Posts Tagged ‘networking’

Is your networking not working?

Or maybe it’s not working as consistently well as you’d like? Well you could be in luck because I’ve discovered there’s now a networking University course on offer!

I didn’t register when I first visited a couple of weeks or so ago because the site seemed to me to want a lot of information from me, the potential “student”, without divulging much at all of what’s on offer… other than the name of a handful of modules, nothing about what cost and effort would be involved… and zilch information about who’s behind it and what their credentials are.

Returning to the site yesterday to research some more for us all I see that it’s changed out of all recognition, in look and feel anyway. The course “modules” that were headlined there then that I could see without registering have moved here and I see that the course appears to be of six modules, each one of 4 weeks duration. But I still can see nothing of any substance (sorry guys, nameless photographs and national flags don’t account to much) about who’s running it or their credentials. And still no upfront mention of cost…

Sharp End Training is the company offering this course. From its main site, appears to specialise in online training for small businesses – from building a website, using WordPress, writing a book… to individuals in employment – writing a CV, interview skills… And they’re currently using the main site to promote networking as their flagship course… I suspect because it’s likely to be the highest ticket one. Well, that’s enough free promotion for them!

So, what do I think?

With the varied results – from useless to reasonable to spectacular – that different people get frome their networking activities it would seem that some could do with a bit of help…

But is this online “university” (?) course over a 24-week period the best answer? I’ve no idea from the limited information that’s currently openly published on their site (and no price anywhere)

I need to confess something here so you can decide whether or not this me doing a bit of “Bah! Humbug!” I rarely do it here but this has prodded me into action and it’s time for my own bit of promotion…

I created an ebook on networking a few years ago: Opening Doors. And I drafted in expertise from business people whose skills I respect to add extra value. Gratifyingly, with hardly any promotion, it sold moderately well and continues to with hardly any atention from me until such times as I see other offerings that make me relook at my own. This was such a case for me and I wouldn’t mind betting that many of you have several “moments” too! :-)

Back to my book: Apart from some of the online and offline networks I refer to, some of which have changed, most of the content is not time sensitive and, at £24.95 (approx $US39.42 according to an online exchange calculation and conversion today), it’s exceptionally good value, even if I do say so myself! 😉 but it’s probably more useful for you to hear from somebody else:

Andy Lopata – Business Networking and Referrals Strategist says:

“This book is the perfect guide to ‘how to network’. Not simply the skills of working the room, but the approach, preparation and planning that need to go into networking effectively. Linda explains with beautiful clarity just what networking is, banishing many misconceptions in the process, and how important it is to the modern business. Opening Doors is immensely practical and written with good humour and common sense.”

So here’s an early snippet from the book


Some reasons why you might network

Is it any or all of:

  • Part of your overall marketing ‘mix’ to attract more business
  • An alternative way to cold calling to get business
  • To access and tap into the support of a group
  • To better get to know the needs of other businesses in your community
  • To collaborate or find potential new business partner(s) to promote your business
  • To raise your company’s visibility
  • To raise your own visibility and look for job/ career progression
  • To find potential employees for your company

Or is it any one of a number of other or additional ways you believe that networking will open doors for you and commercially propel you forwards and upwards? Maybe you’re a sole trader who just wants to meet, mix and socialize with other business people. Each and every reason is valid.

The point of this session is that, once we’re absolutely clear about what we want our networking activities to help us achieve, we stand a far better chance of getting the best results…

Bottom line

If your networking isn’t working as well as you want and need it to – get out there and do something about it! :-)

What help do you need or what advice could you give? Why not share here!
photo credit: JodiWomack via photo pin cc
photo credit: Executives International via photo pin cc

Let’s Build A Successful Business!

In our last post we went into where you are in comparison with where you want to be, the gap between, the various justifications given and some empowering questions.

Next we’re going to look at your answers to those questions and see how we can:

  • Build them into great stories that will resonate with your potential customers
  • Get those stories out to where your potential customers work, rest and/ or play!

But first we’re going have a quick look at where you fit into the business scene.

