Tag Archives: marketing

What’s Your Policy on Using Artificial Intelligence?

Share it with readers to build trust.

You’ve probably read articles and attended programs discussing the merits, limitations and ethics of using Artificial Intelligence (AI).

How are YOU using AI?

  • Research topics for articles
  • Draft outlines for writing documents
  • Generate content for blog posts
  • Analyze mountains of data
  • Summarize lengthy reports
  • Create images

Whatever your answer, have you disclosed that you are using AI?

Do your employees know how they may (or may not) use AI?

Why You Need an AI Policy

People who read what you write or hear you speak may wonder about your use of AI.

These days, they may assume, correctly or incorrectly, that you are using it.

They may be surprised (or pleased) that you are not tapping AI in your operations and marketing.

It’s time for you to draft a policy that aligns with your values.

As a Public Relations and Marketing Communications professional, I focus on content creation. I evaluated the risks of using AI in my ideation and drafts. I addressed my values of Creativity, Authority and Authenticity. Finally, I developed my AI policy below.

Before I share that, let’s take a step back to consider what your usage of AI may be and how it will be reflected in a policy statement.

Maybe you will state that your ideas for content were inspired by AI.

You might indicate that a first draft was created by AI, which you edited substantively.

You may limit your use of AI and indicate accordingly.

Perhaps you will provide a disclaimer that you do not use AI at all.

In each case, the transparency of your AI usage generates trust with the reader.

Falk Communications and Research Policy on Use of Artificial Intelligence
All content produced by Janet Falk is original content. The exception is occasional use of Artificial Intelligence to generate titles for articles and headlines for press releases, which are substantially edited.

Now that you are considering an AI policy, how will you disclose it?

I’ve posted mine on my website’s home page.

This Month’s Tip

At a minimum, your AI policy should follow these guidelines, adapted from Skillsoft and Tronvig Group:

  • Comply with applicable laws
  • Ensure privacy and security of proprietary data
  • Eliminate bias and promote fairness
  • Set standards to confirm the accuracy of external references and citations
  • Monitor internal consistency, so content sounds like it was written by a person


Review your use of AI and take a public stand, so contacts will be informed and confirm their trust in you. Advise your employees accordingly, to ensure their use of AI adheres to your standards for the quality of their work product and processes.

Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, book an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770 to review your use of AI and your declaration of your policy. Let’s proceed intelligently about your use of Artificial Intelligence.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue.

Note: After I composed this newsletter in April 2024, I learned that a new Utah law mandates that when a business regulated by Utah’s Division of Consumer Protection uses generative AI to interact with consumers, and a consumer asks if the interaction is with AI, the business must “clearly and conspicuously” disclose the use of generative AI. The disclosure obligation is even more restrictive for those in regulated professions, such as health care. The law does not address the creative process.
Image credit: CX Today

My Anniversary. Your Gift.

Ten tips to maximize your anniversary celebration

This month marks 15 years for me as a solo-preneur Public Relations and Marketing Communications professional.

I celebrate this milestone with a gift to you, an e-book: 25 Tips to Prepare for Your Next Conference. Request a copy.

Here’s my story. I hung up my single shingle in January 2009.

You may recall it was a challenging time for a new business venture. It was the depths of the financial crisis. The Dow Jones Industrial Average had lost more than 50% of its value between May and December 2008. Corporate layoffs were an everyday occurrence.

For these 15 years, it’s been my pleasure and an education to learn about your business.

Together, we’ve connected with reporters, potential clients, networking contacts, vendors and referral sources.

We’ve polished your website and LinkedIn profile, plus edited your articles, speeches, presentations and marketing materials.

In appreciation of your support, your business and our warm relationship, I thank you for standing with me. I would not be here for 15 years without you.

As for corporate anniversary celebrations:

  • I composed text for an industry trade association marking its 20th year; the booklet was distributed to the membership at a gala awards dinner.
  • I produced a 70th anniversary brochure for a family-owned business; plus, I wrote the speeches the company executives gave at the celebratory breakfast.

Perhaps you will agree the people who care the most about an anniversary are the insiders: the founders, leaders, employees and members. Clients may notice to a lesser degree.

When you mark your anniversary, keep your inner circle in focus at all times.

Accordingly, here are ten suggestions for how to promote the news of your successes over the years, the knowledge you’ve gained and shared, plus the longevity of your business. Take note of the most appropriate recommendations:

  1. Pick a date. It can be the date your company incorporated, you launched your website or you signed your first client.
  2. Review your resources, both physical and digital. How will you incorporate a reference to the anniversary year and update your materials? A modified logo is often the simplest way to spruce up your existing materials with a tagline referring to the anniversary celebration. Add it to your company’s website and the email signature of employees.
  3. Compose a short history of the organization with milestone achievements: a new location, a new service, an expanded product line. Decide whether this history will be a brochure, e-book or video and contract with a professional to produce it.
  4. Incorporate visual elements. Assemble photos, perhaps a map of prior locations or areas served, and previous versions of your logo to add color to the narrative.
  5. Share the anniversary announcement in newsletters tailored to employees, clients and referral sources, expressing gratitude for their role in your success and longevity.
  6. Contact the media and offer your perspective on the state of the industry, from your launch date to today, and how the landscape has changed. Provide a forecast on what lies ahead. Add your strategy for the future and how your values will help you achieve it.
  7. Send a printed thank you card to employees, clients and referral sources to recognize their contributions to your success. Acknowledge key people with an individual card and perhaps a gift.
  8. As the budget permits, create a commemorative item, something useful and more unique than a T-shirt or pen.
  9. Make a charitable donation to a nonprofit group whose mission aligns with your industry. Endow a scholarship at a college or university, whether local or an alma mater of the founder.
  10. Host an event to acknowledge employees and clients. Consider a family day in the spring.

This Month’s Tip

Document the anniversary and spread the word. Take photos and create informal videos of the activities underway. For example, compare the new anniversary logo with the one in use and describe the process of designing it. All events should be captured; these photos and video can be shared on your company’s website and social media accounts.


Check the calendar. It’s never too soon to plan for your next anniversary or milestone.  Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, book an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s set a date to discuss making your celebration memorable.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

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Image credit: OpenClipArt.org

Make It a Double

If one is good, two is better.

Congratulations on your recent speaking engagement!

It was terrific.

    • You were on a podcast.
    • You gave a webinar, perhaps with other speakers.
    • You conducted a workshop.
    • You presented at a conference or were a panelist.

Don’t stop there. Make it a double.

Here’s how the time you spent on research, writing and rehearsal will truly pay off: Find a new venue where you can repeat your performance.

After your podcast appearance, look for other programs where you can talk about the same theme. Search the directories of the major podcast distributors: Apple, Google, Spotify, Stitcher and YouTube. Select general categories or specific areas of interest.

You can also review these directories of podcasts:

Conduct an online search for the Top 10 Podcasts in your industry.

Finally, you can perform reverse engineering. Look on the website Owltail.com for topics and speakers aligned with your subject.

When you have compiled a list of podcasts of interest, contact the hosts and introduce yourself as someone with valuable insights for their listeners. Your recent podcast appearance is a plus. Use the sample letter of How YOU Can Be a Podcast Guest in your outreach to podcast hosts.

Webinars are easily duplicated. When there are multiple webinar providers serving your audience, reach out to each of them with your idea for a timely presentation. For example, providers in the accounting sector include CPA Academy and My CPE.

Connect with the other panelists and propose a reprise of the topic with a different webinar host. Perhaps a webinar producer who previously presented one speaker will find your topic relevant and will schedule a program with the group.

Take that workshop to a group where you are a member or might be a guest speaker:

    • a professional membership organization
    • an industry association
    • a local chamber of commerce
    • an incubator for start-up businesses.

Conferences may be local, regional or national. If you spoke at a state conference, look to a national event. And vice versa.

Host your own event for clients and referral sources, and perhaps even vendors. You will bring everyone up to date on trends and issues, plus they will appreciate networking with your contacts.

Consider giving your repeat performance on a different platform. The webinar I presented on 25 Tips to Prepare for Your Next Conference has been the focus of four podcasts, plus a few more are on my calendar.

Remember, it’s not one and done.

This Month’s Tip

Broaden your audience; two can speak together. Consider teaming up with a client, or referral source, to tap into the market of their peers. Podcast hosts, webinar producers and conference organizers will view your co-presenter as someone who has their finger on the pulse of what’s happening in their industry or their profession, giving you additional credibility as a speaker.


It’s time to double up on your speaking engagements. Let’s review your recent podcast appearances and presentations to see where you might book another. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s make your latest speaking engagement a two-fer or even a three-fer.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue.

In memory of my mother, Sue Falk, who passed away July 30, 2023. She often bought two colors of the same blouse, because, If one is good, two is better.
Image credit: Nearme Cafe

How to Repurpose Your Content

 Turn your article into a newsletter, webinar and more.

You’ve been advised to re-purpose your content, so it will be seen by more potential contacts and enhance your standing as an authority.

If you are stymied about how to go about it, follow this example, where an article became:

    • a two-part newsletter
    • an expanded article
    • a webinar
    • an e-book
    • and a podcast guest appearance.

In anticipation of the annual symposium held by Women Owned Law, a national professional membership organization, I published an article in the group’s monthly newsletter. There were 22 tips geared to maximize attendance at the conference with detailed activities to pursue before, during and after the event.

Later, I developed these ideas as a two-part series for this monthly newsletter, which was distributed to nearly 1,000 subscribers.

One of them is an editor of PLI Chronicle, a monthly newsletter for attorneys, where I have published 20 articles. After she invited me to contribute the discussion to her publication, I expanded the list to 25 tips. This new two-part article series incorporated some ideas from readers of the newsletter.

Taking this theme a step further, and in view of the post-pandemic return to industry and professional conferences, I viewed the topic as a potential webinar. I contacted a director of programs at PLI, which produces online programs for attorneys, and where I had spoken in the past. She liked the proposed subject; to spice up the program, I invited a client to co-present with me.

Having shared these best practices for conference attendees in newsletters, articles and a webinar, I am now seeking guest appearances with more than 30 podcast hosts to whom I’ve spoken on media relations and marketing for business owners and attorneys. Their audiences may well appreciate these 25 tips to prepare for conferences, maximize their attendance and engage in follow-up activities.

This Month’s Tip

Circulate your nuggets of wisdom as widely as possible. The ideas you share in digital formats, like articles, email newsletters and e-books, are easily repurposed to other online platforms, such as blogs, and distributed via social media accounts. The 25 tips are now an e-book.

Don’t stop there. When you are comfortable speaking to groups, identify the organizations where your target market gathers and offer to present at their meetings. Perhaps you will include a client with whom attendees may identify and envision their own success while working with you.

Are you ready for your close-up? Film a video (less than five minutes long), as another way to share your thoughts, and post it on your website and social media accounts.


Your ideas deserve a wider audience. Your contacts need to be reminded of your successful approach to solving problems they may have. Together, let’s review your articles, newsletters and presentations with an eye to updating them. We’ll consider the most appropriate formats for re-distribution: print, online, in-person, audio or video. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. It’s time to repurpose your insights and, perhaps, write your next e-book.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue.

(This discussion has been lightly edited for updated content.)
Image credit: Cariboo Money Helper

The Confirmation Process vs. the Buyer’s Journey

 Your digital presence must confirm your professionalism.

You’ve probably heard of the Buyer’s Journey, which has several stages:

  • Awareness: a buyer becomes aware of a problem
  • Consideration: a buyer defines their problem and considers options to solve it
  • Decision: a buyer evaluates these options and decides on the right provider to address the solution.

When someone lands on your website, you don’t know where they are in their buyer’s journey. Accordingly, your website’s content must address the visitor at each stage in their buying process.

Let’s flip this journey around to give you the leading role. I call it the Confirmation Process.

Its objective is to confirm for the buyer that she has located the appropriate resource.

Through a yet-to-be-determined channel, a visitor comes to your website, starting the journey or process:

  • Awareness: a buyer learns about you
  • Consideration: a buyer conducts research about you
  • Decision: a buyer contracts with you.

A prospective client arrives at your website in several ways:

  1. They met you at an event, heard you speak on a panel or podcast, or read what you wrote in an article or newsletter
  2. They were referred to you by a mutual contact
  3. They searched on the internet for a professional like you.

Now that they found you, they want to confirm:

  • You are the person they heard about/saw/read about
  • You are the professional they seek/need because you have the skills to solve their problem
  • You are the person you say you are.

Here’s how your website operates in the Confirmation Process:

Are you the one they heard about?
Yes. Your photo matches the image of the professional they met or saw speak. When the person talked with you at an event or attended your panel, they had an opportunity to connect with you. Perhaps you exchanged business cards.

Speaker bios, podcast show notes and articles usually include a photo and the URL of the professional’s website, email address and/or phone number, precisely so that listeners and readers can contact the individual for further information.

Are you the professional they seek/need and do you have the skills to solve their problem?
Yes. State your services, cite your education, note your certifications and licenses. Your case studies of client successes, newsletters and articles are additional proof of your skills. List your clients by name, when permitted, or by industry.

All these describe your background and demonstrate that you operate from a solid knowledge base, with proven experience to address the potential client’s particular situation, although you do not yet know what their problem may be.

Are you the person you say you are?
Yes. Your workshops and podcast appearances show that others in the sector value your insights. Your testimonials prove you made your clients look good to whoever mattered to them: a partner, business owner, supervisor or investor.

Congratulations! You’ve checked all the boxes of their confirmation search.

This Month’s Tip

Review your website and see how it corresponds to the Confirmation Process with a current photo, lists of services and clients, plus publications, newsletters, workshops and case studies. Additionally, look over your LinkedIn profile and ensure it, too, adheres to the confirmation approach.


Show the world you are the professional who can solve a certain problem. Confirm you are the person you say you are. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s compare your digital presence to the confirmation process. Together, we’ll help potential clients check the boxes of their confirmation search so they may connect with you to resolve their issue.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue.

Thanks to Andrew Schulkind, digital strategist, for partial inspiration. He asked, “How aware of you [and] where in the buying process, or your sales funnel, is the person who’s just come to your website?”
Image credit: kalhh (Pixabay)

Alyse Greer

Janet is a highly experienced author and speaker with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working at my continuing legal education nonprofit. Janet has authored several articles aimed at providing readers with practical advice and guidance about marketing, networking, speaking, writing, leveraging social media, and connecting with reporters, among others. Her ability to dissect each undertaking into detailed, actionable steps is remarkable and demonstrates her extensive knowledge of the legal, marketing, and PR industries. Her ideas are original, thoughtful, and tailored for professionals who need something more than generic, one-size-fits-all advice.

For example, we all understand the importance of networking, but Janet recognizes that networking means more than building your own book of business; it requires organization, prioritization, strategy, and a focus on others. After compiling a list of contacts from numerous sources (e.g., email addresses and business cards, newsletter and blog subscribers, client lists, event attendee rosters, LinkedIn connections, etc.) and prioritizing the list according to shared interests, you are encouraged to introduce your contacts to potential clients; suggest co-authoring an article in an industry newsletter; send targeted announcements about an event, webinar, or podcast; invite them to attend your next speaking engagement; etc. As I said—remarkable.

I’ve learned a great deal from Janet in the course of working with her and am pleased she has chosen to share her time and expertise with our readers.

Margaret Copeley

I didn’t fully realize the benefits of a monthly newsletter and feared that writing one would be too time consuming. Reading Janet Falk’s newsletter for several months finally persuaded me to give it a try. To my delight, my first newsletter paid off immediately when several lapsed clients were reminded of their goals and got in touch with new projects. Janet’s tips have taught me how to maintain frequent communication with my clients, rather than waiting for them to come to me.

Use LinkedIn to Book Speaking Engagements

Turn your contacts into agents who introduce you.

