Monday, December 31, 2007

New URL for GottaGettaBLOG!

Please note that GottaGettaBLOG! posts from the years 2003 through 2007 will be permanently archived, here, at, under the heading of "GottaGettaBlog! 2003-2007". But, starting January 2008, blog posts will be posted at:

Furthermore, starting January 2010, new posts will be at:

Please update your bookmarks and automated feeds accordingly.


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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Thank You Notes

Here's a page from the Old School manual - send a 'thank you' note.
  • Someone gives something nice to you - send a thank you note
  • Someone does something nice for you - send a thank you note
  • Someone says something nice about you - send a thank you note

It doesn't have to be fancy. It doesn't have to be more than a sentence or two. It doesn't even have to be hand-written. (An email or voicemail is just fine).

All it really has to be is sincere.

Of course the sooner you send it the better, but, as they say, better late than never!

If you're not in the habit of sending thank you notes, I invite you to try it. It's not hard to do; it doesn't even take all that much time. But it will quite likely make both you, and the person you send it to, feel pretty good. So why not?~


Monday, September 17, 2007

The Doubting Loop and the Confidence Radial

In thinking about confidence, many people get discouraged because of a non-supportive doubting loop they have that has them circle in and around not feeling particularly confident, trying again anyway, but messing things up ... again ... which only strengthens the I-don't-feel-so-confident part all the more. the Doubting Loop

Can anything be done about this?

Well, you can certainly try to not try as much! But, if it's your turn to step to the plate, more likely than not, you really can't say, "Sorry, I'd rather not." If you can, though, it might be a nice temporary respite for you every now and then.

More likely, though, when it's your turn, it's your turn, and there's no getting away from it.

Enter the Confidence Radial©.

Developed several years ago by yours truly, the Confidence Radial recognizes the circularity inherent in the confidence dynamic, but puts it to better use, as the following diagram shows:
the Confidence RadialIt all starts with acting like you already have the power. But this simple notion goes beyond just trying. It speaks to trying ... again ... with the expectation that you can, indeed, succeed. In order to succeed, though, you need to "know what you know." And to do that, some research is required.

Then, armed with that research, you can begin to interact with others on that topic - not so much to show off what you know, but to find out what they know. And, because you'll likely understand what they're saying, they'll be likely to help you expand the conversation by referring you to other knowledgeable/interested contacts (if you ask).

From there, you network with them on the same topic, which will help them get to know who you are and how you think. And from there, you now have several new connections who can help you feel more confident as you talk about this, and other topics of interest to those you do and don't know. (I'm defining contacts, here, as people you know, and connections as people who know you.)

So the key to jumping out of that Doubting Loop? Jump in to the Confidence Radial. All you need is something you're interested in knowing more about.

For more on the Confidence Radial:

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Networking Mnemonic

Ever not sure how to keep a conversation going when networking?

Here's an easy-to-remember acronym attributed to Dexter Yager by Bob Burg in his book, Winning Without Intimidation (subtitled: How to Master the Art of Positive Persuasion in Today's Real World in Order to Get What You Want, When You Want It, and from Whom You Want It - Including the Difficult People You Come Across Everyday!) - The F.O.R.M. method of asking questions:
  • F stands for a question about their Family.
  • O stands for a question about their Occupation.
  • R stands for a question about their favorite types of Recreation.
  • M stands for a question about their Message, or what they want you to know about them.*

Should you find yourself in one of those Awkward Silence moments with someone you don't really know, ask a F-O-R-M question. In other words, ask a question about their Family. Or ask a question about their Occupation. Or ask a question about their favorite types of Recreation. Or ask a question about their Message.

Another Tip: If they just said something particularly (or even reasonably) interesting, but you're not sure what to ask next, simply say, "Really, tell me more." Then breathe!

Great ways to keep the networking badminton birdie in the air, don't you think?

* "Message" was originally meant to mean, "what they deem important," but I took the liberty to tweak it and make it a bit easier to actually apply.

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Creating a Portfolio of Mentors

For an innovative approach to establishing an entire network of mentors interested in your success, read my latest article, Creating a Portfolio of Mentors. It was just published by - exclusive partners of the WSJ and Business Week online.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Who want's to Volunteer? Anyone?!

