Shiny happy people

Shiny happy people

“Spotto!” my daughter screams at the top of her lungs as we round the corner. Sure enough a lovely yellow hatchback speeds past us in the opposite direction and my daughter wins the award for spotting the highest number of yellow cars on that trip.

I always thought that yellow cars were a bit of a novelty and car manufacturers only made a few of this very bright colour. Not so! Since I’ve been playing Spotto with the kids I have seen more yellow cars in the last month than I have seen in my entire life.

Why is that?

Our Reticular Activating System (RAS) allows our brain to focus on things that are important and filters out unimportant messages. Perhaps the most important function of the RAS is its control of consciousness; it is believed to control sleep, wakefulness, and the ability to consciously focus attention on something. In addition, the RAS acts as a filter, dampening down the effect of repeated stimuli such as loud noises, helping to prevent the senses from being overloaded.

The brain only knows what is important when you tell it so. In other words, the brain focuses on what you focus on. For example, ever notice how when you are angry you have more frustration on the road, find more things to complain about and make everyone around you angry too?

I have a theory about how this scientific rule can apply to networking and to life. And this is just one example, but a good one to start with.

If our subconscious mind can select what we see and experience via our RAS then it stands to reason that we would attract or notice happy people if we focused on finding happiness or consciously looked for happy people. Rather than simply acting on the Law of Attraction and focusing on the outcome, we are looking for people who embody the qualities or the skills we are wanting to emulate. We are manufacturing a happy environment.

We all know that person at an event or party who is the life of the party. You know, the one everyone loves to be around, the one who is always happy. What I have learned in my observations of thousands of people over the years is that there are two types of “life of the party” type people. There are people who may be the life of the party this week, who are loud and rambunctious and hilarious in many instances.

Sadly these are people who are loud in order to cover up their fear of being exposed and who make fun of others to deflect the attention from themselves. These people are funny one week and often end up being considered boorish the next.

The other type of “life of the party” person is the one who is genuinely happy to see you. The one who is genuinely curious about what you have to say and can find the good in any situation. They are fun to be around because they can tell a story with intelligent good humour rather than insulting comedic sarcasm. What if we consciously focused on looking for and unearthing these type of people?

Surely, if we made a regular effort to find more of these people within our targeted groups, we would notice more of them. If many people made a conscious effort to find these people then many would notice more of them and maybe we would just tip the balance and create more happiness. It would certainly create stronger and happier networks, which can only be a good thing.

Taking this one step further, what if we consciously looked for people with similar values about the planet, politics and family? The possibilities are endless.

So while you get busy looking for shiny happy people, I’m off to find some more shiny yellow cars!

Do you make ripples or waves?

Do you make ripples or waves?

Like it or not, you have a reputation. A personal one and a professional one. All the messages you put out, on the Internet, in person, on paper, combine to form a brand image to all who cross your path. Networking is not just about the face-value of the person you shake hands with – it is the reputation and image that surrounds them.

These days your image can and will follow you. It is logged, documented, diarised, collated and Googled. In the future your grandchildren will be able to Google you. Your children, or your parents, may be doing it now!

These days, your professional reputation and image is a lot more than just what you wear and how you come across. Sure, looking the part and creating a good first impression is important but your professional reputation is about the entire package. It is about who you are, how you operate and what you stand for. Your actions, reactions and integrity are under constant scrutiny.

With the rise of social media and increase in communicative tools, managing your reputation is now critical. It is easy for current and future employers to Google you, and often before the interview or promotion. Your online reputation could be affecting your real-world reputation in ways you aren’t even aware of. Conversations that you thought were deleted can still be accessed with the correct URL or search phrase.

Google. Never. Forgets.

It’s no secret we need to be authentic and operate from the heart. That authentic person needs to live and breathe online as well. It’s no good espousing virtues that don’t align with daily activities. There is no “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” in Google’s world. Here are some ideas to bring your online and offline profiles into alignment.

Mind your language

Social media has changed the way we communicate. In many cases we do not have the physical nuances that embellish and direct a conversational theme. Many conversations rely on words only with no signals to indicate mood. You may write your message while smiling and laughing but without that facial expression to go with it the message could result in a completely different outcome. Icons and punctuation such as exclamation marks can be very useful but don’t rely on these, change your language to suit the mood instead.

Hold off on the Send button

It is too easy for innocent statements to be misconstrued. Appropriate communication is just as important as the message itself. Always read back your message and even sit on it for 5 minutes before sending to make sure it comes across in the most appropriate way. We have all been at the brunt of an email fired off in anger, either by us or to us, so this strategy can save us from future problems! Set your email manager to send every half hour rather than immediately and you will mostly have the chance to review your words if necessary.

Is your message consistent?

Check out your social media profiles and make sure they are congruent. There is a different tone that goes with different platforms but your ethos and modus operandi should marry.

Watch your spelling

Finally, and at the risk of sounding like your high school English teacher, spelling is now more important than ever. Yes, many conversations on mobiles and on Twitter rely on abbreviations such as gr8, r u ok? and YOLO but these abbreviations do not have a place on platforms such as LinkedIn, email, blogs or even facebook.

When you communicate using only words, those words need to be correct, appropriate and grammatically sound. Relying on spell-check just doesn’t cut it as many words can mean something totally different to what you are trying to convey but may still be spelled correctly.

