What Do You Know About Networking
Networking is a vital connection to helpful information, and potential students. The question therefore should be, how are your networking skills? Answer these questions?
1. Do you look for ways that your resources and information can help others fulfill their personal and professional goals?
2. Do you know at least 50 people well enough (professionally or in the community) to call and say, “Hi, this is ,” and they know who you are and what your skills and talents are?
3. Do you belong to at least four professional or community organizations, and are you visibly active in them?
4. At social and business events are you comfortable with introductions, can you remember names, and do you introduce people to one another?
5. When people ask, “What do you do?” do you avoid long, confusing job titles and explain your work simply but vividly?
6. In conversation do you let people know the kind of problems that you can solve, or the results you have previously accomplished so they can refer potential customers to you and your school?
7. When you exchange business cards with someone is it because you have discovered a reason to do so?
8. Do you find appropriate ways to say, “Thank you,” when someone gives you information or a referral.
If you say NO to any of these questions you will need to relearn what you think you know about networking.
GIVE MORE THAN YOU GET
There’s a tribe in the mountains of New Guinea where a persons status depends on how much he gives away. Make that your networking model. Look for ways your resources can help others get what they want and need.
If you help enough people get what they want… …you will get what you want.
TALK PROBLEM SOLVING
Do your conversations sound like this?
Hi, how are you?
This is a dead end routine. Next time, be ready when someone asks, “What’s new?” Tell a recent success, insight or experience. Make your answer an interesting story that shows what problems you can solve. Things that you are able to regularly do and people you have been able to help.
Here is a conversation with someone who knows how to network.
When John asked Cynthia
She replied, “Lots, Our school has twenty new students, we just had one student who came to us with a physical disability pass his police academy physical. He was so happy at all of the improvements he has made in our school in only 1 years time! We were very proud of him”
SAY WHAT YOU DO
When you introduce yourself avoid long complicated job titles. Say what you do!
Notice the difference:
Hello, I’m Master Thomas Patrick Jones Samdan Taekwon Do, Eedan Hapkido, Sadan Tangsoo Do
Hello, I’m Thom Jones. I help people build strong minds and bodies through martial arts.
The first answer often draws the response, “Oh that’s nice.”
The second answer grabs people. They often start telling stories about weaknesses they have, and how they wish they could fix them. It is then your job to explain how you can help them do just that!
AVOID THE CARDBOARD CONNECTION
Business cards are a beneficial and great advertizing tool. They can produce a valuable way to market your school and entice possible and potential students. However, handing out your business cards to everyone you meet only makes a cardboard connection. Haven’t you emptied your pockets, looked at the cards and wondered why you bothered to bring them home in the first place? Instead, pour your conversational energy into finding a real connection.
A good solid business reason to exchange your cards is if someone asks you for your card, give them your card. Then tell them why they need it.
“I hope that when you decide to start a fitness, or stress relief program, you’ll give me a call.”
Inquire as to the work that they are involved with and ask them for a card. If possible, try to retain them in a folder and refer back to them when you or someone you know are in need of similar or same services.
DO MORE THAN JOIN
Unfortunately people think they have a network because they belong to a couple of organizations. Not so. You can pay your dues, go to events, get your name in the directory and still not have a network. Networks are created slowly, conversation by conversation, exchange by exchange.
Decide carefully which organizations to join and exactly how you will become visible in them. People used to say, rather cynically, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” But what you know is very important. This is your expertise and what you have to offer. Make sure you know who is important. They are the people you will call on for information and support, but far more importantly, that they know you.
Use organizations to demonstrate your expertise. This way when people think of the Martial Arts in their business or private life your name will flash in their minds in big neon lights. Once you get your network working, your great connections will lead to great opportunities for you !
HOW TO BUILD STRONG COMMUNITY RELATIONS
We must explore the process that most prospective students go through in their search for a martial arts school. They have noticed you in the yellow pages, or perhaps their interest was stirred by and ad or flyer they saw. Whatever the reason for their generated interest you can be sure they will most probably make their decision to call certain schools based on the perception of those schools in the community. They will ask questions of their friends, neighbors, and coworkers. They will want to know many things about each school. They will be interested in the philosophy (i.e. do they train mini-rambo’s or well disciplined youth). They will question the instructors teaching attitude (i.e. do they give it all they have and enjoy what they do, or do they seem like it’s a chore to teach). They will question,” What have you done for the community? This is why community relations is a vital part of the growth of your school.
There are many ways to establish your schools much needed community relations. They range from the mild to the wild. You should start with a few simple things, then increase your efforts as your resources grow~ You can incorporate any or all of the following ideas to build good community relations:
1. Sponsor a Kick-a-Thon for a charity
2. Donate to your local school fund-raisers
3. Join the Chamber of Commerce
4. Sponsor a local Tee-ball, soccer, or hockey team.
5. Offer FREE demonstrations to all community organizations, including but not limited to:
6. Community Centers
7. Girl Scout /Boy Scout Troops
8. City Hall Sponsor a Child Safety Day.
Organizations such as F.U.M.A. and I.K.D.A. can give you many great ideas.
9. Sponsor a team of students to compete in neighborhood Bowl-a-thons, Walk-a-thons, etc.
10. Take out ads in as many school yearbooks as you can afford.
11. Make sure you get your company car washed at fundraising car washes.
12. Start a $100 scholarship award for all local graduating High School senior’s
13. Start an academic achievement program in your school.., then make sure you enforce it !!
14. Give your school age children special award certificates to present to their teacher’s on National Teacher Appreciation Day. You may also want to explain to your students that National Teacher Appreciation Day was founded by a martial artist (Grandmaster Jhoon Rhee).
These are just some of the ideas you can use to begin on your road to a strong and healthy community relationship. These connections with other support systems and organizations will help you connect with others that look for activities such as a martial art school.
The most important thing for you to remember is to follow up on your initial actions. If you just throw money at charities and expect people to respect you, you are soon to be sorely disappointed. You must be actively involved in some of your projects. This will show your genuine concern, and will help you to relax and break up the daily grind we often create for ourselves. You can some up in two easy sentences. Find someone with a genuine need. Help them to fill their need. That my friend is community relations!