These two truisms are foundational to my marketing outreach:

  1. Everybody knows someone worth knowing. You don’t know who stands in his or her circle until you ask (or check their connections on LinkedIn).
  2. Make it easy to say YES. Make it hard to say NO.

Speaking to trade associations of your target market is a powerful way to attract new clients. I often advise attorneys and, therefore, I compiled a list of bar associations in New York state where I might speak. I looked on their respective websites to locate the appropriate contact for programs. In an email, I described my background, my interest in speaking to the group and a few topics.

For the most part, my email outreach was met by a deafening silence.

My next step implemented the first truism.

As you know, LinkedIn is the world’s largest database of professionals.

I identified individual officers of each bar association and reviewed their profiles on LinkedIn. Whenever I located a mutual contact, I wrote to the intermediary. I requested an introduction to the bar association’s officer using this model, following the second truism:


Your name came into view on LinkedIn as a colleague who knows NAME at the NAME Bar Association.

I often speak to bar associations; when I present with an attorney, the session is usually eligible for CLE.

I had contacted the association as a potential speaker. I did not receive a reply.
If you feel comfortable introducing me to NAME, using a note that I will provide, I would greatly appreciate it.

If they are not a close connection, and it would not be appropriate to contact them, I understand.

Please let me know either way.


Looking forward to your reply.

Imagine you receive this email from a colleague. You are asked to copy and paste a note and email it to a LinkedIn connection.

You need only consider the strength of your bond with the contact before saying YES to the request.

When I first wrote to the President of a certain bar association, there was no response. I sent the above template to a LinkedIn connection requesting her assistance with an introduction. She agreed. A series of emails followed.

Success! I am presenting at the Injured Workers Bar Association’s spring conference.

This Month’s Tip

An introduction from a known source may make the difference in booking a speaking engagement. This outreach has four steps:

  1. Assemble a list of trade associations and professional membership groups where you are likely to meet your target audience. Or compile a wish list of companies and organizations that are potential clients.
  2. Locate the appropriate contact, President or Chair of the Program Committee, and email them regarding your interest in speaking on a few subjects to their group.
  3. When the group’s officer does not respond, identify a mutual contact of any officer of the group and ask them to introduce you, following the template.
  4. When this intermediary agrees to do so, send them a lightly revised version of your original correspondence with the organization so it may be copied and emailed to the group’s officer.

    Of course, you will follow up with a thank you to the mutual contact and arrange to chat with the organization’s leader to consider topics and dates.


When you want to get on the speaker’s circuit, let’s plan your outreach campaign. Organizations always need speakers to present on the hot topics and issues their members are encountering. They won’t invite you to present to the group if they don’t know who you are and no one has recommended you.. Contact me at  Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s brainstorm topics, locate appropriate groups, identify their leaders and reach out to the people who might introduce you as a speaker. Speak up so you may take the podium and attract more clients.

If you’re shy about public speaking, find a colleague to present with you. Perhaps you will team up with me.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue. 

Image credit: Convene  

Andrew Schulkind

I’ve sat through a lot of networking meetings with well-meaning business people reciting their all-about-me elevator pitches. Mine was better than most, but with so low a bar, that still didn’t make it good. It just didn’t deliver any real value to the audience.

Janet’s ideas helped me energize my pitch, sharpen its focus, and clarify the benefits we deliver to our clients.

And it’s different enough from the usual uninspired intros that it has literally turned heads.

Thank you, Janet!

Mind the Gap (of Your Newsletter’s Publication)

Directory Pixabay notebook-g2d029f835_1280 Salome Maydron

Plan ahead to never miss an issue.

Face it. Your newsletter is not that important to your subscribers.

Yes, it’s important to have an email newsletter.

Yes, email has the highest ROI of marketing activities.

But if you think that your subscribers are waiting with bated breath for your next issue, well, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.

Do you think your readers will notice when you do not send a newsletter because you:

  • went on business or vacation to Las Vegas?
  • were overwhelmed by multiple deadlines?
  • took care of a sick family member or pet?

Sorry, my friend. They were so busy running their own businesses (and lives) that your gap in newsletter publishing went completely unnoticed.

Do you wake up in the morning and think, “I haven’t heard from Janet Falk in the longest time. I better check out her newsletter.”?

Sadly, no one thinks that, not even my mother.

Does it matter whether a subscriber opens the newsletter first thing in the morning on Tuesday, or whenever your publication day is? No, only that it is opened. A gap will not be noticed.

Maybe the subscriber opens it while they catch their breath and check email between meetings in the course of a busy day or later in the week. Again, when someone is scrambling to keep up with their overflowing inbox, a gap will pass by.

Perhaps the subscriber is a friend who opens the email, just to boost your open rate, and immediately deletes it. (I admit I do this.) A newsletter gap will not register.

What if the subscriber has set a rule to file your newsletter in their Newsletter folder? This is probably Never-Never Land, where someday the subscriber will review their backlog. (Confession: my Newsletter folder currently has more than 12,000 emails with 709 unopened.) In this case, the subscriber will never perceive the gap.

In sum, it seems highly unlikely that a gap in newsletter publication will be noticed.

As important as open rates are, what’s more important is the next action the subscriber takes. Of course, your newsletter indicates they should:

  • reply to the newsletter
  • share the email
  • click on the boldfaced link
  • visit the website
  • call the phone number provided
  • make an appointment
  • visit the office

You did include a call to action, right?

This Month’s Tip

Prepare an evergreen newsletter article. You have to engage in conversation to flesh out the details. To start the relationship with

An evergreen article is one that is always relevant and not tied to the calendar or a news event. It’s neither in step nor out of step. Knowing you have an article on the shelf will give you peace of mind when your plate is so full that your newsletter plops onto the floor.

Or, adjust the frequency of the newsletter if a missed issue occurs habitually, as suggested by Ann Handley, author on best practices in newsletter writing. Handley was pleasantly surprised to receive inquiries from subscribers when she recently skipped a newsletter, due to busy plans. She recommends don’t break the chain; but, when you do, explain it briefly and move on.


Mind the gap of your newsletter’s publication. (But you need not dwell on a missed issue.) You can avoid skipping issues by having evergreen content at the ready. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together let’s brainstorm topics you will have in reserve so that you will not gape at the dreaded gap.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue. 

Thanks to Ilise Benun, Christina Hagopian and John Hinson for their insights and comments to my LinkedIn post on this topic. Like Handley, they advocate consistency to remain top of mind with subscribers.

Anne Kleinman

Janet’s monthly newsletter is a treasure trove of business growth ideas. It is the only newsletter that I receive from clients and business partners that I even take the time to look at. It is a true reflection of the benefits that one gets from working with Janet. I highly recommend that anyone looking to grow a business or law practice hire Janet to work with them so that they can focus on their business while Janet makes sure that all of their business development functions are executed to maximize the results.

Find Golden Contacts in Your Association’s Directory

Directory Pixabay notebook-g2d029f835_1280 Salome Maydron

Peruse the listings for colleagues, consultants and referral sources.

One of the benefits of a membership association is your listing in the organization’s directory.

When you join the group, you are invited to fill out their standard form for your listing. which usually includes:

  • Name
  • Company name
  • Pre-set categories to describe your business
  • Mailing address
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Photo

Now that you are inscribed, take a look around and learn more about the other members.

You can search by profession or industry to identify consultants and vendors who work with similar or even mutual clients.

Pick out names of possible collaborators.

See which members might be potential referral sources.

Look for members in your city (or an area you often visit) to meet for coffee or lunch.

You may even locate someone you know and with whom you’ve lost touch over the years.

Take the opportunity to introduce yourself to some members of the association. When they learn you are a new member, they probably will welcome you and may well be open to a conversation regarding their involvement in the organization to encourage your active participation.

There’s a treasure trove of connections in the directory. Be selective. Do not contact every member; instead, search for those whose business interests most closely align with your own.

This Month’s Tip

A directory listing, like an elevator pitch, offers a bare minimum of information. You have to engage in conversation to flesh out the details. To start the relationship with a fellow member, introduce yourself by email. Focus on YOU, the reader/member, and establish shared interests. Your goal is to have the next conversation. For example:

Your name came to my attention as a member of the Regional Association, which I recently joined.

Your listing caught my eye, as a professional/business owner in the ____ industry, because I often work with ____/clients in my ____ business.

As a new member of the organization, I am excited to get involved and meet other members.

It would be great if we could chat and become better acquainted, so that I might learn more about your business.

I’m also eager to hear how you think I might participate in the association’s activities, perhaps by contributing my ____ skills.

Looking forward to your reply.


This approach works equally well when you are a long-time member of the association. Check your listing to ensure all the details are current. In your note to a fellow member, suggest a conversation to discuss their view of trends in the industry or profession, ask a quick question or propose a future program for the organization.


Take a closer look at the directory of an organization where you are a member. After confirming your listing’s details are correct, consider which fellow members fit the categories of possible collaborator or referral source. You may even plan to meet for lunch locally.

Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll build a direct connection from the directory to a fellow member, who may, serendipitously, become a client. It worked for me.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue. 

Grab a Partner for the Next Event

Woman introduces client at event

Connect and double your meeting fun.

Your networking groups, professional membership organizations and industry associations have resumed in-person meetings after a long hiatus of virtual events.

You’re probably eager to attend events in person and see your colleagues.

Use this tactic to raise the bar for a doubly productive meeting.

Plan ahead and invite a guest to attend the program with you:

  • a new contact
  • a client
  • someone you’ve been meaning to connect with.

Don’t go it alone, especially if you’re out of practice with in-person networking after the many virtual gatherings you’ve attended.

As a member of a networking group, industry organization or professional membership association, you are responsible for spreading the word about the value of belonging to the organization.

Inviting a new contact goes beyond recruiting members. At an industry event, you’ll help the visitor garner insights on the latest developments and trends as presented by the speaker. At a networking meeting, the guest will create new connections among the other members of the group, perhaps learning some networking tips. In either case, a visitor often brings a different and welcome perspective to the group’s usual discussion.

When the visitor is your client or someone you’ve been meaning to cultivate, you’ll put them in the spotlight at the event you attend together. Introduce them to the group’s officers and other attendees who will warmly welcome them; members are eager to meet the newcomer. The guest will appreciate the attention and your status with them will be enhanced when they see you in your element, mingling with the leaders.

Having a partner affords you and your guest the opportunity to tag team; you will introduce each other to the attendees and periodically re-group to check in as the event progresses.

Your partner need not be someone new to the host organization. You may reach out to another long-time member of the group, say you look forward to seeing them in person and confirm they will attend.

Whoever you invite, attending an event together strengthens your relationship.

This Month’s Tip

Hold a pre-meeting meeting. Arrange to meet your guest for a coffee 30-minutes before the meeting. Use this time to re-connect and catch up on their latest news. Hear what their agenda for the meeting might be. Plan to work the room together and maximize the moment.


Let’s identify people in your circles or on your wish list who might appreciate an invitation to be your guest. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll plan ahead to make the next meeting doubly productive for you and your guest.

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Make TWO Phone Calls EVERY Day

Re-ignite the conversation.

Think of the people in Your Gold Mine of 5,000 Contacts

Categorize them in two ways:

First by the strength of your relationship: A – Strong, B – Medium and C – Weak.

Second, classify them by their ability to hire you as a consultant or buy your products or services: 1 is a decision-maker, 2 can influence the decision and 3 is lightly involved in the decision-making process.

Finally, go through the list and label each person using the two categories of ABC for warmth of relationship and 123 for hiring/buying decision or influence.

Focus on:

A-1 Strong relationship and able to hire you or buy from you
A-2 Solid contact who is able to influence a consulting project or purchase
B-1 Medium relationship who can contract with you or buy from you

Let’s set aside the B-2s, C’s and the 3’s for the moment.

1-Decision makerYESYESLater
3-Lightly involvedLaterLaterLater

Now that you have the subgroup of people with whom you have a strong or warm relationship and who may be able to work with you:

Step up to the phone and MAKE TWO CALLS A DAY.

This is NOT cold calling. You have a good relationship with these contacts.

Here’s some scripts to get started:

Hi, Pat. Your name came to mind when I heard/read about _____ . What do you think?

Hello, Sidney, Your article in ___ caught my eye. Did you know about ___?

Hi, Terry. I saw you posted on LinkedIn about _____. Tell me more about that.

Chat for a bit and ask your contact for one thing:
 An introduction to someone (specific) in their circle
 A time and date to get together for a longer conversation.

You can leave a voicemail; state you are in the office all afternoon and you would love to catch up.

Recite your phone number, which you have written out as words. For example, Two, One, Two (pause) Six, Seven, Seven (pause) Five, Seven, Seven, Zero.

Say your number slowly, so the person can actually write it down without listening to the message again.

This Month’s Tip

The best times to call may be at 9:55 am and 1:55 pm. Try calling just before the hour marker when your connection might have a few moments before going into a meeting. Your conversation may be brief enough to set up the next call.


Let’s categorize your contact list and identify the most viable names. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll practice your pitch, so that it flows more naturally. You might even raise your phone game to more than two calls each day.

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Adapted from David A. Fields, The Irresistible Consultant’s Guide to Winning Clients

Have You Googled Yourself Lately?

Check your digital presence periodically.

When you search for yourself online on a regular basis, you will review what you have posted on social media and also monitor how others may refer to you (excluding reviews).

Many professionals create Google alerts for their names and the name of their company, which is a good start to monitoring your online presence. There’s more to establishing an effective alert system.

If you haven’t already set up FREE Google alerts, follow these instructions.

Go to Google.com/alerts.

Enter the word or phrase for which you will create an alert in the indicated space.

Click the arrow Show Options to set the parameters. Daily, Weekly or As it happens. I prefer daily.

Sources is best set as Automatic, to include social media.

For How many, select All results

Finally, indicate the email address where you prefer to get these notifications.

Click the blue button Create Alert. You have now set an alert.

Click on the alert you just created to view the alert results. Congratulations.

Now, raise the bar.

Add a variant of your name, perhaps Beth for Elizabeth. You can also use your middle initial.

Do you have a suffix, like Junior?

Do you cite your degree: MBA, JD, Ph.D. or Esq.? Add that as a new alert.

Create an alert for your company and also your website URL, of course.

Make alerts for your phone numbers: office and mobile.

Narrow the scope of your results by using the minus sign (-) to exclude others with a similar name. For example, there was a professor at Columbia University whose hyphenated name was Falk-Kessler, so my searches are -Kessler.

Add your profession or business: accountant, consultant, attorney.

Perhaps add your city.

Raise the bar again.

Follow these steps on the website Talkwalker, another FREE service. Many Public Relations professionals find Talkwalker gives more comprehensive social media results than Google.

Start by creating an account at Talkwalker.com.

Click on Create to set an alert.

Similar to the instructions outlined above, set the parameters for Result type (Everything); Language (All languages); How often (Once a day); How many (All results) and Your email (enter your email address).

Remember to create additional alerts on Talkwalker, similar to the ones you set on Google, for a broad view of digital references to you and your business.

As good as these alerts are, you still should check online periodically. According to Shannon Wilkinson of Reputation Communications. “Checking weekly is a good policy. Clearing your browser’s history first will ensure you are seeing a true picture (otherwise you might be seeing an out-of-date cache your browser has autosaved).”

This Month’s Tip

Google has nearly 90% of the online search market in the US, but it is not the only game in town. Look also at Yahoo, Bing and DuckDuckGo. Yes, there will be considerable overlap. You may, nevertheless, be surprised by what you turn up there.


Let’s find out what people are saying about you on the Internet. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll create alerts and set calendar reminders, so you can easily track how you appear online.

