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Networking Event Introductions

Networking Event Introductions Made Easy

Although social media is making connections with strangers online easier, there is still a need to make personal connections out in the real world. Attending a business networking event is the perfect way to become skilled at introducing yourself to other people face-to-face. Effective networking is about establishing, mutually beneficial relationships with other people. When it’s done well, networking will give you a competitive edge throughout every stage of your career. Below we have compiled some strategies to help your networking event introductions work smoothly.

When you choose to approach new people, it helps to have a subtle icebreaker beyond the typical elevator pitch. Subtle icebreakers allow you the right moment to introduce yourself and engage in a flowing conversation without being too forceful or overbearing.

Before approaching someone, double-check that you aren’t interrupting them if they are conversing with someone else, this helps to engage with them effectively. It helps when the first words out of your mouth are about how you and the person are connected. Unfortunately, that is not always possible, so here are some other icebreaker ideas on what to say.

Networking Event Introductions Part 1:

Use a recent event 

With different meetings and events happening, you’ll likely see familiar faces. Use the functions as a chance of becoming a conversation. 

Example: “Didn’t I see you at (name of the event)?” and then follow it up with something that you liked about that event and ask for the person’s opinion. 

This works well because it points out something that you have in common and allows them to share their thoughts.

Networking Event Introductions Part 2:

Using food can be a great icebreaker

Events often include food, and if you ever find yourself in a buffet line with someone that you’d like to meet, you can use the food to your advantage. Stating something such as “this food looks great, I don’t know which to choose” can be a very subtle and efficient way to get a conversation flowing.

This kind of comment allows the other person to give suggestions and advice.

Networking Event Introductions Part 3:

Have Stories Ready

When you’re in a group of people, it’s helpful to have a few real-life stories to pull from when an opportunity presents itself. For instance, if something happens with the group that reminds you of something else you can state, “That reminds me of ….” and then fill in with a similar story that relates to the context.

This allows you to chime in without being out of place. It also allows you to slip in information about yourself that can lead to further questions and conversations.

Networking Event Introductions Part 4:

Make Personal Connections

If you and the person that you would like to meet are both at an event hosted by a mutual party, you can use that connection to help you to engage in conversation. Introduce yourself by explaining how you know the host and how long you have known them, and then asking them how they met the host. 

Now you’ll both be talking about social connections with the host and be able to engage in further conversation by asking questions to help keep the conversation flowing.

At your next networking event, try one of these icebreakers to see which one works best for you and the different situations.

c-suite executive

How To Be An Inspirational C-Suite Executive

It’s no easy feat to become a C-suite executive. As you know, a lot of hard work and dedication goes into achieving that level of success. However, with that level of success, comes a great deal of responsibility. All of your actions have a ripple effect on the people working within the organization.

By doing these 3 simple gestures, as a C-suite executive, you can have a meaningful impact on your employees.

Greetings

Saying hello sounds like an obvious no-brainer, but when you’re busy, it’s easy to forget the niceties. However, remembering to acknowledge your staff and greet them every day, will make them feel engaged with you. And engaged employees feel more motivated to work towards making the business a success.

Be Transparent

Your employees don’t want secrets and avoidance behavior. They want transparency and sincerity from their leaders. By being open and accessible to your employees, you can build trust and loyalty. 

Having an open line of communication is a great way to share goals, progress, and performance metrics with your employees. Encourage them to ask questions and bring up issues. Even if it means that you have to share bad news, employees will be more understanding and accepting when the information is presented honestly.

Work-Life Balance

Prioritizing work-life balance is a great way to help you and your employees avoid burnout. While this can be a challenging task, when you start modeling a healthier behavior, you give your staff permission to do the same. So, remember to work reasonable hours and find interests outside of work.

C-Suite Overview

Employees frequently choose to follow in their leader’s footsteps. So, as a C-suite executive, be engaged in the entire process. And you will find the entire company improves from within.

You may also find, The New Gen CFO, helpful.

