This week, there were two networking sessions on my calendar; the first, an Open Mixer for Boston World Partnerships, and the second, an all-day conference, Promote Your Passion, where entrepreneurs and a series of experts met to talk about building stronger businesses through innovative marketing, sales, networking and charismatic relationships.

The theme of the conference was clear.  Connectivity is today’s new currency. Without relationships there are no sales, and without sales, there is no business.

Here are some takeaways you may like to add as Insider Secrets:

  • At your next networking event, meet 5 people, and connect with each of them for 5 minutes. The key people are: the Speaker; the Organizer; and 3 yappers. Yappers are always talking to people, have a crowd around them, and never talk to other yappers.
  • Don’t bring business cards to networking sessions. Just bring a sharpie. Write one of two notes; Dud (in code) or *. Follow up with the stars and ask how you can help them (by asking the right questions). Make a coffee date and begin a relationship. Don’t ask for business, just ask how you can help.
  • Buy from network marketers, instead of Target for items you need (and are available by those same network marketers). In fact, buy one item from each marketer who sells the item you need, because each of those marketers know hundreds of people.
  • Find out which Facebook groups those marketers are in, and join those groups. With each new contact, there are hundreds of prospective customers.
  • If you’re in business, use your phone message as a branded marketing opportunity. One of my colleagues has a company that “brings back desire” in relationships. If she added a weekly intimacy tip to her voice mail, and promoted it on Facebook and Twitter, she might double her mailing list. In fact, her phone might ring off the hook.
  • And lastly, be creative with your marketing. You know all those pre-paid envelopes that come in the mail? (Love this), send your marketing material back in the same envelope, and ask the recipient to pass it on.  Why not, right?

Loving the ideas from the 33rd floor and hope you do too!

Special Thanks to Casey Eberhart who shared this information. 

About a week ago, I was at a restaurant and heard an expression that I wasn’t familiar with.  I asked our server, who was from Toronto, to repeat the phrase, and asked what she meant by the expression, “All talk – No rock.”

As I listened, it reminded me of what I know as “Actions speak louder than words.” And, whichever expression you’re more familiar with, I’m a believer.

Talk is cheap. Actions do speak louder than words.

So, why do people promise and not perform? To be polite? Because in the moment they want to please? Or, is it easier to ‘yes’ someone, and not deal with the disappointment of a no, or an explanation of a ‘why not’?

Truthfully, it could be a combination of reasons. But, if you happen to depend on an all talk – no rock person for something important in your life, or business, you may already know to have a backup plan, just in case.

All talk – no rock people eventually build a reputation as non-perfomers and risk being earmarked as undependable – not necessarily the first time, but perhaps down the road.

If you’re all talk and no rock, all talk and no rock, all talk and no rock, eventually people will believe you.

That’s how reputations are born.

A reputation is an awful thing to waste.

Make yours count.

Last week, I had an opportunity to attend a breakfast on Regenerative Medicine, a subject which has always fascinated me.  I decided early in the year to go to new and interesting talks as part of my plan for 2012 to hear about ideas, different from my everyday world, and get insights to inspire my current thinking.

At the breakfast, I caught the eye of a young man who smiled warmly at me.  I returned the smile and focused on the presentation at hand, about stem cells, and the research being done at Boston University which was impressive.

At the end of the event, this young man, two seats away, introduced himself.  Much to my surprise, he was my next door neighbor over 25 years ago.

Handsome, smart, a PhD Angel Investor and CEO , he told me over coffee what an impact I had on his life as a young boy, giving him his first job and being a role model as a female entrepreneur.

I sat rather quietly, listening to a 12 year old’s memories of my spirited work, non-traditional entrepreneurial efforts, and first- hand stories of me, as his neighbor.  It was interesting to note that the joyful entrepreneur — and attractor of opportunities and financial success that I am drawn to — was sitting across from me.  In a flash, I witnessed not only the passing of time, but the overwhelming importance of our impact on children and how we, whether we know it or not, can influence others.

Twice last week I have been touched by such stories.

Is there a next door neighbor in your life? Is it a little boy?  A troubled teen?  An elderly woman feeling vulnerable? An entrepreneur who needs an encouraging word?

You never know when you can make an impact. Even when you’re just being you.

About two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting a new client, a prominent TV network in the Arts, at the W Hotel in Boston. We connected through a referral (thank you so much) and I made it a point to drive from my lake house in New Hampshire to meet downtown. I was looking forward to hearing first-hand about the Shakespeare on the Common project, and event details of All’s Well that Ends Well.

At the end of my meeting, the bartender, a lovely woman who was serving us iced tea, asked what I did for work. I explained that my mission was to help entrepreneurs increase their business, get recognition in the marketplace, and the attention they deserve. She replied, “I’d like your card.”

