30 Second Commercials Suck

Let me get straight to the point.

Stop using the old style 30 Second Commercials.

You do not need to validate yourself every time you introduce yourself to others.

Validation should occur only when asked.


The supposed best practices of 30 second commercials, as told to us over the past decades has been to state:

#1 – Your name and associated credential.
#2 – Your career goal.
#3 – How have you demonstrated your skills related to your goal.
#4 – Your career qualifications.
#5 – Then ask a question about the other person.

Here are a few problems I have with this style of 30 second commercials, in most instances:

  1. Most introductions where people use their 30 second commercials are not to people who want or need to validate us.
  2. If the other person wants or needs to validate us, let them ask a specific question in that regard.
  3. Most of the time the question the other person has is simply, ‘who are you?’
  4. If they do want to ‘validate’ us, let’s make sure we use the best possible example based on a direct question.
  5. When you feel compelled to use a scripted validation, it often does not come across sincere or real
  6. When you feel compelled to validate yourself, it can sound like you are not completely sure or confident of yourself.

I have never really thought about this before, but I do not think I have ever introduced myself with validation statements.

Today my introduction when someone asks me who I am is; “I’m Teddy Burriss a LinkedIn Coach, Trainer and Public Speaker. My purpose is helping business professionals get real value from their investment into LinkedIn. What do you do?”

Often I even trim my intro down to, “I’m Teddy Burriss, LinkedIn Coach & Trainer. What do you do Monday – Friday 9-5 to enjoy yourself?” Simple with a touch of humor as I hand the conversation back to them.

Ponder these ideas for a moment:

  • How often are you using your 30 second commercial when the person only wants to know who you are, with no need to validate what you say?
  • Let the validation occur in an open conversation rather than a scripted and robotic response.
  • Wait till you are asked for validation and position your reply in context to what you learned about them.
  • Simplify your ’30 Second commercial to a 10 second and make it engaging rather than full disclosure & validation
  • Be a little different and a little better than every other person in career transition and position yourself better in the process.
  • Networking events and even job fairs are all about meeting people and getting into a conversation. Start with a friendly introduction and as the conversation progresses, consider what validation is relevant and important.

I’m way different than most people and realize that my philosophies may not appeal to everyone. However, I’ve found this has worked for me over the past 40 some odd years. Maybe these ideas could work for you as well.

I would love to hear your ideas on this topic. Comment on this blog article, LinkedIn or Facebook Post.



Don’t let your Network Die

My Network DiedDon’t let your network die because you did not care enough to take care of it.

If you build your network properly, it can become one of the your most valuable assets.

A car can be replaced, computers are just commodity items, cell phones get replaced every two years and even your house is replaceable, ask your insurance agent.

Your network is built one person and relationship at a time. You can’t borrow someone else’s network, you can’t pickup a new network at the local big box store, and I doubt Lloyds of London will insure your network.

A dying network can not help you, nor the people in your network. A dying network is almost always terminal. Few people have been able to revive a dying network.

Therefore you need to do everything you can to make sure your network thrives so that it never dies.

Here are five activities that if executed properly will help your network to thrive.

#1 – Focus on helping your network
When you focus on helping your network the indisputable laws of karma will always return the favors to you. There are three different focal points that are important for a thriving network. 
A – Always offer to help your network. 
B – You can ask your network to help another person, for the right reasons. 
C – You can ask your network to help you directly, only if you have first focused on points A & B.

#2 – Connect your contacts to each other
Your network will thrive if you introduce your connections to each other regularly and with honest purpose. Just because two people are in your network does not mean they know each other or how they can help each other. Because you know your network, you can connect two people who can potentially benefit by the introduction.
#3 – Treat your network with care and respect
A strong and thriving network requires that you treat it with respect. This means you can’t abuse your relationship with your network. Abuse includes inappropriate introductions, bombarding your network with irrelevant requests, spamming your network, even talking ill of members of your network to other members. Gossip and negative engagement with your network can kill it off faster than a plague.

#4 – Keep your network growing
If your network is not growing regularly, it is apt to start dying off. You grow your network by performing the activities in this article and when appropriate, asking it’s members to introduce you to others who you can help and/or who can help you. This “ask” assumes that you have first focused on helping your network. If your network knows that you care and want to help them, they will eagerly introduce you to new connections so that your network can continue to grow. 

#5 – Touch your network regularly
A thriving network is one that you touch regularly. A large network can not be seen in real life as often as we would like, therefore we must use other tools and activities to touch our network. Social media helps us to do this, but by itself this is not enough. Schedule time every week to reach out to individuals in your network via phone, email, paper letter, invitation to lunch, dinner or breakfast. Be unique and different when you can. The more you touch your network, the more it will thrive. 

