Effective Networking Skills Sandy Jones-Kaminski and Inspiring Possibilities with Mark Susnow

Every business owner knows that networking events build a community of clients. When it goes beyond self-promotion, these events make these business environments grow stronger and healthier. Sandy Jones-Kaminski uses effective networking skills to make meaningful connections with people. She dispels the negativity around networking with the image of communicating with strangers and being genuinely interested in what they have to say. What separates a successful person from the rest is that they don’t have limiting beliefs that tells them what to do next. Mark Susnow believed that he could be a good lawyer if he just stuck with it. He believes that failure is a pattern in life, and if we don’t get past it, our happiness and success will be limited. He shares that more than being a journey, success is a mastery of excellence that will lead to breakthroughs both in life and business.

TTL 150 | Effective Networking Skills

We have a great show. We have Sandy Jones-Kaminski and Mark Susnow here. Sandy is the author of I’m at A Networking Event–Now What??? Mark is the author of several books including Discover the Leader Within: Ten Keys to Becoming the Leader You Want to Be. Both of them are experts in leadership, networking, and all things business related.

Listen to the podcast here:

Effective Networking Skills Sandy Jones-Kaminski

TTL 150 | Effective Networking Skills
Effective Networking Skills: I’m at a Networking Event–Now What???: A Guide to Getting the Most Out of Any Networking Event

I am with Sandy Jones-Kaminski, who is the author of I’m at A Networking Event–Now What??? She’s also the former VP of networking for one of the largest chapters of the American Marketing Association. Sandy knows how to make meaningful connections, cultivate relationships, host some great networking events, and create what she refers to as “good social capital.” She shares her professional insights on effective networking via webcasts, speaking engagements, one-on-one coaching, workshops, and by facilitating in-person networking events called Pay It Forward parties. Sandy believes that beyond self-promotion, networking builds community and creates healthier and stronger business environments. When she’s not speaking or writing about networking, she helps clients grow their ventures or achieve their goals as a business consultant and coach. It’s so nice to have you here, Sandy.

Thanks for having me. I’m excited to join you.

I’m always fascinated to meet authors of great books. You’ve been on Inc.com, Fox, Yahoo, MSNBC, you’ve been about everywhere. How did you get to be this networking maven? Isn’t that how they introduce you?

It’s one of both ways. I’m chuckling sometimes at these introductions if I’m at an event because people come up with some creative monikers. Networking is one of those topics that a lot of people struggle with. For me, it was something that I don’t think I came out of the chute knowing how to do it. I definitely have a more extroverted personality, so that helps. I’m also a very curious person so I’m always asking questions. I’m interested in people and I’m interested in the news and knowledge and how things happen. It was probably part of my nature. It also became a necessity because I moved a few times in my career so far where I moved somewhere and knew hardly anyone. I had to start all over.

When you put yourself in that challenging situation, you have to develop those emotional, intelligence skills, being able to read people, to know when you can approach them and when you can’t. You’re trying to build a new professional network as well as a new social life. All of those things help me get better at and more comfortable with what are considered networking skills. It’s this ability to try to connect with strangers. I kept meeting people that would say to me, “You think it’s so easy. It comes naturally to you.” I’m like, “No, it doesn’t. I had to learn how to do this.” It’s a skill, just like listening skills, leadership skills, and communication skills. I believe that networking is a skill that you need to learn how to do it and practice it.

There’s so many ways to network. Are you referring to online networking or in-person networking? What do you deal with the most when people are asking you questions about networking?

It’s definitely in-person the most because people are more reluctant in person. People are braver online, in good ways and bad ways. We see that that can be a problem in terms of the online stuff. People maybe a little too bold, a little too aggressive, or a little too negative even as a way to try and generate dialogue. It’s in-person that most people struggle with. Whenever I do any type of talk or workshop, and I love doing it in a webinar, I ask as a poll, “How many of you would classify yourself as a reluctant networker?” It never fails, 80% of the room, 80 %of the people on the call.