When was the last time you volunteered for something. No, I don't mean when was the last time you allowed yourself to be volunteered. Allowing yourself to be volunteered is something that happens through your inaction. Like when everyone in line takes back and there you are looking like you stepped forward! Similarly, being picked by the boss to volunteer is acquiescing, not volunteering.

Volunteering is when you purposely step forward, regardless of what anyone else is, or is not, doing. And because so few people actually do it, volunteering builds both credibility and visibility, too.
  • Been meaning to earn a few extra points with the boss? Why not volunteer to help with his/her next big assignment?
  • Been meaning to improve relations with your coworkers? Why not volunteer to work on a special project with them?
  • Been meaning to do a little networking? Why not volunteer to join an industry association and work on a Committee or its Board?
  • Been meaning to get to know people in the neighborhood a little bit better? Why not volunteer to help out at school function or with one of your kid's sports teams?
  • Been meaning to meet that special someone? Why not volunteer at a 5K race or lecture series?

Volunteering puts you in different conversations, with different people, in different places. And while 'sameness' does have its benefits - familiarly being one of them - trying new things in new ways every so often is also very, very good for your soul.

If you've recently volunteered for something, you know exactly what I mean.


Friday, March 17, 2006

Career Strategist: How to Network Effectively

Martha White authored a very nice article in the most recent issue of Motivation Strategies featuring yours truly. Here it is in its entirety:

Career Strategist: How to Network Effectively

Meeting planners are often responsible for organizing networking events, yet when it comes to their own industry associations or local chamber of commerce events, many aren't as effective as they could be when it comes to networking. “I suggest people establish some goals for the effort,” says Barry Zweibel, executive coach and president of GottaGettaCoach. “[Pledge to] meet five or six new people, for example. Another goal might be to reconnect with people you’ve already met,” he suggests.

Many would-be networkers get stuck because they can’t think of what to say. Zweibel points out, “In your job, there’s always a to-do list, [and] anything on that list becomes grist for the networking mill.” Just accomplish something major? Interested in learning about something with which you’re unfamiliar? Bring it up, Zweibel says. Maybe the person you’re talking to could use your insight, or maybe they’re an expert in the topic you’re looking to learn more about. Another mistake many professionals make is not thinking about networking until they need something. Good networkers know that connections go both ways, Zweibel says, so be on the lookout for people you can help out now.

Now, what about staying in touch? This can be tricky; planners’ often-hectic travel schedules can make it tough to stay on top of the deluge of work-related e-mail. Deciding how much of a priority networking contacts should be is a delicate balance. “It’s an unrealistic expectation that you’ll be able to stay in touch with everyone,” Zweibel says. “To work properly, networking needs to be in balance.” Try to arrange an initial follow-up phone chat, coffee or even lunch to find out how much you have in common with each contact, personally and professionally. Have a lot in common? Drop them an e-mail on a monthly basis. For a more tenuous connection, quarterly is fine, Zweibel says.

“It’s always helpful if you can find more things you have in common. Once you know a little bit about the person, you can start looking for ways to help them,” he advises, which will make them more likely to lend you a hand if the need arises. For instance, if they’re just setting up a home-based business and you run across an article in a business magazine about how to do just that, send it to them with a quick note. For more information about networking, go to

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Friday, December 09, 2005

On Becoming a Better Conversationalist

Dave had an interesting comment to a recent post titled, "Key Networking Skill: Saying Goodbye" where he looked at the notion of saying goodbye from the perspective of someone being said goodbye to:

"The two problems with being socially inept," he wrote, "are (a) people are always using clever ways to stop talking to you and (b) you don't realize its happening until they've finished doing it."

To be clear, my post was not about using "clever ways" to stop talking to socially inept people. It was about taking care of your own needs to move on without being outrageously impolite.

But let's flip the coin. What if, as Dave implies, the goal is to become more "ept" at social interactions, that is, better at the whole small-talk thing. Well, one of the best books on the subject is How to Work a Room, by Susan Roane. Here's a few excerpts that may be of help:
  • Remedy #1: Redefine the Term "Stranger" - Look for what you have in common with people at an event. This is the planning that helps you feel more comfortable and more prepared. These common interests can be the basis for conversation.
  • Remedy #2: Practice a Self-Introduction - A good introduction simply includes your name and something about yourself so you can establish what you have in common with other people at the event. It only has to be 8-to-10 seconds long.
  • Remedy #3: Move from "Guest" Behavior to "Host" Behavior - "Hosts" are concerned with the comfort of others and actively contribute to that comfort. "Guests" wait for someone to take their coats, offer then a drink, and introduce them around the room.

