Friday, December 23, 2011

Sports Slang, Networking Redux, Joe Robert, Necessary Endings

Sports slang has been used to describe business situations for years:
  1. Play ball. To go along with what everyone else wants. 
  2. Ball park. To estimate something. 
  3. Step up. Short for “step up to the plate.” To take responsibility
  4. Level the playing field. Make things even across the board
  5. Play hardball. To get mean and get tough. 
  6. Slam dunk. A complete and easy success. 

But when I was reading a listing of upcoming concerts this morning what struck me is that there are words used to describe musicians and bands that are also adaptable to companies and people in the commercial real estate industry.  While I will not commit industry suicide to applying any of these terms to any company or person in particular, wouldn't it be fun to do an anonymous survey? 

  1. Miraculously nimble
  2. Smooth and swinging
  3. Heartthrob
  4. Seasoned trio
  5. Powerful vocalist
  6. Tragic emblem
  7. Enigmatic artist
  8. Frequent collaborator
  9. Over-caffeinated electronic art rock
  10. Nightlife kingpin

Thanks to my friend, Tom, I offer you the following "Tips on Networking" previously published in the Wall Street Journal:

  1. Have a Solid Introduction: First impressions count heavily. Make sure your attire, attitude and overall appearance are the best possible before introducing yourself to someone
  2. Don't Confuse People with Your Pitch:  No one needs to hear your entire work history upon meeting you. If someone asks you to tell them a bit about yourself, your explanation from start to finish shouldn't take more than 30 to 60 seconds
  3. Don't Tell a Sob Story: No matter how tough it's been, you need to paint a positive picture when you're making new connections. 
  4. Spend More Time Listening Than Talking:  The old adage is true: People were given two ears and one mouth, and you should use them proportionately. 
  5. Avoid Being Socially Inept: There's a fine line between being friendly and personable and being awkward. You do not want to be the latter
  6. Don't Overstay Your Welcome:  Taking up too much of someone's time is almost as bad as ignoring them entirely.
  7. Hand out Your Business Card, Not Your Resume:  It's not ok to pass along an unsolicited resume. Offline or online, you need to work on forming a relationship with someone before you ask them for anything at all. Many people overlook this professional courtesy, and ask brand new connections to serve as a referral when submitting a resume or application.
  8. Follow Up and Through:  Perhaps the "Cardinal Rule" of networking is that once you've planted the seeds of a new relationship, you must follow up to maintain it. Whether it's a business referral, job lead, or a professional connection, get in touch – within 24 hours – to say you enjoyed meeting them.

So true although I've allowed myself 48 hours to follow up with everyone whose card I get at any event with a simple email.  At the same time I enter them in my contact database with a notation of when and where I met them and anything else that I learned (or that I can remember!)  Although it's not acceptable in many Asian countries, the first thing I do when or after I meet someone is make a notation on the back of their card (except for those companies who, for some reason unknown to me, have allowed their card designer to have the back of the card be a dark color.  Go figure).

Joe Robert died recently at age 59.  As many of you know, Joe became visible during the RTC (Resolution Trust Corporation) days when he started managing and then buying assets from that agency that was formed to workout the Savings and Loan crisis in the late 1980's and early 1990's.  He built a successful investment management business.  I met him only once, at an industry event some years back where he was the keynote speaker.  My first impression was that he was a good guy with a contagious positive personality, a sentiment apparently echoed by many who knew him both in business and real vs. real estate life.  Anytime a thing like this happens, dying so young, to someone you either know well or know of. it is another wake-up call. We don't know how many days we will be granted the privilege to exist on earth and when I am awakened I get back to doing certain things that I may have put on, as it were, the 'back burner.' These include documenting as many stories as I can about my growing up as a personal history for my grand children.  I also have been working on an autobiography for many years and have been negligent about that after a blazing start.  The advice I've been given about writing is to write every day, at the same time of day, for a minimum of 30 minutes.  When doing this, don't try to edit yourself but just let it flow-there's time for editing later.  But it's the discipline that is the key.  We all have stories to tell about a family member, friend or acquaintance dying at a young age. But we also read about people who accomplish a lot during their years.  I recently interviewed for a new job and was asked, "After many years in the industry, how would you like to be remembered?"  I paused as I had not ever been asked that question before.  It's a good one to ask ourselves, both about how we'd like to be remembered by the people in the industry we've served and by those people who know us simply as ourselves, which can also be one in the same.  

Final note:  A friend recently recommended a book to me:  "Necessary Endings:  The employees, businesses and relationships that all of us have to give up in order to move forward."  It's a good read.  My summary of it is pretty extensive (it's my way of both absorbing the stuff that strikes a nerve with me and having a 'permanent record' of it that I can refer back to).   Here are just a few things I'd like to share with you:

  • Getting to the next level always requires ending something, leaving it behind and moving on
  • Endings are necessary when there is no hope
  • There are three types of people on earth:  The Wise, The Foolish and The Evil
  • If you are a leader sometimes you have to lead, even when no one wants to follow
  • Part of maturity is getting to the place where you can let go of one wish in order to have another
  • The longest-lasting and best relationships, as well as the best businesses, are the ones in which everyone involved sees and loves the whole picture, positive and negative.
  • For the right tomorrow to come, some parts of today may have to come to a necessary ending

Please accept my best wishes to you for a special holiday season and happy 2012.  For those that are in a cold climate I hope you get snow; for me there's nothing more perfect than snow on the ground for Christmas.  I will not be getting snow where I live but it is pretty chilly in the mornings (remember everything is relative!).  


On the road...

Jan. 17-20:  Laguna Beach, CA to attend IMN's Ninth Annual Winter Forum on Real Estate Opportunity & Private Fund Investing 
Jan. 24: London to attend the INREV UK Winter Seminar 2012 
Jan. 25:  London to attend and moderate a panel at the Fifth Annual Thompson Reuters Global Property Outlook 2012 (Invitation only)
Jan. 30-Feb. 1:  Scottsdale, AZ to attend IREI's VIP Conference 
Feb. 27-29:  Scottsdale, AZ to attend the NCREIF (National Association of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries) Winter Conference 
March 29-30:  Philadelphia, PA to attend and be a judge a the Villanova University Case Challenge
April 25-27: Vienna to attend the INREV annual meeting

Movie of the week:  The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.  I'd read the book a while back.  I saw the movie yesterday.  I highly recommend it.

Music club of the week:  Silo's, Napa, CA.  Recently, I was given a 'backstage' tour by the owner.  It's a real 'nightclub' whose calendar offers a very eclectic mix of music and other types of entertainment. And, they have a beautiful grand piano which I'm going to be allowed to play from time to time!  

These are my views and not that of my employer.

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