Little did I know that my conversation at the bar must have made an impact. A give and take of ideas. A little of this, and a little of that; jazzed up promotions, speaking gigs, lead generation, special referral offers, and events. A marketing guy and a promotions coach/company. The kind of talk you’d expect from two like-minded folk sharing a mid-afternoon tea at the W (and, not a Long Island Iced Tea)!

This week, I met with the same bartender, who happens to also be a fabulous boot designer with a unique twist, and niche market. She brought four samples of boots to Panera Bread and shared her business ideas. They were thought through, very creative, and ready for the next phase of her business launch.

She overheard a conversation, and believed in me enough to inquire. But, more importantly, to take the leap of faith, because I’m sure she hears a lot at the bar.

I’m taking the liberty of changing the meaning of a phrase. Today, “to give someone the boot”, means totally opposite of what you may think. It means “Let’s go for it.” Let’s talk to Nordstrom’s. Let’s get the boots in the hands of celebrities. Let’s create a story around them, and ultimately, let’s give back to kids with cancer, because that’s what’s important to the bartender – my new client.

What’s your boot? What have you overheard lately that’s made you want to find out more? Nothing come to mind?

Meet me over an iced tea, and let’s see who’s listening.

When I was little, my Mom told me never to talk to strangers. I knew she had her reasons, and being the good doobie that I was, I didn’t talk to many of them — until I got older and realized, that I liked talking to strangers. Why? I never knew what to expect, and I liked meeting new people and listening to different ideas.

In my tweens, I learned how to harness the power of interaction and looked for opportunities to connect with others. My Dad owned a recording studio, and I worked there part-time, as a receptionist. I met actors, musicians, writers, producers, entertainers, sports figures, and teams of people that worked behind the scenes. Life, from my perspective, seemed full of drama. I watched, listened, and learned. I still remember the buzz.

Probably no surprise that I majored in Communications, and eventually loved talking to strangers. What did they do? Where did they work? What made them tick? How could they be so talented, or not – and succeed? Talking to people you don’t know, for years on end, can give you the ability to laser focus at a glance, and develop confidence to talk to anyone, at any time. Heck, talking to strangers can even lead to meeting new friends, colleagues, potential roommates, husbands, wives, even prospective clients!

This past month, I met two entrepreneurs at Staples and both will work with me. Had I not chatted it up at the Copy Center, I might have not met these wonderfully talented individuals with so much “intellectual property” in their vault. My guess is they’ll be earning interest very soon from an eager community who want to learn from them. And, they too, will most likely be strangers.

If you have an inner circle of colleagues and friends, you know who they are. Clearly, they aren’t strangers. But, the other five billion plus people who live on our planet are.

Who would you like to meet, talk to, and share insights with? Who would you like to work with, write for, or ask to dance?

In all likelihood, it could be a stranger today.

Tomorrow? You tell me.

Today at my Make Money Monday stop at Starbucks, I had more company than ever before. What a treat to have an unexpected visit from the Totally Ottersome characters who are looking for a ten million dollar movie deal, and want to be on Ellen, and an event planner and hospitality expert from Gloucester, who knew she had a two hour window to meet with me for spot coaching. It was an added treat to sit and talk a bit with an entrepreneur just back from Barcelona, Spain, now in the cruise and hospitality business. Funny how our lively little group connected, and work possibilities were created, just by being open and reaching out in conversation.

Without a doubt, I know that opportunities come from other people. Beyond our wildest dreams. The guy you met at Starbucks last week? Next year, he could be your biggest customer, or the Director of Marketing for your start-up. The woman in line you followed up with? A potential angel investor who may fund your dream.

If you want to grow your business, and make more profits – you’ve got to talk with people. It can be anywhere. In life, there’s no blueprint for who you’re going to meet, and what that relationship may or may not deliver. There’s just possibility.

The energy of business is about the energy of connection. The art of getting to know someone.

People buy from people they like, so be a friend, and make friends wherever you go.

It can be just that easy.

Often when we feel like business is down or we missed an opportunity, we have a tendency to get “down” on ourselves.

But, little do we know that those setbacks, or what appear to be setbacks, are just little breathers – or spacers, as I like to call them, there to make us stop and re-analyze a situation and take note of “what is” and “ what isn’t” for real – in any given situation.

Take for example an event, where attendance is less than you expected. You prepared. You created material. You called in a videographer. You practiced. And had every intention of “rockin’ the crowd”. But, you were disappointed in the turnout.

The truth is: You had half the audience than you “expected.”

The Silver lining is this:

  • You made an impression to whoever showed up, and engaged them as your primary focus
  • You practiced your speech/talk/presentation so you’ll be better next time
  • You created handouts for your next event, and took that item off your to-do list
  • You have video footage, or audio snippets you can use in sales and marketing materials, including podcasts, social media, You Tube, pitches, promotional DVD’s
  • You took advantage of the one-on-one opportunity to connect with the organizers and hosts of the event, and can capitalize on that connection and relationship to get to the next level
  • Your brain kicked into “Ferrari gear” to make lemons out of lemonade, and it worked!