These are just a few ways to help your network thrive so that it never dies.
Do you have any unique ways of helping your network thrive?

Get our free ebook – Building a Professional LinkedIn Profile

If you want Career Transition Coaching, let’s talk.

Employed and looking for a Job – How do I use my network?

Personal Relationships trump just a business relationship every dayI met with a professional the other day who is employed and looking for a job. He is a business developer for a large brand and relies on his network to find opportunities and make new connections.

He asked me, “How do I use my network to find a new job while I also use my network to do my current job?”

I’m sure he is not the only one with this issue.

You don’t want to negatively affect your business network by talking about your job search needs at the cost of disrupting your business development momentum.

You don’t want to give your business network the perception that you don’t care about your current job and your business relationship with them as it relates to your current business. This could reduce their professional opinion of you.

It’s important not to do anything that will negatively impact your business, business network and your current job.

However, there is a way to use your business network in your job search, while still doing your current job.

Work to turn your business relationships into personal relationships. Maybe only in a general sense or maybe into a truly trusting, respecting and caring level. You can’t do this with all of your business connections, however you’ll be surprised to find that many business professionals also want to expand their network into stronger personal connections. This will take some time, but the benefits of expanding your business network into more of a personal network is significant.

A personal relationship will understand your needs to change jobs and be more willing to help.

Continue networking and working with your business connections as you need for your current job. However where appropriate and possible, begin to engage your network in more personal conversations.

Build a list of 5-10 people in your professional network that you feel could become personal relationships. People who already really like you, trust and respect you. As you can, expand the conversations into less business and more personal conversations. Talk about community, family, appropriate world topics and let the discussions go in ways you never considered when you thought of these people as business connections. Ask questions about your connection, make the conversations all about them and let them share and talk about any topic they wish, as long as the conversations are appropriate based on your developing personal relationship.

While you are working to create a higher level personal relationship with your business connections, do what you can to help them. Any amount of “give” will help you to propel your personal relationship building activity.

Eventually you business connection will begin to become a personal relationship that you are doing business with.

Better yet, eventually this new personal connection will ask you questions that opens the door for you to share with them that you are considering another career step.

Be respectful to your business relationship, while confirming your commitment to them professional and personally. Never bad mouth your current employer or talk ill about your current job. And, don’t ask for a job, instead ask for guidance, ideas and other connection possibilities. Share with your personal connection what your are hoping to do, keep the conversation positive and professional.

If you convert a business connection into a personal relationship, they are far more willing to help you however they can. And doing this work is far more rewarding and enjoyable than the old way of “Click, click, click, apply, apply, apply, pray, pray, pray.”

What ideas do you have about turning your business connections into personal relationships?

Winston-Salem Business Expo 2013 – article 2 of 2

Winston-Salem Business Expo

The 2013 Winston-Salem Business Expo

See Part 1 of 2 here – WS Business Expo 2013 – Networking with business friends

Here are the presentations from the Technology Briefing presenters.

(I will add more as I collect them from the presenter organizations)

HCEC Tech Briefing – 12Sept2013

W3SM Expo Slides

GFS US LLC-9-11-2013

Advanced Fraud Solutions – WS Tech Briefing

Wake Forest Innovations Tech Council September 2013

More to come soon (if you know the presenters – tell them I need their slides.)

Images from Winston-Salem Business Expo 2013

Sharing my experience at the Winston-Salem Business Expo 2013

Join us for the 2014 Winston-Salem Business Expo

Networking 103 – In Real Life and Virtual

336EventsFace to Face Networking is not the only way to network anymore.

Despite the fact that I am a very active social networker and I enjoy engaging on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc, I will stand on the tallest mountains and shout this very deliberate and honest statement, “Networking in-real-life, face to face, trumps social networking every single day of the year.”

I believe this and live it every day.

Yes, I learn new ideas and make lots of great connections that turn into friends and real relationships through my social networking activity. I actually make money because of the relationships I create and nurture on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+. However, I would rather meet someone in-real-life at a networking event, a coffee shop or deli than I would through social networking platforms, if I can.

But, because of our fast paced world and our continually expanding networks of people beyond our cities, regions and even states, social media are vital networking tools. If we want to be able to compete in this environment, we must accept these new social networking tools.

Here are five steps that can help us get benefit from our social networking and will add value to our face to face networking as well.

#1 – While attending networking events and collecting the business cards that we know people will share with us, let them know that we are also social networkers. Tell them that we’ll connect with them on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, etc, if they are also social networkers and use these tools too.

#2 – When we get back to our offices, after a networking event, immediately go to our social media platforms and look for the people we just met. Invite them to connect where ever relevant to us and them.