I was doing a keynote once where I asked this question. There were 1,200 people in the room. The 80% go up and I said, “Now look around. We all feel this way. This is not something that any of us feel comfortable with, so let’s shake that off and remember that most of us are feeling that this is not a natural thing to do, so relax.” I always go into tips and conversation starters and all those things that help break the ice. I use a lot of that to help people understand that it’s a problem for most of us. It’s not something that most people do in person easily.

One of my missions is take the negativity out of networking. It’s something that doesn’t need to be this dreaded thing and it’s something that we all recognize. You need to connect with other people to get most anything done in this world. Whether it’s users, whether it’s partners, employees, or a manager, you have to learn how to communicate with people. That’s what’s at the core of networking, getting used to talking to strangers. One of the things that I always say to people is you have to make peace with small talk. There’s no avoiding it. We all do it. We do it every day. We do it with the pharmacist. We do it with the woman in line at the post office. Everybody does it all the time. We make small talk, we talk about the weather, whatever it might be.

One of the things that I always try to help people with in terms of the networking framework is think of it as you’re trying to identify something you have in common. That’s why the weather is always such a great default because we all have weather. One of the things I’d like to talk about is when you’re at an event, it’s like talking about where you’re at that moment and using that as your context to start a conversation. I liken it to a wedding. When we go to a wedding, which most of us do at some point in our lives, we all have a conversation starter that we ask at the table. You sit down with a bunch of strangers sometimes. “How do you know the bride or groom?” It’s about where you’re at.

I always offer that as a tip as a conversation starter, “Is this your first time at CES?”or, “Have you been to Impact every year since it started?” Use that place you’re at as a way to establish that commonality that you already have, and then building from there. There are lots of other great questions I offer people and suggest that they use. One of my favorites is always, “What are you working on these days?” It’s one of those questions where anyone can answer that easily, even a student looking for a job. They’re going to say, “I just graduated, and I’m looking for a job. That’s what I’m working on. I got to get out of my parent’s house.” A conversation ensues because everybody’s like, “What do you want to do?”

It’s very natural then to get into the curiosity mode and start asking questions. When you run into people you know, it’s often, “What’s keeping you busy lately? What’s got you lying awake at night?”Sometimes we go to events like a chamber event or an annual conference where we’ll see the same people. It’s that idea of having to reacquaint yourself with them and find out what’s going on with them. Small talk is based on being curious and being genuine in that curiosity. We all know that people make judgments about us within the first ten seconds of meeting sometimes.

It’s that idea about being comfortable and interested in others that puts them at ease, because we know most people like to talk about themselves. It’s what they know. They don’t know sometimes how to start a conversation with you. I believe that if more of us took on the responsibility of engaging, then it would all come out in the wash. More of us would start being more curious and asking more questions and finding out how did you hear about this event, and all those different things. I’m harping on this idea of starting with where you’re at together.

I’m wondering if there are bad things to start a conversation. You made me think of when I pharmaceutical rep. I was taking up some food to take to a doctor’s office. It happened to have a bar when you walked into this restaurant, and the guy at the bar looked at me and he said, “I’m getting married this weekend. Do you want to be the bride?” That was a funny one. There are certain things you can say that that will capture someone’s attention and make them remember you. I don’t remember what he looked like or anything, but I do remember the line. Are there any great lines that you would recommend that are maybe funny that get you endeared to the person to whom you’re trying to connect?

I can think of a million, but I can’t think of one that fits everything. That’s a weird situation that was funny and it was memorable, but most of the situations that I’m talking about are always going to be of a professional nature. In terms of the question, “How did you decide to do what you do?” I didn’t even think about that. It came naturally when you and I started talking. I told you that I’m curious about how you started doing what you’re doing, and how you’re on this particular path. That question is better than, “Diane, what do you do?” which always seems to come across that way. There’s judgment in it, there’s categorization coming, there’s “prospect, no prospect” thinking coming. It’s something that we do in this country even more so than other places and other countries where they don’t even ask you what you do for 25 minutes into the conversation. It’s all about who you are. We’re very focused on, “What do you do?”