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Eric Graig

I’ve known Janet for over a decade. She posses a depth of experience in public relations and marketing and whenever we come into contact, I learn something new. So many consultants offer only boilerplate solutions to organizational challenges. Janet doesn’t. I spend a lot of time reading a variety blogs, social media posts, reports, etc. that relate to marketing and often I feel as if I’m in an echo chamber. Janet’s thoughts on marketing and PR are always original and I come away with ideas I haven’t seen before. I’m pleased to recommend her.

The Reader’s Attention is Yours to Lose

Broadcast on radio station WII-FM.

You probably receive dozens of emails that begin like this:

Hey Pat,
I hope you’re doing well.

My name is Morgan and I work for Megabucks Incorporated. We provide world-class services to companies like Name of Your Business.

What’s wrong with this email?

First, it presumes that you (the reader) care to have a personal relationship with someone you’ve never heard of.

Second, it focuses entirely on the seller and not on the potential buyer.

If you want to sell me something, you have to tell me:

  1. How you got my name
  2. How you learned something about my business
  3. How you know I have a problem
  4. How you can solve my problem because you have solved it before
  5. Bonus points when you explain how you can make me look good to whoever matters to me (my boss, CEO, CFO or even myself).

I call this approach: The reader’s attention is yours to lose.

I’ve used this idea in outlining my view of newsletters; now let’s apply it to promotional emails.

Plus, let’s include the World’s Greatest Radio Station: WII-FM.

You know that station. It’s the one all your contacts and prospects listen to every day: What’s In It For Me.

To begin, every communication starts with one of the following four:

Thank you
You or Your.

You engage the reader’s attention by speaking directly to them.

If you have not previously communicated with the email recipient, start by indicating how you learned their name.

Your name came to my attention in a review of fellow members of the Name of Professional Membership Association.
Your name was mentioned by our mutual contact, Parker Brown.

This reference builds trust by establishing that you have a shared interest; here, you both belong to the same organization, or you were referred by a colleague.

Now, demonstrate that you did more than create a merge mail. You actually visited their website or LinkedIn profile.

As a professional focused on _____ , you usually _________.

Introduce the problem that you observed in their industry, business or municipality:

Small business owners in Metropolis are finding it tough to follow the new ordinance that employers not ask job candidates about their prior compensation when interviewing potential hires. Doing so may expose you to liability for asking an illegal question or discrimination.

Explain how you can help:

You can learn how to avoid a potential lawsuit or fine by reviewing these guidelines of questions that are and are not permissible under the new ordinance. (link to a page on your website).

Clearly indicate the steps the reader should take next. If you want them to call you, email you, click on a link to download a resource, visit your website or book an appointment for a complimentary consultation, you must indicate the information or tools to do so.

Accordingly, provide five key things:

  • your phone number
  • your email address in a link with a pre-formatted subject line
  • the link to the download without requiring an email address
  • your website URL
  • the link to your scheduling calendar.

Beware. If you throw the reader a me-first pitch about how great my product is, it’s likely to bounce right back to you.

The reader’s attention is yours to lose; accordingly, show you know something about them and give them a reason to keep reading and connect with you further.

This Month’s Tip

Confirm your emails speak to the reader. Read one of your recent emails to a potential client, or one you received. Highlight in red the words I, MY, WE, OUR. Then highlight in yellow the words YOU and YOUR.

When you are done, the email should display more yellow words than red. If not, take a stab at inverting some of those sentences to address the interest of the reader. Here’s an example.


Are they talking about your emails on radio station WII-FM? If not, contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll focus on your reader. Once their attention is lost, you cannot get it back easily.

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Use Reverse Engineering to Book More Podcast Spots

Speak where your colleagues and competitors were featured.

What is reverse engineering and how can you use it to get more podcast interviews?

It means using deductive reasoning to grasp how an existing process accomplishes a task without performing the actual activity.

For many people, it means working backwards from the result to figure out how to get to the beginning.

For example, because I wanted to reach attorneys who listen to podcasts, I conducted an internet search for legal marketing shows. I looked for opportunities where I had not previously appeared.

When reviewing a few episodes of each one, some guests stood out because they were colleagues or names I recognized.

Now comes the step where you reverse engineer the process. Go to the website Owltail, which is a directory of podcast and episodes. Search for the name of a guest to generate a list of their appearances; Owltail includes a link to each show.

Here I made note of where those colleagues had spoken and gathered information about those shows.

On each of these newly discovered podcasts, I noticed whether someone had spoken about one of my preferred topics: media relations for attorneys.

In almost every case, it had not been discussed or it was addressed long-ago.

Bingo! Here was my opportunity. I contacted 24 podcast hosts and proposed I speak to their audience on the subject of how attorneys might introduce themselves to reporters.

The payoff came quickly. I recorded three podcasts in three days and continue to book more appearances. Plus, some of the hosts themselves have indicated an interest in my services.

This Month’s Tip

Podcast hosts are always looking for guests; accordingly, write an email to the host that shows why YOU would be a great resource to their audience.

  1. Refer to your shared interest in the subject that is the focus of the podcast and mention that you have listened to previous episodes.
  2. Cite one that is closely aligned with your proposed topic or name a colleague who appeared on the show.
  3. Indicate how you will provide a fresh look at a specific subject.
  4. Remember to state you will actively promote the episode to attract more listeners.

This approach will make you a highly attractive guest.


It’s time for you to step up to the mike and be on a podcast. Consider which shows are most relevant to your audience and conduct preliminary research. Then, contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll reverse engineer the podcast universe and introduce you to hosts with a compelling pitch that will put you in the guest seat.

See also: How YOU Can Be a Podcast Guest and It’s Showtime! Prepare for a Podcast.

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Image credit: www.ongineering.com

NEW E-book: Create and Monitor Your Marketing RBI

Play a winning game with these five ways to grow your business.

You may recall I wrote about the five ways to attract business in June 2017. Your Marketing RBI (Runs Batted In) has these components:

  1. Networking
  2. Speaking
  3. Writing
  4. Participating in the trade association of your target market
  5. Extending your digital presence

I’ve spoken on this aspect of Marketing in presentations to groups of accountants and attorneys, as well as on podcasts.

More recently, I wrote a series of six articles for the PLI Chronicle Insights and Perspectives for the Legal Community, a monthly publication produced by the Practising Law Institute.

Naturally, these ideas have evolved over time.

I have now revised those articles and presentations, assembling them in an e-book of more than 50 pages.

It’s chock-full of detailed instructions, examples and best practices that apply to professionals who are accountants, business owners and consultants, not only attorneys.

Now, this guidance is offered to you and others in a general audience who might benefit from these strategies. The e-book is available for purchase for $9.99 via Venmo.

Here’s the Table of Contents so you’ll see what you’ll learn.

This Month’s Tip

Try ALL FIVE strategies and then focus on the ones where you feel most comfortable. Networking may be your favorite and speaking may give your stomach butterflies. Or vice versa. The e-book gives examples of how you can take some practice swings and become more comfortable with the approaches you don’t ordinarily use.


It’s time you stepped up to the plate and took a swing for the fences. After you place your order and purchase the e-book on Venmo, contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll explore which of the five ways to grow your business will most improve your Marketing RBI. 

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Lose Excess Fat (Verbiage) in 2022

 Put your website on a customer-focused and active verb diet.

Here’s a new way to look at the perennial new year’s resolution to lose weight and get more exercise.

Energize your website.

Trim the word count and make it easier for the reader to:

  • see you understand their problem or situation
  • scan your offerings
  • be directed to contact you.

    Follow these steps:

    1. Cut flowery adjectives and overly self-promotional adverbs.
    2. Use bullet points and numbered lists to make the content more scannable.
    3. Generate interest with active verbs.
    4. Divide sections with subheads in bold font.

    Take out your red pencil and start editing.

    This Month’s Tip

    Focus on the reader. Shift the focus of your content from I and WE to YOU. That helps the reader connect with you and hear you talking directly to them.

    Promote the benefit of working with you in the first half of the sentence and then explain how you will get the job done in the second part or the following sentence.

    Consider this customer-focused discussion:

    As a client, you will minimize operational costs by tapping our industry expertise and proprietary software. (16 words)

    Instead of self-promotion:

    We combine our expertise in the industry with a proprietary software system, in order to offer highly useful services for your company to effectively minimize operational costs. (27 words) 


    Too many words can weigh your website down. Ask me to perform an edit in a Complimentary Strategic Communications Consultation. Let’s use a red pencil to cut away the fluffy adjectives. Then, enliven the content with active verbs, bullet points and numbered lists. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll shed that fatty verbiage and kick off 2022 with your re-energized website.

    See also: Your Less Than Perfect Website Costs You Business

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Work Up Your Workshop in a New Format

 Use video and writing to re-distribute your ideas.

Congratulations on a terrific workshop presentation.

Celebrate today. Get back to refining your content tomorrow.

It’s not one and done.

Here’s how you can re-purpose it in a new format; click on the blue text for more details:

Capture highlights of the recorded session in segments of up to three minutes. Write a two-sentence overview for each clip. Post the text with the video clip on your website, LinkedIn, Facebook and X (Twitter).

Record a voiceover of a few slides and post the mini discussion.

Create a tip sheet of best practices, a quiz or a checklist with your contact information and branding. Save it as a PDF and offer it as a downloadable file on your website. Share it on social media platforms as well.

Include the links to the video clips and tip sheet in your email signature . It’s your free space to promote yourself, so use it.

Introduce yourself to the media as a source for comment on the hot topic or industry trend you discussed. Tell reporters at industry publications the best practices that will help others in that sector save time, save money or make more money.

Partner with a client, referral source or a colleague in  a related field to broaden the perspective when pitching the media.

Does the content lend itself to a case study? Use the P A R I approach to recount the issue. Describe the Problem or Present situation, Action that you took, Result in the short term and Impact over the long term.

Contact podcast hosts , who are always looking for authoritative sources to comment on timely subjects.

Exercise your creative spirit with an infographic.

Write an article for your newsletter — and propose an article for the newsletter of an organization where you are a member.

Do you have a blog? You know what to do.

Here’s how I followed my own advice, after leading a workshop on best practices for LinkedIn. I wrote the e-book pictured above.

This Month’s Tip

Turn your presentation into an e-book. I had wanted to write an e-book about using LinkedIn for a while. When I prepared a workshop on the subject, I finally pulled my ideas together. Now you see the result. Here’s the link to get your copy. And yes, I would love to give the presentation to your group.


Look through your recent presentations for sleeping golden insights. Let’s consider which format is most appropriate to spread the word more widely. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll give your workshop a workout and get it into shape for a new audience.

See also: C O P E: How Writing Can Re-Broadcast Audio

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Choose Your Pandemic Holiday Card

 Take a stand: Printed card or E-Card

October is the time to plan for your holiday greeting card mailing.

It’s that time of year and you must make a choice: printed card, as you probably have done in years past, or e-card.

I am sticking with my annual e-card greeting; here’s why I hope you will join me.

Address: You already have the recipient’s email address. With contacts working from home or even undetermined remote locations, you may have to ask them outright for their mailing address to ensure the card is sent to the correct location. That might be an awkward conversation you’d rather avoid.

Share-ability: The person working away from their office will not post the card on their door, nor display it on their credenza, where other colleagues and visitors might see it. An e-card is easily forwarded to other team members.

Budget: The cost of an e-card is minimal to free. Find an appropriate photo or image on one of the many websites where photographers and artists make their work available for free. Compose some heartfelt greetings acknowledging your valued relationship with those on your list. You might even lightly commiserate that you’ve missed them and look forward to seeing them in person soon.

Assemble the image and holiday text in an email newsletter, compile the email addresses, and you’re good to go. Total out-of-pocket cost: $0. Only your time, or that of your staff.

Savings: Think of how you can better spend your time and money without:

  • Directing a graphic designer or purchasing a card from a catalogue;
  • Printing mailing labels;
  • Stuffing the envelopes, applying the address labels, adding postage stamps and hauling the whole pile to the post office; and
  • Bemoaning the waste of paper that has a shelf life of less than 30 days.

As a subscriber, you may recall I sent an e-card with a Holiday Haiku. This poem is consistent with my services as a writer who tackles the challenge of a 17-syllable verse with a change of mood and reference to nature.

Because no one sends a similar card, it attracts attention and prompts appreciative replies.

Those may be some of your objectives, too.

This Month’s Tip

Refer to the holiday season without specifying the observance of a specific faith. In America’s culturally diverse society, you can not assume that others celebrate the same holiday as you, whether Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa or Diwali. Popular images include candles, which brighten the darkest months of the year and are prominent in each holiday. Photos of winter scenes are also appropriate.


Especially now, due to the pandemic, everyone has missed close contact with the members of their circles. Re-connect with as many people as you can. A simple e-card will start the conversation.

Let’s brainstorm some ideas for an image and a warm greeting that align with your business and will resonate with your connections. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll greet your contacts, cheer the holiday season and celebrate the promise of the New Year. 

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Is Your Client List Scannable?


 Show your industry expertise and make it easy to find familiar names.

Your website displays a list of clients demonstrating your experience in a specific industry or situation.

Think about the reader who arrives at your website and reviews the list.

She wants to make sure you can solve her problem because you have worked with others in the same field or have managed a similar issue recently.

Make it easy for the reader to confirm you are the professional she seeks.

List your clients in a way that showcases your successes in the industry.

Prove that you can satisfy that nagging need.

For example, an accountant in a beach resort community highlights her small retail business clients; they serve the same market and experience the same seasonality of revenue:

  • amusement parks
  • hotels
  • restaurants
  • souvenir shops.

In contrast, a graphic designer focuses on types of projects:

  • brochures
  • business cards and stationery
  • logos
  • website designs.

Within each category, the accountant and designer cite the actual clients, in alphabetical order, so the reader can easily find a name that is familiar.

Don’t simply assemble the entire list of names by alphabetical order or the chronological order in which you began working together.

This Month’s Tip

Take the reader by the hand and guide them through the list by using categories. Don’t make them scour the list in search of a name that aligns with their business or problem.

Now, imagine you are a pediatric dentist looking for a marketing consultant to promote your newly opened practice. Two marketers post their client lists on their websites. Review these lists, alphabetical and categorized, and see which one appeals to you:

Brown Heart InstituteNatural and Organic
City Historical MuseumNatural Health Consultants
City HotelNeighborhood News Magazine
Dad’s Wine CellarOkinawa Sushi
Dynamic Dance TroupeParent Monthly
Eastern BreweryPediatric Center
Kevin’s KitchenPierogis and Pasta
Local Wine BarRobertson Resort
Metropolitan MagazineState Film Festival
Mountain InnTony’s Hideaway
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
City Historical MuseumBrown Heart Institute
Dynamic Dance TroupeNatural Health Consultant
State Film FestivalPediatric Center
Dad's Wine CellarCity Hotel
Eastern Brewery Mountain Inn
Local Wine Bar
Robertson Resort
DININGTony’s Hideaway
Kevin’s KitchenMEDIA
Natural and Organic Metropolitan Magazine
Okinawa SushiNeighborhood News Magazine
Pierogis and PastaParent Monthly

As a pediatric dentist, which marketing consultant displaying these clients has the experience you seek?

I would contact the person with the categorized list. It shows she has worked in health and wellness, including children’s health, plus she is connected to a parent magazine.

Sadly, that relevant experience is obscured by the bars, restaurants and hotels in the alphabetical list.


Which of the two examples does your client list resemble: alphabetical or categorized? When a reader scans your list for a certain industry or problem in their business, will they find it right away? Let’s review your client list and find the best way to display your experience. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll re-organize the names or projects of your clients, making the list scannable for website visitors, and, perhaps, viewers of your LinkedIn profile. 

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue.

This discussion was prompted by the client list on the website of a networking contact. I wrote a LinkedIn post about it in January 2021, without naming the site. The website owner thanked me and promised to update it soon. Sadly, there is no change as of September 2021. Take note of that example.

