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Archive for April, 2014

3 Mistakes to Avoid When Networking

We all know networking has the potential to dramatically enhance our careers; making new connections can introduce us to valuable new information, job opportunities, and more. But despite that fact, many of us are doing it wrong — and I don’t just mean the banal error of trading business cards at a corporate function and not following up properly. Many executives, even when they desperately want to cultivate a new contact, aren’t sure how to get noticed and make the right impression.

I’ve certainly been there. Years ago, I was a speaker at a tech conference — as was a bestselling author. By chance, we met in the speakers lounge and, massively unprepared, I fell back on platitudes. It’s great to meet you! I love your work! I handed him my card. If you’re ever in Boston, it’d be a pleasure to meet up! He hasn’t called, and frankly, I’m not surprised.

We’re all busy, but it’s hard to imagine the volume of requests that well-known leaders receive. Reputation.com founder and fellow HBR blogger Michael Fertik told me he receives anywhere from 500-1000 emails per day, and describes it as “a huge tax on my life.” Wharton professor Adam Grant, who was profiled by the New York Times for his mensch-like habit of doing almost anyone a “five minute favor” was rewarded for his generosity by being inundated with 3500 emails from strangers hitting him up. “I underestimated how many people read the New York Times,” he jokes.

Grant does get back to the people who write him — he even had to hire an assistant to help — but most people at the top don’t have the time management skills (or the desire) to pull that off. If you want to network successfully with high-level professionals, you have to inspire them to want to connect with you. Through hard-won experience, I’ve learned some of the key mistakes aspiring networkers make in their quest to build relationships, and how to avoid them.

Misunderstanding the pecking order. The “rules” for networking with peers are pretty straightforward: follow up promptly, connect with them on LinkedIn, offer to buy them coffee or lunch. I’ve had great success with this when reaching out to people I had an equal connection to: we’re both bloggers for the same publication, or serve on a charity committee together, for example. People want to congregate with their peers to trade ideas and experiences; your similarity alone is enough reason for them to want to meet you.

But the harsh truth is those rules don’t work for people who are above you in status. The bestselling author at the tech conference had no idea who I was, and no reason to. My book hadn’t yet been released, and his had sold hundreds of thousands of copies; he was keynoting the entire conference, and I was running a much smaller concurrent session. We make mistakes when we fail to grasp the power dynamics of a situation. It would be nice if Richard Branson or Bill Gates wanted to hang out with me “just because,” but that’s unlikely. If I’m going to connect with someone far better known than I am, I need to give them a very good reason.

Asking to receive before you give. You may have plenty of time to have coffee with strangers or offer them advice. Someone who receives 1000 emails a day does not. Asking for their time, in and of itself, is an imposition unless you can offer them some benefit upfront. Canadian social media consultant Debbie Horovitch managed to build relationships with business celebrities like Guy Kawasaki and Mike Michalowicz by inviting them to be interviewed for her series of Google+ Hangouts focused on how to become a business author. Instead of asking them for “an hour of their time” to get advice on writing a book, she exposed them to a broader audience and created content that’s permanently available online.

Failing to specifically state your value proposition. Top professionals don’t have time to weed through all the requests they get to figure out which are dross and which are gold. You have to be very explicit, very quickly, about how you can help. My incredibly weak “Let’s meet up in Boston!” isn’t going to cut it. Instead, you need to show you’re familiar with the person’s work and have thought carefully about how you can help them, not the other way around. Tim Ferriss of The 4-Hour Workweek fame blogs about how his former intern Charlie Hoehn won him over with a detailed pitch, including Charlie’s self-created job description touting his ability to help create a promotional video for Ferriss and an online “micro-network” for fans of his books.

Networking is possibly the most valuable professional activity we can undertake. But too often, we’re inadvertently sabotaging our own best efforts by misreading power dynamics, failing to give first, and not making our value proposition clear. Fixing those crucial flaws can help us connect with the people we want and need to meet to develop our careers.

The story was originally published on the HBR Blog Network.

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

Sitting All Day? 6 Easy Ways to Get Healthy at Work

For most office employees, working at a desk for eight or more hours a day is unavoidable. But as many Americans now know, spending all that time glued to your seat can really take a toll on your physical and mental health.