I try to get my clients and anyone I work with to banish that question from their small talk because it sets up a weird energy as soon as you start because people are nervous about it. Anybody who’s in between things gets a little freaked out, and people who are not maybe at a high level in their career yet get insecure. Why would we start with that? This variation of, “How did you decide to do what you do?” is something that helps move around that. You still get at the same information, but you find out more about the person and their choices and their path. That’s one of those blanket questions.

TTL 150 | Effective Networking Skills
Effective Networking Skills: Small talk is based on being curious and being genuine in that curiosity.

Things you don’t want to say, but you do want to ask but in a better way.

It’s a nicer way to learn, share, and connect. I saw one article once where they recommended saying, “What’s your story?” It’s a little weird. It makes me think of my mother in a negative way like, “What’s your story? Explain yourself. Why do you exist on this planet?” There are definitely things that throw people off, and if anything, they turn that conversation cooler as opposed to warmer.

What do you do at your Pay It Forward parties?

The Pay It Forward parties are about coming to an event not with your handout. This is another thing that I’ve found in all my research and all these clients I’ve worked with over the years. This is what makes people often uncomfortable about networking. They don’t want to go out there needy. They don’t want to be needy. They don’t want to be in that position. It’s a less powerful position. I started having to Pay It Forward parties because I wanted to have an event where people came with the intention of offering help to other people first. It wasn’t about, “What do you need?” It’s about, “Can you help someone else?” The Laws of Reciprocity kick in and karma kicks in. When you’re in more of a mode of giving to people, there’s a very good chance that it’s going to come back to you. It may not be in that moment at that particular party, but it may come out in one of the waves after that, and having that faith in the universe that you do need to give to get. It’s the way the world has structured itself.

You need to be in that mode of being curious and finding out what people need help with. That’s always my follow-up question. When you find out what people are working on, what they’re doing, it’s like, “What is it that brought you to the event today? Is there’s something that you need help with right now?” Letting them answer that question, not from this less powerful position where they’re able to say, “I’m looking for people to listen to my podcast. I just started it and I’m working on getting more listeners, but I’m struggling with finding new audiences. I’m trying to get the word out and I’m also open to ideas on other ways I could publicize it.” I always tell people who come to the party to be prepared to know what your ask is. What is it you’re going to say when somebody asks you because at this party, someone will ask you?

When I was first doing them, I was doing them for free. I didn’t charge anybody because I wanted it to be a giving nature. Eventually, I started charging a nominal fee because of the pure orchestration of it all. I’ve got to at least break even in this effort. I would end up getting clients. I started getting interview requests out of it because word was getting out about it, but it was also being able to set up an event that I knew that I could introduce people at. I had the secret agenda there the whole time. I was constantly meeting people by the nature of the work I was doing at the time I was in business development. There are people you want to introduce to each other.

Being a connector, I wanted to make it easier on myself, so I would tell people, “Come to my Pay It Forward party next month. I’ll introduce you that,” and making it one of those ways to kill two birds with one stone and being also able to match up people that I knew would either find each other interesting or compatible for their business purposes. It was crazy because single people meet and sometimes sparks fly. There were some fun stories of that thing coming out of it too. This weeds out people that weren’t willing to offer help to other people because there are a lot of takers in the world. There also some of the people that are responsible for giving many of us that negative perspective on networking. We’ve all encountered them over the years in different places and different events. That behavior turns off a lot of people. It was about creating an environment that was the complete opposite of what somebody would expect. I call it a party as opposed to networking.