Make it Easy to Say YES. Make it Hard to Say NO.

 Don’t let the reader walk away without connecting or downloading a sample.

Everyone has a business problem and you might represent the solution to their concern. That’s why you have:

  • a website
  • a LinkedIn profile for yourself and also for your company
  • a Facebook page for your company
  • an X (Twitter) account, Instagram, etc.

You use the Internet platforms relevant to your target market so that you can be found.

It’s a strange phenomenon. People will check your presence online to confirm that you are the professional that they heard about, regardless of how your name came to their attention.

Even though they know that you (or someone you hired) wrote every word, the text somehow seems factual when viewed on the Internet. It doesn’t seem like marketing, although it is.

Wherever and whenever you can, show you are the right person to take on an assignment.

Deploy a more subtle form of self-promotion.

Create and share materials that demonstrate YOU are the resource that you claim to be:

  • your newsletter
  • articles
  • samples and tip sheets
  • blog
  • speaking engagements
  • testimonials and recommendations
  • list of clients by industry

This is where my refrain Make it Easy to Say YES. Make it Hard to Say NO comes into play.

When a potential client sees that you have:

  • a newsletter, article, blog post or webinar about solving a problem similar to the one they face
  • a checklist they can share with a colleague, supervisor or family member
  • a former client in their local market or industry

they will consider YOU as a potential resource to solve the issue.

They will not leave your site or LinkedIn profile empty-handed, because they will have engaged with your materials and the proof of your success, on some level.

They will be prompted to call you, send an email, sign up for your newsletter or download helpful information.

On the other hand, when you don’t display these enticements, you effectively allow someone to set you aside and turn instead to the consultant or company that does provide such samples.

This Month’s Tip

How will the visitor to your website or LinkedIn profile confirm you are a trusted resource?

  • Make it easy to contact you by putting your phone number and a link to an email address on EVERY PAGE of your website, in addition to a Contact page. Simply place them in a colored border at the top of the page. Put them on your LinkedIn profile, Facebook page and other digital assets, too.
  • Display ALL your newsletters on your website, not only the current issue. (The person you met in July may find your March newsletter of interest.)
  • Create a downloadable tip sheet, with your contact information and logo. (You may choose to require an email address first.)
  • Save your published articles and guest blog posts as PDFs with the notation As previously published and the appropriate copyright. Assemble them in one place on your website for easy download.
  • Create a list of your appearances on podcasts and speaking engagements.


How quickly can someone say YES to YOU? Review this checklist to confirm your contact information is omnipresent on your website and other digital assets. Confirm that your newsletter, articles and tip sheets are clearly displayed and promoted. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com , book an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll make it easier to say YES to your services.

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Image credit: Cleanpng

Are You Stuck Inside the Four Walls of Your House?

 Question the status quo.

Sometimes you — or your clients — live within the four walls of a house.

You speak the same language and jargon.

You see things the same way.

You may not realize how people outside your house view what’s going on inside.

That’s where communications professionals and consultants come in.

We bring an outsider’s perspective and observe the situation in a new way.

We translate what clients are saying and doing inside their house on behalf of people outside those four walls.

We share it, focusing on the benefit to others.

We tell the people inside the house what the folks outside it are thinking and saying.

We open the doors and windows and bring in fresh air.

Watch out for We’ve always done it this way thinking.

A Halloween festival was held in late October each year. Children trick-or-treated door to door and received snacks. There were old fashioned games, like bobbing for apples in a barrel and nibbling apples suspended from tree branches on long strings.

The fun of this event was threatened by its own success. In the excitement to participate, pre-school age children were being bumped and trampled by their older siblings.

To promote visitor safety, I proposed the event be scheduled in two shifts. Children under age five would attend from 1:00 to 2:30 pm. School-age students would arrive at 4:00 pm. During the break, staff would re-stage the activities and replenish the food that had been consumed by the attendees.

This approach was very successful. Not only was it safer for the smaller children, the two shifts generated even greater visitor attendance! That additional revenue more than covered the cost of the extra snacks and increased staff time.

Look around your own house, or the house of your client, and ask Why have we always done it this way? Is this the best way?

Consider inviting someone with a new or outsider’s perspective to peer into the house and share their observations.

This Month’s Tip

Are you doing things the way they have always been done? Take a closer look at the rationale for following the ways of the past using the five W’s:

  • Who said this is the way to do it? (Perhaps it was someone who’s long gone.)
  • What will happen if it’s done differently — or not at all?
  • When must a change be made? (Is there a deadline?)
  • Where can you gather support (buy-in or funding) to make a change?
  • Why will a new way be better?


Take a fresh look at what’s going on in your house. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll open the doors and windows with a new perspective.

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Improve Your Voicemail Greeting

 Make it more responsive to callers.

Now that you and others may be going back to the office, you can expect more calls at your workplace phone.

It’s time to listen again to your voicemail greeting.

We’ve been following voicemail prompts since 1984. There’s hardly a person alive today who has not heard a recorded voicemail greeting and does not know how to leave a message.

“Hi, this is Griselda. Thank you for calling. Your call is very important to me. I’m sorry I’m not here to answer your call right now. I’m either on the phone or away from my desk.”

Don’t spend the first precious 10 seconds of your recorded phone message by ingratiating yourself with the caller.

Don’t create a delay for the caller and waste her time.

Instead, cut to the chase and let her know how she can reach you, in case her call is urgent.

She simply wants to connect with you, leave an important message and then get on with her day.

People have been using voicemail for ages; they know perfectly well you are not answering the phone because:

  • you are on deadline
  • you are in a meeting or on another call
  • you are ducking robo-calls.

Time is our most precious resource.

Callers want to ask you a question and, if you are not immediately available, learn when you’ll be available to answer it. Make it easy for them with a recorded message that’s short and sweet.

This Month’s Tip

Try this approach to improve your recorded voicemail greeting:

  1. State your name (and company) so the caller can confirm she reached the party she seeks.
  2. Invite the caller to please leave a phone number and message. State that you will return the call as soon as possible.
  3. If this is your office landline, consider leaving your cell phone number — enunciated slowly and perhaps repeated — so the caller might text you or reach you at that number, in case it is an urgent matter.
  4. Here’s how you can say your cell phone number at a pace that others can follow. Write the number as words; mine is three-four-seven-two-five-six-nine-one-four-one.
  5. (Variation) When you are out of the office on travel or in a day-long meeting, you may not return the call promptly. Indicate that callers should expect a delay for your reply call and/or direct the call to a colleague and provide their number.


Have you listened to your voicemail greeting lately? Give yourself a call now (I’ll wait) and see how it measures up to the format suggested above. If you need help to create a caller-responsive message, contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s write a script and re-record your voicemail greeting with the caller’s convenience in mind.

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Don’t Scroll on LinkedIn. #Hashtag. Filter. Read.

 That way, you decide what you will review, not the algorithm.

Perhaps you scroll through your LinkedIn feed by default.

Many people simply allow the LinkedIn algorithm to select among the posts of the hundreds of people to whom they are connected.

The algorithm chooses posts and organizes them in the order of what your connections:

  • have written
  • have shared
  • have commented on
  • have liked

Some LinkedIn specialists, like Ed Han, encourage people to “be deliberate about your engagement. . . . This is how you train the algorithm.”

I disagree with Han and take a hybrid approach to reading posts on LinkedIn. I scroll sometimes.

Most often I actively search for certain topics by using hashtags.

Here’s how to locate the posts of greatest value to YOU. Type keywords or hashtags into the search bar in the upper left corner, next to the blue in square, as outlined in red. Hit enter and on the next menu click Posts.

Voila! A list of posts on your topic of choice. Additionally, you can use the option to Filter by 1st connections, Date posted and other criteria.

For example, I am interested in email marketing, so I check on that topic periodically. I filter by 1st connections, so I can keep up with what my esteemed colleagues have to say on the subject.

I now see their latest insights. I can share these ideas with my clients and implement these best practices in my own email newsletter.

By actively seeking the content I prefer, I avoid being inundated with posts that are not especially relevant. It’s fine to learn about an upcoming legal conference or that a contact seeks a paralegal, but I usually have other things on my mind.

I encourage you to follow my lead. Be proactive in the limited time you dedicate to reading posts on LinkedIn. Filter for the topics of greatest value to YOU.

Remember, you can continue to scroll and wrestle with the algorithm to refine it. By sharing, commenting and liking posts by others, you will narrow the scope of your feed.

This Month’s Tip

#Hashtag. Filter. Read. These simple steps are the best way to select the most relevant posts. Another quick way is to click on the arrow in the upper right corner of your LinkedIn feed labeled Sort by. There are two options: Top and Recent. See which one works best for your interests.


Try this #Hashtag. Filter. Read approach. Let’s have a quick Zoom chat with a shared screen, and I will walk you through the process, so you can learn to strategically select LinkedIn posts that align with your interests. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s get a higher return on the time you invest in reading on LinkedIn.

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Your Daily Pie of Time

 How many slices will you cut and what are their sizes?

Imagine all the activities you perform — daily and weekly — as slices of a pie.

  • Your job
  • Household maintenance
  • Socialize with family and friends
  • Religious worship
  • Exercise
  • Reading and other hobbies
  • Volunteer

Look. Your pie is completely sliced up.

Now, you decide that, to grow your business, you should take a class.

But how? Your time is all fully allocated. Cutting another piece in the pie will make the other slices smaller.

Here are your choices: skipping, tackling one more thing, dropping and outsourcing.

  1. You can skip the class. You’ve gotten this far without it, so you rationalize that you don’t really need it.
  2. You might tackle the class on top of everything else you have on your plate. That may not turn out so well. You’re already working at full capacity and you do want to learn the material. You have high standards for yourself.
  3. You could drop one activity, even though it’s good for your mental or physical health.
  4. You might outsource something. Hand it over to a person who knows how to do it better than you and probably charges a lower fee. For example, perhaps you hire someone to take care of the weekly laundry and housekeeping.

You probably have ordered a meal or two for take out in recent months.

Consider that is outsourcing your food preparation.

By doing so, you did not shop, chop, cook or clean up the kitchen to make that delicious dinner.

Do you feel inadequate that you outsourced your meal preparation?

Not at all. You think you are smart. In fact, you applaud yourself for supporting local restaurants during an economic downturn.

Now, consider your business as Your Work Pie of Time:

  • Executing client projects
  • Meeting with clients and staff
  • Keeping up with client industry trends
  • Professional development
  • Marketing your business
  • Networking with colleagues and referral sources
  • Mentoring employees

Look, that work pie of time is fully sliced also.

Consider which of the four approaches above – skipping, tackling one more thing, dropping or outsourcing – would be most helpful to manage the work pie of your time.

This Month’s Tip

Saying NO to one activity means saying YES to something else. Make a list of the many projects and tasks on your plate. Prioritize them by client score. That is, are they necessary for current clients? Will they attract future clients?

When you prioritize the activities from your Work Pie of Time, you will see which ones are the best use of your valuable time. Some can be handled by others and some may even be set aside, not to re-surface for a while. That’s okay. Not now does not mean never.


Want to take some Marketing tasks off your plate? Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770 so you can help yourself to another slice from your Pie of Free Time.

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Teri Scheinzeit

Thank you, Janet Falk, for the smart, strategic information you provided on public relations and business communications. I now have excellent action steps to implement. I recommend Janet to all business owners who want to seriously improve their marketing materials and communications. Sign up for her newsletter, too. Janet is a total pro.

Give and Take

 It’s better to give than receive.

You may remember past discussions of your Marketing RBI, as well as how you can team up and support a client.

Consider how these five activities create a framework for you to give, whether to clients, referral sources, colleagues or assorted contacts in your circles:

  • Networking: Identify two contacts whose professions are aligned or who share an interest. Before you introduce them, ask these connections for a three-sentence bio. Make sure they are not already acquainted and confirm their interest in a future chat. Share the bios and arrange a three-way video call. This will give your contacts an opportunity to expand their circles and you will catch up on their latest activities. You can encourage them to meet without your participation, of course.
  • Speaking: Team up with a client or a referral source to speak on a podcast or present a webinar. If you’ve recently appeared on a podcast, introduce the connection to the host, who is always looking for guests for the program.
  • Writing: Bring a case study to life in an article for a trade magazine. Propose a co-authored article to a client, colleague or referral source. You do most of the writing; having them as a co-author enhances your credibility to the editor of an industry newsletter.
  • Participating in the trade association of your target market: Promote the organization’s next activity by sharing the event announcement in your LinkedIn groups. Invite a connection to attend the program and arrange a follow-up conversation after the event. You can also share an article from the association’s newsletter as a post on your LinkedIn profile and other social media accounts.
  • Extending your presence online: Plan to post on LinkedIn twice a week. Write a LinkedIn recommendation for a colleague or vendor. Comment and share your contacts’ posts, so they’re visible to more people. Spread the word on Facebook and X (Twitter), if your connections are active there.

Now that you’re prepared to give, what about the TAKE part of the equation?

According to Wharton professor Adam Grant, it’s not about taking at all.

Instead, it’s about RECEIVING or MATCHING.

In other words, when someone gives to you in one of the ways outlined above, you graciously receive their offer. Later, perhaps, you create an opportunity to reciprocate. You match their gift and perform a service for them in return.

This Month’s Tip

Create a giving appointment in your daily calendar. Research shows that keeping a gratitude journal for 15 minutes a day, three times a week, can enhance your feeling of happiness. By giving to others in your professional circles, you will give them a boost that supports their business, plus improve your own mood.


It’s GIVE and Take, not TAKE and Give. There are many ways to give. Let’s look at your Marketing RBI and discuss the opportunities where you feel most comfortable giving to clients, colleagues and referral sources. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770 to get on the giving path.

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Speak Up to Increase Your Word of Mouth Success

 You may recall I’ve written about word of mouth (WOM) as a source of business.

That discussion focused on the randomness of passive WOM as a marketing strategy. (See Up with Referrals! Down with Word of Mouth.)

In a conversation with David Leta of The Business Image, I recently learned that WOM can be intentionally exploited as well.

What makes WOM powerful? Three qualities work singly or together:

  • Unexpected
  • Memorable
  • Sharable

Unexpected is when someone you trust spontaneously tells you about a resource or shares an anecdote that relates to your present situation.

Memorable is a way to hold onto an idea, name or item, such as a tagline.

Shareable is a resource or a story that the listener could easily recall and pass on to another.

Don’t wait for someone to mention you. Make it happen. Induce others to start talking about you or add your name to the conversation that is underway.

Make yourself unique in an unexpected, memorable or sharable way.

This Month’s Tip

Consider how you can intentionally create more word of mouth.

  1. Unexpected: Be alert to opportunities to refer business to your contacts. One hand washes the other and soon that person may think of your practice or business.
  2. Memorable: Compose a tag line that creates impact. A visual image, such as a computer repair service’s We make house calls, suggests a tech will visit your home. Perhaps an acronym: ASAP can mean As Simple As Possible.
  3. Sharable: Have pithy anecdotes on the tip of your tongue that illustrate your services and the value you create for others.


Let’s give them something to talk about. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll devise themes that you can disseminate to actively promote word of mouth about your business or practice.

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Vote. Vote for Email and NOT for Social Media

 Email has the highest ROI of all marketing activity. 

If you do not already have an email newsletter, it is (past) time to launch it.

Research reports that consumers prefer to hear from service providers, vendors and brands by email. 

Email delivers to your subscribers 90% of the time; compare that success rate to Facebook posts, which are seen by only 2% of your friends and LinkedIn, where 9% of your connections see your posts. In other words, more than 90% of your contacts do NOT see what you post on social media, but they WILL read it on email.

