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Education resource for the group travel supplier


I recently received a LinkedIn request from someone I worked with years ago. She'd lost her job, through position elimination, and wanted to reconnect to see if I might be able to offer some assistance. It had been several years (five or more) since we’d even worked together. We were connected on Facebook, but that only gets you so far in staying in touch with your professional network.

The Point?

So many people avoid finishing, updating, or keeping their LinkedIn profile current. It is similar to your online resume, and is a great place to connect with other like-minded professionals. Add in the wide range of groups for professional associations, local networking groups, and skill-based groups and there are untold amounts of people with whom you could connect and build relationships.

Build your online network before you need it. Your network is something that is built, cultivated, and is active. It’s not a stagnant list of people on LinkedIn that you never see or never interact with. Be visible, have conversations, share stories, comment on posts and updates, Be There!

Where do you begin?

  • Make sure your profile is 100% complete. LinkedIn has a step by step guide to help you finish it.
  • Search out groups with similar interests, professional associations, or even keywords related to your profession or professions that you may work with through your job. Join them.
  • Connect with people. Don’t be afraid to connect with those who reach out to you, or others you might find interesting. You never know what types of conversations could take place if you don’t make the first move.
  • Participate. You’ll see discussions in groups, questions about your industry or profession, even conversations with local people where you can certainly “chime in.”

What’s In It For You?

  • Professional growth
  • People who are familiar with who you are, what you do, and your capabilities may refer business to you, or think of you for job openings that might not even be posted yet.
  • Help when you need it—connections who can introduce you to a decision maker or an employer
  • A network who can support you when you need it most, and who don’t see you as using them because you’ve already built that relationship

LinkedIn and building your online professional network can be confusing and intimidating. However, it is something that is a necessity in today’s digital world. There are a lot of other ways to utilize LinkedIn from business development, recruiting, active job seeking, and much more. But start with building your profile and connecting with people. Then those other things become a bit easier.

Contact me to help you use LinkedIn more effectively. And if I can’t help you,  connect with Mike Yoder. He teaches different classes on how to use LinkedIn for individuals (beginner and advanced), for sales teams, and even for recruiters and HR departments and he runs the LinkedUp Grand Rapids website and LinkedIn group, which has more than eleven thousand members. I highly recommend him as a resource.

And, let’s connect on LinkedIn, too.

Written by: Rebecca Dutcher

Wednesday, 13 February 2013 04:44

5 Resolutions for Your Business in 2013

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Almost on a daily basis, news reports detail the marketplace factors that can affect businesses large and small. No matter what the potentially game-changing info coming out of Washington, D.C., or China, though, there are winning strategies that not only endure but should be part of every workplace’s culture, says financial expert and small-business advocate Chris Hurn. 

“With some merit, analysts are always reviewing contingencies that may change investments by businesses; most recently, the ‘fiscal cliff.’ But there are many ways to invest in your own business regardless of the economic climate,” says Hurn, author of The Entrepreneur’s Secret to Creating Wealth: How the Smartest Business Owners Build Their FortunesHurn reviews the resolutions business owners and entrepreneurs should consider to make 2013 the most positively transformative year:

  • Consider buying: After a business has survived three to six years and is stable, commercial property ownership is a natural next step with benefits that new entrepreneurs often overlook, says Hurn, who has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, BloombergBusinessWeek, and other financial publications and TV news shows. Ownership is a path to more stability and long-term wealth, and the  government program administered by the Small Business Administration—SBA 504—offers long-term financing at below-market fixed rates. 
  • Self-investment: Often in business, one measure of strength reflects your strength of character, so invest in yourself! Identify business books that focus on areas you need to develop or lessons shared by successful business people you admire. Commit to reading at least one per month. 
  • Company culture: Your company’s culture has a lot to do with your success. Come up with three ideas that will  improve your company’s culture and take action on them. Improved health, the most universal resolution, can have a profoundly positive impact on the  workplace, from boosting morale to increasing productivity.
  • Refresh/jumpstart marketing: Identify three new marketing initiatives that you can implement on a regular and ongoing basis. Start small and track which ideas seem to have teeth. Remember, repetition and consistency are keys here.
  • Become an authority in your field: Research publications in your industry and pitch yourself as a media source. This can net you some free PR later in the year. The key is to focus on media outlets—become a familiar name so they can turn to you as a reliable source. You have to convince contacts that you know your stuff and that you’re available to comment when there’s news to report. If you simply don’t have  time for this, consider investing in a reasonably-priced PR firm.

Source: Ginny Grimsley, National Print Campaign Manager News and Experts

Wednesday, 06 February 2013 10:22

How to Create a Positive Attitude

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A positive attitude is never automatic. You have to work at it! Here's how to become a master of the mind.

