Masterclass moment in business networking: Gratitude

I often describe networking as my oxygen. It’s how I breathe, I do it daily and naturally as part of living. It’s not in my DNA, it’s a decades-long learned skill. workthepontAfter dozens of books, hundreds of sessions given and thousands of networking meetings later – it often returns back to one team and one book. Work the Pond. This book has been at the top of my list for a decade. It can be read by anyone, business people, students, anyone who is trying to learn how to connect with people to build relationships. Years ago I reached out to the Shepa team, Judy and Gayle responded and we’ve kept in touch ever since. Sure I promote their book every chance I get and mention it in my many presentations and articles but that’s because it’s the best. I have no expectation of recognition or return from them. Wonderfully, Gayle and Judy keep in touch and have even mentioned me kindly in their weekly networking tip ( which I highly recommend you subscribe to, click here ) – but their gratitude was raised to a new level recently. It was a random afternoon at work, a phone call: ‘you have a package at the front desk’ which I wasn’t expecting. Upon opening I found this: What’s up with Olives you say? See, every once in a while I share with my network in conversation or social media things that fascinate me. Sometimes in frustration I can’t satisfy my curiosity about things like men’s style, pop culture and … the history of olives! For years I searched and have never seen a book or information about the history of this hyper-popular part of food culture. Here’s where the networking learning comes in. Listening, actively will give you insight into how to master gratitude. There are so many people we are grateful to but it is in the unexpected moments where we can surprise, delight and be of value that we make an impression that will last. Gratitude is a hidden business tool too often forgotten.pond2 This is a business lesson, this is a life lesson. It’s why their book is a best seller the world over for more than ten years.  One of SO many lessons this team teaches me.  Am I saying thanks for saying thanks? Yes, but I’m also applauding the teachers for walking their talk. You rock Shepa team! Paul Shepa2011

Cadillac #CTSDrive Klout Perk Review

People know me as a social business enthusiast. So I’ve used the social influence platform Klout to keep track of the digital reach of myself and my network for a few years. Recently they have launched Klout perks, a way to engage users and of course create social influence about products those users love. Speaking of love. Sleep I have always loved the aesthetics of cars, not so much the power but the practical creature comforts and use of a vehicle. Cup holders make or break a car. And the Cadillac CTS is a car I’ve had my eye on for years. Imagine my surprise and delight when one day Klout reaches out offering me the chance to drive the brand new 3rd generation CTS for a weekend. When I share with people the return on time invested in social media I focus on business and career benefits. I try not to share the fun and unique stuff to keep expectations realistic. But I won’t lie, I was excited. I have considered the CTS to be the pinnacle of North American business vehicles. You can keep your refined European lines, when this car arrived I knew aggression could fit into a Hugo Boss suit. It’s name is was CTS. The car showed up at my office ( nice touch Klout team ) and it was a long Friday knowing that this beast was waiting in the bowels of the Bay St. garage waiting for me. I had set up a drive for a few friends in the car after work and to honour that grill that means pure testosterone to me – we hit a steakhouse for some rare meat and then, oggle the car. HapticSeatI’m a family guy with a family car but I never miss the Auto Show in Toronto so I’ve kept up with what’s out there. And this car lives on the cutting edge of technology, power and drivability. Sure there’s horsepower to spare but it was the amazing features that blew me away. The Audi A3 that won ‘world car of the year’ supposedly for it’s tech and has a haptic steering wheel. Big deal, the CTS has a haptic drivers seat! The seat vibrates when there is a car in your blind spot, or when you’re backing out of a spot both which is helpful and could save your life. Same thing goes for lane change warnings, awesome. HUD_CTS2The head’s up display projected into the windshield was connected to the GPS. Sure the Bose sound system was amazing but it was things like the seat cooling system, intelligent tech connection to your phone and automated everything that made the interior more like a cockpit than a car. You’ve heard about the parking assist on many new cars, the CTS actually helps you hunt for a parking spot and then parks for you. I think we parked maybe 25 times, every single person screamed the first time. Even the luxury car owners were freaked out by the technical advance in this feature. That weekend was both Mothers Day and my little boy’s birthday so I have to say a big thanks to Cadillac Canada and Klout for giving me a chance to spoil both of them. But it was me who was spoiled the most. Getting a chance to drive it for a few days showed me the difference in daily driving – my morning drive was transformed. Gone were all the bumpCadillacKlouts and bothers. I’ve been in BMW’s, Mercedes Benz’s and I love Audi’s but this is a stark reminder that the North American car is back.          With a vengeance. My favourite part of the weekend was taking a couple business peers and buddies who owned BMW’s, Audi’s and Mercedes out for a drive. There was some grumbling – ‘I was specifically told Cadillac’s don’t have this, don’t do this’ said one. My own family has owned only North American cars and even my own father admitted he wouldn’t have thought about a Cadillac until he saw how affordable something of this level would be. If you are in the market for a luxury vehicle, you owe it to yourself to just check it out. The tech, the drivability, the usability is incredible. It even survived a trip to Costco.cts3 Thanks again Cadillac Canada and Klout, I know many of the #CTSdrive folks valued the drive too. As a social business enthusiast I LOVED that you threw the hashtag on the back of the car! People asked me about it all over town especially where I work on Bay St.. It gave me the opportunity to actually talk about the difference between social media and digital business. Besides the usual commercials and promotion, I leave you with this great review of the car which I totally agree with. What a weekend.