More than half of consumers (53%) check their email on their smartphone, making subscribers open to viewing your message, regardless of their location in the moment they receive it and read it.

Accordingly, it’s vital to tailor the content of your newsletter and ensure that it displays well on a smartphone.

If you DO have an email newsletter, here’s a list of best practices to review and see how yours compares.

This Month’s Tip

Email is the way. Whether the email newsletter is read that same day or at another time, the subscriber sees your name and mentally records the fact that you entered their In box. Now that it is more difficult to conduct business face to face and in person due to COVID, it is imperative that you remain top of mind among your connections. When relationships are reinforced by periodic email, it is more likely you will be remembered for a future contact or receive a positive response to your next phone call.


What is the status of your newsletter? Let’s review your strategy, content and format to make the most of your outreach. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Elect to capture the eyes and mind of your subscribers and move them to choose you as their next partner.

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(This discussion has been lightly edited for updated content.)
Image credit: PhotoDune

Turn Your Holiday Card into a Gift

 Transform your marketing budget as a donation. 

Will you send a greeting card to clients, vendors and colleagues in December?

This year, consider re-directing the money for the holiday card to a nonprofit organization that needs your support.

  • Pick one that aligns with your profession, perhaps an art museum for a graphic designer or a legal assistance group for an attorney.
  • Select a hospital in recognition of the tremendous efforts by its staff to care for COVID-19 patients, like my mother.
  • How about that park or botanical garden where you refreshed yourself in nature after a long day working from home?

Any and all donations will be welcomed by the nonprofit group, which is struggling to meet increased demand for services with lower income.

This Month’s Tip

Send a holiday e-card to your many contacts. A simple text conveys greetings for the holiday season, plus the note that you have made a donation to Nonprofit Group in their name, in appreciation of your relationship.


You may recall that my seasonal greeting is a Holiday Haiku. It highlights my skill as a writer and was cited as distinctive. If you want your e-card to stand out, contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together, we’ll find inspiration for a seventeen-syllable poem or other poetic greeting. 

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Team Up to Improve Your Client’s Marketing RBI

 Here are FIVE ways you can help promote your client’s business for a win-win. 

You may recall I’ve written about your Marketing RBI, which has five essential activities:

  1. Networking
  2. Speaking
  3. Writing
  4. Being active in the trade association of your target market
  5. Digital presence

Consider how you might team up with a client in mutually beneficial ways when you perform these activities together:

  1. Networking: Invite a client to a networking group. Email her three-sentence bio to the members in advance, paving the way for more productive conversations.
  2. Speaking: Develop a joint presentation, perhaps a case study, to the client’s trade association or professional membership group. You put the client in the spotlight and make her look brilliant in front of her peers and competitors — who are your prospective customers. 
  3. Writing: Propose and co-author an article for a newsletter or publication in the client’s industry.
  4. Trade Association: Introduce the client to your trade association or another industry group. For example, a graphic designer might invite a copywriter to an event held by a local design organization, where she will meet other professionals who may be potential collaborators and referral sources.
  5. Digital presence: Write a recommendation for the client’s website and LinkedIn profile. Comment on his LinkedIn posts and share his other social media activity. 

Strengthening the relationship with the client is the immediate outcome. Equally important is helping the client burnish her standing in the industry by speaking and writing to her peers, as well as expanding her circle of contacts.

This Month’s Tip

Thank the client and celebrate. When you speak at an event or write an article, acknowledge the shared success. Post a summary as an update on LinkedIn, with a link to the article or the event announcement. You may also mention your article and presentation in your newsletter, again, thanking the client. When you attend the networking event or the trade association’s program, take photos that feature you and the client. Both of you can post the snapshots to your social media accounts.


Two can play the Marketing game better than one. Which client would make the best partner for one (or more) of these five marketing tactics? Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770, Let’s pick a teammate and get on the scoreboard. 

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Image credit: RBI Baseball Academy

Laurence Klurfeld

Our firm had been debating the marketing/brand awareness value of the holiday cards that we sent out each year when we read Janet Falk’s newsletter on the subject. […] Janet helped us design a new card that stood out from the pack — with our firm name on the cover and a classy message inside. We have received only favorable responses from the recipients.

How YOU Can Be a Podcast Guest

 Step up to the microphone.

You may recall the phrase Why HER and Not Me?, which I often cite in connection with being quoted in the news media.

That same question applies to guests on podcasts as well.

These digitally recorded audio sessions may be an appropriate platform for you to promote your services and products. Like industry publications, podcasts are focused on a defined audience that is eager for information about how to Save Time, Save Money and Make More Money in business.

You don’t need to create your own show to jump on the podcast bandwagon. Instead, capitalize on the many podcasts that already serve your target market and offer to be a guest.

Podcast hosts are always looking for professionals who can share valuable insights with their audience. Indeed, speaking on a podcast is similar to leading a workshop or a webinar, in terms of your preparation and presentation.

In one week, recently, I recorded two sessions on legal marketing podcasts, plus I booked a date for another show.

I had not met nor corresponded with these hosts previously. I simply introduced myself via email as a Public Relations professional whose experience advising lawyers would be of value to their listeners.

Here’s the message I used to get the hosts’ attention, with some commentary:

Your podcast caught my eye (and ear) as a source of best practices in Marketing and Communications for attorneys.
(Clearly state that you listened to prior podcast episodes.)

As a Public Relations professional, I advise attorneys on using Media Relations, Marketing and Networking to grow their practice. Other goals include keeping in touch with contacts and referral sources, attracting employees to the firm and promoting pro bono and collaborative work.
(Here’s why the podcaster should interview you.)

Perhaps your audience would find my tips and perspective helpful.

Sample topics are:

    • A complex idea that people need to know more about
    • A strategy that few are doing correctly
    • A tactic that will make you stand out among your peers

I have previously spoken on these podcasts and at events serving the legal market:

    • Names of podcasts
    • Professional membership group
    • Local business networking group

(With these hot topics and your proven experience as a speaker, who can turn you down as a guest? Even if you have not been on a podcast before.)

Please let me know of your interest in having me as a guest on your podcast, which I will then promote on social media, in advance and after the broadcast.
(You will share the episode with your audience and thereby grow the podcaster’s listener base.)


Janet Falk

Now, imagine yourself in the podcast host’s seat. Every week (or two), you need to locate speakers whose background and insights will interest your listeners. Where will you find them?

You receive an unsolicited email from someone who has experience in your field and appears to be an authoritative source. She mentions some scintillating topics that you have not covered recently, if at all. You review her website and deem her to be a potential guest.

All that remains is to reply to the introductory email, schedule a preparatory call and set the date to record the podcast.

Voila! Now that you are off on the adventure of being a podcast guest, you can use these tips: It’s Showtime! Prepare for a Podcast.

This Month’s Tip

Search online directories to find the podcasts most relevant to your target market. Start with these listings, as compiled by Ilise Benun of Marketing-Mentor.com:

In addition, you might search the web for Ten Best Podcasts in (name of industry).


Ready to introduce yourself to the podcast world? Let’s consider timely topics that would be compelling to your target market and then discover where they might be listening for advice. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770 and we’ll develop a plan. Together, we’ll get you ready for prime time.

See also Use Reverse Engineering to Book More Podcast Spots.

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Photo credit: Michael Meyer

Two Can Network Better Than One

 Inviting a contact, or attending as her guest, yields benefits for you both.

My colleague, attorney Eric Sarver, has an innovative way to show client appreciation. He invites the client to attend a networking event as his guest and pays for the tickets. There, she or he will meet new contacts, enjoy the event and “we get to connect and bond in a different context.”

Let’s explore this idea from two perspectives, starting with yourself as the host.

If the event is organized by a group where you are a member, you probably are eager to introduce your client, perhaps Pamela, to the others. You already know them well and can make meaningful introductions:

Pamela, this is George; you may remember I mentioned he is a digital marketer who advises medical professionals, like yourself. George, Pamela is a client and she has a urology practice.

With this personal introduction, George and other group members will be especially interested in welcoming Pamela and engaging her in conversation.

If the program host is an organization where neither you nor your guest is a member, you may still open the door to productive conversation. Your role is to initiate a friendly chat by introducing yourself and her in tandem. This will help put your guest at ease in a room where you (and she) know very few people.

Of course, you gain in stature in Pamela’s eyes for facilitating the introductions in either setting.

From the perspective of Pamela, the guest, there are even more benefits to having a guide at a networking event.

Some members of your group, noticing a new face among the regulars, will be motivated to strike up a conversation with her. Now she will become the focus of another’s attention.

Seeing a lively conversation underway may attract another attendee to approach you both and join in. Many people find it easier to walk up to a small group than to start talking to a person standing alone.

Plus, at the event where you are both newcomers, Pamela can follow your technique and gain valuable practice introducing herself (and you) to others.

Finally, when you and Pamela separate to work the room on your own, you will both be on the alert to possibly connect those you meet to each other, which increases the number of potential contacts.

Accordingly, consider asking a client if there is an event she or he might like to attend, whether it is your own networking group or one that has caught her or his eye. The opportunity to build new connections with the attendees, while also solidifying your own relationship, is most attractive.

This Month’s Tip

These are among the most common networking groups. Consider letting your clients know about an upcoming program of possible interest, so you may attend together.

  1. Professional membership associations
  2. General business organizations
  3. Interest groups (e.g., women-owned, ethnic)
  4. Community service organizations


Have you thought about expanding your networking activities by inviting a guest or accompanying someone to their group? If you need help getting started, Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770 and we’ll develop a plan. Plus, I’m always ready to go to a networking event. I would be happy to invite you along or attend with you.

If you’d like to strengthen your networking skills, invite me to lead a workshop for general audiences or tailor it to your group. I have co-taught a CLE webinar Ethically Improve Your Networking Skills for attorneys, as well.

You may also read tips in this e-book: Three Lessons to Improve Your Networking Success.

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How You Can Stand Out as a Conference Attendee

Tips to maximize your presence and activity at a large group meeting.

When you attend a conference held by an industry trade group or a professional membership association, you plan to learn the latest in your field, contribute to the discussion and be seen by your peers, among other activities.

Follow these tactics so you will stand out from the crowd. Connect with the panelists, plus be noticed by other attendees and the conference organizers.

  • Identify the speakers who are of most interest. Contact each panelist at least one week in advance of the conference with an email about your mutual interest as it relates to their presentation. Perhaps ask a question, so that you begin the conversation before you walk into the conference session. At the event, briefly introduce yourself before the discussion starts, simply to put a face to the name, then take your seat. It’s easiest at this time, when there will be fewer people clamoring for the panelist’s attention.
  • Wear a distinctive jacket or tie. Women should wear a colored blazer or suit and avoid black and navy at all costs. Men might wear a light gray or camel sport jacket; it gives a professional appearance and also stands out in the sea of dark suits. Alternatively, men might wear a tie of a less ubiquitous color, such as green or orange. When you contact panelists (and perhaps attendees) in advance of the event, mention you will be wearing this article of clothing, making it easier for them to locate you in the crowd.

I had notified several panelists, at a one-day meeting of 300 attendees, that I would wear a royal blue jacket. Four speakers scoured the ballroom during the lunch break and sought me out, so that we could have a conversation. One of them subsequently referred three clients.

  • Plan to ask a question. Take the microphone, stand up and introduce yourself with your name, and, if appropriate, your profession and the name of your company. Ask your question and remain standing while the speaker answers it. Now everyone in the room will know who you are. Plus, because you are wearing that distinctive jacket or tie, other attendees will be able to locate you and speak with you after the session to continue the discussion.
  • Volunteer to represent the breakout group. When attendees meet in small groups and then report back to the larger body, offer to summarize the discussion. As noted, take the mic, stand up and introduce yourself, before launching into your remarks. Most people in your group will shy away from this task, so confidently step up for your moment in the spotlight.

In the above photo, I summarize a breakout group’s discussion at New York CFA Society’s Alpha Women Event, May 22, 2019. Note the colored jacket.

  • Post a summary of the sessions on LinkedIn so others may learn vital insights and the latest trends. You’ve taken notes of the speakers’ remarks, correct? Compile these highlights and takeaways within 24 hours. Write them up on your company letterhead, save the document as a PDF and attach it to your post. Add a snapshot of one panel for visual interest.

After attending a two-day conference that featured top social media professionals, I wrote two posts on LinkedIn. Each discussion cited the speakers (e.g., @Speaker Name) and summarized that day’s highlights in an attached PDF. By mentioning the speakers’ names, the LinkedIn algorithm displayed the write-ups on their respective feeds; the posts were shown to many of their several thousand connections. Each of these two posts was viewed more than 16,000 times; people now associated my name with these experts and were prompted to view my LinkedIn profile.

  • Connect with the conference host. As the program ends, take a moment to congratulate the organizers on a fantastic event. Offer some feedback, both positive and negative, and exchange business cards. Perhaps you have an idea for a session for next year, whether or not you are a panelist.

See also: Speak at an Event AND Report

This Month’s Tip

Take selfie-photos with the attendees you meet and event hosts. Post the pictures individually on LinkedIn with the name (@New Contact) and refer to the idea you discussed. Email the photo (and perhaps the link to the post) to the person with a note about your great conversation, along with the article or contact you promised. Invite them to connect with you on LinkedIn. You’ve started an in-person conversation; keep up the momentum.


Check your calendar for the next conference and consider which of these activities are most appropriate for you. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s brainstorm so you will make a stand-out impression on the speakers, attendees and hosts at the upcoming event.

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Speak at an Event AND Report

When you give a talk, plan in advance how to promote it before and afterwards

Let’s say you  spoke at a conference and had your photo taken at the podium.

You can then post the snapshot on your LinkedIn profile, so others can see your accomplishment. 

Build on your success with highlights of your remarks in a few short phrases. You may even link to an excerpt of the slide deck or a recording of the full discussion. For an example, click here.

Perhaps someone, who does not already know you, will want to learn more about you and your presentation. On LinkedIn, they can see your profile and read your articles. They can then visit your website and review your newsletters and publications.

Maybe she will be so dazzled by your provocative insights and dynamic approach she will invite you to speak to her group.

Or better yet, perhaps he will contact you to meet and discuss a project or interview you for a position at his organization.

As an event attendee, when you hear a thoughtful presentation, note the key points in your LinkedIn post. Then, offer your agreement or difference of opinion. Consider how you might implement those ideas.

If you shook hands with the presenter or posed in a group shot, share that photo and mention the content discussed.

On the other hand, a photo that says I spoke here or I met Famous Name delivers the same value as I drank coffee at my favorite café. It’s a non-event to your contacts.

In recent weeks, I have asked individuals who posted such event photos on LinkedIn to please share takeaways of their remarks or report what was discussed, so others may learn.

Most of those folks did not even reply to my comment. What? LinkedIn is a social media platform. Why did you mention the event and post a photo, if not to generate discussion and invite engagement and connection?

Here are four substantive responses to my inquiry with evaluations in italics:

  • One fellow replied by sharing the recording of a practice session of his talk. This essentially duplicated the experience of attending the session. Terrific, especially because the event was in another country!
  • One contact cited highlights in, literally, two words; then she referred to her “most recent article on LinkedIn.” OK. Better to provide a link to that article and make it instantly available.
  • One woman replied that it was an internal meeting and content would not be shared. Apparently, the photo of eight panelists, plus caption naming two of the speakers, was designed to showcase the company’s diverse employees. How nice. Why should anyone outside that business care?
  • One speaker’s post asked “Missed my presentation on topic?” and linked to his slide deck. Fantastic. His discussion was excellent and now many can grasp his insights.

You may recall I discussed a similar approach regarding the use of the Like feature on LinkedIn when commenting on posts by contacts. Those observations hold true for one’s own promotional activity on LinkedIn.

Consider how a post about your speaking engagement (or attendance at a meeting) may become more inviting and informative to your contacts by citing the content discussed.