Small Business Statistics

The diagram above represents the the percentage breakdown of businesses in the UK as at Spring 2003 (figures from the DTI). The picture hasn’t altered hugely since then. Updated figures (November 2011) from the FSB show (among other things) that:

  • There are 4.5 million small businesses in the UK
  • SMEs account for 99 per cent of of all enterprise int he UK, 58.8 per cent of private sector employment and 48.8 per cent of private sector turnover
  • SMEs employed an estimated 13.8 million people and had an estimated combined annual turnover of £1,500 billion
  • Businesses with employees account for a quarter of all enterprises – a fall of 29,000 since 2010
  • The number of sole proprietorships increased by 87,000 in 2010 and the number of companies, 6,000

As an aside, I can sort of understand why “Medium” sized businesses were lumped in with “Small” but I cannot for the life of me work out why “Micro” and “Sole Traders” – the biggest combined group by far (should they ever decide to band together and create their own union, watch out!) – should all be under the SME nomenclature, but I guess that’s just one of life’s little mysteries… I’m guessing that sole traders and micros are included in the figure of 4.5 million for small businesses above…

So, since businesses with employees account for only a quarter of all enterprises now in UK PLC 2011 (and, if you look at the pie chart, what’s the betting that 95% of them are micros with under 10 employees?) together with the remaining Sole Traders three quarters we see who must be contributing hugely to the effort of keeping the economy afloat! And I’m sure the same applies to all ‘free’ countries across the globe.

Looked at that way, it’s not just ourselves we owe to be successful, is it? So let’s get to it!

Do You Have a Marketable Niche?

As you’re reading this to yourself you’re either going to be thinking “nitch” (west of the Pond) or “neesh” (east); doesn’t matter which because, either way what we’re looking at here is the market sector that you’ve carved out as your very own!

And it’s important to realise and acknowledge that you’re probably not the first in it, won’t be the last, but you’re the only one to bring what you bring to it and your customers – and it’s something that’s valuable to them.

Another point to bear in mind is that the niche you choose/ have chosen may not be the one you end up in – again, it doesn’t matter – don’t let inertia and indecision sink you – (once you’ve answered your Empowering Questions to your satisfaction) just get on and take action! Because, answering your Empowering Questions should also have provided answers in the affirmative to the following three questions:

  1. Can you justify and carve out your very own differential within this niche?
  2. Is it lucrative?
  3. Does it have potential to grow?

Then we can move on to ideas and examples of what action to be taking, always with the idea of gaining and increasing profitable business…

Win, Keep and Grow Profitable Business

Okay, if there’s you on your own or you plus a handful in your company, the odds of one of you being ace at sales and marketing are, realistically likely to be quite small, yet we want to build a fan-and-customer base as quickly as possible, don’t we? So let’s start with just three ideas – I’m sure you’ll come up with loads more.

Go networking – How?

  • Face-to-face
  • Phone
  • Skype
  • Online

Go networking – Where?

Where your target audience hangs out and while there are likely to be in the frame of mind where they’re open to business ideas and opportunities.

If you don’t know where and when that is, you need to do your research and find out…

Speaking, anyone?

I know, people’s fear of public speaking has been well documented, but think about it for a minute:

If you’ve been a member of any kind of business network you’ll have been through the, at times, excruciating spotlight being on you when you delivered your elevator pitch. I honestly believe that I defy any kind of public speaking to be worse than that!

Career advisors in my day were cr*p and I doubt they’re much better now. Why not think about speaking to groups of school youngsters for 5 or 10 minutes at a time about your business, who it helps, why you started it, how you’re growing it, how it’s evolving, the type of people you envision being involved in it… Sure, kids can ask some tough questions but they’re usually sincere, cut through the BS and can really make us think and recover our own enthusiasm :-)

If you turn out to be any good at this, people will probably soon start finding you, which could lead to…

Leading Trusted Authority Interviews

I’d say: Take this activity seriously but not yourself! It’s useful to have at least a Top Line Agenda in advance purely to ensure that your slot ‘flows’ and you can get your main points in as well as those of the interviewer. Bearing in mind the only time interviewers are likely to be actively looking to trip you up is if you’re in a highly political limelight for your subject – I think we can cast that one aside… for now, anyway 😉

What else?

“How long’s a piece of string?” comes to mind. We haven’t touched on Blogging, Emailing, Telemarketing, Teleseminars and Webinars to name just a few… What have you used to good effect? What do you fancy learning more about?

Linda Mattacks - Small Business Training

PS: Coming soon: Pricing and charging
PPS: I’m not doing “sign up to be on my mailing list” for the moment – I’m doing “Call me” instead 😉

Email Marketing, Blogging, Presenting, Networking – But school’s nearly out!