Most of you know I am an optimist, and believe that everything happens for a reason.

When you’re having one of those moments where the clouds are hanging low, STOP. Look at what this situation may be teaching you, and learn from it. Think about how you can use it to your advantage.

Most entrepreneurs have the uncanny ability to think on their feet.

Take the cloud and re-invent it, just as you do every day, in business and in life, to make it work for you.

By Shaunna Gately
MILTON —Strategist Robin Samora helps professionals, entrepreneurs and small businesses with the launch of her new personal coaching business Let’s Make You Shine. The Milton resident started the business coaching service last June, as part of her event planning and marketing firm Partner Promotions Inc.

During her 20-year career as a business strategist, Samora worked with many large corporations. But she said she started Let’s Make You Shine as a way to give back to aspiring entrepreneurs who need solid business advice.

Samora reviews different aspects of a client’s business, including what is being done in the marketplace and how her clients are presenting themselves. Samora goes a step further to develop a rapport with her clients to help manage their day-to-day struggles as well as their long-term goals.

“I help people that are ready to make a difference and do something big with their life,” Samora said. “That’s the kind of person that I like to work with. I’ve worked a lot with my own coaches … and I think that’s what really opened my eyes, is learning about really what’s serving you in your life and what’s not.”

Samora meets with her clients for a couple of two-hour sessions each month, and tries to hold her clients accountable for sticking with the strategic plans they develop.

Samora has been taking her business savvy on the road by hosting a business strategy tour, a series of informal talks at coffee houses throughout the Boston area.

The events are coined “Make Money Mondays” and are part of her push to spread the word about her new business. Samora’s tours finish at the end of June but will resume in September.

“I’ve worked with all different kinds of people to help motivate them, to get them where they need to go,” Samora said. “When they finish with me, my goal is for them to see themselves in such a different light and they are just beside themselves, so happy.”

Shaunna Gately may be reached at sgately@ledger.com.

Read more: http://www.patriotledger.com/article/20110510/NEWS/305109255/

I’m in the middle of planning a promotional campaign for my events company, Partner Promotions, and am always open to new ideas that are presented to me. Sometimes I find them (or they find me) in the least expected places. One such moment came on Saturday, as I was perusing the colorful fruit aisles at BJ’s.

Relaxed, and in my own world, I couldn’t help but notice the lush display of pineapples, which happened to be my Dad’s favorite fruit. Quickly, I was taken back to my younger years, watching my Dad carve the fruit into shapes that delighted me. The sweetness of the fruit and his artful presentation always brought me joy.

As my subconscious mind remembered the past, my conscious mind clicked into gear and remembered the pineapple as the international symbol of hospitality. At $1.99 each, my mind raced. The pineapple could not only be a unique promotional piece, but a sweet deal as well!

These lovely pineapples (with a fun and targeted companion printed piece) will most likely be my kick off promotional piece sent to PR agencies, Ad agencies or major companies that need “hospitality” at events. Golf tournaments, sports events, grand openings, trade shows, business expos or community initiatives. Let’s face it, hospitality is working with people. Putting your best foot forward with Brand Ambassadors who are meeters and greeters, spread goodwill, and welcome friends and prospects alike, who may one day be fans or buying customers.

Thinking out of the box and being authentic with your own message works.

That is, if you work it.

Your message to the core of who you are.

How sweet is that?

As many of you know, besides my business at Let’s Make You Shine, I have a promotions and events business called Partner Promotions Inc.

For the last ten years, we have promoted products and services in a very big way. We have wonderful brand ambassadors and reps who go into the marketplace and showcase the clients we represent, and also create and execute and events, according to a clients’ needs – and again – bring out their best! In case you’ve never knew that, take a look here.

The reason I bring this up is because one of my staff, Sharlene, is taking her dream job to be on what I call, “The Love Boat.” This past week, we had a small farewell get-together for her, and she came with some new “couch surfing” friends from here and abroad, some of whom were staying at her house. This young group, all in their young to late twenties, opened my eyes to what we may be missing in our own lives, by being totally focused on work, and not paying attention to making time for “fun.”

There were six of us, and I asked the question: “What does happiness mean to you?”

In no particular order, here’s what they said.

“Money and the ability it affords me to travel, and have freedom. Alignment with who you are. Friendship and support and nice weather in the Caribbean on the east side of an Espanola island. Freedom and travel. Doing your own thing to be yourself, to do what you want to do.”

Then, my colleague made this statement. “Happiness is different at different parts of your life. In your 20’s it’s one way, your 30’s and 40’s and so on. Each decade is different, but only you can decide.”

After that thought settled in, another friend and Couch Surfer told us one of his favorite quotes: “Happiness is only real when shared.” (Christopher McCandless)

On that, we raised our glasses, wished Sharlene a safe Bon Voyage, and celebrated our new friendships.

Share some happiness today.