You mentioned the importance of having emotional intelligence. I happened to write my doctoral dissertation on emotional intelligence, so I agree with you on the importance of developing interpersonal skills and all the things that go along with emotional intelligence. Part of it is having empathy and putting yourself in somebody else’s shoes. One of the best ways to do that is an event like that where you learn to listen and paraphrase what they’re saying in your mind going, “Is this really what they meant?”

Then spitting it back to them and say, “I heard you say this or that.” A lot of what you’re saying is important for people to develop because it falls under the area of soft skills, which a lot of people suffer. They suffer in that area. What other tips do you give people these for these events? You’ve talked about how to introduce yourself. Is there any other top tip that you think is important for people to know to network?

This is going to sound simple, but it’s surprising how often people forget to do this, and it’s to smile. I wish I didn’t think that was necessary to say, like there’s nine other tips on my top ten list somewhere that got published, but I always think about the smile because we all have seen this and we all encounter this energy when you are somewhere. You walk into a room or you walk into an event and there are people that had this stone face on, and they’re not approachable looking. They don’t give off that vibe of, “This would be at least a neutral person conversation.” It’s this idea of stuck and being so in your own head. Back to the emotional intelligence, it is empathy.

One of the things that I’ve learned in all of this is that people can remember that networking skills and these environments are about having good etiquette. That’s what we want to know, it is how to behave. What am I supposed to do? What am I not supposed to do? What should we not say? If you think about the idea that there’s etiquette around this and the definition of etiquette, like good manners, is about putting other people at ease. If you focused on that about yourself, are you putting other people at ease in this strange environment? If you’re the hostess, if you were entertaining, your job is to try and put them at ease. How would you do that? Would it be effective to stand in the corner staring at your phone the whole time or with this flop of sweat coming down and looking like you’re in a state of panic? Those would not be ways to put other people at ease. You would repel them; they would run the other way.

Learning how to smile in a relaxed way and being focused on what you’re presenting is the most important thing, because sometimes people come to these things and they’re rushing from something else. They had to get a babysitter, or they had to park the car there. They get into it, they’re flustered, and they haven’t taken a minute to compose themselves to get into a positive mindset like, “Who can I help tonight? Who can I help today?” Going into these events that way and setting goals would be another tip. It’s setting goals for yourself at these events. Getting in that mindset, going into the event saying, “My goal is going to be to try to offer help to two or three people.”

Forget the twenty business cards and chatting up all these people. It doesn’t do anything. You drop the ball and you piss off half of them because you’ve never followed up with them. It’s ridiculous. I’m all about two or three people tops. Have a meaningful conversation and connect. That’s how you get on the road to a good new relationship, is learning how to listen, and understanding what people’s challenges are. Maybe you can’t help them that night, but maybe you can make a note on the back of their business card and then when you come across that article about emotional intelligence, you can send it to them.

A lot of these events, are they always night events? Do you ever do them in other times?

It’s one of those things where I would tie them to a happy hour. Usually happy hours are inexpensive and there’s usually some food available. I would never have them somewhere where there wasn’t food because I don’t want people getting all drunk. I was very mindful about that. I have a whole chapter in my book about how to have one and what was the process I went through. You can hold them in any time of day. That’s my thing. I put that in my book because I want more people to have these events and think about creating that framework that will make it easier for people because 80% of the people are uncomfortable with this skill.

A large number of people need this help. Your book was great and I enjoyed reading it. A lot of people could benefit from what you write about and what you talk about. If you could share how they could reach you and how they can find your book, that’d be wonderful.

My website is BellaDomain.com, and on that site you can find everything from my social media handles. I’m on Twitter, I’m on Facebook, and LinkedIn is a big part of my business as well. I do a lot of training and coaching on LinkedIn because a lot of it is online. I always tie LinkedIn into the follow-up tool for the in-person networking and the research tool prior to a networking event. That’s why it integrates into my business, by teaching people how to leverage that tool. I’m on that platform. I blog there. My book is available on Amazon and also Barnes and Noble. I’d love to connect with new people.