Post only what’s important

Every post, every comment and every picture all contribute to a profile of what you are all about. Make sure you are proud of every post. No exceptions.

Update your CV

Make a yearly habit to update your CV. Once you have established where you’re going that year, take the time to check all your online and face to face activities. Are they in alignment? If not, what needs to change?

You never know just who might be on the shoreline.

Decide to Network

Decide to Network

Use every letter you write,

Every conversation you have,

Every meeting you attend,

To express your fundamental beliefs and dreams.

Affirm to others the vision of the world you want.


Network through thought,

Network through action,

Network through love,

Network through the spirit.

You are the centre of a network,

You are the centre of the world,

You are a free, immensely powerful source of life and goodness.


Affirm it,

Spread it,

Radiate it,

Think day and night about it,

And you will see a miracle happen:

The greatness of your own life.


In a world of big powers, media, and monopolies,

There are four and a half billion individuals,

Networking is the new freedom,

The new democracy,

A new form of happiness.


By Dr Robert Muller Assistant Secretary-General for Economic & Social Services for the United Nations

Networking Etiquette 101

Networking Etiquette 101

“We must catch up for coffee” is often the parting phrase at the end of networking events. I know this first hand, I’ve heard those exact words uttered thousands of times between thousands of people. How many of those flippant coffee invitations actually transpire into a latte or flat white?

I understand life gets busy, believe me I do, but I also believe we need to be a little more truthful when we suggest a coffee catch up. There is definitely a trend towards the empty promise in this department. Simply saying “I look forward to next time we meet” is a perfectly acceptable parting statement rather than offering an experience that you have no intention of delivering.


So no more empty promises! Stand by your invitation and connect with those who you do really want to share a Latte with. With that in mind here are some tips to help:

1. Why meet?

If it is you who suggests the meeting then state why you would like to catch up. If it is to discuss something specific then say so. If it is just to get to know someone or catch up on things then say that too.

2. Who books?

If it is you who suggests the caffeinated catch up then it should be you who arranges it so don’t offer unless you are prepared to follow through. You can always ask rather than invite by saying “We have a lot to talk about, should we catch up for coffee sometime?” Then you can gauge response and, if positive, say “great, I’ll organise it”. Easy!

3. Who pays?

You invite, you pay. That is usually how it should be for a simple coffee. I say usually because I am amazed at how many times it is not! And often without so much as a thank you! If you invite you get the bill – or at least offer and be prepared to insist past the first counter-offer. If you have been invited by someone and then decide to have a three course meal, then you cannot expect the other person to pay so you need to offer your share.
Learn to say thank you in a gracious manner if it is their turn to pay. Rather than start the “oh no, let me pay” banter – just say thanks and be truly grateful.

4. What next?

If you have been invited to coffee and wish to continue the business relationship then offer to arrange (and pay for) the next coffee. Then make sure that you do! Put a date in your diary sooner rather than later, even if that date is a month or two in advance. Believe me, it will be here before you know it!

5. How long?

One hour is the standard time for a meeting, coffee meeting or otherwise. Do try to stay within this out of respect for the other person’s schedule. If you need to discuss business then try to have your conversation finished 15 minutes prior to the end of the hour so that you have time for general chat afterwards.
I can remember a number of times coming away from a coffee meeting feeling a little flatter than my flat white because of poor etiquette, being purely sold to, or lack of understanding about why we were meeting in the first place. On the flip side, I have shared many a flat white with inspiring, polite, energising people where connections were made and business was done in the most wonderful way.

Cappucino thanks….

Are you sending the right message?

Are you sending the right message?

Whether you use facebook for fun, LinkedIn for business or Pinterest to keep track of that coveted wardrobe, your online persona is important to your career, business and your image in general.

The idea of social media hinges on the first word – social. It is and should be a conversation. Think of social media as an extension of your face to face activities rather than a stand alone channel. The idea is to create, build and nurture relationships. Social media just gives you the ability to do that on a greater scale. Where possible try to interact with your peeps through events, phone calls, Skype and other face to face opportunities. The depth of connection and quality of conversation you will experience as a result will catapult your social media presence beyond anything you could have expected. Others on the fringe will be thinking that they want to be a part of the fantastic conversation and will seek you out. The key? Be real, be you and enjoy! Above all, be respectful, generous and relevant.

What is the personality of your personal/business brand? Does it match your personality online and in face to face connections? A good test for this is to Google yourself and see what comes up. Is it consistent? Would others think of you in the way you want be thought of? Do your social media profiles match up? Remember that each social media channel is an opportunity for a different kind of conversation so each profile may be slightly different and use different language, however they are all variations on one central theme which is your personal brand.

One important thing to remember is that everyone is busy. The quickest way to lose a contact is to flood them with meaningless content that just wastes their time (and yours!). Regardless how important your latest meal is to you, your trusty followers really don’t need a spoon by spoon account! Post what is relevant, topical, funny and useful rather than posting for the sake of posting. Now, I am all for regular appearances through social media to maintain your brand and boost your network, just ensure that the content is something others want to read at a time they want to read it. Your followers do not need to be flooded with content when it suits you and then hear nothing for days. Try using a tool such as or which allow you to find your posts when it is convenient for you but schedule them to be delivered at times that are convenient for your readers.

Remember that social media is just one channel of your marketing mix. Back it up with consistent branding, solid relationships and other face to face opportunities and your reach and brand message will be first class.