Business Networking: What Archetype Are You?

One of my personal professional goals is to attend at least twelve business networking events throughout the year. Many people prefer face-to-face networking over online based networking – I am not one of them. I’m far more comfortable with virtual schmoozing or rubbing of digital elbows. Is it a wonder that social media makes my heart sing!

In chapter two of Tipping Point, Malcom Gladwell describes three types of special people:

  • connectors (glue),

  • mavens (content) and

  • salespeople (persuasion).

I’m not shy and I’m a great public speaker (in fact, I love public speaking).  I’m simply not one of those natural in person cocktail “connectors”… but bring digital into the mix and the situation is quite different.   Isn’t it time to consider that some people might not be the same archetype in person as they are in an online setting?   One thing is for sure, I am not a salesperson type in either setting, never have, never will be! I’d describe myself as a maven (data and content are my thing) and hybrid-connector (in-person introvert / online extravert).

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Of my twelve networking events goal, I’m aiming for a distribution of about eight in-person (outside my comfort zone) and the balance as online or hybrid events.

And so, early in October, I accepted an exclusive invitation from SAP in concert with Diversity Week at the company. The Palo Alto based event featured a presentation by Barbara Annis, world-renowned gender specialist.  Following Barbara’s “Great Minds Think Unalike” lecture, there would be a Get to Know Us networking party with key executives.

Four things intrigued me about the SAP invitation:

1.      The title of the event: A Celebration of Female Talent

2.      There would be a lecture to celebrate diversity and inclusion in the workplace (I wouldn’t have to schmooze during that time!)

3.      Executives would be on hand at the networking party, and

4.      Most importantly, I am a huge fan of Michael Brenner.

Michael is the author of B2B Marketing Insider, the co-founder of Business 2 Community and also serves as Sr. Director of Integrated Marketing and Content Strategy for SAP where he is the founding editor for the SAP Business Innovation blog. Isn’t it interesting how my perception of Michael is both as SAP brand ambassador and industry expert? Corporations that embrace the social era will want to have many Michael’s – the more the better.

Join The 1% And Become A Content Creator by Michael Brenner

Your Employee Is an Online Celebrity. Now What Do You Do? – via @WSJ

Same Words, Different Language: How Men and Women Misunderstand each other at Work and What to do About It

Barbara was very engaging around making the case for gender intelligence.  She presented findings and case studies that illustrate how gender differences are complementary and help create competitive advantage.  Much of her material is based on her second book “Same Words, Different Language: How Men and Women Misunderstand each other at Work and What to do About It”.

Barbara’s lecture was certainly thought provoking and provided a great platform to open networking conversations (I was thankful for that).  The networking event was exceptional and I’m glad I attended.  Truth be known, after the fact, I’m always very pleased with in person events I attend … I just have to push myself to go.

Little did I know that I would have more exposure to SAP the following night at SVTweetUp, a hybrid in-person and online event.  More on that in a follow-on post.

What’s your archetype profile? Does it differ between online and in-person? Add your comments below.

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Additional Information

Clive Thompson on the Power of Introversion

Wired Magazine | April 2012

Guy Kawasaki, by all appearances, seems like an outgoing guy. A former Apple “evangelist,” he’s an omnipresent voice online, blogging his ideas about entrepreneurship and tweeting 40 times a day to his half-million followers.

But a few years ago he posted a surprising 140-character revelation. “You may find this hard to believe,” Kawasaki wrote, “but I am an introvert. I have a ‘role’ to play, but fundamentally I am a loner.” His followers were gobsmacked.”

Continue reading at Clive Thompson on the Power of Introversion.


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Turbo Charge Your Career Development Plan With IMU

Is it that time of year? Is your heart racing at the thought of having your performance evaluation and career development discussion?

Anemic Career Development Plan?

Whatever you call them; employee reviews evaluate our performance on the job. They often determine raises, promotions, and sometimes whether we get to keep our jobs. It’s no surprise that these “report cards” often make us feel uneasy.  Have you become a “human-doing” and neglected to invest in your development plan?

In any learning organization, continuous improvement means growth through learning events and experiences.  It can be applied to individuals and teams.  Cost and time need not be barriers to your continuous learning investment.