By the morning of Day 3 of Warren’s excellent Grow Your Business retreat I’d more or less had enough brain-wise and was extremely glad that ‘School’s out!’ was just around the corner. That was a shame in a way because, as I was to discover, some of the best stuff (in my opinion) was yet to come!

I recall little of the inevitable networking aspect that came with breakfast. Maybe because by then it was more like sitting down with some friends and making some new acquaintances.

Email Magic?

The first session of the day was with Lee Callender, the MD of Mail Magic.

I thought he was impressive both as a potential supplier who would take the trouble to understand a client’s real needs. Just one unsexy yet vital example: He’s one of the few people I’ve come across in many years who understands the fundamental necessity of knowing your target market and being able to clearly and concisely describe those identifiable characteristics to a data provider – get that bit wrong and you might as well forget the rest! :-(

He admitted that things don’t always go perfectly and I loved the ‘get out of jail card’ he created whilst giving him and his staff the time to work on how to put any wrongs right (ask him…). He seemed the kind of person I’d enjoy doing business with. I found his hour’s stint thoroughly interesting and informative.

I’m annoyed with myself that I seem to have misplaced my notes but you can bone up somewhat by having a look at the Hints and Tips section of his company website.

Zero to Blogger

Next, having played with the sheep and boned up on LinkedIn, I finally got to see my mate Sarah Arrow in action with her Master Class on Blogging.

I may well be biased as I really prefer the ‘take-me-anywhere-and-just-give-me-a-flipchart/whatever’ approach that Sarah uses and perhaps because I also happen to feel more comfortable delivering. I believe the content can be on-the-hoof adapted to be more relevant to the audience and the value is therefore potentially much greater than the more stylised PowerPoint or equivalent presentations.

This session also bought home that, really valuable though the information, tips, what-tos and what-not-tos are that Sarah shares, it is so much easier having your own mentor, whip cracker, puppeteer, whatever name you give, who knows what they’re doing and will devise, orchestrate and run your campaign(s) for you:

I don’t know about you but I get it in principle – it’s the keeping up to date with everything and the elegant and successful execution that flumoxes me! :-( It’s one of those things I somehow reckon are, in my case anyway, much better outsourced to experts.

Presentation Skills Masterclass

We were back to mainstream sessions now and this one turned out to be totally unlike anything I was expecting. It delivered to brief yet it was refreshingly different in the way it did so.

Lisa van den Berg used a mixture of a particularly poignant story that may have been real or from her own imagination, together with anecdotes from her own personal experiences… that maybe many of us could have identified with!

To me, it was as much an exercise in Use Your Own Experiences to Make a Real, even if only brief, Connection with Others. Anyway, to find out a bit more, our Sarah nabbed Lisa pretty sharpish for a guest post on Birds On The Blog so, have a mosey over there rather than me repeating or rehashing it here!

Lunch! And, er Networking…

This was Dave Clarke‘s opportunity to share with us how NRG networking lunches work. I’ve met Dave on several occasions over recent years and must say his approach is definitely of the ‘relationship first’ mode.

What was a particular eye opener for me was the fact that we had once again been joined by the Inner Flame contingent of teenagers – whose organisation chief was responsible, together with Warren Cass, for this event coming about.

I cannot imagine that I, as a teenager, could have sat with business people like Jo, Steven Andrew and me and talked about what was important to me, what I wanted to achieve, ideas I had about doing that and so on in the way that Megan, Laura, Lauren, Charlotte and Simon – go there and hover a bit :-) – did at our table.

Event Summary – What did I get out of it?

I may have missed nuggets by having to leave early on that third and last day so somebody else who stayed the full course might wish to pick up baton?

As it was, and seems to be more and more usual for me, it was the unexpected and probably not obviously business oriented moments that were the most value – the sheep and teenager encounters were priceless!

Having said that, I’ve made contact on line and/ or by phone with people I met there or were made aware of – and others have done similar with me. It’s so far impossible to gauge the ultimate value of attending the event.

So let’s take it right back to basics:
Did I have fun and enjoy myself? I’d say. largely: Yes :-)
Was it worthwhile in terms of the parameters I’d set in advance for it? Um, oh oops, can I take the fifth, please?…

Social Media, Networking and PR – Linda ‘Goes Back to School’ Day Two a.m.

