Robyn Henderson
Location: Sydney
Country: Australia

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Walking the talk

From a background in the hospitality industry and sales, Robyn's speaking career evolved in the early 90s when Robyn worked for a couple of unethical companies who 'over promised and under delivered'. I realised there was a better way of doing business in the community and thought as a speaker, I could show companies how to do it a better way. "
Robyn was holding onto a sales manager job four days a week and speaking about goal setting on the fifth day to whatever audience she could get, when she heard speaker Lisa McGuinness- Smith talk about walking your talk. I realised if I was walking mytalk, I should leave myjob and believe in my dreams. So I resigned and became a speaker," says Robyn.
Robyn had honed her speaking skills in previous years as a sales executive when she had joined Toastmasters International so she could make a presentation without' stuttering and stumbling. As her confidence and her passion for speaking increased she joined and became heavily involved with the National Speakers Association of Australia. Robyn attended the Associations conferences in the US to be inspired by the best of the best in the world, and gauge how she compared. I realised I had a long way to go, but I could make a living as a speaker as long as I always spoke about something 1 was passionate about," says Robyn.
Like any business, staying afloat long enough to get known was tough and in the speaking industry most presentations are freebies while establishing a profile. I certainly had ups and downs with cash flow in the early days but I was determined to make it work. I took lots of risks developing products and running public seminars. Some ideas worked and some didn't - I learned as I went," says Robyn.
Robyn's main topic as a guest speaker is mastering the art of networking - everything from talking to strangers and generating
Passion: passion for speaking increased she joined and became heavily involved with the National Speakers Association of Australia. Robyn attended the Associations conferences in the US to be inspired by the best of the best in the world, and gauge how she compared. I realised I had a long way to go, but I could make a living as a speaker as long as I always spoke about something I was passionate about," says Robyn.
Like any business, staying afloat long enough to get known was tough and in the speaking industry most presentations are freebies while establishing a profile. I certainly had ups and downs with cash flow in the early days but I was determined to make it work. I took lots of risks developing products and running public seminars. Some ideas worked and some didn't - I learned as I went," says Robyn.
Robyn's main topic as a guest speaker is mastering the art of networking - everything from talking to strangers and generating Article in Her Business - Australia’s Magazine For Women In Business
Network or Perish
By Robin Henderson
Latest research shows that only 20% of employment opportunities are advertised in  Australia. Networking accounts largely for the remaining 80% of job placements. Whether it's an executive recruitment firm search, word of mouth referral or someone's next door neighbour's brother - the job is often filled by someone known by someone else.
In the best selling book, Masters of Networking, Bill Gates refers to the "trilogy of trust" - the trust that one person has in another, which is then passed along to a third referred member.
Whether it's a job opportunity, the name of a good doctor or motor mechanic, people want to do business with people they know like and trust. If they don't know someone in a specific area, based on the trust they have for another person, they will often accept their recommendation.
Smart leaders and networkers today surround themselves with people who are better than them in certain areas. They are willing to acknowledge it and pay for that experience if necessary. Bill Gates says, "For me, a big part of the fun has always been to hire and work with smart people. I enjoy learning from them".
Author Harvey Mackay believes "its not who you know, but who knows what you know". One of the challenges we face in Australia is that people are not encouraged to self promote. They often face ridicule and criticism for being pushy. We often refer to it as the "tall poppy syndrome". Many people are reluctant to stand out from the crowd or try to be noticed.
As a result many people are overlooked for promotions and opportunities, because no one knows how good they are or what actual skills they have. Because they are not visible or well known by the decision makers, often someone of less ability lands the position or project.
Tall Poppies Alternative
If you are wanting to increase your visibility within your organization or profession, you don't need to be pushy, or monopolise conversations. It helps though if you talk people ,up' rather than gossiping in a destructive manner. One of the universal laws well known to networkers is the law of reciprocity - what you give out comes back tenfold. So if you gossip about someone today, it may be your turn tomorrow.
Why not try a gossip free day every week. Look for positive ways of discussing people within your network. If you don't know a lot about the people you are working with, practise your listening skills, ask open ended questions (starting with who, what, how, when, where or why). Most importantly, unless it is culturally unacceptable, make eye contact with the person you are speaking to. Listen with your heart as well as your ears. This means having a focused conversation and remaining in the present moment, not distracted by past or. future events.