If you’re looking to sharpen your content marketing skills, consider Inbound Marketing University (IMU)

IMU is a free (yes, free! management will love you for it) educational program powered by HubSpot, a software company that helps marketers and small businesses grow their business online through inbound marketing.

IMU Online Training and Certification Course for Internet Marketing Professionals

Because IMU courses are self-paced, you can watch the videos whenever your schedule allows and you can download all the materials including videos, handouts and case studies. The sessions are moderated by the who’s who of content marketing. In total, there are 18 modules covering a wide range of topics from blogging basics to SEO tactics, inbound lead nurturing as well as social media for big business; to name only a few. The training curriculum concludes with a certification exam, where one can become an “Inbound Marketing Certified Professional” (providing you score 75% or higher on the online certification exam).

GF101 as in “get-found-101

The first course covers how to blog effectively for business.  It goes over the basics of blog layout and content. Ann Handley (MarketingProfs’ Chief Content Officer) and Mark Collier (Social Media Consultant) moderate this lead off session. The dynamic digital duo offers advice on how to draw in an audience and maintain quality engagement through feedback and interactions.

“Anything in life worth having is worth working for.” Andrew Carnegie

You’ll have to roll up your virtual sleeves to obtain the IMU certification.  Each module includes a homework assignment that helps you put into practice the learning of each session.  Specifically for GF101, you need to write about three best practices that you will adopt into your blogging strategy.

Fortunately for me, I’ve been blogging for a while. CaféLina is my virtual café where you’ll find tips, ideas, best practices, references and discussions on all things marketing, communications, digital, mobile and social. I’m always looking to improve the CaféLina reader experience (it’s a labor of love!)

Specifically, I want to get better in the following areas:

  1. Analytics: better understand the nuances in the data and plan out my editorial calendar accordingly
  2. Engagement: greater comment interaction on each post
  3. BlogRoll: develop an area where readers can easily find and reference resources they value (people, blogs, information)

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No more Excuses!

If leading edge marketing is your thing, build in a bit of time in your calendar over the course of the next few months and the next thing you know, you’ll obtain one of the industry’s hottest certification.  You’ll even be looking forward to your next performance evaluation and career development discussion

It’s up to us as individuals to make a commitment to our own development.

Considering the explosive evolution of technology and business processes, it’s not difficult to understand why leading organizations strongly encourage employee self-driven quest for knowledge.  These organizations understand that a culture of continuous learning is directly linked to competitiveness and business success. However, a company’s training department is seldom able to provide everything that employees need to be great at their jobs and prepare for the jobs of the future.  It’s up to us as individuals to make a commitment to our own development.

What’s in your development plan? (leave a comment below)

Additional Information:


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Potpourri Food for Thought: 20 Proven Things All Great Leaders Always Do

What do you keep around your office and how is it helpful to you?

When I’m in need of inspiration and perspective, I look over at the bulletin board in my office. That’s where I’ve placed various clippings and pictures. Recently, I added 20 Proven Things All Great Leaders Always Do.

In an unstable, inconsistent world, great leaders are consistent and stable

writes Dan Rockwell a.k.a Leadership Freak. Dan’s blog has an engaging format that aims to help leaders reach higher in 300 words or less. Follow Dan on Twitter @leadershipfreak

Check out 20 Proven Things All Great Leaders Always Do and identify which behavior you find most challenging and/or effective? 

I especially like:

  • Always act in the best interest of your organization,
  • Get results through others,
  • Receive criticism, and
  • Listen more than speak.

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In my office, 20 Proven Things All Great Leaders Always Do is pinned it up next to Everything I need to know about business I learned from playing golf.

“Everything I need to know about business I learned from playing golf” by Rick Spence.

You can find the Everything I need to know about business I learned from playing golf presentation companion here.

What do you keep around your office and how is it helpful to you?


Send suggestions for future Potpourri Food for Thought features.

Lina Arseneault is Millennial at heart. Follow her on Twitter.

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Grow Your Business: You Fuse, You Win!

Guest post for Talance

Talance is a full-service agency specializing in Web design, interactive development and e-learning. They create attractive, usable websites and online courses for non-profits.