Organizational tips by Cristo Paraskevas

Consultant Corner-Organizational Tips from Cristo

Being reliable, whether at home, with your family and friends or at work with your colleagues, is a fundamental value.  People appreciate those that follow through on commitments in a timely manner.  At DLC, our consultants demonstrate this value through organizational skills with an eye on deadlines, budgets, and excellent customer service. 

How do our consultants consistently deliver this level of service on time and on budget?  There are many dimensions including, effective time management and organizational skills.

Prepping the To-Do Lists

We all keep to-do lists, whether in our heads, in our email, in a notebook, or anywhere else where thoughts and ideas can be recorded.  The key to managing our lists is to have consistent organizational skills.

There are many tools and approaches available to manage time effectively.  The following is an organizational approach that has consistently made me a reliable person.

Effective Time Management and Organizational Skills

Being organized starts with email.  Does that sound crazy?  It’s easier than you think.  Most email can be categorized as either a call to action or informational.  Emails providing information should be filed as soon as they are read.  Emails requesting an action can either be dealt with immediately or triaged.

You don’t need a complicated filing system to keep track of emails.  A simple folder titled “Filed” will suffice.  Newer email tools, from Outlook to Gmail, are powerful and provide many options to search through emails.  You can quickly find a note, sorting by “From”, “Date”, “Subject”, etc.

For emails requiring your response or action, use built-in flags and keep the emails in your inbox until you’ve addressed them.  The key here is to prioritize what you respond to and when.  By continuously filing emails that you’ve read and prioritizing the ones you need to respond to, you’ll manage to empty out your inbox, or close to it!  Your inbox essentially becomes part of your to-do list.

While we’re discussing email, I also leverage the calendar to block time with a specific to do when it’s time-sensitive.  The calendar can also be a part of your to-do list.

The To-Do-List

Finally is the actual to-do list.  I use Microsoft OneNote since it’s compatible with all my devices and has everything I need to effectively manage tasks.  There are many products that offer similar functionality including Apple Notes, Evernote, among others.  They all deliver the same value and it comes down to your own preferences.

I have three main tabs in OneNote: Triage, To Do, and Waiting.

The Triage tab has raw notes that I’ll need to deal with at the end of the day.  The To-Do tab is further divided into ASAP, SOON, and LATER, depending on prioritization.  The Waiting tab is a list of actions I am waiting for others to take before I can proceed on my own responsibilities.  I note the deliverable, the person’s name, and the date they committed to on this tab.  I also set agendas, record conversations, and note ideas I might follow up with in the future on other tabs, as needed.

Putting It All Together

My day starts at the end of the day.  This is when I go through my meeting notes and Triage list.  I move items into my To-Do tab as either ASAP (within 5 days), SOON (within the next three weeks), or LATER (sometime in the future).  It is critical that the Triage list gets managed down to nothing every day.  This is the key to making the system work.  A to-do should never remain in the Triage tab.

As I take notes during meetings, I number all my actions and use alpha characters to note actions others are taking that impact me.  When I triage at the end of the day, I clean up my handwritten notes in Word.  I move numbered items to the To-Do tab or put them on the calendar if they are time-sensitive.  Move alpha characters to Waiting.

Lastly, I go through emails, filing informational emails after I read them and working through the rest by either responding or prioritizing the action by putting it on my OneNote To-Do tab, adding an action to the calendar, or leaving it in email with a priority flag.

When I come in the next day, I know what is expected of me and I start executing on my deliverables.  I attend meetings, record notes, and check email throughout the day working away at the ASAP to-do list.  Once the ASAP list is cleared, I start working on LATER, which eventually turns into ASAP when the deadline is imminent.

Organizational Skills Results

Behavior changes take time and require real motivation.  Once you’ve developed your organizational system you’ll notice a reduction in stress levels, you will forget things less, and you’ll be meeting other’s expectations of you.

Now that you’re organized, it’s time to get to work and deliver value to your stakeholders in both your private and professional lives!

