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Locals recognize Women’s History Month with networking seminar

Professional development: Expert discusses how entrepreneurs can shape their success with their beli

Posted: March 20, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 20, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Kathleen Ronald addresses members of the Association of Women Entrepreneurs of SCV at Tournament Players Club in Valencia on Thursday. The talk covered networking strategies for business owners, among other topics.

 

In perhaps a fitting tribute to Women’s History Month, women entrepreneurs from the Santa Clarita Valley attended a presentation Thursday on how to network successfully to grow one’s net worth.

The Women Entrepreneurs of SCV hosted a luncheon at TPC in Valencia, treating its members to an entertaining presentation by keynote speaker Kathleen Ronald.

Armed with comedic props, humorous anecdotes and a certification in neuro-linguistic programming, Ronald emphasized the link between an individual’s personal belief system and engaging negative or positive thought patterns that can grow or limit one’s business growing abilities.

NLP, a therapeutical approach, is based on a connection between neurological processes, language and behavioral patterns that have been learned through experience, and they effect our behaviors and interactions with others.

In a modern day version of “The Power of Positive Thinking,” Ronald described self-thought and behavioral strategies that sabotage a business person’s goals to successfully network and grow their net worth.

“Beliefs drive behavior,” Ronald said.

If you look at what’s going on in your brain, you can find strategies that don’t serve you she said. Personal belief systems which include fears limit one’s ability to grow and network effectively.

“Seventy percent of business for entrepreneurs comes from direct personal contact-referrals and networking,” Ronald said.

Self-limiting beliefs

Men and women often have very different networking styles but the key factor for women is to not mimic someone else’s style and develop strategies that will reap results for themselves.

Examine your thinking about networking. If your thoughts are negative, you’ll never master the art of networking, Ronald said.

Advising the practice of using “transformational vocabulary,” Ronald challenged people to reprogram the way they think and talk to achieve goals.

Negative thoughts limit the ability to be successful in whatever goals one has set because in essence the person “becomes what they think and say.”

If a person is stressed for instance, and doesn’t rechannel the way they think and express this feeling, they perpetuate and enhance the feeling of being stressed.

“When you say the word “stressed” your nervous system reacts,” Ronald said.

In one of the many comedic moments, Ronald told the audience to instead say: “I’m highly stimulated” when speaking with someone they’re attempting to connect with. But she advised they find another expression to use if they’re married; “highly stimulated” might not be the best choice of words.

“The goal is to have your nervous system working with you, and not against you,” said Ronald.

Networking made easy
A business coach, seminar leader and trainer and motivational speaker at Fortune 500 companies, Ronald has founded networking groups to benefit women entrepreneurs; Fortune 10/10, a women’s investment group, Women of Wealth Ventures, and she also co-founded WIN, Women in Networking.

There’s nothing like in-person meetings, Ronald advised. Citing the popularity of social media, she said everyone needs a healthy mix of in-person contacts to build business relationships.

“When you walk into a room and meet someone, you know instantly if you have a connection,” Ronald said. “That doesn’t always happen or translate on the web.”

“You network computers, but you connect with people,” Ronald said.

For those fearful of, or inexperienced in, networking, Ronald told the audience to break down the concept so they can be effective working in a crowd or at an event.

Numerous WE members defined “work” using other words like “fun.” She then taught members to see networking as “connecting.” Changing the perception of networking helps business owners master the art of networking.

Reminding the audience to be themselves, Ronald said don’t try to be anybody but you when networking. It’s exhausting and not productive.

Practicing what Ronald calls mind-chiropractics, she said she coaches business owners to take self-limiting beliefs and blow them up to the point of ridiculous to break down the fear, allowing the owner to be free to succeed.

“Any negative belief not in alignment with your goals will keep you from growing your net worth,” Ronald said.

Strategies
When you walk in a room full of people, seek out those you feel a connection with and develop a relationship, Ronald said. Dispensing business cards and rapid-fire sales pitches to everyone you meet won’t net a return on your efforts.

“The connection isn’t worth it without a relationship. Save your cards,” Ronald said. “It’s not an effective strategy. You’ll never grow your net worth with that strategy.”

Cultivating a core of business relationships builds a circle of influence.

“It will make it easy for you to ask for business,” Ronald said. “Even though they might not have a need for your products and services, they’ll refer the right people to you.”

In return, find out what your connections need and fill it for them. If you do, you will have a network like you won’t believe Ronald said.

Good listening is an art she said. Make the person you’re speaking with feel like they’re the only person in your world at the moment. Give first and have zero expectations in return Ronald said.

And don’t prematurely sum the person up as not being right for you or your company. They might not be, but they may know 20 to 200 people, many of whom may be right for you.

Your word is your reputation. Ronald told the audience members not to overcommit to something they cannot manage to follow-up on.

“It damages your reputation. People won’t trust you or count on you,” Ronald said. “People only ask once, and you need to deliver.”

People leave tens of thousands of dollars on the table because they don’t follow-up. A business owner needs 12 positive-service experiences to make up for one negative experience, Ronald said.

Also be strategic about the organizations you join, she said. Join organizations that match your client base, and save money on memberships that don’t serve your business needs.

Once you select the right associations, create a blueprint by putting all the events on your calendar for the year and attend every event. Participating will net 10, 20 or 30 times your investment if you show up every month, Ronald said. And you must volunteer to help.

Set clear goals and objectives for all events. Decide in advance what you need to accomplish at an event even if it’s only meeting one new contact.

“If you don’t set an intention before you walk in the room,” Ronald said, “You get what you get, which is sometimes nothing.”

Have fun

Ronald kept the audience laughing throughout her speech, using zany props and a generous dose of humor to illustrate most every point she made.

If it’s not fun, don’t do it she added. Wherever you go and are connecting make sure you have fun. You’re responsible for your own fun.

“Connecting is as easy as breathing,” Ronald said. “Connecting between friends in your own environment is easy and you can soar.”

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