An Early Bird…

Daylight finally arrived and I felt like I’d watched every minute of its journey from dead of night as I went bleary eyed to meet my fellow early morning jog-, trot-, walkers. They were the Inner Flame lot – remember the morning-after-the-night-before as a teenager? This lot embodied it! But Graham treated all with a great balance of gentleness, encouragement (and for all I know, ribbing) that I supposed made them think it was
a) worth getting up at that ungodly time (in reality I later discovered that they didn’t have a choice) and
b) they should automatically desire to acquit themselves with their peers.

Warren was the only other adult conference person and he jogged off with the lead lot. Being a speed walker (those of you with long enough memories can probably recall the Ministry of Silly Walks – yup, that’ll be me) meant that, as I’d expected, I didn’t naturally fall into the pace of any of the three groups. And that actually suited me fine as it gave my head its usual chance to roam as it wished while my body appreciated the countryside (semi countryside, really) that we were going through.

I should have taken more notice of the sheep I saw, though. You’ll discover why later.

Showered, dressed and just about presentable, I went into the dining room at about 8.15am… and straight into

Karen Thurley’s 4Networking breakfast

It’s entirely my own fault. With hindsight the agenda (on line and which I’d only glimpsed at on the Saturday) quite clearly states:

08:00 – 09:15 4Networking Breakfast (Karen Thurley)
I don’t know about anybody else but I have nothing but painful memories from my time as a member of a breakfast networking group and would have probably avoided this like the plague if I’d clocked it beforehand. Strangely though, it wasn’t the excruciating experience I thought it would be. I hadn’t prepared an elevator pitch so when my turn came I just stood up, gave my full name and said:

“I help women explore their potential, live it and have a da*n good time doing so”

then sat down. It didn’t hurt that a couple of female business owners came over separately and in rapid succession to ask if they could be one of my 10-minute one-to-ones…

At 9.30 the Grow Your Business contingent trooped off to a ‘welcome’ speech by Warren, followed by a talk from him on

Social Media Foundations

Three things stand out especially in my memory:

  • His comparison between UK 1980s TV with only 4 channels versus 2011 TV’s scarcity of attention and abundance of channels
  • The ability of the individual to use online social media to their own advantage, for example Dave Carroll who got his own back on United Airlines breaking his guitars… and, in contrast, how a company, in this case KLM, used Youtube to promote their brand
  • Warren’s own experience that his big ticket business has come via his blog since he’s concentrated on it – and gave Sarah Arrow all credit as his mentor/ consultant/ call it what you will – on that – and his talk demonstrated how much there is to learn if we’re gonna do it for ourselves… and indeed one of Sarah’s recent posts over on Birds on the Blog Sharing the luv
    only goes to reinforce that we – or someone working on our behalf – need to be constantly on the ball watching out for new developments…

We had a tea & coffee break and then we were in for a treat with Stefan Thomas (no red braces) entertaining and educating us with his story of transition from out-on-his-ear-estate-agent to, of necessity and over time, networker extraordinaire and public speaker!
He gave us his

10 Tips on Networking

  1. Use your business networking introduction as an opportunity to get people to want to have a conversation with you – keep your entire product line for elsewhere
  2. Plan that introduction in advance: Get help with it, believe in it and do it to the very best of your ability
  3. Include a call to action – 1-2-1, phone, email…
  4. “Sell through the room”: Stefan got very good at selling properties where someone had just died… “I guarantee that I get your [Aunty Joan] more money than any other estate agent could…”
  5. Treat initial one-to-ones like a first date – get to know people and let them get to know you
  6. Never underestimate anyone in the room – every connection has value
  7. Treat an online community just the same way as you would your real live community – that isdon’t walk in and start selling!
  8. Join in with what other people online: Don’t just walk in and “talk and broadcast” – be interested in others’communications
  9. Do use social media to join it all up and keep relationships warm – connect
  10. Whether it’s real life or online we have a level playing field, so: Be there and be the world’s biggest advocate for you and your business

And BTW: None of it is just a quick fix…

Last up before lunch was Kimberley Davis, this time with

How to drive powerful PR

“You can reach anyone anywhere with seven phone calls and knowing the right thing to say” This was a quote from Kim’s journalism teacher, Tina Lane.
There followed several minutes on Kim’s credentials from her young start in the USA, through the Apprentice experience to her Marketing Purification business in the UK.