Other tips:

  • Say something ... Anything - Don't wait; initiate. Take the risk. Listen with interest. Smile and make eye contact.
  • Try strategies that feel comfortable - Read nametags; Go with a buddy; Walk up to - and start talking with - people standing by themselves; Smile; Ask questions. Be genuinely curious about who people are and what they have to say.
  • Avoid common crutches - Do not arrive too late. Don't leave too early. Don't drink too much. Don't gorge at the buffet table. Don't misuse the buddy system by joining yourselves at the hip.

I think that just deciding that this is something you're going to learn to do - and become comfortable in doing - is 90% of the work. And all you need to do that is simply decide that it's important enough to you to learn how. From there, (1) start noticing what others say and do - and how it works; (2) practice doing some of what works yourself; (3) stay conscious and purposeful about your learning; (4) congratulate yourself for stepping up to the challenge!

Keep me posted as to your progress.

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Monday, November 28, 2005

Key Networking Skill: Saying Goodbye

Some people just don't feel comfortable networking. But with the holidays approaching - and along with them, those ubiquitous holiday cocktail parties - it might be helpful to take a closer look at one of the most-overlooked networking skills of all - saying goodbye.

Hey, it happens. Sometimes a conversation just runs its course. Other times the 'chemistry' is all wrong. And every now and then, it's just time and you're ready to move on. So how do you gracefully end a conversation so that: (a) you don't look - or feel - like a jerk; and (b) you don't spend the whole evening trying to make conversation with the same person?

Here are some ideas:
  • Excuse me, I have to go to the wash room. It's been nice talking with you.
  • Excuse me, I'm going to freshen my drink. It's been nice talking with you.
  • Excuse me, there are a few more people I'm hoping to meet this evening. It's been nice talking with you.
  • Excuse me, I'm going to mingle a bit. It's been nice talking with you.
  • Excuse me, I'd like to meet three more people tonight. It's been nice talking with you.

Notice the three-step format:

  1. "Excuse me"
  2. (some reason)
  3. "It's been nice talking with you."

Many people might say that the "reason" - that is, step 2 - is the most important part of this process. I daresay, however, that it's actually the least important - just wrap it between a respectful "Excuse me" and a genuine "It's been nice talking with you" and the rest will take care of itself.

Key words: respectful, and genuine. Go on and try it and see for yourself.

Bonus: Once you're clear on how to pleasantly exit a conversation, you might just find that the conversations you stay with are that much more enjoyable for you. It's odd how it works, but it usually does.


What are your favorite ways to politely extricate yourself from networking chit-chat? Please post your tips so that other GottaGettaBlog! readers can benefit from them.


Monday, October 17, 2005

15 Networking Do's

from Networking Magic: Find the Best - from Doctors, Lawyers, and Accountants to Homes, Schools, and Jobs:
  1. Believe that networking will work.
  2. Target the right audience and approach the best individuals who can help and/or direct you to those who can.
  3. Make a strong first impression by being well-prepared.
  4. Network with those you emulate and don't be afraid to approach people whom you admire and who inspire you.
  5. Talk to everyone you meet and be genuinely friendly.
  6. Learn to read people and pay close attention to people's needs.
  7. Become a good listener and observe more than talk.
  8. Be willing to help and always be ready to give freely and generously.
  9. Be prepared in your subject area and be able to provide insightful answers to questions.
  10. Find common denominators, interests, objectives, and values which are solid bonds to builds strong networks and deeper, more lasting, relationships.
  11. Bring value to the table and always have ideas, suggestions, and insights to share.
  12. Be honest, courteous, and fair.
  13. follow up after you first meet someone.
  14. Keep referrers informed as you build relationships; keep your network referrers in the loop.
  15. Look at the big picture and past the momentary day-to-day activities that occupy your life.