“In an office environment, you spend most of your working hours sitting in meetings or in front of a computer screen,” said Jamie Russo, chief of work and wellness at co-working office space Enerspace. “Aside from the physical hazards of sitting — such as the increased risks of heart disease, diabetes and cancer — there’s a productivity benefit to giving yourself a mental break. It’s so important to unchain yourself from your desk and give your body and mind a chance to recover.”

Encouraging a culture of wellness in the office begins with its leaders, said Russo. “Walking the walk” at work each day (figuratively and literally) can inspire your employees to do the same.

“Leaders should take walks around the office, make use of the company gym and eat lunch in the cafeteria rather than at a desk,” Russo advised. “A company may spend money on employee wellness programs, but if its leadership isn’t sending the message that it’s OK to take a gym break or have a walking meeting, then it’s wasted money.”

Russo, along with business furniture company turnstone, suggested these six simple ways to start improving your health and wellness at work today:

–– Diversify your posture throughout the day. There are plenty of ways to stay active during the workday and offset some of the damage done by sitting all day. Swap out your regular chair for an active seat like a yoga ball for a few hours, or spend a portion of the day working at a height-adjusted standing desk. You can also walk while you’re taking your next conference call, to give you a physical and mental change of pace.

–– Get up and talk to co-workers. Every few hours, walk around and talk to a different person for 10 to 15 minutes.Not only will these short breaks improve circulation and reduce eyestrain and buildup of muscle tension, but they’ll also help you foster better relationships with employees, and might spark fresh ideas.

–– Purposely leave your brown bag at home. A packed lunch is often healthier and less expensive than take-out alternatives, but once in a while, force yourself to go out and pick up lunch to get away from your desk.

–– Run errands during your workday. If your schedule allows for it, save quick errands — like depositing a check at the bank — for work hours. You’ll get some fresh air and a mental break from the task at hand, and you can cross off the task from your after-work to-do list.

–– Close your eyes and breathe. Meditation is becoming a more popular way to stay focused and reduce stress at work. Sneak in 10 deep breaths while you’re getting your morning coffee or even at your desk when you put the phone down after a call.

The story was originally published on Business News Daily.

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

3 Ways to Maintain Work-Life Balance While Staying Connected

In an increasingly mobile environment with a business clock that runs 24-7, many entrepreneurs use their smartphones and tablets to stay connected to both their customers and business partners no matter where they are.

“A lot of small businesses deal with other small businesses, so it’s important to communicate when it works for both parties,” said Mike Pugh, vice president of marketing at digital business solutions provider j2 Global. “It might be early in the morning, late at night, or on a lunch hour. You need to be able to take a message and access information to keep a deal in motion.”

However, just because you can be reached constantly through your mobile devices doesn’t mean you should be. “You should avoid being available all the time to everyone, or available to no one,” Pugh told Business News Daily. “Use technology to make yourself accessible in the right ways to the right people at the right time.”

Pugh offered the following mobile tech strategies to help people stay accessible while still maintaining their work-life balance:

1) Take your time and single-task. With online faxing and a digitized signature, you can send an important fax from anywhere while you’re doing other things. But when you multitask, you’re far more likely to make errors. Step away from what you’re doing so you can give the business task your undivided attention.

2) Don’t take calls unless it’s quiet. Projecting professionalism and seriousness is just as important as being responsive. Before you take or return an important call from a prospect while you’re out of the office, make sure you’re in a quiet environment first.

3) Find solutions that work on any platform. You need to be able to use whatever device  is available to you at the time to conduct your business. The software and programs you choose to run your operations should behave the same way on your phone, tablet and desktop.

The story was originally published on Business News Daily.

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

National Rankings for the Boise Valley

The Boise Valley, home of The Sundance Company since 1976, has been recognized in several high-profile publications by ranking the city as one of the best places in the United States to do business and live. Below are some of the recent accolades:

 

#10 Best Place to Invest in Housing 2014
Forbes | February 2014

Top 24 Best Places to Live & Work 2014
Sunset Magazine | February 2014

Top 25 Best Places to Retire in 2014
Forbes | January 2014

#12 in Top 100 Places to Live 2014
Livability.com | October 2013

#12 Healthiest State
AmericasHealthRankings.org | December 2013



#9 Best State for Expected Job Growth
Forbes, September 2013



#4 Best State for Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneur Magazine, August 2013

 

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.