It was good, albeit fairly top line standard advice, such as:

  • Bear in mind that we we’re exposed to some 4,000 brands and messages a day and that journalists receive 300+ press releases each day, so
  • Develop your own USP
  • Know your target market
  • Put yourself in their shoes: “So what?” factor
  • Become an expert
  • Be newsworthy/ topical/ think of potential links to something that is newsworthy/ topical
  • Build relationships

And a few more but, in fairness to Kim, by now my powers of concentration were beginning to desert me…

The definition that Kimberley chose for advertising and PR was worth a mention, I thought: Advertising is what you say about yourself. PR is what others say about you.

Personally, I’d amend the PR one to be: PR is what you can get others to say about you

Aah… lunch break…

Look out for the afternoon (that’s where the sheep come in…) and evening activities, coming up next :-)

Networking the Easy Way – 1 ‘what’ and 9 ‘who’

With so many business networks to choose form – and each set up as a business to make money for its founder – it’s not always easy for a newbie networker to know where to start.

And here’s a heretical thought: Maybe you don’t need to invest in becoming a member of any of them until you’ve got into the swing of things and worked out what type of networking suits you…

Why is it that when we start doing something new to us we often make it a lot harder than it need be and don’t look on our own doorsteps?

Firstly, what do you do for a living?

  • Do you have the best bakery in the area?
  • Provide the best IT service?
  • Run the best recruitment service?
  • Are you a brilliant web designer?
  • Do you give unparalleled coaching/ training in a specific area?
  • Are you a great Independent Financial Advisor?

Spot the adjectives: best, brilliant, unparalleled, great?…

BIG TIP for the ‘what’:
Drum up some enthusiasm about your business or you’re likely to end up ‘dead in the water’ :-(

It doesn’t actually matter what you do. What does matter is that you’re passionate about it and know you’re darned good at it. I believe this is a classic and crucial test of the integrity of every one of us who networks.

  • If we can’t get excited about how we help people (and we’re not talking zealots here), how do we expect anyone we know to be even slightly enthusiastic?
  • If we’re not genuinely convinced about the value of what we have to offer, how can we, in good conscience, allow them to buy from us, recommend or refer people they know to us?

Some HAVE to make their networking work

Let’s take a quick look at IFAs, who aren’t allowed to be zealots.

If you were looking for advice on money matters, would you feel happy picking a name from a local directory or would you rather talk to someone you know or has been mentioned to you as a good ‘bloke’ by a person you trust?

Independent Financial Advisors can buy in ‘leads’, details of individuals allegedly wanting financial advice, from specialist companies but they’ll only use this service when business is slow. That’s because they know that the leads are often of iffy quality and they are also well aware that friends, referrals and recommendations provide virtually all their business.

Because of all this, and increasing legislation on what they can and can’t do/ say, they also understand the value of building lasting relationships and trust: They can’t ‘go over the top’ in their dealings without running the risk (literally) of ending up in jail.

So all good IFAs build and carefully protect their reputation and personal ‘brand’ as they’re only too aware that it is crucial to their survival and success. And that reputation can be further enhanced if they’re able to introduce people who could help each other, without any obvious or immediate personal gain to the IFA.

Now that’s the ultimate asset value to strive for in networking!
It also keeps us focused firmly on the fact that people do business with people…

The ‘who’

Get ready to start naming names and be prepared for a nice surprise on just how many you can think of first time round with our little nudge list to help!

  • Work/ business: Former employers and co-workers, and people who provide or have provided services to you might like to know what you’re up to nowadays – you might be able to refer business to them or provide a service for them or vice versa
  • Your local community: It’s not by chance that the two buildings you could guarantee to see by the traditional English village green were the church and the pub/inn – one looked after your soul, the other your stomach and circulated news brought by travellers taking a break!
  • Your neighbours
  • Your relatives and any of their friends that you know
  • Old school mates – What do they do for a living? Could you help each other, collaborate or provide contacts or referrals?
  • Co members of golf/ cricket/ tennis/ football etc. clubs
  • Team sports members: If you play a team sport you are gradually bound to get to know more about your teammates and what line of work each of is in.
  • Your local gym – After exercise it’s not unheard of to repair to the bar (even if it’s a coffee and juice bar in the case of a modern sports centre) where it is acceptable to strike up conversation with like-minded souls. Then, if you ‘click’, it can just be a matter of time before the subject of what each of you does for a living crops up. Bingo.
  • Hobbies – any that involve contact with other individuals would be a great way to help you to spread your net over time, whether you are a member of a card club, writers’ group, a musician in a band or orchestra, regularly go to your local art gallery or museum…

Here’s a quick sum to spur you on

Not all of the above are going to apply to everyone but enough will to allow anyone to drum up at least 50 names for starters – how many people do you think each of these 50 know who aren’t already your mutual friends or acquaintances?