This Month’s Tip

When you prepare to give a talk, remember to promote it before and after the event. Assemble a list of three to five takeaways. Recruit someone to take a photo, if there is no official photographer. As an attendee, plan to take notes AND photos.

Post the highlights of the event and a photo, with a substantive caption, on your LinkedIn profile and in relevant groups, plus on your Twitter account.

See also: COPE: Create Once, Publish Everywhere and Work Up Your Workshop in a New Format


Ready to get more mileage from your speaking engagement? Two goals are to put you on the road for another talk and to meet with prospects who were impressed by your remarks.  Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770 to learn how to share the wealth on social media.

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Connect (and Re-Connect) with Members of Your Networking Groups

How? Subscribe, Share, Co-author, Ask and Introduce.

You probably are a member of several professional membership organizations and formal networking groups.

How do you interact with these colleagues on a one-on-one basis between meetings?

Start by connecting with each one on LinkedIn; also consider Facebook, X (Twitter), Instagram and other social media platforms, as appropriate.

Plus, remember the informal and virtual groups you’ve joined – the same approach applies.

Here are 11 ways to strengthen your ties to the members — individually and within the group:

  1. Subscribe to (read and comment on) their newsletters – and invite them to subscribe to yours;
  2. Notify them of potential clients seeking resources and services;
  3. Share opportunities to submit articles for publication and speak to reporters;
  4. Co-author an article in an industry publication;
  5. Ask them about best practices that you can reference in an article, newsletter or LinkedIn essay; acknowledge their suggestions with links to their websites.
  6. Comment meaningfully on their LinkedIn posts and articles;
  7. Introduce them to other contacts who have an aligned interest;
  8. Send an announcement of an event or webinar, article or podcast;
  9. Schedule a get-acquainted chat or a periodic check-in phone call to consider how you might help each other;
  10. Encourage them to host your workshop for their contacts to learn and network;
  11. Invite them to attend your speaking engagements.

This Month’s Tip

Make a list of your professional membership organizations, networking groups, LinkedIn groups and other communities. Peruse the membership directory and cross-check those names in your LinkedIn network. If you are not yet connected, compose a connection request to introduce yourself, citing your mutual association. (Note: I am currently engaged in this outreach with a 90-member virtual group; about one-half have accepted my invitation.)

When you are already connected on LinkedIn, and it has been a while since your last interaction, get a meaningful conversation started using these prompts.


See also: Your Gold Mine of 5,000 Contacts, Grasp the Hidden Power of Your Networking Group and Everyone Knows Someone Worth Knowing.


Ready to create a stronger professional bond and extend your relationship with your in-person and virtual networks? Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s develop a calendar to (re-)connect with your fellow networkers.

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Image credit: Christina Morillo

Your FREEBIE is Valuable to Your Prospects

A giveaway delivers contact information to potential clients.

Are you looking for a way to get prospective clients interested in learning more about your services?

Many websites offer a FREE giveaway to engage with potential clients. These FREEBIES might be an informative Top 10 Tips, a checklist or a quiz, available in exchange for an email address (perhaps also a mailing address and phone number). The prospect is emailed a link to a document that may be downloaded from the website. Or there may be a link to a podcast recording or video.

The more your giveaway aligns with the needs of your target market, the more likely prospects will sign up to receive the FREEBIE.

The giveaway features insights or guidance, as well as your email address, phone number and website URL for subsequent contact, on an appropriate sheet bearing your logo and branded design.

You can add the contact’s information to your database, then plan for subsequent follow-up with a phone call or an invitation to an event. Or you may subscribe them to your email newsletter, because email is the most effective way to engage customers.

The marketing term of art for this giveaway is a lead magnet. Digital marketing professionals calculate that placing a lead magnet on a website may convert into leads up to 25% of all visitors who would otherwise abandon a website.

The most frequently offered giveaways are:

  • Articles that explain how to do an activity
  • Best practices to DO
  • Best practices to NOT DO
  • Calendar
  • Top 10 Tips
  • Worksheet

Where on your website might you place the offer of the giveaway? On the home page and on any other relevant pages. Or a pop-up that appears thirty seconds or longer after a prospect lands on the website. (The delay gives the visitor time to confirm that this is indeed the website and the resource she was seeking.)

There are standard web forms to request a giveaway that can easily be incorporated into your website. When setting them up, be sure to include a thank you to the prospect for requesting the material. Also, you may indicate the best way to keep in touch if there are questions regarding the content.

When you receive notification that someone has requested the giveaway, schedule a time to follow-up by email or phone in order to learn about the situation, need or problem of the prospective client.

This Month’s Tip

Your giveaway can keep on giving. Once prospects receive the link to the giveaway, or download the freebie, it is easy for them to share it with their colleagues and other contacts. This results in a wider distribution. Even if you may not know where the giveaway has been sent, by using a link shorten-er, you can track the number of subsequent clicks.


What inspiring ideas or tested tips might you share to get prospective clients interested in learning more about your services? Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s create your giveaway and give it a go.

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Image credit: ahsan

Why You Should Co-Lead a Workshop with a Colleague

Collaboration yields up-to-the-minute content and conversation.

Speaking is one of the five best ways to attract new business. In a workshop setting, for example, you and your colleague demonstrate mastery of the subject matter and analyze successful projects. Your presentation also entices attendees to hire you, so they might achieve similar results for their organization.

Plus, it’s beneficial when your co-leader is a client, who will attest to the value and impact of your services.

Consider teaming up with a colleague in an allied field, or someone whose business aligns with that of the session’s participants.

Co-presenting offers several advantages to a solo session:

  1. Speakers of different professions attract a wider audience; attendees may connect better with the person who shares their background.
  2. Collaborating lightens the burden of developing and giving the entire presentation.
  3. You will gain access to timely knowledge and insights of another profession, while preparing the material.
  4. You will capitalize on the co-presenter’s existing relationship with the event host, or further ingratiate yourself if you are the connector.

Recently, I collaborated on two different workshops to groups of attorneys; my partners were networking contacts.

One session was a reprise of a webinar on media relations that patent attorney Patricia Werschulz and I had developed. After I proposed the topic to the webinar producer, I invited Werschulz, whom I had met at a networking event, to co-lead the presentation. In my segments, I explained the nuts and bolts of professionally introducing oneself to reporters and the how-tos of press releases. in her sections, Werschulz discussed ethics and the Rules of Professional Conduct that applied to interaction with the media. Her remarks qualified the presentation for Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits, a magnet for attorneys who must log CLE credits every two years. Following that webinar, Werschulz and I have given the presentation as an in-person workshop three more times.

The second workshop, which I had previously led four times for professionals at financial, public relations and start-up companies, focused on networking. When customizing this speaking engagement for attorneys, I recruited Kimberly Rice, editor of the monthly publication Marketing the Law Firm, to which I have contributed articles for five years. I presented a unique pre-event marketing strategy for attendees at networking events. Rice covered ethics and the Rules of Professional Conduct relevant to networking, again for CLE. In addition, she shared best practices in marketing of particular interest to attorneys from a small law firm or with a solo practice.

Here’s why Werschulz and Rice agreed to co-present:

Werschulz: “I wanted to learn more about the subject matter of ethics and media relations, so I had to research my part of the presentation. I also had the opportunity to learn from my co-presenter. Every time I present or teach, my network expands with new potential sources of referrals.”

Rice: “I enjoy presenting to different audiences of qualified, targeted prospects whose interests align with my expertise. I was curious about New York City lawyers and found they were a bit more engaged than audiences in other parts of the country. Working with the New York County Lawyers Association will perhaps open the door for future speaking opportunities.“

Collaborating on a speaking engagement is a win-win all the way around. You and your colleague gain mastery of new material as you promote your respective expertise and services. Both of you also access new markets of potential clients and referral sources, as well as an organization to host subsequent programs. Your audience receives proven tips, best practices and up-to-date insights on industry trends.

This Month’s Tip

Your partner for a speaking engagement may be a client, a referral source or a networking contact:

  • Propose a workshop collaboration to someone whose experience aligns with the attendees and offers a counterpoint to your own business.
  • The paired perspectives will provide a more comprehensive view and may include technical aspects of a different field that are less familiar to you, yet vital to the audience.
  • The interplay between two speakers –- when one asks the other a question, for example –- enlivens the session and keeps the participants engaged.


Ready to create your own workshop with a colleague? Let’s brainstorm some hot topics and consider who might best share the podium with you. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s discuss who you might tap to join your presentation team.

See also Do You Lead Workshops for Free?, Back to School — As a Teacher and Create Your Own Traveling Classroom.

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It’s Showtime!

Seven lessons for guests on a podcast interview.

Recently, I was interviewed by podcaster Bruce Eckfeldt of Scaling Up Services. The 30-minute podcast discussion focused on Essential Tools for Public Relations Success. Listen to this session or read the summary for tips on media relations, websites and newsletters.

Surprisingly, an online search of podcast interview tips reveals far fewer pointers for guests as compared to the numerous suggestions for hosts. Therefore, consider these lessons when you are invited for a podcast interview:

  1. Assemble a list of topics you and the interviewer have agreed to discuss. Print this list in 16-point font for ease of reading each topic. Only you will see the list; it will not be on camera.
  2. Think of how to illustrate these ideas with examples or anecdotes, so the concepts will become clearer to the listener.
  3. Spice up your language to make your remarks memorable. Use acronyms, alliteration, visual imagery, puns and references to pop culture to keep the tone lively.
  4. When you offer a series of points, circle back to summarize them, thereby reinforcing the sequence.
  5. Think of the questions in the interview as a string of pearls. Prepare the answer to every question in the list of topics as if it were an extended elevator pitch, each one a beautiful, rounded reply.
  6. Finally, watch out for filler speech. As you present your insights, you may say fillers like um, uh or you know. The recommended remedy is to take a pause in your speech and not say anything. This pause permits you to catch up with the thoughts racing through your mind and formulate how to convey them to the audience.

This Month’s Tip

Conduct a mock session with a colleague before you appear on the podcast. Record it on a smartphone or tablet, so you can review it, critique it and improve your performance.

See also COPE: How Writing Can Re-Broadcast Your Audio, How YOU Can Be a Podcast Guest and Use Reverse Engineering to Book More Podcast Spots.


Ready for your podcast interview? Let’s develop some topics and questions, enhance them with examples and toss in some lively language. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770 and let’s get your show on the road.

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Photo credit: Michael Meyer

Check the Calendar Before Scheduling an Event

Maximize participation by paying attention to holidays.

You may recall I’ve advised that a story idea pitched to a reporter may become more timely by pegging it to a date on the calendar at least one month ahead. Some examples are:

  • secular celebrations (Memorial Day, Boston Marathon);
  • cyclical events (elections, Oscars);
  • anniversaries (9/11, Hurricane Maria);
  • and National Whatever Month.

Perhaps you noticed this list does not mention religious holidays; that was deliberate. Religious holidays may be fixed (December 25) or float according to lunar calculations, so it’s vital to check the calendar to avoid scheduling a gathering on such a day.

Accordingly, when planning an event, consider the opposite of the linking scenario; keep an eye on dates that might be detrimental to attendance.

In recent weeks, I was invited to three programs — a networking breakfast and two webinars – all on Wednesday, September 19. FYI, Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for Jews, was celebrated on that date in 2018.

As soon as I realized I was unable to participate in these gatherings, I contacted the organizer of each event and explained the overlap. I asked about re-scheduling the networking breakfast (which was five weeks later and had not yet been announced) and about receiving a recording of the webinars. The email also included a link to a Jewish calendar, so that the host might check it when planning another event.

Here are the replies:

From the host of the networking breakfast: “Thanks for the heads up — I will do my best to reschedule.”

From the Director of Sales & Events at the first webinar host: “Apologies for the oversight and thank you for pointing this out! We will certainly make note for future events. We are a diverse and inclusive company with absolutely no intention of shutting anyone out. The webinar will be recorded and the slides will be available to download later.”

From the Director of Marketing at the second webinar host: “[Company] tries their best to work around schedules including those of the presenters and staff, but we will be sure to keep all religious calendars in mind for future scheduling.”

These polite responses are appreciated and surely the scheduling conflict was inadvertent. Yet, it would have been so simple to check the calendar in advance to make sure the proposed date did not coincide with a religious holiday or other observance.

If there is an overlap with such a date, and the significance of a religious holiday is unfamiliar, the host should consult the appropriate clergy or someone knowledgeable to learn whether or not the holiday observance will interfere with a business event.

For example, many Christians worship in church on Ash Wednesday; this holy day is celebrated in February or March, according to the lunar calendar. After a holiday mass, these observers go to work as usual. Apparently, there is no conflict with holding a mid-morning, lunch, afternoon or evening program on that day.

In addition, it may be wise to note when corporate announcements by competitors are expected. No technology industry activities are held on a day when Apple plans to introduce a product, because all eyes are on that announcement event.

As a service to her clients, at the beginning of each year, Dottie Jeffries, a Public Relations colleague who is not Jewish, emails them a list of the dates of the principal Jewish holidays (Passover, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur), as well as a few other days of religious observance. This helps her clients mark their calendars in advance and they are most appreciative of her reminder.

This Month’s Tip

Make it easy to find an available date on the calendar by blocking out federal and state holidays, plus days of religious observance. Here are links to religious calendars; adherents of these five religions account for 66% of the US population:


At what stage in planning an event should you check the calendar? As soon as possible, to ensure the maximum attendance. If you need help with scheduling, call me at 212.677.5770, set an appointment here or email me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com. Let’s not allow a conflict with a holiday rain on the parade of your successful event.

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This discussion has been lightly edited for evergreen content.

What’s in Your LinkedIn Profile’s Background?

Make that space work for you.

Because LinkedIn is the world’s biggest database, it is imperative that your profile be clear, concise and compelling.

One visual element of your LinkedIn profile is the background behind your photo. Based on research on how best to manage this valuable piece of real estate, most people under-utilize this promotional area and fail to highlight their skills and personal brand.

Surprisingly, career coaches considered by peers as leaders in the field of LinkedIn guidance, and even graphic designers, are deficient in deploying their LinkedIn background to their advantage.

Which of these best describes your LinkedIn profile background?

    • Gray LinkedIn default background: You’re a LinkedIn coach and you have not changed the background! Pshaw.
    • City landscape: Wow. You work in NAME OF CITY! I visited there. How does that location make you excel at resolving my financial issues?
    • Podium photo or jam-packed photo montage of person speaking at events: You speak to groups? So do I. Does that mean you have insight into my company’s operational issues?
    • Stock photo of people in a room: I have employees, too. Who are these folks and how do your best practices in personnel management relate to my problems with staff burnout?
    • Company logo: I have a company logo. And, what comes next?

You get the idea. Keep away from these stereotypical formats.

Your LinkedIn background should captivatingly indicate the services you offer, how they align with the reader’s situation, and how she can get in touch with you to learn more.

LinkedIn instructs you how to change the background, so be creative. Use the space to your benefit.

Look at two profiles that are distinctive: Beth Granger of New York and Marc Miller of Texas. Click to see how each neatly summarizes their services — and even displays their email address and phone number, making it irresistibly easy to reach out to them on the spot.

Now, let’s look at YOUR LinkedIn background.

If it is the default gray, you now know you can do better. (Don’t feel badly. Plenty of graphic designers have yet to change from the blue background.)

A sidebar — if your employer has mandated that you use the company logo as a brand ambassador, that’s part of being a team member, so follow the rules.

To those who have a city landscape, speaker podium photo or stock photo as the background, consider the proactive approach outlined here.

  1. Reinforce the search terms and keywords that may have led a potential prospect or referral source to look for you on LinkedIn.
  2. Display that text artfully and incorporate your contact information into the layout.
  3. Finally, check to make sure the background reads well on a tablet, where your photo is displayed in the middle and not in the lower left corner.