Sandy, thank you so much for being on the show. I really enjoyed it.

My pleasure. Thank you for the opportunity.

You are welcome.

Inspiring Possibilities with Mark Susnow

I am with Mark Susnow, who’s a life design strategist, cutting-edge thought leader, author, inspirational speaker, and coach, who inspires others to believe in themselves. Influenced by a new millennium, he transitioned from an exciting career as a successful trial lawyer interviewed by Rolling Stone Magazine, The New York Times, Boston Globe, and other major media, to what he does now, specializing in life, executive, leadership, and business coaching, and as the CEO of Inspire Possibility. He’s the author of the much acclaimed The Soul of Uncertainty: A Fable for Our Times, and he’s also the author of Dancing On the River: Navigating Life’s Changes and Discover the Leader Within: Ten Keys to Becoming the Leader You Want to Be. He’s also a host of his own show and it’s called Inspire Possibilities podcast. Mark, welcome.

Thank you. I’ve been looking forward to this.

How did you get to be this regular guy? Tell me a little bit about your background as a trial lawyer and how that led to the next thing.

I was of the generation of wanting to save the world. I saw being a criminal lawyer and a lawyer advocating social change was a path to do that. Out of law school, I set up pursuing a more lucrative career. I went out on my own in San Francisco and started defending people arrested for pot and draft resisters. I just started doing it. I worked for a couple of guys for five months, then I was on my own and I started doing it. The next thing I knew, I’m on Rolling Stone and New York Times, and one thing led to the next. That was it until after a few years, when I achieved a lot of success and notoriety, my life came crashing down. That awakened me to more of an inner life and that’s been my path ever since. Even though I was a lawyer for many years afterwards, I’d been into meditation now for over 40 years.

I have a lot of guests who say that meditation has worked for them. I imagine it’s pretty stressful being a lawyer and all the things that you had to do in that respect. Did you start doing the meditation when you were in the practice of law?

In my second year, I began meditating. If I had to be in the court room at 9:00, I got up earlier. I got up half an hour earlier and I felt such a huge difference in my life. It made all the difference in the world. After a day of court before that, I’d have a drink or I’ll smoke a joint to de-stress. You didn’t have cell phones, so you’d be waiting for a jury to come back in the hallway. Stress was not a big topic like it is today. This is what we did, and there was a lot of drama.

You now do a lot of self-help things. I was looking at some of the stuff you do and you were talking about patterns that get in the way of people’s success and happiness. What do you mean? What are those patterns?

We have patterns, habits, and beliefs. Some of the patterns are from our childhood in terms of we have a way that we think we should be instead of the way we are.

How do we know what we should be? What’s realistic?

I don’t think we know what’s realistic because if we work on ourselves, we potentially could exceed our expectations. That’s a strong belief I have. For example, when we’re climbing a mountain, we have an idea of what it would be like when we get to the summit, but our idea’s not the same as actually experiencing it. When we experience it, we start to see things that there was no way we could’ve imagined, but we have to experience them. We’re not going to know until we actually experienced what’s possible. In one pattern, we have these limiting beliefs that limit us from going for it because we maybe have failed before or things haven’t worked out. We’ve been disappointed. We say, “Enough, I’m not going to do this anymore,” and we get discouraged.

TTL 150 | Effective Networking Skills
Effective Networking Skills: If we work on ourselves, we potentially could exceed our expectations.

It was Lolly Daskal, who was on my show, who mentioned how she deals with a lot of leaders who feel that they’re going to be discovered that they’re not as smart or as good as everybody thinks they are. Do you think that’s pretty common and leaders to think that they should be something better than what they are?