PocketStyle : It’s not business, it’s just personal

So the time has come to share.PocketBanner Let me clear up front, I’m sharing this with you because you’re part of my network and NOT because I want you to buy something. Frankly, it’s because you dear network that this all started in the first place. It’s no secret, I love pocket squares. But I’m often asked, WHY?! Underlying it all, it comes down to three things:

  1. I’d like to bring back the idea of a civil gentleman
  2. In a suit since 19, I am tired of “the uniform” look
  3. As a networking enthusiast, this is about walking my talk. Being well groomed says you care about details

But there was three barriers to raising my style game:

  1. Working on a nonprofit/fundraising salary means I can’t shop at C-Suite retailers (who I respect and adore; Harry Rosen, Brooks Brothers are the Titans of men’s style and new players like GotStyle and events like the Gentlman’s Expo are rewriting Canadian style for men)  but the average price is $30 and some as high as $150!
  2. Canadians aren’t really into pocket squares, there isn’t a lot of affordable selection in Canada
  3. I didn’t have the confidence

In the past several years Tom and his son at Tom’s Place in Kensington Market have helped me dress better on a budget. They took the time to teach me so much about dressing well. Tom Jr. has even come out to speak at my networking events about dressing for success – I’m eternally grateful to both Toms! I’ve also discovered some retailers who sell cheaper squares so I go on an annual road trip once a year to buy all my work clothes. But – my own network was pushing me to do something entrepreneurial that focused on my personal passion and not my work in philanthropy. pic4I’ve been mentoring and helping several young men in my network to raise their style game for career and confidence. But they too can’t afford the $30, $60 and $100+ price on what is ( let’s be honest here ) a napkin with no table. So as Seth Godin, a personal business hero says. If you care about art that no one else is making, ship it. Not really for profit, but for the sake of making something you’re passionate about a reality. Right at this time having another baby my wonderful wife took some time off (to have said baby ) MADE me a square for our anniversary. After some number crunching I realized we could pick out the designs make them at a cost that would be affordable and cover our costs. I know, many peers of mine have given me a lecture about not making big profit but I’ve been blessed withposter-image-3---5-x-7 one of the coolest jobs in Canada working with people I respect and admire. This is something that is 90% my wife’s and I’m just the conduit for. We’ve been quietly selling them in Toronto thanks to the fine folks at LEN4ALL in the trendy Danforth East area. Stop in any time to browse and pick up other cool locally made stuff! But it’s time for me to share. Especially with Father’s Day coming up! So if you’re interested in knowing more:

For my personal network I’m discounting our usual 2 for $29, 3 for $39 and 5 for $59 price and will meet you in person to drop them off. Feel free to drop me a line. I’ll also be hosting a pop-up shop really soon too! In the end what I really want to do is thank you dear network. gpocketFor constantly pushing me, inspiring me, pulling me towards my dreams.     With great gratitude,                       Paul