Avoid Elevator Talk
In our time poor society, moving conversations occur regularly when one person asks another a question, but does not stop to hear the answer. "Morning, how was your weekend' without stopping for a nanosecond to hear the answer, we continue moving - hence the coining of the phrase elevator talk. If you don't have the time to stop and listen to the answer, why not change your greeting. "Good morning Joe' and smile, will give you a much better response than a random question when you can't be bothered or are unable to stop and hear the answer.
Broaden Your Networks
Another trap many people fall into, is networking only within their industry or profession. Dismissing people because they are "nobodies"(in their opinion) or presumably of no use to them. Master networkers never use people. Again the philosophy of treating people the way you would like to be treated is critical if you are to be remembered positively by the variety of people you meet throughout the week.
Aim to network across the board age-wise, industry-wise and geographically. You may think you will never have the need for a computer programmer living in Dallas, Texas. And you may be right. However, your boss may just be looking for the name of a competitor or prospect in Dallas, Texas and you just happen to have the name of this person ... and so it goes. You start to be noticed by decision makers as a problem solver. They have a problem and you are able to solve it for them.
Become a Sphere Of Influence
Smart networkers acknowledge that they don't know everyone and don't need to know everyone. They do need to have a network of key players, who on a mutual request basis, can tap them into the key people they need. These key players are often referred to as spheres of influence. They are people who know a little bit about a lot of things, and a lot about one or two things (usually their area of expertise or interest). They are proficient at sharing the piece of information that their contact needs. And most importantly they share that information freely, knowing that one day, they may be the one doing the asking.
Networking is a life skill, not just something you do when you want something. Following the universal law of giving without expectations, master networkers give without remembering and receive without forgetting.
No Time to Network
Are you one of the new time poor? Too much to do and so little time to do it in? All the more reason to network...
As our diaries and Palm Pilots go into overload and the days, weeks and months seem to fly past at an alarming rate - we sometimes wonder just where we will find time to network. Many small business owner/operators. and middle managers alike constantly complain of not having a "fife" and are constantly in a time poor state. Yet senior management continually stress the need to bring business to the organisation and the obvious way to do that is networking. So, where do we fit networking into our busy schedule? And more importantly, why should we bother?
Firstly, lets look at how we can include networking into our busy schedule. For this exercise lets define networking functions as internal or external (from our organisations) events, cultural, social and/or sporting functions. Straight away, we realise that networking doesn't just have to be about business - some of the best networking opportunities often take place in less formal situations. Be it a football match, cricket test, tennis game or school fete, networking opportunities abound. And if we combine networking with our social events, we will certainly be saving time.
in the networking ladder of loyalty, we can walk into a room full of strangers, not knowing anyone. Through communication - basically a combination of speaking and listening - we build trust. The more we communicate, the more trust we build and the faster we move our relationship up the networking ladder of loyalty from stranger through to acquaintance through to friend.
Some people shy away from the use of the word "friend" - concerned that they either have enough friends already or more "friends" mean more commitments.
On the contrary basically what we are doing in building a network of friends is creating communities fun of open doors. Open doors where we can pick up the phone, send an email, offer information, ask for help - knowing always that the help is reciprocal. Knowing Who to call, can save us time, money and effort. Basically we are connecting like minded people, communicating with friends and acquaintances and cementing our blocks of trust. In so doing, we form solid foundations of networks and contacts and often become known as a sphere of influence - someone who knows a little bit about a lot of things and a lot about one or two areas of our expertise. We are reliable, professional and great at both finding and accessing vital information.
It is also helpful to remind ourselves of the three keys to networking:
1. Giving without expectations - Doing something for someone not to get something back. Basically giving without remembering and receiving without forgetting.
2. An abundance mentality -  The belief system that regardless of our profession or location, there are plenty of opportunities for everyone. We are generous with sharing our information and connections, without fearing scarcity or lack.
3. The low of reciprocity - Understanding the universal law of reciprocity. This basically states that what you give out comes back tenfold - if you want referrals - start giving them to others.