Author: Cristo Paraskevas, MBA – DLC Finance and Accounting Consultant

presentation skills

Important Presentation Skills for Finance and Accounting Professionals

The world of finance is changing, and that means that professionals in the industry must enhance their skills to keep up with that transformation. One of the most critical components of being an effective team member is your ability to connect with others across multiple departments. Having strong presentation skills ensures that your message is being heard and sets an excellent example for your entire company. Here are a few presentation skills that you should make sure are in your tool belt.

Reduce Your Anxiety

Unfortunately, public speaking is a complicated process for many people. It’s not easy standing in front of a crowd and explaining complex information. However, the best way to overcome this fear is to do it more often. You can start small by giving a talk to a smaller circle of colleagues, or even just to your family and friends. Next, you should seek opportunities with larger crowds at a group or organization that you belong to. Toastmasters International allows you to gain even more opportunity to work on your presentation skills and get constructive feedback so you can become a quality public speaker.

Practice Your Presentation Skills

Put time into practicing. You want to make sure that your point is understood and that you break any distracting habits. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback and then implement those changes to deliver a more powerful speech.

Deliver Results

The delivery of your presentation is everything. Make sure that you maintain a conversational tone and that you use words and phrases that your audience will understand. You can also pepper in a few jokes and metaphors along the way to keep people engaged. Make yourself relatable, and people are more likely to listen to what you have to say.

Be Prepared for Questions

While giving a quality presentation is undoubtedly essential, you should know that it doesn’t just end once you stop speaking. In fact, you should want your presentation to be interactive as this keeps people engaged in what you are saying. Take some time to anticipate questions and make sure that you have a quality response prepared.  

You may also benefit from reading, Communication Skills for Career Success.

strategic thinking skills

How to Boost Your Strategic Thinking Skills

As a finance and accounting professional you know how important it is to establish quality strategic thinking skills.  But how?

Create New Relationships

Outside influence can absolutely enhance your strategic thinking skills. Learning how other people tackle issues can help you learn to think outside the box, too. Surround yourself with people who know the strategy and then learn everything you can from their successes and failures.

Stop taking every answer at face value. Instead, learn to think about issues critically and from more than one perspective. Ask questions and consider the response. Don’t get too comfortable with how things are, instead focus on how change could be good for the business.

Ask Questions

Seek Out Opportunities to Grow Strategic Thinking Skills

The financial field is always transitioning. Don’t be afraid of it, but instead, focus on embracing it. With every new system or upgrade, make it your priority to understand what it is and how it works. Learn to move forward with change and don’t get bogged down in the fact that nothing remains the same. Seek out training, discussions, and opportunities in which you can learn new skills. Not only will you be an asset to your company, but you will be more marketable in the field.

Recharge

You can’t always be on. In fact, after a while, you may start to feel depleted. If this happens, allow yourself to rest. Give yourself ample downtime in order to reflect and apply what you’ve learned. You certainly don’t want your brain to get overwhelmed by all the new information. Instead, give yourself some time to process it so you can learn even more!

Become a Decision Maker

Once you’re able to think and plan strategically, then you should be able to make better decisions with precision. This doesn’t mean that you’ll never make a mistake, but it does mean that you’ll gain confidence in making a choice and learning from its outcome whatever that may be.

You may also enjoy, Communication Skills for Career Success.

baby boomers

An Option for Baby Boomers Who Aren’t Ready to Retire

As baby boomers and other people near retirement age, they may be second-guessing if retirement is right for them. After all, this is a significant life change. Perhaps you aren’t ready to totally step away from the professional industry, but you’d like something with a bit more flexibility to it. That’s when consulting could be just the transition you are looking for.

Now, more than ever before, companies are looking to professionals with specialized skills to offer up their knowledge and skill on a project-by-project basis. This is especially true for financial consultants.

The Beauty of Flexibility for Baby Boomers

The need for seasoned professionals and the amount of baby boomers are nearing retirement creates the perfect opportunity for consulting. The flexibility that comes along with it allows people in this age bracket to choose what their retirement period looks like, and have more control of when they completely step away from the professional arena altogether.