Decisive by Chip and Dan Heath

decisiveAt this time of year, networking season, I’m walking and talking with strangers, peers and mentors almost every day of the week at the crack of dawn. And we’re almost always talking about the same thing…. Decisions. Major life decisions, career decisions, management decisions, budget decisions. People worry a lot about making the right and wrong ones and there aren’t many great clear resources out there to help make them. DecisiveImage Once again to the rescue comes global best selling authors Chip and Dan Heath. Every one of their previous books are must-reads and on the shelves of business book fans the world over. They are also students and promoters of the ‘solutions focus’ model that Alan Kay taught me and that I highly value. If you find yourself making a good deal of decisions or if you’re in that scary career decision part of your life this book is a must-read. It starts with the 4 Villains of Decision Making, the mind tricks we all fall into and how to retrain your gut when it is leading you astray. Something they shared in Inc Magazine recently. Addressing the quintessential career question they highlight something I have decisionmantold thousands of people – find someone who is doing what you want to do and talk to them. In the case of this book they go a step further and encourage you to seek out people who have solved the career problem you are facing. As an added bonus to the book they have recorded a podcast “Decisive for Career Decisions”, free on their website (click here). Both the Heath brothers an I are fans of one of Canada’s thought leaders Roger Martin and they remind us of a question he asks often, ‘what would have to be true for this to be the right answer’. They recently spoke with  Roger about how to “prepare to be wrong” when making decisions. A great video interview. Decisive_Wrap Besides insightful solutions the book teaches you how to ask better questions of the people you turn to for help with decisions. They introduce you odd words, like “Ooch” meaning to test ideas in the real world – entrepreneurs do this a lot. Decisive shares how to do it with minimal risk and when to try this strategy ( as well as when NOT to too ). Another smart idea is to engage not just in the ‘post-mortem’ but consider a ‘pre-mortem’ before you make the decision.  Another great decision tool is the 10/10/10 rule featured in Fast Company magazine recently. In an interview with Forbes they applied the book to decision making in the healthcare sector where overconfidence can be lethal and outcomes effect life and death, a powerful read on decision making in crisis. A personal note on the format that makes this book such a valuable read. I know many business books do this but not enough do these days. Each chapter at the end has a recap, a rethink and how to apply each concept to your life. It’s the main reason many people like me who read books from the library, bought a copy of the book. You can refer to it later without having to re-read. I leave you with this quick video review. If you have already read the book be sure to check out this fantastic mind-map of the WRAP process by Douglas Pratt on his blog. It’s a quick way to remember the lessons of the book. Again, don’t forget to visit Chip and Dan Heath’s site for free resources! new       Thanks for reading,        Paul Nazareth

Networking at CAGP 2014 in Vancouver

handshakeYou’ve invested time and your organization has invested in you to come to this conference – why not make the most of it? Here are three unofficial ways to add a little more learning ( and fun ) to this year’s conference experience! keith1) Tuesday night (April 8) dinner! Each year a lot of delegates fly in the night before the conference starts. Why wander the streets with a newspaper? Join us for a no-RSVP no-pressure networking dinner! Dress is casual, we’ll meet in the lobby between 6pm and 6:30pm around the concierge. Bring a spouse, bring a friend. Vancouver fundraisers who aren’t attending the conference please come out too! Let’s warm those brains up and start talking shop.shutterstock_78037456 2) 15 minutes of social strategy education! 4:30pm at the registration desk on Wednesday April 9 I’m giving a quick session on how to get started and do more using social media for yourself and your charity or business. I’ll be giving out free resources and there will be prizes! feet3) Take a hike eh? If you haven’t heard about my new love of “netwalking” or “networking while walking” it’s fantastic. Fresh air, gets the RoryGreenbrain and conversation going. Co-hosted by local fundraiser ( and internet celebrity curator of the cathartic blog “fundraiser grrl” ) Rory Green! We’ll gather in the lobby at 2:30pm on Friday April 11 and be back for the ‘official’ social event ( which you must go to this year, it’s going to be valuable big-time ) CAGPTwitter2014If you use Twitter, we are using #CAGP2014 and have a conference Twitter Team! Find me in the delegate list and email if you have any questions.   See you in Vancouver!blog    Paul Nazareth

