Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday's Sauce: Mom Currency, Bronze Quills and Inspired Networking

It's been another banner week here at the Sauce. After attending a couple of stellar presentations we almost (almost!) wish it weren't Friday. We'll just have to keep the enthusiasm going throughout the weekend (while painting the living room, playing with the new baby and doing our taxes) until Monday.

Fleishman Hillard's Liz Hawks clued us in to "Mom Currency" in her informative talk at the March Kansas City IABC meeting. FH's survey on today's mom (Momocracy!) and her influence on the economy revealed some points to ponder:

* Women play a key role in "setting the agenda in millions of households, an effect that aggregates across the country into a society dominated by the new woman's sense of success, self-determination, leadership, competence and generosity."

* Every mom surveyed described herself as "having significant input into household decisions." In fact, 79% say "in the end, my opinion determines family decisions."

* 91% feel they are "the manager for the quality of my family's life."

* Moms surveyed "consumed more than 40 hours of media per week--essentially a full-time job." That's more time online (17 hours) than watching TV, listening to the radio or reading newspapers and magazines. In fact, the trend shows that moms are using blogs, forums and other sites to "compare notes" on everything from pediatricians to coupons to products.

"Soccer Moms" are so 90s.

So in the 21st Century moms are in the drivers seat in huge numbers when it comes to purchasing and quality of life decisions and they're heavily using the internet to make those decisions. Good stuff, Liz!

Speaking of IABC, there's still time to get your Bronze Quill entries in. KC/IABC is extending the BQ entry deadline by one week, to March 27. Questions? Email Sara Miller or click here.

Thursday night I was lucky enough to attend Denise Upah Mills' presentation on networking--and I don't mean my beloved online networking.

Denise is a fantastic speaker who inspired a whole room to break out of their shells and truly network face-to-face. She covered the basics (don't spend your entire networking event talking to people you already know, don't hog the conversation, etc.) along with some great tips to sharpen your networking skills:

* Be Purposeful. Know who you want to meet. Make a Top 25 list of people you want to meet to advance your business or project. Seek collaborative referral partners, do your research and be proactive.

* Prepare for purposeful small talk--tie current events into your business, let other people talk, describe your business at a 5th grade level and rehearse it with a friend.

* I think one of the best pieces of advice she gave was "be memorable." Tell stories. She related that interesting stories about someone she just met or events that transpired in the course of business are far more interesting than straight facts about "what you do," and that will make you memorable.

The advice I most appreciated was that "events are not the place to sell." Geeze, we've all been there with the guy you just met at a networking event who tries to close a deal before you've had a chance to eat your piece of square cheese. Networking events are about meeting people, not selling services. Once people know (and like) you, your network will be more likely to help you out and the sale will follow.

I'd add that once you make a connection face-to-face, a follow-up invitation to join your network on LinkedIn is a great way to keep the "conversation" going and building that relationship.

Great stuff. I'm looking forward to putting this new information into practice.

In the meantime...have a great weekend.