My favorite saying that applies to networking is this one: "What goes around comes around." Send something good around by effectively networking with others, and good will come back around from the people in your network to you. But know that it's usually up to you to get things started.

So get started!

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Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Name Badges as a Resource

I subscribe to a number of newsletters, e-zines, and email subscriptions, as I'm sure you do, too. A recent one that caught my eye was 'Tips for Trainers' - created by a UK-company named, Eureka! (David Gibson asked me to let you know that 'Tips for Trainers' comes out every 2 weeks and you, too, can register to receive them, free-of-charge, at

"So often we use name badges for workshops and use them for the sole purpose of our learners writing their name upon them. This seems like an underused resource to me, so let's take a look at how else you might utilise them.

"Name badges take many forms from pin on badges to name tents. We've found that plastic card holders made to slide name cards into and hung around your learners' neck to be the best format. Why? They don't put holes in learners clothing, we use large cards so people can write on them, when learners move around (away from their group) their name card goes with them - unlike name tents that remain on the
desk. All the following ideas work regardless of the name badge type you use:

(Note: Although this particular Training Tip (#73) was written for the
benefit of those who conduct workshops, I think it's equally valid for those who
attend workshops, conferences, or training seminars, as well, so I took a little editorial license with the following...)
  • At the beginning of the program, write 3 things on the back of your name card that you want to be sure to learn. Refer to this list thought throughout your time there. At each break, put a percentage next to each one (to assess your progress) and ask specific questions relative to them as soon as you return from breaks.
  • At each break, also write 3-5 actions you want to take as a result of what you have just learned, on the back of your name card. Talk with others about these action points and ask them for theirs as well.
  • At the end of the workshop, transfer these actions into your workbook and to-do list.
  • Put your name card into an envelope and mail it to yourself as a reminder of what actions you said you wanted to implement.
Interesting ideas, yes?

So, if you're heading off to a workshop, or seminar, or conference - or even a networking event - that uses name tags, try something different. You might be surprised by how it helps you get more out of you being there in the first place.


Tuesday, October 12, 2004

More on Shyness

On pages 182 and 183 of Shyness: What It Is/What to Do About It, Philip G. Zimbardo lists out a number of reach-out exercises designed to help shy people get used to socializing. In reviewing the list, many of the items seemed equally relevant to anyone wanting to do more networking, whether they're shy or not.
  • Introduce yourself to a new person in your office building, the grocery store, (Starbucks?) etc.
  • Invite someone who is going your way to walk with you.
  • Conduct a personal opinion survey. Ask ten people their opinions on a current topic. Ask one question about their opinions.
  • Call someone you know at work and ask about a relevant work issue.
  • Ask three people for directions. Shift at least one of them into general conversation for a minute or two.
  • Notice someone who needs help at the office or on the street at lunchtime and offer to help.
  • Invite someone to go eat with you - someone you have not eaten with before.
  • Say 'Hi' to five new people today whom you would not usually greet.
I invite you to experiment by trying some of these reach-out exercises and see what happens. You might be very pleasantly surprised.

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Saturday, May 15, 2004

More Needed than Good Work

On Friday, May 14th, the University of Chicago hosted its 52nd annual management conference. A major theme: It's not enough to do good work.

"Reputations flourish not simply because you do good work but because people tell stories about your good work," reported Ronald Burt, professor of sociology and strategy." Simply put, the more people talk about your good work, the better your performance reviews (and raises and bonuses) will be. This is especially true when others talk about your good work to people in different parts of the company. It seems that when this type of information crosses department boundaries, it's seen as significantly more credible and newsworthy and naturally boosts your reputation.

But how can you get someone else to talk about your achievements like that? Well according to Burt, it also seems that 'network entrepreneurs' - those who talk to people in many different areas of the company - are part of many different interpersonal networks and as a result, are thought to be smarter and more creative than most. That also tends to translate into better performance reviews (and raises and bonuses).

So if you're looking to improve your reputation, it seems that there are three important steps to take:

Step One - Do good work.

Step Two - Start talking about your good work to those 'network entrepreneurs' so they can start talking about it too.

Step Three - Become a network entrepreneur yourself and start talking to people outside of your direct area of responsibility. You can easily start by asking others who they see as particularly smart and creative in the company and then go from there.

Mid-year reviews are coming. So don't delay.

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