We don’t know what’s possible. We have that nagging voice also at the same time, “I’m not good enough. I’m not going to make it.” I write a monthly newsletter. The January newsletter is about winning the inner game. I was saying that we all have that inner critic inside us that says, “I’m not good enough. I can’t make it.” It’s not necessarily a bad thing because it’s also what drives us, as long as we can learn to make peace with that inner critic and that voice of judgment because it does motivate us. The other side of that is that it is possible that my life can be better than I ever imagined because we don’t know all the good that is potentially out there. We have no way of knowing what it might be. Somebody could walk into your life and you can fall in love, it could be the ideal client, or you get a new idea for a career path. I didn’t know after I was a lawyer, I decided if it’s turn of the millennium, I said I’m done, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I just knew I didn’t want to do that anymore.

I’ve done it for a long time and I had young children, and then I decided to become a life coach. I was in Hawaii when I made that decision. I thought about it. I made the decision and the action step I took was I made a phone call to a coaching school. I signed up for a program in San Francisco. I get on the plane in Hawaii with two of my children and this guy goes, “I know you. You’re a lawyer. You live in Marin, you’re a musician, and I met you at a storytelling workshop for lawyers.” I didn’t remember him; it was maybe ten or twelve years before. I said, “I haven’t been a lawyer for a year.” I stopped. I said I’m going to give myself a year. He said, “What are you going to do?” I said, “I’m going to become a life coach.”He said, “If you do call me, you have a lot of decisions to make.” I called him up, he became my first client. That’s the way it has gone ever since. Out of word of mouth, people show up.

How has that coaching school? Was it good?

It was very basic. I had been good at several different things and I have the belief that I could be good at anything if I stuck with it. It might take more time than I imagine. A lot of times it does. Mastery is like an ongoing journey. You work at it and then you have a breakthrough, and then that breakthrough becomes more like a plateau and you go, “This is not happening like it did,” and you lose interest. For a lot of people, they stop, and they let it go. Then maybe a year or two later, they get another idea. In the beginning, they find a lot of success and then it stops again. It plateaus. Real mastery occurs when you learn to love the plateau. When you love the plateau, then you get that breakthrough. That’s when you go to the next level and you start to function at a whole new level.

It’s very challenging to be a life coach and get people to sign up. What advice do you give people who are trying to do this, to get people to find out about them? You have a podcast and you have ways of getting your message out. Do you recommend having a social media presence? What’s helpful for you?

Everything is helpful. Social media is helpful. I remember when I was a young lawyer, there was a Northern California Criminal Lawyers Association and there was one guy there who was a legend. His name was Ephraim Margolin. He was more of a mentor. He had a way of talking and he seemed so intelligent. He was involved with so much. I heard him talk, and he says, “After twenty years as a lawyer, I realized any idiot could be a lawyer, but it takes a genius to get a client.” I remember that. It’s true with every business, even lawyers. There are so many lawyers that can’t make it financially or they don’t have the ability to attract business.

For example, alternative practitioners like acupuncturists, chiropractors, homeopaths, a lot them are brilliant with that ability to get the client and ask for money. With life coaches, a lot of them are life-coach schools, but I know with the training I did, very few people are still doing it. A lot of these things you have to do because it’s inside you. It’s a labor of love and it fulfills you. I know there’s this idea that if you do what you love, the money will follow. We’ve all heard that. It’s been on movies like The Secret and lots of books. I would say that it is possible that if you do what you love, the money will follow, but it doesn’t occur that way.

You do what you love because it gives you joy. You have to look overall at the circumstances in your life and in your sources of income and what you need to live on. That’s not why I went into coaching because I was fairly successful as an attorney. If I still wanted to focus on money, I would have remained as an attorney. I knew also that there was a window of when I let it go, I could go back to it, but after a certain amount of time, that window was gone. You do what you love because it gives you joy.

A lot of people get those golden handcuffs. They think, “I’m never going to make this money.” It’s such a great situation financially. It’s hard to let go of something that you don’t like. I’ve been in jobs like that and you justify it for one reason or another. You want to be with your kids more, you have more time for whatever. It’s such a great feeling when you do let go of that job that you don’t like. You can get a focus on what makes you happy, but it’s challenging for people who don’t have the financial means to do that. Are there any suggestions for people who are making it paycheck to paycheck, and they want to start something like this?