Are you a for-profit organization looking for people who will help make more money than they will cost the business? 

Are you a nonprofit employer seeking employees with passion for the cause you serve? Does your workplace use the full breadth of talent available to it?

Are you attracting the right candidates?

The key to making the most out of these challenges lies in embracing generational diversity. It will foster a culture of flexibility and collaboration in which everyone is responsible for the high quality and timeliness of the final product.

Fuse: Making Sense of the New Cogenerational Workplace by Jim Finkelstein with Mary Gavin, includes a bonus chapter by Ayelet Baron.

I love to read! A few weeks ago, I went to visit my parents in Northern Canada.  Not only was I looking forward to spending time with them but I was also looking forward to the long plane ride from San Francisco so I could indulge in uninterrupted reading time.  For this trip, I selected a few books includingFuse: Making Sense of the New Cogenerational Workplace”.  My colleague and friend Ayelet Baron, VP Strategy for Cisco Canada, contributed a bonus chapter to the book and I wanted to check it out.

Fuse isn’t just another generations book.  It’s a thought provoking, entertaining and useful read that will have you questioning your beliefs about how to get the most out of generational diversity.  It shows you how to weave together the experience of Boomers and the techno-smarts of Millennials in ways that benefit you and your organization. Authors Jim Finkelstein and Mary Gavin suggest that common points of fusion exist in all of us.

Find out if your organization is cogenerationally savvy, take the Fuse quiz.

There are vast differences between employees fresh out of school and their more seasoned counterparts. As a team, working in more flexible ways gives you a chance to leverage the best qualities of each generation. That means young people can learn how to be professionals at the same time that older or less knowledgeable team members can come up to speed on their technological skills. To find out whether your organization is cogenerationally savvy, take the Fuse quiz. Your results might surprise you.

Are you attracting the right candidates? How much time and effort do you put in crafting the right job description? Does it have the correct tone? Resist the temptation to save time by recycling a generic job description. Instead, you should consider an extra step. The Fuse authors explain the importance of tone and positioning in job descriptions.

A Millennial won’t read past the first sentence of a job description unless it hooks her.  If the first line doesn’t explain why the organization is great and how it’s making a difference in the community, city, county, state, country, world, or universe, chances are the Millennial won’t bother applying.

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Contrast that with the old approach of leading with the laundry list of all the job responsibilities. It might be worth taking the time to audit your job description template to ensure that you include the emotional hook in that key first sentence. In doing so, you’ll have a better chance of enticing high potential candidates to read beyond the first sentence. Consider emphasizing employees, community, and environment. Other considerations (as long as it’s true) are the promise of meaningful work and access to technology.

Does your organization have a reverse mentoring program?  Reverse mentoring was first popularized by former GE Chairman Jack Welsh and it’s been around for about a decade.  It’s a relatively new type of mentoring where the traditional roles are reversed and junior employees take on the role of teacher to their more experienced co-workers. The Millennials are coming into the workforce with networking and global-mindedness skills from which older generations can learn. In addition, Millennials are technology natives who can drive a role reversal by mentoring technology-challenged Boomers.

Read about how Nitin Kawale, President of Cisco Canada benefits from reverse mentoring.

If you don’t have a program in place, the good news is that reverse or reciprocal mentoring can take place within existing company mentoring programs.  What you’re looking to do is match up employees of different generations and encourage them to meet on a regular basis to exchange ideas. Mix and match: don’t restrict mentoring relationships to people of the same gender or same fields. There so much to learn from people who are different from ourselves.

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If you don’t have a program in place, the good news is that reverse or reciprocal mentoring can take place within existing company mentoring programs.  What you’re looking to do is match up employees of different generations and encourage them to meet on a regular basis to exchange ideas. Mix and match: don’t restrict mentoring relationships to people of the same gender or same fields. There so much to learn from people who are different from ourselves.

How frequently do you communicate with your team and how do you do it?

Millennials expect management communication to be:

In person, if the message is really important

There is no need to take time to listen to a voice-mail when you see a number on your smartphone – just hit redial.

