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A Community for the Influential & Professional Woman

I am an extrovert. I like meeting new people and often make a point to do so while traveling, while out to dinner or even in the elevator. Meeting and talking with new people is, honestly, a favorite thing of mine. So gearing up for my first formal networking event, I put on my new black pumps and suit dress, made up my hair and makeup, and felt ready.

Published in Career
Wednesday, 30 March 2016 00:00

How to Avoid a Networking Disaster

Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, networking is a necessary evil—unless, of course, you work in a cave and are required to stay in said cave and never leave. Most of us in the professional world need to attend lunches, evening soirees and breakfast events to grow our network and to build mutually beneficial relationships; this is also referred to as business development. It isn't that hard, right? You just show up, have a couple of drinks, make conversation, and BOOM!—a great relationship is born. Wouldn't it be great if it were really that easy?

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 19 August 2015 00:00

Get Your Network On With These Organizations

get-your-network-on-web


We have an in-house networking busy bee at our office. She's constantly forwarding us invitations to cocktail hours, meet and greets, and even bowling leagues. At this point, we could probably canvas the city of Grand Rapids in a single week and cover every professional organization, meeting, and person of interest based off of her information alone.

Published in Career
Thursday, 14 May 2015 00:00

Making an Impression

It may not be whom you know, but who knows you.

As an intelligent, educated, hardworking woman, you may think, "I've got it made."

Published in Career
Thursday, 19 March 2015 10:18

Golf Newbies, Take Note

Golfing as business networking—we hear about this all the time. If you're not out on the links, you're missing opportunities to develop relationships, discuss business, and keep up on industry news.

Published in Cityscene
Thursday, 09 October 2014 00:00

Networking When You’re an Introvert

Introverts value quiet time—it's what recharges them. Introverts value in-depth conversation, but making small talk can feel draining. While we all acknowledge the importance of building a professional network, networking events can be stressful for introverts.

Published in Career

I was never a fan of the cocktail party-variety networking scene. I will never be one to dart around a room shoving business cards into people’s hands. I prefer meaningful conversations with people, getting to know them and vice versa. But social media networking? That’s something different altogether. Done right, it’s never a hit-and-run. Rather, it consists of building relationships over months and even years by sharing information—both professional and personal—through posts, comments, and responding to questions in various online communities.

What’s the return on investment, the ROI, for putting that kind of time into social media? Actually, it’s called the RON: the “return on networking.” And for me, it’s huge.

I’ve been on Facebook for five years; I also have Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn accounts, among others. All totaled, I’m now approaching one hundred thousand friends, followers, and connections. Those followers expose my name and message to their audiences every time they “Like” one of my posts or share one of my links. Recently, someone re-tweeted something I’d shared on Twitter—and he had 130,000 followers! That’s a potential audience of 130,000 people I likely would have never reached otherwise.

Talk about exposure!

Who knows how many of those people may someday become my clients? Who cares? I’ll still consider the exposure a good return on networking. Here’s why.

The RON of social media isn’t always tangible; not immediately, anyway. By establishing a continued presence online through regularly sharing content of use to my followers, I’m building my platform and my reputation as an expert. That grows in surprising ways, and it lives in surprising places. 

Just being on Twitter or Google+ isn’t enough, of course. You have to make a diligent effort to regularly post content that people find valuable, including links to informative articles, tips relevant to your topic, and/or informed insights on topics in the news. 

You also have to “be a human." Post photos of your vacations, celebrating milestones, or engaging in hobbies. Posting those photos with a comment adds a personal touch that allows followers to connect on a more emotional level.

Interaction is equally important. Strive to respond to every comment or question posted on your networking sites. Interacting is engaging, and people who are engaged tend to be happy followers. The more you take part in conversations via comments and responses, the more lively and visible your presence becomes.

The RON includes increased traffic to your website, increased trust in your brand and what you’re selling, and greater word of mouth than you could ever hope for by attending a cocktail party or even a speaking engagement.

Written by: Marsha Friedman

 

Published in Career
Thursday, 24 May 2012 12:09

Help Wanted and Needed

ErikaWest Michigan Woman magazine hit the road and headed to Muskegon last night for the third in a series of focus groups and networking mixers intended to spread the world about our print edition and gather input on what we've done and where we're going as a magazine. The first two get togethers were held in Grand Rapids and Holland. I grew up in Hamilton, so I understand the tight-knit, it's-a-small-world-after-all atmosphere that lingers on the lakeshore and makes its home around every corner of this place. But I was pleasantly surprised at the diversity in opinion we encountered in the various corners of the region.

Of all the women we met, we asked the same questions like what was your initial impression of West Michigan Woman magazine, and what do you think about it today? Although the list of questions remained for the most part the same, the answers we received were shockingly different. We've taken this to heart in order to infuse your ideas and stay true to our mission, to provide timely and relevant content related to the MANY facets of women's lives in West Michigan.

But while the needs of women in the various reaches of our demographic may differ, there is one thing that does not waver from town to town–passion. We are so thankful for your honesty, your input, and your constructive suggestions. We are your magazine, and we want to reflect the coming together of professional and influential women in our home towns on every page.

With the launch of the first print edition of West Michigan Woman magazine coming August 2, we still need your help! We're looking for your ideas of women to profile and stories to research and publish. E-mail us your ideas, or give us a call anytime! We are looking forward to serving you, our fellow colleagues, from all over West Michigan.

Written by: Erika Fifelski is the West Michigan Woman magazine editorial coordinator. She was born and raised in West Michigan, and after a brief stint on the sunrise side, she's home and loving it. Erika enjoys cooking, vacuuming, and discovering new ways to live sustainably and support local businesses. Photo: West Michigan Woman magazine Muskegon Networking Mixer

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 16 May 2012 08:54

Green Drinks

The public is invited to attend Green Drinks at the City Sen Lounge at City Flats Hotel at 83 Monroe Center in Grand Rapids on Thursday, May 17 from 5-7 p.m. Sponsored this month by Moms Clean Air Force, Green Drinks is a networking event of employees working in the environmental field. The events attract a lively mixture of people from NGOs, academia, government, and business. All are welcome to attend.

These events are very simple and unstructured, but many people have found employment, made friends, developed new ideas, done deals, and had moments of serendipity. It's a force for the good. Contact your local node to get the latest info about joining in the events in the future.

Source: Green Drinks

Published in Cityscene
Tuesday, 10 April 2012 13:55

Take Your Career to the Next Level

Even if no one else is taking the first step, you can be a leader among colleagues and prove to the business world that your skills are valuable and necessary for company growth. Take your work to the next level with innovative tactics that set you, and your company apart. Try these ways of ramping up innovation in your every day work life.

Have a wide scope. Coming up with fresh ideas to increase business or productivity employs out-of-the-box thinking. Do something you've never tried before, take a risk, and aim to improve your exposure to consumers. 

Think like a customer. Imagine yourself in the customer's shoes. What would you want or expect from the company for which you work? How can you go above and beyond these expectations to anticipate the needs of current or potential clients?

Branch out and latch on. Networking with other businesses in your industry can help you to develop a business model that will fit the needs of your community as well as stay one step ahead of the curve. Communicate often with your clients as well, and take feedback into consideration. Ask for advice, and turn it into action. 

Published in Career

 

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