CAGP 2014 Twitter Team

CAGPTwitter2014Who couldn’t be excited that we’re gathering together for the 21st time as a professional community! It’s coming up soon and we hope delegates, sponsors, speakers can join us on the world’s most powerful dialogue and learning platform – Twitter! Today, there are a lot of benefits to using Twitter at conferences and a lot of ways it can be used to add value to both attendees and sponsors. So please join myself and the team in tweeting up and around #CAGP2014 ( the official hashtag – click here to learn what a hashtag is ) Not on Twitter? Here are some quick tips but consider this your chance to sign up, learn with your peers. This is our biggest twitter team ever!! Remember if you see us tweeting at sessions, say hi!!

Also! For the first time, many of our exhibitors and sponsors are Tweeting so follow the hashtag to say thanks for making the conference possible and to ask questions to learn from their experience in the sector. Be sure to follow and engage the speakers too! < Click here for list Want to learn more? I’ll be hosting a free 15 min social-media crash course Thursday, 4:30pm at the reception desk for any interested delegates of the conference. Free resources, information and there will be prizes too!blog Start learning the lingo here and here’s a superbasic video to get you started!  See you “IRL” in Vancouver! Paul Nazareth 

Witness a 21st Century Job Search

Helping people with career development and job searches is a daily part of my life. So, I meet a lot of job seekers and I talk to a lot of people in hiring positions. Many have courage, some are leaders… FEW innovate. HeidiTsao_digitalEnter Heidi Tsao. Heidi is a marketing professional. I know what you’re thinking be let me share that some of the most unoriginal, 1950’s style job searches I’ve seen have come from ‘creative types’ on both sides of the hiring table. Heidi was different. Frustrated with the now 100 year old hiring process Heidi, who already had a well-read blog decided to engage in a totally transparent and digital job search. See the first edition of : THE INTERVIEW STAGE Her videos are entertaining and the quality of the content is better than most paid video-blogs out there. Both the content and the format, this is what a job search needs to look like in 2014. I’ve suggested to so many people that they need to start blogging as job seekers, starting to use Twitter and of course using LinkedIn. Most ignore me and choose the “safe, comfortable path” of sending out 1000 resume’s, talking to employer-focused recruiters and going on futile interviews. I refuse to pull people to their own success. So let me share how inspirational what Heidi has done is to me and many others. Watch her videos, visit her site, her LinkedIn and Twitter profile. This is a case study in career awesomeness. InterviewStage Job seekers – pay attention to the content of this video series. It takes apart the interview process and tackles many of the frustrating part of a job search. From THE dumb question, common questions to the sometimes odd experiences, to staying motivated. And now, at the end of Heidi’s search, she has done the most powerful thing possible. Something networkers, hiring directors and yes even charities don’t do well – say a powerful thank you. I choke up every single time I watch the video below. Heidi you are so witty, intelligent, inspiring and amazing. I look forward to getting to know you better but for now, thank you for allowing me to walk with you on this adventure and being courageous enough to share your challenges, frustrations and insight that I know will help many others in the future. blogWith gratitude and respect,       Paul Nazareth

Ps. Thanks for the very kind shout-out!