It’s very difficult to make a good living as a life coach. They tell you at coaching school all kinds of stuff that is not true. I tried a leadership training after I did some of the basic coaching courses and there were 23 people. I don’t think anybody’s doing this and they lose interest. Sometimes people might make money to supplement, but I would say that’s more realistic if you have other income to supplement your other income. Maybe there’s another bread earner in your household, but to put all your eggs in one basket is very difficult.

What you do when you do this job is you help leaders become better leaders. In your book you talk about ten keys to becoming the leader you want to be. What are those ten keys? Can you talk about a couple of them?

One thing I discovered is that leadership development and personal development are one and the same. I remember after the year of training, it was four retreats of about six days, and then we had three months in between each retreat. At the end of it, I said to somebody, “What is leadership development?” I was confused, I couldn’t figure out how leadership development was different than personal development. I asked a few people and I came to the conclusion that there is no difference. Some of these things I’m going to say about these ten keys, for example, one is that you have to embrace change. All leaders have to recognize that things do not stay the same.

For example, in the technology world, some products that you design and develop are, in a few years, obsolete. In life, things change. We grow older. The tides come in and out. The best way to embrace change is how you start your day. Instead of waking up, jumping in the shower, grabbing a cup of coffee, and racing out of the house, if you start your day like that, you’re going to be in a hurry all day long. The easiest way to get change into your life is to change how you start your day.

How do you start yours?

I start my day with meditation. I don’t rush into the day, and that gives me a time to reflect. I focus on what I’m grateful for. I always ask myself, “I wonder what the highlight of my day is going to be.” I have this expectation because, as we know during our day, things don’t work out quite often the way that we expected. There might be some things that disappoint us. If you’re looking for the good, and at the end of the day you ask yourself, “What was the highlight of my day?” That’s what you remember rather than what didn’t work out. Back to this idea of these ten principles, be committed to new ideas and to innovation. Be an innovator.

Where does that come from? It comes from a quiet mind. You get all these good ideas. You don’t get them necessarily if you’re always focused on what you’re doing. You do something different, and let it come to you. In terms of leadership, you have to explore the emerging trends. What are the emerging trends? What are people thinking? What is current way of being? What are people thinking about the industry you’re in? Be open to the emerging trends. Some of the best leaders I’ve worked with are great communicators, and not only are they great communicators, but they’re always looking at, “How can I be a better communicator?” That’s what I would say to people. Learn how to be a great communicator. Learn what authentic listening is. Learn what active listening is.

I’m writing about curiosity. How does curiosity fit into being a good leader?

Curiosity mean lots of things. It means you’re open to learning new things and the innovation, and that’s a big thing. What I realized about myself is I don’t think I have quite that understanding. For example, I want to explore everything. What’s that like? I meet somebody, and I go, “What’s that like?” That’s what’s fun about doing these shows, is that we get to meet people and somebody who have a totally different life than we do. What’s that like? I just interviewed somebody that was at one time a World Series star, and it was great to get into his body and what’s it to be in this life and to be curious. For example, when I hear music, because I’m a musician and I play lots of different instruments, how’s he doing that? How does he do that? In my voicemail, I always say “Stay curious.” Curiosity makes life more interesting, when we’re learning new things and we’re curious.

I like that one of the first things you did was to ask me about how I did the show because you were curious. I’m always fascinated by people that don’t seem to want to know why or are that curious. I would love to be able to spark curiosity in other people. What you’re doing is helping leaders to be better by improving curiosity in leaders and having them know how to spark curiosity in their followers can be really important, don’t you think?

Absolutely. Maybe there’s a way we can be more efficient and more productive.

TTL 150 | Effective Networking Skills
Effective Networking Skills: Managing your energy helps you with time management and you learn how to be more productive.