A positive attitude—optimism, expectancy, and enthusiasm—makes everything in business easier. A positive attitude boosts you up when you're down and supercharges you when you're already "on a roll."

Here's how to cultivate a positive attitude, regardless of what's happening at work, based upon a conversation with Jeff Keller, author of the bestseller Attitude Is Everything:

Remember that YOU control your attitude.

Attitude does not emerge from what happens to you, but instead from how you decide to interpret what happens to you. Take, for example, receiving the unexpected gift of an old automobile. One person might think: "It's a piece of junk!" A second might think: "It's cheap transportation.” And a third might think: "It's a real classic!"

In each case, the person is deciding how to interpret the event and therefore controlling how he or she feels about it (i.e,. attitude).

Adopt beliefs that frame events in a positive way.

Your beliefs and rules about life and work determine how you interpret events and, therefore, your attitude. Decide to adopt "strong" beliefs that create a good attitude rather than beliefs that create a bad attitude. To use sales as an example:

Situation: The first sales call of the day goes poorly.

Weak: A lousy first call means that I'm off my game and today will suck. 

Strong: Every sales call is different, so the next will probably be better.

Situation: A customer reduces the amount of an order at the last minute! Weak: Customers who change orders can't be trusted. 

Strong: Customers who change orders are more likely to be satisfied! 

Situation: A big sales win comes seemingly "out of nowhere." 

Weak: Even a blind pig finds an acorn once in a while. 

Strong: You never know when something wonderful will happen!

Create a "library" of positive thoughts.

Spend at least fifteen minutes every morning to read, view, or listen to something inspirational or motivational. If you do this regularly, you'll have those thoughts and feelings ready at hand (or rather, ready to mind) when events don't go exactly the way you'd prefer.

Avoid angry or negative media.

Unfortunately, the media is full of hateful people who make money by goading listeners to be paranoid, unhappy, and frightened. The resulting flood of negativity doesn't just destroy your ability to maintain a positive attitude; it actively inserts you into a state of misery, pique, and umbrage. Rather than suck up the spew, limit your "informational" media consumption to business and industry news.

Ignore whiners and complainers.

Whiners and complainers see the world through crap-colored glasses. They'd rather talk about what's irreparably wrong than make things better. More important, complainers can't bear to see somebody else happy and satisfied.

If you tell a complainer about a success that you've experienced, he’ll congratulate you, but his words ring hollow. You could sense he’d just as soon you told him about what's making you miserable. What a drag—figuratively and literally!

Use a more positive vocabulary.

I've written about this before, but the point is worth making again. The words that come out of your mouth aren't just a reflection of what's in your brain: They're programming your brain how to think. Therefore, if you want to have a positive attitude, your vocabulary must be consistently positive. 

Stop using negative phrases such as "I can't," "It's impossible," or "This won't work." These statements program you for negative results. 

Whenever anyone asks "How are you?" rather than "Hangin' in there," or "OK, I guess..." respond with "Terrific!" or "Never felt better!" And mean it. 

When you're feeling angry or upset, substitute neutral words for emotionally loaded ones. Rather than saying "I'm enraged!" say "I'm a bit annoyed ..." 

Written by: Geoffrey James writes the Sales Source column on, the world's most visited sales-oriented blog. His newly published book is Business to Business Selling: Power Words and Strategies From the World's Top Sales Experts

Monday, 28 January 2013 10:00

Engagement is a Two-Way Street

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If you are in the midst of battle when it comes to increasing audience engagement (who isn’t?), perhaps you should turn your focus to how much you are actively responding to audience interaction. Whether it is responding to a question, commenting on a follower’s post, or actually starting a conversation with your audience, actively communicating with your following is crucial in the engagement process. Always remember: Engagement is a two-way street.

To initiate contact with your audience, you could use a number of methods to motivate individuals to respond, share content, and openly converse with you. Once your efforts begin to trigger responses, it is up to you to keep that pattern going. Far too often, we see brands that are trying to build engagement use e-mail and social as a one-way method of dispersing information—much like how television and radio were once used. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that brands realize that the social shift has made media more interactive, and your audience will expect your communications to reflect that.

Next time you begin an e-mail or social campaign, keep in mind not only how you will inspire the audience to engage, but also how you plan to respond. Make sure the voice and tone of your replies represent your brand and sound human. The more conversational you make your approach, the more likely you are to see higher levels of engagement. These days, people don’t want to feel like they are just another number to a company: Acknowledge their request by acting accordingly. 

Source: Sarah Zibanejadrad Inbound Marketing Coordinator, WhatCountsTwitter: @SarahZiba

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