If each of these 50 knows 10 people who are currently not in your circle… that’s potentially 500 additional folk who you don’t know yet could know about you and what you do in time!

…And what about the people they know?

It may be a while before have time and you need worry about joining any of those business networks… :-)

PS Take a look here if you want lots and lots on ‘how to’ on networking – even the newest, shyest networker will find something that only stretches their comfort zone a little bit :-) !

How well does YOUR networking work?

Four years ago many small business clients were telling yours truly that:

  • The hardest part was to get in front of potential customers
  • They didn’t have big marketing budgets to attract them
  • They sent out the occasional mail shots and (sometimes, but increasing less so) followed them up with little success
  • They’d tried networking and it hadn’t worked for them and
  • They hated cold calling yet they saw it as the only option left

Now we can and do help folk who are prepared to e x p a n d their comfort zones enough to learn gentle yet effective sales techniques. But it does take effort and some really don’t want to try. So, for them I thought I’d investigate why networking works really well for some and not others.

Want to know the answer in a nutshell?

“Pay forward” is a term used in networking that’s maybe too glib, especially in the harsh and challenging times many of us find ourselves in right now. Yet those who remember their social skills, meeting people, showing a genuine interest and taking the time to get to know them, rather than: “Oh, help, I’m networking – I must come away with business!” are the ones who do seem to do rather well.

Ready for a shameless plug?

We’ve distilled four years of research and practical application into one networking book with 5 bonuses to help you discover ways to open doors to new business opportunities.

Learn from the past – networking isn’t new!

It’s worthwhile remembering that, although the word ‘networking’ has only entered into common use over the past few years, the activity is anything but new.

Go back hundreds of years and you’ll see that well-connected travellers would carry letters of introduction to several people they didn’t know in places they would pass through. One or more people who knew the traveller and the fact he didn’t have the right contacts in all of the places he’d visit provided those letters in order to help smooth the way for him in foreign lands.
The idea was that each person he gave the letter to would act as host to the traveller whilst he was in his area, providing hospitality and introducing him around his circle of friends and business associates.

Each host would not normally expect any direct payment: However, in those days when you couldn’t just turn on the radio, television, or access the worldwide web, etc. for information, the guest would be expected to inform and entertain, bringing eagerly awaited news of people, places and events in other lands. He would also, doubtless, offer to reciprocate his host’s kindness, and extend that offer selectively to those of the host’s associates with whom he found a rapport or common interest.

By the time he arrived home the traveller would be able to bring back personal messages to his sponsors and update them on people, places and events abroad. Meanwhile he would have many new contacts and, possibly, friends that he would probably never have met had he been left to his own devices.

What is that if not a form of networking, which reminds me: How many times have we heard it said: “It’s not what you know – it’s who you know”?

Another example is membership: Membership of the freemasonry, old boys’ public school ‘clubs’ in the UK – often informal but nonetheless powerful for that – graduating from the same alma mater or belonging to the same sorority or fraternity in the USA are all fairly obvious examples where ‘who you know’ – not necessarily even directly but by association – can give you an advantage and get you that all important business or social introduction. You basically move right to the head of the queue.

Your new contact is reassured that he can expect you and your behaviour to conform to that of the peer group: Here is someone who understands the rules. Therefore he will also feel that he can save time on due diligence (checking you out).

Your path is made smoother by the fact that you are, provided you keep your implied part of the deal and continue to live up to expectations, one of the accepted.

As long as you remember the cardinal rule:

Do NOT try to sell to these people – forget it or ignore it and you’ll be branded a pushy pedlar – your aim is to build trusted relationships with each other…

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"I was very impressed by Linda's determination to help and the constructive, but persistent, manner in which she identified issues and then tried to resolve them. After recent progress I was again reaching a stage where I seemed to be spinning my wheels, and she has given me fresh impetus to start moving forward again."