Networking is a life-skill, rather than something we just do when we want something - which is where most people go wrong. Whether it's a phone call, an email, a fax, thank you card, kind word to a fellow worker or neighbour, its all part of networking.
Based on the above definition and examples, we can see that networking actually goes way beyond attending networking functions. This in itself is a great time management bonus - fifteen minutes per day, keeping in touch, following up and being remembered positively, will add to our networking profile.
Networking also fits into the income building area of our business or career. Income is generated by the service or product we provide, income building is where we plant the seeds to generate possible interest in our product or service.
One thing is certain - if you aren't networking, you will never know just what you are missing.
"You had a hard crowd of professionals who, unfortunately, enjoyed themselves a little too much the night before. It was a credit to your teaching ability that you were able to capture everybody's interest, but more importantly, give them some solid income producing ideas to take away with them. Thank you once again and good luck (as though you need it) for the fast approaching new financial year".
Executive General Manager L.J HOOKER
"You may like to know that your presentation was rated 100% "Excellence and Very Good on the evaluation forms. The informal feedback has all been "Excellence, too. The Committee is delighted with the result and on their behalf, I thank you most sincerely for your presentation".
Chairman - AIM Small Business Group
"Congratulations on your presentation to this mornings Business Success Breakfast. I have copied your article 'The Surefire Way to General Referrals' to our Brisbane staff. We were pleased to assist in sponsoring your presentation and 1 hope some good business comes out of it for you".
Director KPMG
"Just a short note to thank you for attending and speaking at our Brisbane Central Luncheon at the Brisbane Parkroyal. The event was enjoyed by all those in attendance and provided a wonderful opportunity for the promotion of your latest book 'Be Seen, Get Known, Move Ahead'. I have had nothing but positive feedback on your presentation and what an excellent speaker you are".
Founder and Managing Director Women's Network Australia
"Congratulations on your fabulous forthcoming book and a great new seminar topic!!
I take this opportunity on behalf of the participants at last night's Be Seen, Get Known, Move Ahead Seminar at the Adelaide Town Hall to thank you for assisting us to focus on our futures and sharing valuable ideas for self promotion. Attendees who have seen you speak on previous occasions indicated they feel your work is getting better and better and commented that the subject matter is the perfect fit for you".
South Australian EMPLOYERY CHAMBER of Commerce & Industry Inc
"Robyn worked with me prior to the event - WOMEN'S HEALTH AND HUNGER IN 21 ST CENTURY AUSTRALIA - to co-ordinate the day's proceedings. We were able to attract 10 major women's health experts to our forum to speak about subjects ranging from psychology, health data and exercise, to consumer advertising and fashion. Due much to Robyn's professionalism and enthusiasm our event was a huge success, attracting much media interest. Robyn's work continued after the event, when she acted as a media spokesperson for Gloria Marshall and the forum group. She recorded interviews with numerous radio stations, including ABC Morning Report, and a live television interview on the Today Show, Channel 9. 1 look forward to working with Robyn again at the next opportunity".
Public Relations Director Dream Run Communications
I am sure that everybody went away on the evening with some new tips on how to master .networking and hopefully this might lead to some other business opportunities for you. Rest assured we have now made the contact and hopefully we might be able to find the opportunity to be in touch again in the foreseeable future".
Managing Director
Bound Tourism Organisation o Australia Limited (ITOA)
"On behalf of the AAAA 1 am writing to express our appreciation for your very important contribution to the success of the 1997 International Conference. Your address was most relevant to the topic and thoughtfully presented. Many complimentary comments were received from delegates in relation to your Plenary Session. May 1 add my congratulations and sincere thanks for the time and effort you spent in attending the Conference, your willing cooperation, your enthusiasm and your very professional presentation".
Executive Director
Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association Ltd
"You certainly made a great impression on The NSW Professionals with your presentation in May this year. Many of the attendees at the workshop commented not only on the valuable information you armed them with but on the most pleasing and entertaining manner of your presentation. Great to see that you have a new book coming out it's sure to be a success".
Membership Services
The Professional State Office
I am writing to thank you for your participation at the 1997 TAFE NSW Training Consultants Conference. Your time and effort was much appreciated and your contribution certainly helped to make the conference a success. The feedback that w,-, have received from attendees has been both positive and encouraging for future conferences".