#3 – After they respond and connect with us, send a message thanking them for the social network connection. Where relevant and mutually beneficial invite them to get together on a one-on-one in the near future.

#4 – Don’t stop here. Periodically reach out to our new social networking connections and at the very least say hello. Maybe share some relevant and useful information we found online or ask them if there is anything we can do to help them. Better yet, introduce them to another one of our other social networking connections. This is called nurturing our connections and it’s an important part of relationship building.

#5 – Finally, when we’re at networking events, say hello to our new in-real-life and social networking contact. Ask them, “who else do you suggest I meet, in-real-life and/or through social networking?” This question is vital if we want to continue expanding our network.

Face to face networking always trumps social networking. However, we need to use social networking alongside in-real-life networking if we are going to be successful in this new environment.

This is the 3rd article in this 336 Events Networking Education Series. You can find all of these articles online at www.ncwiseman.com/336Events.

This series is brought to us by Teddy Burriss, a world renowned Networking Strategist. Teddy teaches “Networking for Mutual Benefit” and “Building Relationships through Social Media.” Teddy is an accomplished author, public speaker, avid social media engager and blogger.

Read more 336Events Networking Education articles

Networking 102 – Overcoming Networking Fear

336EventsNetworking 102 – Overcoming Fear
by Teddy Burriss – Networking Strategist

Some people think that Networking is a dirty word.

I believe fear is the root cause of this feeling.  Let me explain:

The definition of fear is – “An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

Here are four reasons people fear networking:

#1 – Some people believe that networking is a form of selling. Network this way will create undue stress on ourselves.  Networking is not selling. It’s all about connecting with people and building relationships. Keep our networking activity focused on having enjoyable and open conversations while asking lots of questions about the person we are networking with. Let the conversations go where it may, maybe into an opportunity to talk business, maybe not. Either way, don’t put our sales hat on until we know there is a need or opportunity. If we jump the gun on this, we may fear failing at selling. Alternatively, if we decide that our goal of networking is to make new connections, failure is less likely and fear is diminished.

Don’t fear screwing up a sale while networking because we’re not there to sell anyway. Focus on making good connections.

#2 – Some people fear they don’t have anything to talk about.  I hear this often. This is fine. A good networker really doesn’t have to talk much. Why, because when we are good at networking, we will generally ask lots of questions. Focus the questions on the person or persons we meet at networking events. Keep the questions simple and broad to begin with. As we get to know our networking partner(s), we’ll easily come up with more questions that can help the conversation move forward and the connection/relationship grow. And when it’s our turn to talk, we don’t need to know what to say. Our networking partner will likely have questions for us.

Don’t fear not knowing what to say when we are networking. Instead, focus on asking questions, it’s easier for everyone.

#3 – Some people fear wasting time networking. They believe that the people at some networking events are not their target clients. Except at specific industry networking events, often our clients are not going to be in the same room waiting for us to show up. Additionally, the people at these local networking events are married to the people, know the people and want to help the people who could use our products & services. They’ll likely introduce and/or recommend us once we start developing some form of relationship with them and they begin to trust and respect us.

Don’t fear wasting time at networking events as long as we focus on making connections with people who may want to recommend & introduce us to others.

#4 – Some people fear networking because they are afraid that they will end up on lots of marketing lists and be overwhelmed with emails and calls. This happens, but no where as much as some think. The risk of ending up on another companies SPAM list is far less than the value of making new connections. I’ve ended up on a few marketing lists myself. It’s an easy task to reply REMOVE or take the call and clearly state, “Thanks for calling, but I have no need for the service/product you have to sell. Please take me off your marketing lists.”  Again, this happens periodically, however the value of meeting new people far outweighs the risk of ending up on an irrelevant marketing list.

Don’t fear ending up on someone’s list, the benefits of connecting with someone new outweighs this risk.

In summary;

1 – don’t fear not getting a sales opportunity, networking is not selling

2 – Don’t fear having to come up with a conversation, just ask questions

3 – Don’t fear wasting time networking because people at these events know people who may need your products/services

4 – Don’t fear ending up on a marketing list, it’s a minimal risk compared to the value of meeting new connections.

Networking 101 – Networking is Important

This is the first of the 336Events.com monthly magazine articles.

336EventsWe all love a great networking event. What you do at these events will determine the value you and others get from your time there.

We have the opportunity to attend another networking event nearly every week of the month. All kinds of events including – 336Events, Chamber of commerce events, as well as numerous civic, community and association events.

When we walk into the room, we will need to be prepared.