Ten Thousand Coffees! The evolution of networking

10KWe live in a wired, hyper-connected world. My network knows I’m a social-business enthusiast. But I was a networking enthusiast years before social media and I’m the first to admit that this media will always lack the true core of being “social” – time spent in-person with a real human being. “We should grab coffee” is a century-old phrase uttered by business professionals around the globe in every language. It’s evolution has arrived, enter Ten Thousand Coffees. Ten Thousand Coffees was instantly noticed by the national media and has some heavy hitters registered as experts. The President of Twitter Canada, CMO of McDonalds and astronaut Chris Hadfield to name a few. But what’s awesome is that it’s about all of us, you and me and the next generation too. Last week I embarked on my first meeting through this amazing platform. A young professional named Camille reached out to learn more about the world of nonprofit which I have worked in for over a decade. We met and talked ( these days I take my coffee to go and network while walking ). It was a great talk, I was happy to dispel more than few myths about ‘saving the world’ and saved her some time and effort on her career journey. Camille, a 2nd year university student shared it was daunting to reach get that crowdtofacetofacefirst meeting before Ten Thousand Coffees. We certainly would never have met each other any other way and not many people can just jump into face to face networking. I agreed that cold calling isn’t a great idea and that investing in long-term networking is important. I shared why you need to start networking before you ‘need’ a job , some secrets of mine about how to conduct a great coffee meeting and the reminder of course, that it’s certainly not about the coffee or the food. My most-read post of this blog ever is about how to create your own personal board of directors. It is about the benefits of being a mentor and having mentors, that you can be both at once. I would encourage people singing up with Ten Thousand Coffees to do both, be a mentor to propel someone forward and reach out ahead to meet with someone who can pull you forward too.susan-cain Are you an introvert? Many of the world’s smartest professionals are! International expert Susan Cain reminds us that networking en-masse at conferences and industry events isn’t just unhelpful to introverts, it’s unhelpful to most business professionals. One on one connections is how business gets done. If you haven’t read her book or watched her TED Talk, check out these many resources from her if you’re someone who identifies as part of the ‘thinking-class’. This truly is an evolution in networking, bridging the best of the digital world with purposeful human connecting. Camille and I had a great walk, I’m going to open some doors for her, we’re going to keep in touch. One coffee down, 9999 to go. Join me would you? ‘Cause we can’t drink all blogthis coffee by ourselves!  Thanks for reading….   Paul Nazareth

Networking and food : Paulcast

NetworkFood It’s not about the food. After getting in this argument for the 1000th time someone asked me to share my meeting secrets. Click here for podcast (4mins) I hope these tips are helpful, here are some basics for meetings: NetworkingGrid Other items mentioned in the podcast:podcast2

Thanks for listening! Please comment here or tweet your thoughts. blogGood luck with your next meeting!   Paul Nazareth

