories: Book Review

How Do You Network?

July 12, 2010 6 comments

There is an abundance of literature on the market from some very sharp folks that discusses how to network. Books, audio CD’s, YouTube videos, tips and blogs all spelling out the X’s & O’s. I have read, listened to and watched a number of them and there is definitely some commonality as well as some differences.

In his book Endless Referrals, Bob Burg suggests “providing value” as a way to get people to know, like and trust you. Bob subscribes to a fairly systematic and structured approach to networking. Conversely, in her Rainmaking Made Easy audio CD, Suzi Pomerantz recommends turning networking into a game and letting everyone in just to explore the possibilities. Her approach is much less structured and loose. While these highly successful folks take different approaches, I wouldn’t say either is right or wrong. Each is successful with “their” method. The roots for many of these philosophies can be found in the classics How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnagie and Life is Tremendous, by Charlie “Tremendous” Jones.

Take some time to explore these and other resources, they are well worth the time. Networking is a vitally important skill, so expansion of your baseline knowledge is never a bad thing. You’re sure to learn some new concepts along the way.

Once you have a solid foundation, I am of the opinion that you have to put your own “spin” on it. Like a management style, you can get the basics from the management 101 class, but over time you must develop your own style that aligns with your personality and comfort zone. Trying to mimic a Bob Burg, Suzi Pomerantz or anyone else for that matter will come off as fake or insincere.

We all realize that networking is a valuable skill to have in the arsenal. Building a deep and vibrant personal network can help separate you from the pack. So go ahead and develop your own networking style. So long as you execute the basics, there is really no right or wrong way to go about it as long as it’s “you”.

What style, concepts or tips have you found to be successful?

Categories: Networking

Networking Without the Fluff

I read this BLOG from Margaret Heffernan on BNET the other day and found the piece to be a very refreshing look at “How” to network the right way. With Margarets permission we share the piece with you here. Enjoy.

Do you, like me, cringe every time you encounter the word ‘networking’ ? It has come to stand for so much — from the five-second exchange of business cards to a serious sales call — that it now effectively stands for nothing. In fact, if I mentioned my recent trip to Las Vegas to speak at the Women’s Annual Leadership Conference, a networking event held by the Women’s Foodservice Forum, you’d be forgiven for thinking: Vegas … food … networking … count me out. But you’d be wrong. Because this event truly did networking well.

Sure it had all the accoutrements of the traditional boondoggle — fancy hotel, fabulous food, and some great entertainment. But the bulk of the time wasn’t frivolous at all. Sandwiched into four days was a hefty schedule of executive education of a kind that would sit comfortably inside any business school: learning to manage conflict, understanding industry trends, estimating risks and improving communications skills. These were substantial training seminars, not fluffy feel-good sessions.

Of course the meals in between were excellent; what else would you expect from a food-industry gathering? But what chiefly struck me was the eagerness with which senior executives interacted with junior attendees. Veterans went out of their way to meet and welcome new entrants. At every sit-down meal, conference veterans made a point of sitting with people they did not know. They would introduce themselves and ask everyone what they most wanted from the conference. To the degree that they could help then and there, they did. Otherwise, they handed out cards and encouraged the younger attendees to get in touch when there was something they needed. Leading industry executives were at pains to discuss how using the WFF proactively had significantly advanced their careers. They listed the mentors they’d found, the boards they’d joined. Those of us who were there to teach quickly picked up on the conference’s serious intent; we all gave more and learned more. Because the veterans talked openly about how they’d used the conference to find mentors and seek out board appointments, or used conference committees to meet industry leaders, they made everyone feel confidence in following their examples. You started to feel that if you did not ask for help, you were wasting your time.

This was networking without the fluff and nonsense. It was serious, concerted and real. I don’t even work in the food service industry, but when one young woman asked me for some legal advice, I felt obliged to give it — and to connect her with a lawyer I know who works in that space. I sat and watched as a senior salesperson recruited two eager newbies over lunch. And I overheard a meaty discussion about bun suppliers and new trends in condiments. Not my cup of tea, perhaps, but crucial if that’s your business.

Could you have wasted your time there? Only if you were foolish enough to want to. If you came with serious intent, you might have left with winnings — in the form of insight, connections and mentors — more valuable than anything the casinos had to offer.

Now that the word ‘networking’ is so degraded, I wish there were a better way to describe events like this that are social but serious, educational but fun. Any ideas?

Margaret BLOG’s twice weekly on BNET and you can find her on the web at her Facebook page. The original BLOG can be found Here. Read more…

Categories: Networking

7 TIPS for SUCCESSFUL Networking: Make New Friends and Keep the Old…

April 2, 2010 Leave a comment

Today we are going to share a post by Nancy Bleeke from the Sales Pro Insider. Nancy is a member and Contributor in The Executive Suite where we featured this post. We thought Nancy made some excellent points and thought we would share it here too. Enjoy.


Expanding your network and referral base is smart business these days. But so many professionals miss the boat on how to network effectively! As you link with other people, keeping your old connections is as important as making new ones.