What to Do if You Want to Consult

If you’re interested in consulting, know that you aren’t alone. In recent surveys, eight out of ten financial professionals think that consulting is a good fit for them. If this sounds like you, then you can start readying yourself for the transition. You can start by reaching out to a professional services firm and even discussing the options with a career coach. There is plenty of opportunity for those that would like to choose this path instead of opting for straightforward retirement.

Overview

Consulting is an excellent choice for people who would still like to be part of the workforce but on their own terms. There is a high need for this area of expertise, and it provides the perfect bridge to retirement for many baby boomers. The first step is simply starting the journey, and then it’s up to you where you’ll go!

DLC is always interested in speaking with qualified finance and accounting candidates. Click here for a listing of our available consulting positions for finance and accounting professionals.

technology skills

Increase Your Worth with 3 Technology Skills

Possessing big data skills will set you apart from the crowd in the finance industry. According to recent polls, there is a massive gap between the need for advanced technology skills and the number of finance professionals who have them. If you want to make yourself more marketable and earn more money, then these are the technology skills you need to have:

Operational Analysis

Learning operational analysis allows you to review machine data and business data to create functional solutions for the company. The incredible statistic behind this skill is that 82% of financing and accounting managers indicate that this is a highly sought-after skill set, but only 28% of the workforce has this particular talent. Learn this skill, and you are sure to be in high demand!

Data Mining and Extraction

The technique of data mining and extraction allows people to evaluate big data and then identify patterns and outcomes that could impact customer relationships and improve company efficiency. Again, there is a significant gap in the need for this skillset and the current ability in the workplace.

Identifying Data Trends

There is currently a 29% talent gap when it comes to identifying data trends. Current studies show that identifying data trends is certainly among the most beneficial skills to have. However, less than half of finance teams have a data trends expert. Understanding trends allows professionals the ability to make strategic plans that can remedy current issues and even avoid problems in the future.

Technology Skills Overview

There are a variety of technology skills that are highly sought after in the finance industry. However, there aren’t enough professionals to currently fills those roles. This indicates that people can focus on learning these new skillsets and then not only become more marketable in the marketplace but could even ask for higher pay.

Professionals in the finance industry must be up to date with the latest in-demand technology skills. If you are lacking, then it’s time to look into training opportunities so you can set yourself apart from the rest.

You may also find The Now-Gen CFO a helpful tool.

esume tips

Resume Tips for New Consultants

If you’re thinking of becoming an accounting and finance consultant, it’s likely that your resume will need to be revamped. Finance and consulting firms are looking for strong academic performance, exemplary work experience, and leadership skills in the consultants that they hire. Here are a few resume tips to keep in mind.

Make Sure Your Format is Professional

You should make sure that you are clear, concise, and that the font is legible. Remember, people don’t have a lot of time to read through your resume, so make it as easy for them as possible. A poorly formatted resume should never be the reason that you aren’t considered for a role with a company.

Outline Your Projects

Take some time to explain which projects you’ve worked on. Be sure to highlight the most critical information. This part of the process takes a bit of strategy because you want to be thorough, but at the same time concise. Make sure you include only the most relevant information.

Describe the Depth of Your Experience

If you’ve worked on a variety of projects, make sure you showcase the different skills and tools that you have used. But, try not to be repetitive when describing each project. You’ll want to highlight the different technological systems that you’ve used as well as the various industries you’ve worked in. This will underscore just how versatile you are as a consultant.

Explain Your Work Ethic

People want to know that they can trust you. You’ll certainly want to highlight how you work under pressure, within tight deadlines, and with other people. Your communication style and ability to achieve results will help people understand that you are a quality person who will make their job easier.

Don’t Forget Interpersonal Skills

Technical skills are valuable, but over time, you’ll need to prove yourself through interpersonal skills. It will behoove you to highlight your interpersonal skills when describing your work style.

Thanks for reading our consulting resume tips! For information about becoming an accounting and finance consultant with DLC, click here.