Manager Business Development Marketing Services TAFE NSW
"We thought it important to take the time out to sincerely thank you for your contribution to the Mortgage Choice 1998 Annual Conference. Your professionalism and ability to keep everyone entertained while providing useful information was impressive, and certainly helped ensure our conference was the tremendous success we had envisaged".
Managing Director Mortgage Choice
"On behalf of the Personal Empowerment Network and the Australian Institute of Management, I would like to thank, you for your time as a guest speaker at the Fear Free Function meeting on Tuesday, 7 April 1998. We received excellent feedback from the audience on the night who are no doubt out there doing some very successful networking at this very moment.
Manager, Membership Services Australian Institute of Management (AIM)
"Your participation at Women's Information Days has been of great value to all those who were able to attend and this has shown by the consistently high valuations rated at 98% overall between good to excellent you achieved. Enjoy the new step on the stair Robyn and keep in touch".
Central Co-ordinating Committee of Spokeswomen
"As usual, your presentation was not only enjoyable, it was also very relevant, and encouraged each of us to think very deeply about our goals and dreams. I have had very favourable feedback from all or our members".
BP W Parramatta & the Greater West Inc.
"Thank you for giving us your time and sharing your knowledge with the Circular Head WISE Women. We received some very positive comments after the meeting. The warm feelings you gave out, helped make my first meeting as coordinator a wonderful success. I'm really enjoying listening to your tapes as 1 drive to and from work".
WISE Coordinator
Women Into Self Employment
"Robyn is an excellent presenter and facilitator. Robyn does a lot of initial groundwork to understand her audience and her ability to gauge their needs is testimony to the success of the session and the tools that people take away with them to put to immediate use".
GIS Administration Manager Mercantile Mutual
"Thank you for conducting the recent workshops on 'Networking for Success - Gaining the Competitive Edge" for the Civil Service College, Singapore. Many of the participants who attended the workshops have commented that the sessions were extremely interesting. They found the many tips that you shared, practical and useful in helping them build on their networking and relationship skills. They would be putting them into practise to build up their own networks".
'Senior Manager '
Institute of Public Administration and Management CIVIL SERVICE COLLEGE
"Just a brief note to communicate how thoroughly enjoyable your recent presentation was in respect of "Networking To Win". Without a doubt each and every attendee has been able to walk away with a greater understanding of the principles of networking and indeed are already showing signs of putting these new skills into practice. In my opinion you pitched your presentation at an understandable level for all and indeed the humour injected into this made it all the more enjoyable".
State Sales Manager
Legal & General - Tasmania
"The feedback about the overall luncheon was extremely positive as indicated by the surveys collected on the day. The techniques and advice on successful networking with integrity and building a customer base for doing business, together with the simple strategies and skills that you outlined will enable Kingston Business Women to achieve and reach their full potential".
Business Development, Commercial Centres & Tourism City of Kingston
We all found your talk stimulating and motivating and we look forward to being able to extend our group to a much wider network each time we meet".
We were very impressed with the way you held everyone's attention throughout the duration of the breakfast with your ideas and motivation skills. We have had tremendous feedback since the breakfast, 1 am sure you have won new business - as well as people's hearts!"
Assistant to the Deputy General Manager - NSW American Chamber of Commerce in A ustralia
We have had very positive feedback from your presentation with many ladies disappointed at the limited time frame. We all found your concepts enlightening and thought provoking".
Human Resources Consultant Ernst & Young
"Robyn is a very busy person and. in great demand internationally and the reason we have used her on three occasions over the last two years is we are convinced that she has made a difference. It is not that the message she conveys is complicated or difficult to learn, but the way in which Robyn is able to present recipes for networking success has meant that without exception all Managers who have attended the course, some 1 might add long in the tooth and what one might describe as cynical, have got at least something out of the course and have all commented with enthusiasm on the benefits to them in assisting with networking activities".
Regional Manager - OtagolSouthland WestpacTrust
"I'm sure all delegates who attended this one day seminar found it to be of excellent value, very practical, full of very good and useful ideas.
Special Events Manager
Australian Institute of Banking and Finance Inc.
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