From Fuse on “How Millennials view communication”

Millennials are fast becoming an influential factor in the workplace and an increasingly important part of its future. They grew up with computers and cell phones the way Boomers and Gen Xers grew up with typewriters and corded telephones. Boomers see technology as a tool, or even a toy, while younger workers see it as an extension of themselves. Millennials see themselves as “technology natives,” sensible multitaskers who get a lot done. Most of them mix entertainment and work.

The Kids Are Alright: How the Gamer Generation Is Changing the Workplace, by John C. Beck and Mitchell Wade, is an excellent reference on the impact of video games on young people. The authors argue that gamers collect valuable knowledge from their entertainment and that they’re poised to use that knowledge to transform the workplace.

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Move over Stephen Covey, these are the 7 Habits of Highly Typical Gamers 

1. Everyone Can Succeed
Gamers grow up in a world where literally everyone can succeed at just about anything. By working hard enough (and long enough), it is possible for every player to win these games.

2. You Gotta Play the Odds

This generation grows up playing games of chance. There has been a probability algorithm built into almost every game they’ve played.

3. Learn From the Team, Not the Coach
Whenever you can, resist the urge to dint; often you “teach” better by introducing a group of gamers to a problem and then just getting out of the way.

4. Kill Bosses: Trust Strategy Guides
Share hand-won knowledge. Position yourself as a fellow player who has been there and can offer some strategy tips, not as a boss.

5. Watch the Map
Gamers count on the “meta-map” that shows where they are in relation to other players, goals, obstacles, and resources.

6. Can’t See It; Ignore It
The action is all on the surface. This generation can become confused, baffles, even furious when thwarted by unseen forces in organizations.

7. Demand the Right Team
Good gamers flee places where there aren’t enough high-quality players. They do the same in other parts of life as well.

Why not help the gamers you care about find teams that match their level — and their passion for a particular challenge — and you’ll be amazed at what they can do. Are you beginning to see how you can make Millennials’ habits work for you and for the gamification of the business (it will happen whether you like it or not)? Respect is the starting point of any relationship. All it takes is the genuine desire to learn from each other.

Additional Information:

Everything I need to know about business I learned from playing golf

In June 1996, Rick Spence wrote a short column in PROFIT, The Magazine for Canadian Entrepreneurs.  It featured 18 pearls of business wisdom on a backdrop of cartoon like characters acting out the advice (or not).   The column is titled “Everything I need to know about business I learned from playing golf.”  I clipped out that column and pinned it up in my office so that it was always in sight.  My office has moved many times since 1996 but that clipping is still with me and rarely does a day go by when I don’t reflect on it.

“Everything I need to know about business I learned from playing golf” by Rick Spence.

Canadian Business – Profit Magazine, Rick Spence, June 1996

1) Keep your eye on the ball.
2) You can get up really early in the morning when you want to.
3) Every fairway has hazards. Some are just more obvious than others.
4) Follow-through is always more important than it looks.
5) Be quiet when it’s another player’s turn.
6) Always replace your divots.

A divot is the scar left behind when turf is “dug up” by a golf club.

7) Losing your ball isn’t the end of the world.

When you’re having one of those days, you might want to sing along to REM’s “It’s The End of The World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine).  I especially like Newfoundland’s Great Big Sea version because of the dizzying speed at which they sing the song seems to mirror the speed of change we experience in the world today.

8 ) The long ball doesn’t always win.
9) Spending all day at the driving range won’t help your putting.
10) Never hide under a tree in a lightning storm.
11) Sand traps and water hazards are nature’s way of telling you to slow down and aim better.
12) In business, like the PGA tour, par is rarely good enough.

In golf, Par (score) is a predetermined number of strokes that a scratch golfer should require to complete a hole.  The fewer the strokes the better!


13) No matter what you’ve done in the past, you’re only as good as the next hole.
14) Even the pros practice and study.  There is always room for improvement.
15) You can fudge your scorecard, but you only cheat yourself.
16) How you deal with the 19th hole is at least as important as how you handle the other 18.
17) Love what you’re doing and you’ll never get too old.
18) Never wear your cleats in the clubhouse.

 What do you keep around your office and how is it helpful to you?


Interview with Rick Spence:  Insights into Innovation: An Interview with Business Guru, Rick Spence