Yesterday I met with someone starting her own business. As we discussed how to build a network, I was reminded of the important nuances of building the network lifeline.

In my 11 years of providing sales training courses and tools for successful sales and service, I have been on the receiving end of a LOT of bad attempts to network. Most – and I mean 95% – of people that contact me to network really just want to know who I can introduce THEM to. I learned the hard way how important finding out what value they bring to others is before making these connections.

As a rookie, I was giving out names to new contacts very easily – after all wasn’t that what I was supposed to do? Until…

I realized that I was potentially damaging some VALUABLE existing relationships by not ensuring they would be a GOOD connection. I was wasting my existing connections’ time with people that they didn’t need (or want) to talk to.

Not anymore. I am more careful before making a connection. To value my existing relationships, I have work to do before I link them with a new connection.

Additional specific tips to network effectively:

  1. Before you ask to meet with someone to network OR go to a network event, consider what you can offer to the other person(s). Is it expertise? Other contacts? Assistance with something they are working on?
  2. Know your value proposition to potential clients. If you can’t explain your value, how will your networkers know who might need what you offer?
  3. Do your homework! Know as much about the person or the people in the group as you can prior to connecting.
  4. In a “live” setting ask people for THEIR business card first. Look at the card and see what it says – use that as a conversation starter.
  5. For live events, always have the following items with you:
    • Your business cards
    • A pen to take notes on their business card
    • A smile on your face
    • Some type of paper to write on
  6. Tap into social networking. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. All great potential tools…if you use them correctly and keep the first 3 tips in mind.
  7. Ask questions about the motivation and reputation of a new connection BEFORE giving out the names and phone numbers of your valuable existing relationships
  8. And with his efforts, I’m pleased to introduce Jim and what he does to you! His blog and newsletter have great marketing information. See how the value exchange pays off?

And a foundation element to all of these networking tips: Networkers that GIVE something to others before asking for something are much more successful in the long run. A great example: Jim Connolly’s blog post shows how a seemingly little effort of giving in networking can pay off big – not only for himself but for everyone else!

Networking with others will be even more important as the world we operate in shrinks with technology. As you consider how you will expand your network, focus on the song I learned in Girl Scouts, “Make new friends, but keep the old…one is silver and the other gold!”

Thanks Nancy – Good advice here. Find Nancy and more sales tips, tools and training on the web at

Categories: Networking

Who have you met today – Tracey C. Jones

March 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Being as the foundation of The Executive Suite is networking, we thought it would be fitting to have a series that chronicles the inspiring new people we have met as a part of our everyday business in the Executive Suite. This is the first in that series and details our path to meeting Tracey Jones, President of Tremendous Life Books and daughter of Charlie “Tremendous” Jones.

Back in early 2009 we happened upon Tracey Jones quite by accident. Melanie, the wife of our COO, was doing some research on reading materials for her daughter to read over the summer. She had heard on a CD that John Maxwell’s father had paid him to read books of significance and she thought that was a great idea. I would later come to find out by reading “Life is Tremendous” that Charlie Jones did the very same thing with his son.

So as she searched for books that build character and promote personal growth, the name Charlie “Tremendous” Jones seemed to consistently pop up. This led her to Executive Books (Later to be re-named Tremendous Life Books), a niche bookstore founded by Charlie “Tremendous” Jones. The people working there were extremely helpful in assisting her with what she was looking for.

Melanie had also been charged with building a library at work. She was to assemble business and leadership books for the executives and managers to read for their personal self improvement. Based on her very positive experience with Tremendous Life Books, she returned there for advice. Her note to customer service requesting assistance ended up with Tracey Jones, the President of the Company (how’s that for customer service!!). Melanie and Tracey have much in common and hit it off immediately.

At the Executive Suite, we are always on the lookout for ways to provide value for our clients and one day the idea for a library came up. The idea centered on assisting clients in search of literary materials and/or to provide a resource to share information throughout the community. Melanie suggested that Tremendous Life Books and Tracey Jones may be able to assist with the effort and made the initial contact. Not long after that Tracey and her company Tremendous Life Books became the back end literary resource for Executive Suite clients.

Over this past year we have come to know Tracey and I can say without hesitation that she is an absolute delight. In “Life is Tremendous”, written by her father Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, he lays out 7 laws of leadership. The 4th law is called “Give to Get.” In this law he stresses that leadership is learning to give whether you get anything or not!! Tracey has learned this law and learned it well. Since our relationship began, she has done nothing but give. She has made introductions for us, encouraged us, shared new-found technologies and even has spoken with my daughter who is interested in reading and is preparing for her college career. She has done all of this with no expectation of anything in return. As proof positive of the 4th Law, Tracey now has advocates in the Executive Suite. This BLOG is but a small token of our appreciation and as opportunities present themselves, we will be first in line to sing her praises. I don’t believe we are the only ones either, I suspect Tracey has advocates in many places.

For those that don’t know Tracey C. Jones, I highly recommend seeking her out. She is a beacon shining in the night and like her father, she truly makes a difference in the lives she crosses. When she is not positively impacting others, she can be found at or

Categories: Networking