For some, being prepared means having a pocket full of business cards, one hand to hold the drink and/or hors d’oeuvres and the other hand ready to greet as many people as possible. This type of networker is focused on getting to as many people in the room as physically possible, dolling out business cards with reckless abandon while collecting an equal number of cards and shoving them into the other pocket. Like the tasmanian devil, this networker can navigate the room without spilling any soda or snacks as they move from person to person. We call this networker a Gripping ‘n Grinning business card swapper.

Being prepared for others means showing up early ready to listen and share interesting stories. This networker will quickly catch up with the regulars before someone new to the group (or someone who has been away for awhile) shows up to the event. This networker will walk up to someone they have not talked with in a while and strike up a conversation. If needed, they’ll introduce themselves by name only and then ask something like, “Glad to meet you. What brought you out to this networking event?” This networker will stay focused to the person they are listening to and only share interesting and relevant stories. This networker is here to meet people, share ideas, stories and to enjoy a good conversation. We call this networker a connector.

After the networking event the gripping-n-grinnin business card swapper will cold call every card they collected. The network connector will have coffee, sweet tea or soda with their new connection and maybe strengthen the relationship that they started during their conversation.

The grippin-n-grinnin business card swapper is after names, phone numbers and email addresses. The network connector is there to make a new connection that can become mutually beneficial.

Consider who you are the next time you attend a networking event.

Visit 336Events.com if you want to learn more about the 336Events.

Network thru vacation season

Network thru Vacation

Network thru Vacation

Do not believe that you can’t network towards your life, career, community or business goals during the summer months. You can.

Of course, not everyone is going to be available when you think they should be; however very few people go on vacation beyond a two week period of time in the US.

Be patient if someone you want to network with is on vacation. Don’t leave them repeated voice mail messages or nagging email messages. Move on to the next networking opportunity and circle back to those who are out of town later on.

Network thru Vacation

Do this and you will be considered different and better than those who sit on the sidelines waiting for the fall season.

Network thru Vacation

There are opportunities waiting out there. You’ll be the first one to find the right one for you unless you decide to sit on the sideline.

Network thru Vacation

Not only will this give you something productive to do, but it will also improve your possibilities.

If you are not sure how to Network properly, read this book – Networking for Mutual Benefit

What are you going to do during the Vacation season?

The Triad Blogger Social

Triad BloggersThe Triad Blogger Social is for us!

Atlantic Webworks and The Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce got together and hosted an evening of food, drink and networking for ALL of us Triad bloggers!

Here is the list of all of the Triad bloggers listed on the EventBrite Page for our first meeting.

I hope that we will all take the chance to add each other’s blogs to our reader list and as we can, begin to check each other out. What better way to learn new ideas, than from each other.

Great to meet all of the Triad Bloggers tonight

Here is a link to the RSS Feed File I created with these blogs – TriadBloggers OPML File

FYI – if I missed anyone – fire me off an email and I will correct/add to this list

Networking Profile

Network Profile

Use a Network Profile for better discussions and follow up.

Network Profiles trump Resumes when Networking.

Often a resume can be a turn off. However a Network Profile can help create conversations.

When networking, you don’t want your contacts (new & old) to focus specifically on finding you a job, rather, have them focus on the #1 question of networking for mutual benefit – “Who do you know that I should talk with?”

Therefore, in order for the people you are networking with to be able to help you, they could use a “leave-behind” document about who you are. We call this a Network Profile

Often job seekers leave their resume. This is all well and good if they are recruiters and know how to decipher a resume to be able to introduce you to that next great conversation.

Here is likely a better idea, give them a Network Profile document that includes:

  • Your contact information
  • Areas of Expertise
  • Specialties 

Target Market Characteristics

  • Objective
  • Target Positions
  • Industry or Type of Organization
    • Culture, Work Ethic, etc
  • Size of organization
  • Geographic Location

With this information they can think about you and who they need to introduce you better. They’ll be able to think about specifics rather than resume content.

Here is a sample Network Profile. Consider writing your own in this format and use it as your leave behind instead of your resume when appropriate and useful.

Not only will this help your network contacts, but it will leave them thinking that you are different and better. This will help them to remember you and thus, help you.

Here is a new Networking Profile Template you can use to develop your own.

Sample #1 Networking Profile

Sample #2 Networking Profile

When you send this document to your networking contacts, consider using the Subject Line {Your Name} – Personal Profile or {Your Name} – Professional Profile

Use Dropbox (or another cloud based document storage system) to be able to share your networking Profile with the people you want to network with.

Get a Dropbox  account, you’ll love using it for lots of stuff beyond your Networking profile or Resume.

Check out the Dropbox help – https://www.dropbox.com/help/90/en

Or watch this quick video of how to use Dropbox for uploading and sharing your networking profile.



Check out the book Networking for Mutual Benefit if you want to learn more about how to do this properly.