Working Wounded: Making Biz Connections

DEAR WOUNDED: Is anyone else having trouble getting through to people today? Is there something that other people are doing that I don't know about?

ANSWER: I had an out-of-town guest visit me recently. We were listening to the Seattle weather report and she started laughing because of all the different ways that the weatherman had referred to rain -- showers, downpour, drizzle and her favorite: sun breaks.

We have a lot of options for talking about rain in the Northwest. Unfortunately, when it comes to getting through to a key contact, most of us suffer a dry spell because we have too few options for getting through… or possibly too many.

The rest of this column will rain ideas over you for how to actually get in contact with the people you need to connect with to get your job done. For more, check out "Complete Idiots Guide to Cold Calls" by Keith Rosen (Alpha, 2004).

E-mail? The first, and usually best, option.

Voice mail? A close second.

Cell phone? But remember, many people don't like work calls on their cell.

Business phone? Going through the company switchboard has worked for me.

Snail mail? For most of us it's unusual to get a letter, so retro can have its rewards.

Overnight package? Expensive, but often effective.

In person? Speaking of retro, remember when we met face to face?

Hang out in bathroom nearest their desks? I'm embarrassed to admit, this did work for me once. Only works with contacts of the same sex, however.

Online social networks? A friend of mine swears by MySpace for making business contacts.

Offline social networks? Do a little homework and you might be able to bump into the person you really need to meet at Rotary, the Chamber, etc.

Vendors? Sometimes a vendor can help make a contact for you or they can provide a key bit of information about how to get your foot in the door.

Salespeople? Like vendors, some salespeople might have valuable insight to help your cause.

Trade shows? Trade shows are just one way that an association can provide a platform for you to meet a key contact.

Secretary? Far too many people see secretaries as an obstacle. I can't tell you how many times befriending an assistant has gotten my foot in the door.

Close associate? Whether they broker the meeting or just help to point you in the right direction, key contacts can help.

Friend? The great part about friends is they often not only can help you get in touch with the person, they can give you insight about how best to deal with them. Follow these tips and your career won't be a lost cause. It will have purpose and a clear direction.

Follow these tips and missed connections won't rain on your parade.

Online Ballot and Contest

Here are the results from a recent workingwounded.com/ABCNEWS.com online ballot:

Working Wounded/ABCNEWS.com online ballot question: How often do you lie at work?

  • All the time, 8.6 percent
  • Often, 12.1 percent
  • I'll have to take the Fifth, 25.9 percent
  • Never, 53.2 percent

Thought for the Week

Our thought for the week comes from H.L. in Maple, Ontario, Canada:

"I always try to use my sense of humor when dealing with a situation where conflict and tension might arise. If I suspect that a co-worker is lying to me, I want to correct the problem immediately, so that they don't think they have pulled one over on me.

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