Then, when a new visitor arrives at your profile, you confirm that you are who you say. By prominently posting your website URL, email and phone, you are immediately accessible. A call to action is implied.

(Drum roll) Here’s my LinkedIn profile with the new background. Please let me know what you think and whether my design aligns with the above recommendations.

This Month’s Tip

Get the LinkedIn background format for the DIY-er. Open a free account on Canva; here is a LinkedIn background template, plus there are formats for other social media platforms. Experiment with different text, fonts, colors and images. When you are ready, save the file; then have a design professional review and polish your work for viewing on a computer and on a tablet.


Ready to graduate from default LinkedIn? Call me at 212.677.5770, set an appointment here or email me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com. Let’s brainstorm the words and ideas for text, plus elements, that will make your profile’s customized background stand out from the crowd.

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See also Close-up of Your Digital Portrait and Three Steps for More Success on LinkedIn

Note: This newsletter was published in September 2018. LinkedIn changed its default background in 2020; the image and text have been updated accordingly.

Up with Referrals! Down with Word-of-Mouth.

Be deliberate, not random, with contacts in your network.

You keep in touch with industry colleagues, current or former clients and business contacts, among others.

You’ve worked to establish and maintain relationships with all of them. They subscribe to your newsletter; they serve on a committee with you; you see them periodically at events. You even comment on their posts on LinkedIn and Twitter.

All to stay top of mind for that next referral.

For example, at Claudine’s suggestion, you met with Bernadette a few months ago. Bernie is on the board of a family-owned company. She mentioned your services to the other directors and the company has hired you.

Congratulations! Give yourself the credit you deserve. That is a referral from your network. That is not word-of-mouth.

Labeling that new business word-of-mouth degrades it, in my view. This new client did not materialize out of thin air on your doorstep in some random fashion. This project is not a gift from the universe.

You made a connection and you earned the project.

Trace the steps that led to this new assignment. Next, reinforce the process with an appropriate acknowledgment to the intermediate contact(s) who facilitated it. For example, I invite the referral source to lunch, so we may become better acquainted away from our phones. As for the referrer who lives in another city, a gift card to a well-known retailer is always welcome.

Now, during the slow summer season, take a closer look at your network and re-invigorate your connections, especially those who are potential referral sources.

First, combine all your contacts in one place. (See Your Gold Mine of 5,000 Contacts)

Then, classify them by priority, in terms of the strength of your relationship.

Set a calendar to daily call FIVE people by phone.

In that conversation of five or ten minutes, learn what is new in their world. Listen, without self-promotion or sales talk. After  you set a date to meet or resume your chat, you can check that name as complete and move on to the next person.

What do you say to these dormant contacts? Write a script: use these prompts to get started, then ask for a conversation of five or ten minutes to catch up.

  • Your name came to mind in a review of contacts.
  • Your business card re-surfaced.
  • The news about _____ reminded me of you.
  • Someone asked me about a _______ professional, so I thought of you.
  • An article about _______ made me think of you.
  • According to LinkedIn, you are now (at new company) (in new role). Congratulations!

Keep yourself visible and you will be the preferred source for that network contact and the many people in their network.

Consider: there is a new project that you could manage and someone is going to get it. Business does not go away; it goes to someone else who was top-of-mind. Be proactive and referrals, not word-of-mouth, will lead to your success.

This Month’s Tip

Best practice in leaving a phone number. When the contact is not available, leave a voice message according to a variation on your script. Be sure to mention that you are in the office today and tomorrow and you would love to hear from them. Write your phone number as wordstwo one two, six seven seven, five seven seven zero – and then slowly read it. This method will keep you from reciting the number faster than someone can write it down.


Ready to review your list of prime network contacts? Call me at 212.677.5770, set an appointment here or email Janet@JanetLFalk.com. Let’s polish your script, practice some calls and rev up your referrals.

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Word-of-mouth image courtesy of On-Hold Marketing.
Thanks to David A. Fields, whose latest book, The Irresistible Consultant’s Guide to Winning Clients, provided food for thought.

WII-FM? Why Should a Dentist, Landlord or Supermarket Clerk Care About Your Nonprofit or Business?

Look beyond your target market.

Every nonprofit counts on clients, volunteers, funders and local elected officials among the groups with whom they stay in touch.

In addition to these audiences, businesses might add prospects, referral sources and membership/trade associations.

Each target market has a reason to be interested in the company or nonprofit organization.

Let’s not take any of these audiences for granted. Daily, you can find reasons why they should care about what your nonprofit or business might do for them.

Now, what about the people outside those circles, those who know nothing about what you offer?

Take the dentist, who is well-educated and also a business owner.
Or the typical landlord, who is budget-minded.
Or a supermarket clerk, working the cash register all day.

Perhaps none of them have heard of your group or business and they are not likely to immediately connect with your news or promotional information.

Why should this person care about you?

In fact, that’s the same question a reporter will ask whenever you suggest an idea for a news article or an interview.

On the world’s greatest radio station WII-FM, also known as What’s In It For Me?, the focus is on what the individual or society might gain.

It’s crucial that you find a way for these indifferent folks to connect to your group or company, so they, personally — or the community as a whole — will perceive a benefit and save time, save money or make more money as a result.

  • A dentist might consider that your local economic development group will attract larger businesses (with a greater number of employees needing dental care) to the neighborhood;
  • A landlord might think the youth who attend your organization’s GED programs may get better jobs and thus be more reliable tenants;
  • A supermarket clerk’s neighbor might need advice on managing legal and medical issues for an elderly parent.

The dentist, landlord or clerk may not have a direct need for what you offer, yet they and the community may indirectly benefit in the long term from your services — or even refer someone who is in your target market.

This Month’s Tip

Look at the bigger picture from the perspective of people in these three occupations. What is their desire or need in the community? For themselves? For their business? Which are the most pressing issues for them regarding time and money? Invite a dentist, landlord or clerk for a coffee chat, ask these questions and listen as you put yourself in her shoes.


Ready to brainstorm about how a dentist, landlord or clerk might view your company or nonprofit? Call me at 212.677.5770, set an appointment here or email me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com. Let’s find ways to contact these members of the public and have them connect with you.

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Image courtesy of David M. Masters.

Use the Calendar to Set (and Re-Set) Communication Goals

Check your progress at mid-year.

Have you set Communication goals for your business this year? Goals that might include developing a newsletter, blogging, speaking, doing media outreach?

Yes, these are daunting activities; many business executives focus more on the day-to-day operations of getting things done than on the bigger Communication picture.

Here are some ideas to address:

  1. Have you launched or continued a newsletter?
  2. Is your blog current? Are you blogging regularly?
  3. Have you written an article for the blog of another company, LinkedIn or Medium.com?
  4. Have you published an article in an industry publication that prospective clients read?
  5. Have you spoken at an industry conference or a networking group?
  6. Have you connected with reporters who cover the market sectors for which your insights are most relevant?
  7. Have you circulated that news story in which you were quoted?

If you did set goals, the end of the second quarter is a good time to reassess. Consider where you stand with the goals you outlined. Is it appropriate to KEEP them, DROP them, MODIFY or SET NEW GOALS?

If you didn’t set goals, you still have time to do so now.

Pause to look at the big picture.

This Month’s Tip

Make an appointment with yourself to address one of these Communication goal questions each day for the next week. As a reminder, when setting a Communication goal, the acronym S M A R T guides you to successful completion of the goal. This list integrates several versions of S M A R T:
Specific – Rather than contact the media, commit to email two reporters each week to introduce myself as a source for comment.
Meaningful – Understand why this goal is important to you.
Action Oriented – Develop steps to help you arrive at this goal.
Realistic – Assemble your resources – knowledge, funding, technology – to ensure you will reach this goal.
Timely – Set a date when you will complete this goal.


Don’t go it alone. To help you (and myself) get a better handle on setting goals, I’m creating an accountability group where each person is accountable to the group on a monthly basis and to a partner on a weekly basis. Frequent check-ins and peer pressure spur members to work towards their individual goals and to support their peers. If this approach appeals to you, contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, book an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s count on each other as we work to meet our respective Communication goals.

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As You Like It, Please Say Why

When you comment on posts on LinkedIn and Twitter, indicate how others may benefit from the discussion.

Your LinkedIn feed is composed of an assortment of updates that your many connections have posted, liked, shared or commented upon. Your Twitter feed is filled with tweets from your followers and the people you follow. For now, let’s focus on LinkedIn.

The LinkedIn algorithm distributes updates selectively to individuals in that connection’s network. Based on the amount of engagement the post initially receives, LinkedIn assesses your interests and other factors before sending it to your feed.

Accordingly, when you agree with and like another’s LinkedIn post, how can you make the most of this opportunity — that is, make it work for you?

Take the time to respond to the person and the discussion, as you like it. That means, as soon as you click the like thumbs up icon , COMMENT to indicate:

  • what you agree or disagree with
  • how this confirms or disproves the trend
  • what the discussion overlooks
  • how this relates to another topic or lesson learned
  • why this is or is not a best practice
  • or any other interesting aspect.

Perhaps you see your connection Morgan’s name appears above a post by someone you do not know; she wrote So true. Will that comment make you read the original author’s update or click on the link to an article? I doubt it. With all the other items in the feed and on your desk vying for your attention, a nominal comment is not sufficiently compelling.

I once took issue and commented upon a post by a LinkedIn coach, John Nemo. Another reader agreed with me in her reply and later contacted me to continue the conversation. We became acquainted by phone and she referred a client to me.

How would that referral have happened had I merely commented with a bland Thank you?

Check your LinkedIn feed now and see whether or not the commenters have written an insight that adds to the conversation.

For example, LinkedIn author Viveka von Rosen recently posted about the new guidelines for a profile’s background image. Her post had 130+ Likes and 25 Comments (as of this writing). If you are a connection of hers (or of her commenters), you may see the post. Here are the replies (anonymously) and the respective number of each category of comment:

  • Thank you, Great or variation, plus reply by author: 17
  • Name of another connection, look at this: 3
  • Question: 1 and reply by commenter: 1
  • Observation of overlooked point: 1 and reply by commenter: 1
  • Link to related discussion by author: 1

Notice that the first 20 of the 25 comments (80%) are meaningless to the broader LinkedIn universe.

How does Great, or posting the name of another contact, add to a fruitful conversation? Does Thank you create the basis for professional social media activity?

Not at all. That’s why I repeat:

As you like it, please say WHY, so others may be persuaded that they will benefit from reading the article or post. That is the approach of the two commenters above who asked a question or pointed out another aspect, to which other readers and the author responded.

Looking back, my LinkedIn activity used to be contrary to this practice. If I had an observation or disagreement with a post, and I was already connected to the author, I would let her know privately by email.

From now on, I will share at least one observation/ comment/ question on LinkedIn every time I check my account. I urge you to do the same and, of course, never write an impact-less “Thank you.”

In the past, if I wanted to share something with a certain connection, I did so via email, not by naming them in a comment.

Surprise. I will continue this email practice. Many people do not check their LinkedIn accounts daily and so may overlook an interesting article. Even when LinkedIn sends an email, your connections may be more likely to read a discussion via an email from someone they know. It is also possible to copy the link to the post, go to the intended recipient’s profile and send them the link via a message. You can decide which tactic works best for you.

This Month’s Tip

Make an appointment with yourself to check your LinkedIn account and take the temperature of the discussions underway. Whether you check your own feed for update posts and articles by your connections or review discussions in groups, set aside time at least once a week.

Look for best practices, news and interesting content in your profession or industry on other social media platforms. When you find something notable, post it as a LinkedIn update or on Twitter, and comment in a meaningful way that embellishes the discussion, re-directs it or underscores its impact, as noted above.


Don’t be lukewarm on LinkedIn; do not mechanically re-tweet on Twitter. SAY WHY this caught your eye. Let’s take a test drive through some of the articles and posts in your LinkedIn and Twitter feeds. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, book an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s discuss how to sharpen and share your comments on LinkedIn and Twitter; you’ll add to the discussion and raise your profile as a thoughtful and insightful observer.

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Thanks to colleague Bruce Segall, whose LinkedIn post inspired this discussion and also for his suggestions.

How Can You Attract More Visitors to a Destination?

Stage photos strategically.

A brochure promoting a self-guided tour of Roosevelt Island, my New York City neighborhood, touts its expansive vistas. Yet the accompanying photo is a promenade without a single person taking in the fabulous view of the skyline.

Who wants to go to a place where there are no people?

Consider the examples in the left column, similar to those used in the brochure. Not one of the photos features people enjoying themselves in the setting, while those in the right column do. Which shot makes you wish to visit?

This Month’s Tip

Photos of a destination appear barren and forlorn without visitors. Putting people in photos will attract and retain the reader’s attention. It will lead her to imagine herself on the scene and ideally prompt a visit to your destination.

When possible, take your own photos and have participants sign a release. This free standardized form is valid in the specified state. Visitors may be willing to pose for you, but it may be easiest to recruit employees and family members to participate in the photograph. When children are to be featured, follow the requirements of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule.

When stock photos are used, note that the business that owns the image may place limitations on the format or medium where an image is incorporated (brochure, website, advertising), period of time (one year or unlimited) and geography (domestic or international). Here is a basic primer. A sales rep at a stock photo agency or a graphic designer will guide you.


Have visitors and customers fled the scene in your photos? Make sure the images on your website and in your printed materials are appropriately populated. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, book an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s put a smile on your reader’s face when she sees a person in your photos.

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(This discussion has been lightly edited for updated content.)
Photo credits:
L: Roosevelt Island Promenade (Credit: NYCGo.com); R: East River Promenade (Credit: NYC Parks)
L and R: Eleanor’s Pier (Credit: Roosevelt Islander Online)
L: Four Freedoms Park (Credit: TripAdvisor.se); R: Four Freedoms Park (Credit: Rob Cleary)

Your Annual Report is Not Dead.

It is re-formatted.

A Public Relations professional declared the annual report dead, to the shock of attendees at the workshop Pathways to Excellence: Excellence in Communications held by the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee (NPCC) on February 23, 2018.

A second panelist concurred that it was not helpful for a nonprofit organization to narrate events and programs that had occurred between 12 and 18 months prior to the publication date.

I respectfully disagree. For those supporters who have come into the fold, say, in the past three months, the range of activities and successes previously conducted by the nonprofit probably are beyond their horizon. In fact, new supporters may be even more impressed to be brought up to date on the full range of achievements of the prior year.

If the annual report is dead, and is not to be produced, it’s time for the nonprofit to devise — and revise — other communication vehicles to ensure that newer supporters are fully informed about the breadth and depth of programs and services.

How might these communications be best achieved?

  • Create a Get to Know XYZ as an informative one-sheet or brochure.
  • Post the current and prior issues of the newsletter on the website (see below).
  • Provide periodic updates to programs and success stories featured on the website. For example, in the discussion of a training course, note that a graduate, who was hired after completing an internship at a tech company, was recently promoted.
  • Gather posts shared on Facebook and X (Twitter) as a timeline.
  • Keep your recent conference current. Revise notices of upcoming events upon completion by adding summaries of research, panels, results and impacts.
  • Amplify news articles about the organization with photos, videos and updates of the latest activity.
  • Take photos of services and programs in action, either live or staged; assemble the images in a video and add a voiceover.
  • Aggregate the essential financial data as pie charts: income, grants and donations in the first and program, overhead and salaries in another.
  • Finally, all these materials should be housed on the website and periodically shared on social media.

Your organization has a wealth of content that is both time-sensitive and evergreen. Transform any potentially date-driven material so it is current and timeless. Added together, you conduct a periodic review of the highlights and achievements of the year, quarter or month without calling it a traditional annual report.