It’s such a huge topic with engagement being so low right now. I’m sure you deal with that a lot with leaders trying to find ways to improve engagement, and a lot of people want that feedback. They want to know how they’re doing and they’re curious. We need to feed that.

They want to do better. It really brings us alive. Curiosity is what brings us alive. When we do things, it’s coming back to this idea about doing something that we love. What’s so important is to have this lightness so that we get excited. A few more things in term of these qualities of a great leader is to learn how to manage your energy. You look at “How am I managing my energy? Am I stressed out?” When you’re stressed out, it drains a lot of energy from you. Managing your energy helps you with time management and you learn how to be more productive. When you’re working on a problem, you focus on it. At some point, you need to let it go and do something else. That’s interrupting the pattern.

One of the books I talk about, The Breakthrough Principle, it talked about when you focus on a problem, let it go. Do something totally different. What happens is at some point, you get an insight into that problem, when you’re doing something totally unrelated, and then you can come back to it with that new awareness. It’s not a function of time. It’s a function of managing your energy. How am I wasting time? Am I the most productive I could be? One of the other principles is to reclaim your life. I have an e-book on that about reclaiming your life and living balanced. I use a metaphor that is a lot like sailing, because sometimes when you’re sailing, the wind stops. Sometimes the wind changes, so you got to change direction. Go change your sails.

A lot of people probably want to know how they can find out more about what you do in your website. Can you share all that?

My website is InspirePossibility.com.If you sign up for my newsletter, you will get a link to my other e-book, Stepping Stones: Greater Personal Freedom. If you email me personally at Mark@InspirePossibility.com, I will go ahead and send you the link to Reclaim Your Life. I wrote them a long time ago. I’ve updated them a little bit and I realized they’re really good. They’re timeless. I feel good about that in the first few years of this journey. Go to my website, all my books are available on Amazon, and if people are interested in working with me, I give people a half hour or 40-minute free consultation, only if you’re really serious about making changes to your life, to really explore whether we’re a good fit and, and to really look at where you want to go and what’s in the way.

Thank you so much for sharing all that. Everybody will take advantage of your generosity with that. I loved our conversation, and I really appreciate it. Thanks for being on the show.

You’re great. I loved it. You’re fun to talk to.

Thank you so much to Sandy and to Mark. What a great show. If you’ve missed any of our past episodes, please go to Dr.DianeHamiltonRadio.com.

About Sandy Jones-Kaminski

TTL 150 | Effective Networking SkillsSandy Jones-Kaminski is the author of I’m at a Networking Event-Now What?  She is also a former VP of Networking for one of the largest chapters of the American Marketing Association.  Sandy knows how to make meaningful connections, cultivate relationships, host some great networking events, and create what she refers to as good “social capital.” She shares her professional insights on effective networking via webcasts, speaking engagements, one-on-one coaching, workshops, and by facilitating in-person networking events called Pay It Forward Parties. Sandy believes that beyond self-promotion, networking builds community and creates healthier and stronger business environments. And when she’s not speaking or writing about networking, she helps clients grow their ventures or achieve their goals as a business consultant and coach.

About Mark Susnow

TTL 150 | Effective Networking SkillsMark Susnow is a life design strategist, cutting-edge thought leader, author, inspirational speaker and coach, who inspires others to believe in themselves.  Influenced by the new millennium he transitioned from an exciting career as a successful trial lawyer interviewed by Rolling Stone Magazine, The New York Times, Boston Globe, and other major media to what he does now, specializing in Life, Executive, Leadership and Business Coaching, as the CEO of Inspire Possibility. Mark is the author of the much acclaimed The Soul of Uncertainty—A Fable for our Times. He is also the author of Dancing on the River: Navigating Life’s Changes and Discover the Leader Within: 10 Keys to Becoming the Leader You Want to Be. He is the host of the highly celebrated Inspire Possibility podcast.

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