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Networking: Benefits and Opportunities

Whether you own a small business, medium-sized business or a large corporation, business networking is an integral part of growing your company and seeing that it is successful. Building a lucrative business takes a lot of time and drive, so it’s good to have a network of friends and associates to draw energy from and keep you going. What is even better, is to have connections within your industry when things go wrong and you need advice from someone who has been there before. Networking can provide these things and more. Let’s take a look at the benefits of business networking and what potential opportunities abound in a networking event.

  • Referrals – When attending a networking meeting or event, there are always opportunities for referrals. Through word-of-mouth, leads can be filtered in your direction and eventually, those leads can turn into clients.
  • Connections – If the business leader is motivated, this form of marketing can mean you gain a great source of connections in your industry and in industries that work with yours. This can come in handy when you need simple advice or when you need help building and growing your company.
  • Raising Your Profile – With regular attendance at social gatherings and networking events, other business people will begin to recognize you and your brand. Sharing your information and talking about your company is a great way of building a name for yourself as well as increasing your reputation.
  • Sharing Knowledge – Many small and medium sized businesses need “a village” to get off the ground. These meetings are a perfect place to ask questions and share knowledge of the struggles and successes related to your specific industry or company.

BLS Provider CPR (1-day Initial or Renewal Course, multiple sessions available)

(Initial or Renewal Course based on the 2015 AHA Guidelines)
Basic Life Support (BLS) is the foundation for saving lives after cardiac arrest. This course teaches both single-rescuer and team basic life support skills for application in both in-facility and prehospital settings. This course is designed for healthcare professionals and other personnel who need to know how to perform CPR and other basic cardiovascular life support skills.

In addition, BLS training can be appropriate for first responders, such as police officers and firefighters, as well as for laypeople whose work brings them into contact with members of the public, such as school, fitness center, or hotel and restaurant employees.

Students must pass a written exam and skills test in order to qualify for a BLS Course Completion Card.
Upon successful completion of this course, students will receive a completion cad valid for 2 years.

Conveniently scheduled on Saturday, please choose the session that works best for you.


Productive Business Networking

Business networking can be a valuable strategy to: get referrals, connect with prospective partners/clients, gather insights on innovation in your field or merely expose your name or brand.  Unfortunately networking can be overwhelming meeting new people, keeping up with conversations and making those connections convert into customers.  Here are some tips to make the most of your networking events.

Before the Event –

  • Gather your supplies including business cards, pens, paper and any marketing brochures you could refer to if the conversation leans in that direction.
  • Know your goals prior to heading into the networking event.  Do you hope to gather names of prospective clients?  Do you want to nurture an existing relationship?
  • Know the audience – Find out who will be attending the event through the online RSVP list so you know what to expect.
  • Remember the dress code.  Professional business attire is usually expected to give a positive impression unless there is a specific theme or location that lends itself to a different dress code.  (golf, harbor cruise)

At the Event

  • Check out the registration table for names that you may want to connect with.  If you are nervous, look for familiar names to start off with to break the ice.
  • Smile!
  • Keep your hands free for shaking hands.  If there is food available you may want to keep eating brief so you can talk freely and have your hands available to shake hands or distribute business  cards.
  • Have a list of topics to refer to if conversations fade.  Be interested and use active listening when part of a conversation.
  • Hand out and gather those cards!  The back of the cards can be used to keep notes on each person. (That may have to happen in the car after the event.)
  • Be confident.  Speak clearly and rely on your confidence to guide you through conversations.
  • Be genuine.  People can tell when you are putting on an act.  So be yourself and speak from the heart.

After the Event

  • Debrief after the event. This may mean writing up notes on items of interest or questions you may have promised to get answered.
  • Follow up – Use those business cards you carefully gathered and follow through with an email or phone call. If you live locally an in-person meeting over coffee may be in order.
  • Connect through social media. Find people that you connected with on LinkedIn or other social media to stay in touch.
  • Enter contacts. Put all new contacts in your list at the office.

Common Presentation Mistakes

A great business presentation can inspire, inform and call a group to action.  Unfortunately, a poorly planned and executed presentation can bore and annoy an audience to the point of harming your brand image or possibly tarnishing your good reputation. What are the most common pitfalls during a presentation and how can you avoid them? Let’s look at the most common mistakes presenters can make.

Lack of Preparation
– The single biggest mistake in giving a presentation is lack of practice. The adage practice makes perfect stands true here.  Practice with colleagues who can give you honest feedback.  Practice in front of a mirror to gauge your facial expressions and body language.  And finally, practice in anticipation of audience questions.  Make sure you know your topic well enough to go off script and answer detailed questions about your content.  During practice sessions be sure to make eye contact, speak clearly and have the ability to give the presentation without the use of your slides to guide you.

Not knowing the audience – Whether your audience is an intimate group of 20 or a large corporate group of 200, know the audience.  Do some research on your audience. Why are they here? How much do they already know about your topic, and what do they most want to learn from you?  Talking far above or far below their comprehension level can create confusion or boredom.

Content Mistakes – There are several content mistakes that you will want to avoid.  Data or content overload is fairly common with speakers that are passionate about their topic.  Use visuals and anecdotal stories to help get information across instead of overloading the audience with data and bullets on your slides.  In addition, know your content well enough that you do not read directly from the slides.  Many speakers who do this leave the audience wondering why they just didn’t print off the slides and skip the presentation altogether.  Finally do not overload your audience with “takeaways.”  Studies show that audiences lose focus after three points.

Technology Mistakes – Most technology problems occur because of a lack of planning.  Check and recheck with your venue about equipment and technology set up.  Familiarize yourself with the room, technology and equipment far in advance if at all possible.  Spend a little extra money and have many different connectors at your disposal “just in case.” Check lighting, sound and layout of the room prior to your presentation.

Slides and Media Mistakes – Choose your slides and visual content carefully.  If it doesn’t enhance what you are saying then remove the slide.  Too many flashy visuals or pictures can detract from your overall message.  Choose a pleasing color palette and whenever possible choose custom pictures instead of stock photography.  Make it unique and show off your company’s personality in your visuals.