Golden Crab Awards 2014

*Warning,this is always my longest post of the year. I am blessed to know with certainty, why I’m on earth. I exist to: Promote purposeful passionate people to help them reach professional and personal potential while enjoying life to the GoldenCrab2014fullest. I do this by creating a network, an army of passionate professionals to aid me in this task. Each year I name my ‘most valuable players’ in this network in gratitude for outstanding awesomeness that year. I call them “my golden crabs”. I know, it’s weird. Check out past posts from 2010, 2011, 2012 to learn more about the origins of the award. What I get asked the most about however is the criteria ( or rather ‘why not me Paul?’ ). These are people who keep in touch about their goals and needs, make time to get to networking events (just a couple, not all) and who help and push me to achieve my goals (and let me help with theirs).  I’m happy to name four GC’s this year… in no order they are: EmmaJ2014Emma Jenkin was an ‘honourable mention’ last year. This year it was as if we were both on a mission. I’m not a runner, but I imagine this is what it must feel like to run with someone. Emma stepped up her game in 2013; a new job, new personal skill development and she has become my official ‘artist in residence’. Her design skills have been used for my networking projects and even to help my wife and I launch an exciting new project, “Pocket Style”. I still don’t understand how she exists ( see what I wrote about her last year ), truly a renaissance woman for our times. Her grasp of culture, art, business, digital, social is a constant inspiration for my personal life goals. Another name that is not new to my network is Ahmed Nizam. I met him a few years ago when he was the officiaNizamGcrabl photographer for an amazing fundraising concept called “TimeRaiser” which is now a big Canadian success story. He took what was my first professional headshot. Since then he has so kindly taken headshots for over 100 peers at my networking events and he has helped me understand the power of this simple medium in a social media age. Now, look at this guy. Would you think that he is an MBA who works on Bay St. in financial services? His passion for photography keeps him busy but he always makes time to live life, try new things, give back to his community and help others. And yes, because we keep in touch about projects we’re working on, he’s also the official photographer of “Pocket Style”. I have been sitting on a dream for several years, and it was called “Director School” for fundraisers. As much as I love the many associations in my profession, many individuals would never DavidHutchinsonGCgo to a personal career development workshop because a dysfunctional nonprofit management environment means no employer would pay to send them and it’s ‘bad form’ to attend them during work hours. The wonderful work of Penelope Burke aside, that’s a load of garbage. I’ve known and felt it for years and wanted to be part of the solution. Enter David Hutchinson. Although I have great relationships with Canada’s best nonprofit executive search firms like Crawford Connect, Philip JW Smith, the West Coast Phil’s Careers and Goldie Company, no one keeps in touch and has served as a sounding board and mentor as David. When I pitched the idea of ‘Director School’ he got it, was on board and was a big part of making it happen, along with 2013’s exciting new find, Janice Cunning, fundraising coach. David’s commitment to making sure leaders in fundraising find the right place to use their skills, and finding the right skills for charities and his dedication to networking in a sector that rejects good network building is something I consider to be a rare gift. Last but not least, the youngest recipient of the GC Award is Shannon MacInnes. I’ve waited 13 years for my college at my alma mater to give birth to a fundraiser who loves our profession. When I met Shannon she was one of the now hundreds of Humber Fundraising Management students to come out of this amazing program (I’m proud to say in 2013 that I became the Chair of the Advisory Committee with). I wasn’t sure she was special. ShannonMLike my twitter handle and motto “You invite You”, I waited and she proved herself time and time again. She kept in touch, she made time to invest in her career, she generously invested time in being both a fundraising learning partner and volunteered with me to cook for now several dozen University students as part of a cool alumni networking program that I love called “dinner with 12 strangers” at UofT. So many great leaders have said to me “I want to mentor someone who is open to learning, who will walk through the doors I open, who will not embarrass me when I vouch for them and who will make me proud to be associated with”. I mentor dozens of young professionals each year, and Shannon is one of the finest I know. In the end, this is an expression of exGratitudeGCtreme gratitude for a year that brought great personal growth and the chance to help others — my main mission. Honourable mentions go to: Fundraising leader Kimberley Mackenzie for facilitating a dinner that was meant to be networking but ended up being the single most powerful personal growth event of my year. The ladies of Tweetcottage, for bringing me along ( a la weekend at Bernie’s ) and making me feel welcome and loved as a friend after so many years of being a peer. TTweetcottagehe chance to share ideas with my professional community was a dream I never thought would become possible. But in 2013 I had the privilege to publish articles in Canada’s Fundraising eNews (Hilborn), Gift Planning in Canada, the Association of Fundraising Professionals eNews, the Globe and Mail Giving Guide , the Canadian Donors Guide and most exciting a chapter in “The Vigilant Fundraiser” – all on my most beloved topics of Planned Giving and Social Media for Social Profit. Speaking of dreams come true, I have just one more on my professional bucket list before I die ( yes, just one ) and it is to teach Canada’s Original one week Planned Giving course. And in 2013 I have started on that path as an official instructor with the Canadian Association of Gift Planners, a community I have dedicated my professional life to. Teaching this course is the single greatest professional joy in my life. And I wouldn’t be there without the continued support of the Georgian College Fundraising program where I get to teach the online national course in Planned Giving, now for the fourth year in a row. This year on evenings and weekends, I spoke at several student leader conferences on the power of networking. As someone who had trouble at school, it was so wonderful to help students find their way. Most of all it was a high point of the year to host my 112th student at “Dinner with 12 strangers” after being an alumni host for the past four years. netwalkingTO1A special thanks to someone I don’t know that well. Nilofer Merchant and her ‘networking while walking’ TED Talk and article changed my life. How? Well, networking is my life ( you knew that right? ) and moving out of the coffee shop ( we still always start at Starbucks ) and into the natural world has been powerful. I’ve had over 100 ‘netwalking’ meetings and they have all been fantastic and yes, great for my health too. buildsuccessLASTLY, 2013 was the year that ALL the Golden Crabs from previous years returned in full force. From Alan Kay’s video, to Brock’s new blog, flying to Regina because of Christina, to speaking sessions with Leah and John, Krypton College with Promod, walking with Ann, Lisa’s national media coverage and the ever present Clare Mcdowall. I am forever grateful and in the debt of all of you.ThankYouGC I exist at the service of others. But I can’t do my best without all of you. As we start 2014 please hear my voice, sincere and passionate – thank you!!! Paul