This Month’s Tip

Share your newsletter. Nearly all of the attendees at a workshop on newsletters I taught at NPCC published a newsletter. Yet 90% of them did not post it on their website. Are you hiding your newsletter from people who want to learn about your organization? Making all your newsletters available is a no-cost way to promote your group’s programs, services and successes throughout the year, regardless of publication date. Each one should have a link for readers to easily view previous issues. Also, categorize or tag them to facilitate search for a specific topic.


Ready to re-format your annual report? Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, book an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770 to look beyond the calendar or fiscal year. Instead, let’s aggregate the steady flow of communications that broadcast your activities and achievements all year long.

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Is Your Company’s Launch a Secret?

Raise the flag wherever you can.

Three partners in a small business discussed the launch of their new enterprise. One wanted to hire a web designer to craft a new website. One of the others disagreed, asking why a website was necessary. The third partner was on the fence and preferred to focus on client work.

Is there a good reason to you keep your company’s launch a secret? This is the question I encouraged the pro-website partner to ask her colleagues. Rather than be viewed as a spendthrift for taking on marketing expense, turn the tables and ask the partners to justify their reluctance to invest in promotion of their company.

Here are the basics I recommend when launching a business:

  1. Company website: This is the first place any prospective client or referral source looks to confirm your existence and find out more about your services, products and programs. If you do not have a website, you effectively are invisible. Very few people who do not already know you will take you seriously if you do not have an attractive and persuasive web presence.
  2. LinkedIn profile: Perhaps this is the second place that people will search for more details about your background. LinkedIn is the world’s largest directory of professionals with 530 million members (as of January 2018). Consider your profile a marketing vehicle and make a compelling case for selecting you as a resource.
  3. LinkedIn Company page: Many small businesses and service providers are unfamiliar with this opportunity for yet another FREE online presence. Use this page to share your reports and company news.
  4. Press Release to industry publications, as well as alumni magazines: These newsletters often have a dedicated column for new market participants.
  5. Announcement to industry media of your target customers: If you operate an accounting firm that advises veterinarians, for example, introduce your business and its principals. An Executive Media Profile presents a professional as a source for comment on trends and issues in that market to the reporters and editors of the veterinarian industry publications that prospective clients read.
  6. Email signature: Compose a standard email signature for all members of the company. It should include office and cellphone numbers, website URL, tag line and, as appropriate, notice of a recent news article about your business or an upcoming event. Use this FREE real estate to promote your successes and new offerings. Link to your personal LinkedIn profile and/or Company LinkedIn page.
  7. Facebook company page: Post updates, articles, newsletters and news items here. Create a Twitter account as well.
  8. Newsletter: Compose a quarterly communiqué to advise your current clients, referral sources, peers and contacts of new offerings, best practices, trends and related insights. Add this link to your email signature. As you become more adept with the format, consider making it a monthly commentary.

This Month’s Tip

Everyone should review these tools and accounts in an Annual Communications Audit. Approach various social media platforms from the perspective of someone who is not familiar with your company and services. Where might they look for information (website, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter)? What would they find there? Is the content current (timeless or within the last week)? Take a few minutes to check the latest entries on your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter accounts, and others that your audiences visit. If several months have passed, your profile and activity may appear outdated to a newcomer, so post a new item and schedule a reminder to post at least once a week.


Don’t let your new (or current) business be the best kept secret! Use ALL the available resources to introduce your company and keep its name, executives and services top of mind. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, book an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770 to make sure you are seen in the appropriate places as open and ready for business.

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Improve Your Networking: Problem and Solution Questions (3 of 3)

Ask questions that allow respondents to brag.

You have shifted your networking attitude to focus on YOU, the other person, and become a curator of resources.

You’ve executed a pre-event marketing plan to build a welcoming committee among the officers of the host organization. At the networking event, you’ve asked them to tell you more about the organization and themselves.

Now it’s time to become acquainted with other event attendees, by posing get-to-know-you Problem and Solution Questions:

How do you help people (or companies): save time, save money, make more money or get more joy from life?

  • Most businesses offer products and services that save time or money. Or perhaps they build wealth for individuals and companies. Consider that a spa owner or a restaurateur brings joy, enhancing one’s leisure time. Asking this question helps you learn more about the new contact.

What was the highlight of the past year (quarter) for you in helping a client?

  • This gives the speaker an opportunity to brag. Make it clear you want to know what the person (not the team) did for a client, something that would not have occurred without her role.

That sounds hard. How do you do that?

  • Ask this question about any aspect to prompt the contact to provide more specifics and explain the process.

Who are you looking to meet (here)?

  • As a curator of resources, you will likely have a suggestion for an introduction to a potential vendor or client, or even someone else in the room.

How might I be a resource to you?

  • This opens the door for you to follow up with the contact, by sharing a newsletter you wrote, an article you read or an invitation to a meeting.

This Month’s Tip

Posing Problem and Solution Questions will highlight the types of issues that the respondent likes to tackle, the approaches she offers and the clients she targets. Based on the answers, you may determine how this person meshes with your contacts and resources. If you simply want to chat, ask “Are you originally from Name of City?” That straight-forward inquiry may lead to all sorts of talk about what brought the person to this city — or perhaps why they stayed local — and you can find common ground from there.


This may be your first time at an event held by an organization, or perhaps you might be a frequent attendee. Either way, asking problem and solution questions will yield pathways for further exploration and strengthen your connection to the acquaintance you meet. Contact me at 212.677.5770, set an appointment here or email me janet@janetlfalk.com. Let’s consider some groups where you can meet new contacts and build your resources.

This is the third in a series of three newsletters about Networking. The first discussed an attitude of focusing on YOU, the person to whom you might be a resource and who, in turn, might be a resource for your contacts. The second outlined a pre-event marketing strategy to contact the leaders of an industry or membership organization in advance of a networking event. Use these tips in combination to strengthen your networking skills.

Click here to request the e-book Three Lessons to Improve Your Networking Success.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue.

Thanks to Tiffany Ashitey and Tasha Morris of The Benchmark Creative Group. Their invitation to speak at Brooklyn Marketing Week was the impetus to crystallize my approach to networking.

Improve Your Networking: Pre-event Marketing (2 of 3)

Introduce yourself and ask others to introduce you.

Now that you have shifted your networking attitude (It’s not about ME. It IS about YOU.), let’s put this approach into practice. Consider an upcoming networking event held by an industry or professional association where you plan to meet potential referral sources.

Here is a pre-event marketing strategy that will help you will maximize your attendance at the event, keeping the focus on YOU, meaning the movers and shakers of the organization.

After you register for the event, visit the website of the membership organization. Assemble a list of the officers, committee chairs and board members, including their email addresses. If an email is not readily available, you can send a connection request via their LinkedIn profile.

One week before the event, write an introductory email or LinkedIn message to each leader with the subject line: Will you attend the Networking Cocktail on January 12? Describe your background and note your work with a related business, as shown in this example:

Your name came to my attention as an officer of the Local Accountants Organization.

I am a Public Relations professional who specializes in advising accountants.

Recently, I advised Excellent Accountants on various projects in media relations and client newsletters. I wish to learn more about the Local Accountants Organization and how, if I become a member, I might get involved in your activities.

Perhaps we can chat at the Networking Event; I’m excited to meet you and your colleagues.

Your Name
Company website

The leaders of the organization will be thrilled to hear from you. More than half of them will respond with a big welcome. Why? Every business group wants to bring in new members, especially people who offer valuable, specialized experience that would benefit the members and the organization itself. Your email inspires confidence that you are a professional worth welcoming into the fold.

Reply warmly to the notes you receive. Indicate that you will wear a distinctive article of clothing, making it be easy for you both to find each other in a crowded room. Perhaps a woman wears an orange jacket and a man has a green tie. Your new contact is now equipped to seek you out at the event.

One hour before the event, review the names and LinkedIn profiles of the people you contacted and take notes on mutual areas of interest. This annotated list is your game plan.

When you arrive, ask the person at the registration desk where to find one or two of the people on your list. Remember to focus on YOU, not yourself, in conversation. Start by asking about the membership organization itself. Find out why they joined. Learn how they contribute to the group’s success. Only discuss yourself and your professional focus in passing. After you chat and collect their business cards, ask to meet one of the other leaders on your list.

Your new contact will gladly introduce you; this enhances their own stature in the other officer’s eyes. Imagine the group’s president thinking, “That Mary, she’s doing great, bringing in new members!” Review the names on your list and work the room to meet and be introduced to as many of the officers, board members and committee chairs as possible.

Afterwards, send a follow-up email and perhaps customize a LinkedIn connection request. Note how good it was to meet in person after your email correspondence. Say how much you enjoyed learning about the organization. If you decide to become a member, tell the contact they persuaded you to join. Of course, you are excited to see them at future events.

You should also write to anyone you did not meet, because they were chatting with others or did not attend. Let them know you joined the association. Suggest a one-on-one coffee chat, to learn how you might get involved in the group.

Your attitude and focus on YOU — the contacts and the association itself — will demonstrate that you align with the group. You share interests in the benefits of membership and future activities. This pre-event marketing practice will enhance your networking success and help you build a larger base of potential referral sources and, perhaps, even net some clients.

This Month’s Tip

At industry and professional membership associations, the key contacts are:

  • Program Chair: he is always eager for new workshops to keep members advised of trends and best practices, so propose a timely topic;
  • Communications Chair: she needs to fill the newsletter with engaging articles, so offer to write an insightful contribution;
  • Membership Chair: she knows everyone, so ask which members might find you a valuable resource;
  • Chair of any Committee, such as Finance, Marketing or Legal, that aligns with your profession;
  • Of course, President, Past President, President-elect: they have an agenda and you can help them achieve it.


The officers of membership associations are eager to meet prospective members, who offer new ideas for programs and initiatives, plus specialized backgrounds of a related profession. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, book an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s build your referral network by identifying some groups where you can get involved.

This is the second in a series of three newsletters about Networking. The first discussed an attitude of focusing on YOU, the person to whom you might be a resource and who, in turn, might be a resource for your contacts. The third will discuss get-to-know-you problem and solution questions that engage networking contacts.

Click here to request the e-book Three Lessons to Improve Your Networking Success.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue.

Thanks to Tiffany Ashitey and Tasha Morris of The Benchmark Creative Group. Their invitation to speak at Brooklyn Marketing Week was the impetus to crystallize my approach to networking.

Create Your Own Traveling Classroom

Lead a workshop at the office of your contacts.

Speaking engagements are a proven marketing strategy to get new clients. You may be invited to lead a session at a professional membership organization. You may also create your own event by recruiting a contact to host a meeting at their office and have that person invite their colleagues.

As an example, I advise attorneys with a solo practice or at a small law firm. Occasionally, they have a noteworthy case that merits news coverage, and they may use that strategy to put pressure on defense counsel. This is generally a short-term project; they do not need my services often enough to hire me on a retainer basis.

Solo attorneys are usually members of networking groups; perhaps Sandra handles Elder Law, Khadija focuses on Trusts and Estates and William has a Real Estate practice. They meet monthly and make it a point to refer business to each other.

Recently, I reached out to more than 50 attorneys with solo or small practices. I suggested that by having me lead a workshop How YOU Can Be the Attorney Reporters Call, they would accomplish three goals:

  • learn the skills to introduce themselves to reporters and raise their profile in the media to attract more clients;
  • enhance their leadership status among their peers by providing them with access to a resource like myself;
  • have fun, as I offered to bring a cold six-pack of beer to the meeting.

Subsequently, I led a workshop on media relations for eight attorneys at which a lively discussion ensued. After the presentation, their feedback indicated how much they had learned from the session and that they would keep me in mind for future newsworthy cases.

This workshop or traveling classroom approach has helped me expand my network, which will continue to grow as these new contacts share my offer to lead future workshops with other colleagues.

This Month’s Tip

Look beyond the membership of a professional organization and the four walls of a classroom to teach a workshop. Develop an interactive session and offer it to your connections for their professional development and that of their peers. At this contact’s office, you’ll collect their colleagues’ cards and their appreciation.


Is it time for you to step to the front of the room? What topic would you prepare for a workshop attended by potential clients who might be willing to introduce you to their networking peers? Contact me at 212.677.5770, set an appointment here or email me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com. Let’s consider possible subjects and attendees.

See Back to School – As a Teacher and Do You Lead Workshops for FREE?

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Thanks to Chad Young for hosting the workshop.

Grasp the Hidden Power in Your Networking Group

Diverse perspectives of members yield strategies.

Networking. What could be new?

Your networking group is a source of direct referrals, of course, and some of its members may even become clients.

Through these contacts, you might land an introduction to a person connected to a company in your sights, following the maxim Everyone knows someone worth knowing (see Networking Towards the King)

Or you may do a good deed by connecting two contacts who might be helpful to each other as resources or referral sources. (see Turn Your Networking Inside Out)

Now, here’s the hidden power of organic or private networks often overlooked: that of the informal business coach.

Your network colleagues have heard your success stories over recent months or years. They see your dedication to your clients.

When you are stymied by a What should I do next scenario, consult the folks in your networking circle.

A dozen consultants of the Nonprofit Flight Plan, who advise nonprofit organizations on operational, marketing and financial issues, have, over the years, shared with me their insights and also suggested strategies.

Recently, a conversation touched on pricing for services. How does a consultant delicately — and forcefully — convey the value that is built into every interaction?

We focused on the understanding of a situation, the wisdom to make the appropriate recommendation and the capacity to follow through on the implementation. All these steps demonstrate the value of the consultant’s experience and the client relationship. This price tag cannot be calculated by the one-time fee for service or retainer.

This is an example of what makes the wisdom of a networking group priceless.

This Month’s Tip

Tap into your network for advice and your own brain-stretching. Networking meetings are not only about individuals and their presentations. It’s the collection of multi-disciplinary perspective each one brings to the table. Informally advising your colleague will help you exercise your brainstorming muscles, build trust among contacts and garner ideas to develop your own business.


Are you looking for invaluable advice? You may find it among your networking contacts. Let’s brainstorm who the best partners for you might be. You can reach me at 212.677.5770, set an appointment here or email me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com.

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See also: Everyone Knows Someone Worth Knowing

Make Your Five W’s Reader-Centered

See the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How from an outside perspective.

When writing an article, an author or reporter traditionally thinks of the five W’s – Who, What When, Where and Why, plus How – as questions to be answered.

Here’s how that familiar paradigm looks when the reader is put at the center of the discussion:

Who: Who are you (as a business or nonprofit organization) that you are getting in touch with me? Do we have a prior relationship?

What: What should I pay attention to now? You may have interrupted my busy work day or my leisure time.

When and Where: Am I seeing this while at work, at night or on the weekend? Which vehicle did you use to contact me: newspaper, industry publication, email, enewsletter, LinkedIn, X (Twitter), Facebook?

Why: Why should I care about what you have to say? How will it help me to Save Time, Save Money, Make More Money, Save the World or Get More JOY Out of Life?

How: How shall I act upon this information? Will I call you, send an email, visit your website, sign a petition, make a purchase, attend an event or do something else? (Be sure to make that next step clear.) Is it easy for me to take this action? Did you indicate how I can contact you if I need more information?

Review your written message by responding to these questions and issues. Engage the reader from the get-go for a more successful response. It is not about me, the writer, business or nonprofit; make it about YOU, the reader.

This Month’s Tip

Look at the layout and design. How does the digital message display on desktop, laptop, tablet and phone? Does an image occupy so much of the page that the reader has to scroll to read the content? Is there sufficient white space to give the eye a rest? Make your piece visually appealing.


Ready to bring the reader’s 5 W’s and How into focus? Let’s sharpen your communication to direct the reader appropriately. Contact me at 212.677.5770, set an appointment here or email me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com.

See also Orient Your Newsletter.

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