Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I was recently at the National BNI Conference in Pittsburgh. I love these conferences because they give me energy and feed my soul. Being around other likeminded people is stimulating and I love being able to take in and learn from all of the other Directors. I’ve always felt a little like a wall flower, just observing and absorbing everything, everyone said. But something happened this time that made me feel… well, like I was a small, blossoming flower in the middle of the garden.

I had gone to Florida early for some other business training and so I missed the Author Mentoring Telebridge that I normally would have listened in on. When I got to Pittsburgh on Wednesday, I asked one of my colleagues what I had missed on the call. They then told me, “Oh it was good, we went over the articles, there were a few questions… etc. OH and Hazel talked about your blog!” My heart skipped a beat. Hazel is the one who co-anchors the call with Dr. Misner. I knew she had commented on my blog but assumed she did that for everyone in the program. “Yeah, she said we should all go check out your blog because you do a good job with it.” At first I thought he was teasing me. But when I realize he wasn’t, I couldn’t believe it!!

I approached Hazel later on and introduced myself. As a Once Timid Networker and if you have read any other entries of this blog, you can imagine the challenge that was going on inside of me. A mixture of, what if she doesn’t know who I am? What if she’s too busy to talk to me? What if I stumble all over myself? What if my friend really was teasing and she doesn’t know what I’m talking about?? Who do I think I am…This was HAZEL WALKER!! The Queen of Networking!!

But also, there was a small measure of pride at the thought that I was doing a good job and my message was being heard.

Well, I’m here to tell you, she couldn’t have been more kind. Her smile was warm, her hug was just the right amount of tightness and every time she saw me she went out of her way to say hello. Plus, she remembered my name AND how to say it!! She talked to me. We even had breakfast together and discussed directions I could take this blog that I have grown to enjoy writing so much. I was star struck!

When I left the conference, I had acquired a new mentor. Thank you sweet Hazel for all your kind words, laughs and hugs…This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Tara Schmakel- The Workroom at Tara's

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tools and Networking Part 3 (The Feather)

Let’s continue with our “Tools and Networking” discussion that linked back to that little green Starbucks stick. We are talking about tools that make it easier to deliver our message. The next one I would like to share is “The magic feather”.

Did you see Dumbo? Remember the part when Dumbo gets stuck in the tree and the Crows give him a magic feather that would “help” him to fly? Dumbo placed it in his little trunk and could fly! However he eventually realized that the feather was just a something to give him the confidence to do what he was capable all along. The feather wasn’t really magical, it was a tool.

Have you ever noticed that when you are wearing clothing that is clean, looks nice on you and fits properly, you carry yourself completely different? You have confidence and are not distracted by fidgeting with your clothing to make sure you “look” like you have it together. Not only that, but others are impressed with your demeanor because of how professional and confident you appear. Because of that, you are able to present and deliver your message with a greater degree of fortitude.

So, go into your closet, select a few “go to” outfits that always fit and always look nice. You may get complements when you wear them. (And silly as it may seem, this Once Timid Networker has even made notes of the particular outfits, including the accessories just so I don't have to think about it.) These are your “Magic Feathers”. If you look into your closet and can’t find a feather, bring a trusted friend shopping with you and purchase some. Or you could even hire an image consultant. You won’t be sorry.

Then next time you have an event you may be a little intimidated by, throw on a “feather”. It will give you the confidence to do what you were capable of all along… and just watch how you soar!

Tara Schmakel- The Workroom at Tara’s

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Shaking of a Hand

In January, this Once Timid Networker made a new friend, Tony Wolfe. He has become a very good friend and someone I look forward to seeing and chatting with when his name pops up on my Facebook Chat list. He is always positive and has a delightful smile and friendly voice.

Today is is my honor to have him be a "Guest" blogger for The Once Timid Networker... Thank you Tony for being inspirational and for being my friend.

Tara Schmakel, The Workroom at Tara's

I'm walking into a meeting/networking event and a bit timid because I have zero pre-existing relationships with anyone in the room. I'm the new guy. But wait, they don't know me either so that makes them the new guy to me.

I begin to roam the room hoping that an ambassador or an appointed connector will spot me and approach me to save me from my agony. It happens. A very nice lady walks directly toward me making eye contact and displaying a big smile with her outreached arm. She was walking at a fast pace directly toward me to give me a warm welcome. I'm looking forward to this. She looks fabulous and professional. I can feel her energy before she even gets to me. I extend my hand, she hers and we make that initial connection with a handshake.

We interlocked and maintained throughout the introductions. She was firm, yet gentle with the clasp of my hand. She wouldn't let go. Then, her other hand came into play. My right hand was now sandwiched between the two of hers. The usual up and down handshake protocol was in full force. I was unsure as to just when (or if) I was going to be turned loose. I wasn't necessarily uncomfortable but I was beginning to wish that I would be set free sometime soon.

She was letting me know, through both her words and the eternal handshake that she was happy to meet me and happy to introduce me to folks in the room.

Once released, I felt like a new man. I was now set free from my anxiety about being in a room full of strangers. I was escorted from one cluster of people to another being introduced as a visitor for the day.

I will remember that handshake forever. The impact that something as simple as a handshake can have is remarkable.

What impact are you having on people when you meet them for the first time? GO DO!™