Sunday, May 12, 2013

Talk up your chances - Schmooze or lose - It's who you know that counts (The Sydney Morning Herald)




The first grisly lesson for anyone entering the job market is to throw the books away. It's who you know, not what you know, that counts. As a young PR consultant, nothing filled me with more horror than the pressure to "work a room". Arriving at industry get-togethers with a business card hastily scrawled in felt-tip pen and avocado stains down my front, I looked more out of place than Paris Hilton at a Vatican tea party.

Networking still comes with a powerful stigma, even though it's vital for developing business portfolios or finding job opportunities. A friend of mine calls it "careerist brownnosing by the professionally undeserving".

But the fact is, it works. Greg Tingle was a blue-collar boy "destined to drive trucks" until he gatecrashed the media world five years ago. Now he runs his own PR firm and lists himself as "a TV presenter, journalist, radio broadcaster, internet author, all-round media entrepreneur and man of business brilliance".

Tingle cast his net wide for career openings, unable to rely on the traditional avenues of family and friends. His big break came in 2000 when he rang 2UE's John Laws to offer the inside scoop on life in the athletes' village at the Sydney Olympics, where he was a volunteer. It was the beginning of a lucrative relationship with Laws, 2UE and Southern Cross Broadcasting.

Tingle's approach to networking is no-holds-barred. One time, he cornered celebrity PR man Max Markson for a photo at the launch of his book, Show Me the Money! They've since collaborated on projects for stars such as Shane Warne and he now considers Markson "like family".

Susan RoAne, author of How to Work a Room, insists we shouldn't be ashamed of networking. It's simply about "sharing resources", which has been occurring ever since "Eve offered Adam an apple in the garden of Eden".

Besides, she says, there is a definite need to resurrect the art of conversation.

"Technology [is the culprit] in most countries," she says. "People are doing things online and not face-to-face ... they email the person at the next desk instead of getting up and going to talk to them."

So what are the secrets for triumph at those dreaded networking events? Internet research is vital, otherwise you might accidentally ask the chief executive to refill your wine glass. "With Google, we can go into every event a little bit more prepared," RoAne says.

Conversation starters are also important, so if your knowledge of international affairs doesn't run beyond Brad and Angelina, it's time to scour the newspaper. This means reading the footy pages, even if you have as much interest in sport as jumping around a padded cell.

RoAne denies that networking is manipulative and fake, even though some of the advice she reads in self-help books "turned my stomach, [it] was so smarmy". "I don't have children, but I have [learned] that when people have children, that's what they talk about," she says. "I couldn't care less about the [food] mothers are feeding their babies but if I want to have a relationship or do business, I've got to be a little more flexible."

RoAne suggests a seven-to-nine-second "opening gambit" that puts a humorous spin on your job title to make you stand out from the crowd.

Tingle, meanwhile, believes in flashy business cards. Rather than opting for Patrick Bateman-style monochrome sleekness, try something more flamboyant. Tingle's are black and gold and "stand out a million miles away".

He also carries around recent clippings of his work. "[People] like to see what's occupying someone at the moment," he says. "Just to make sure they're being active and hitting some runs."

But beware: even the smoothest networker can be relegated to a "one-night stand" if follow-up with a contact is poor. "While everyone else is emailing, text messaging or maybe doing nothing," RoAne says, "you [should] send a note saying, 'Thank-you for [your] time', and they will be happy to recommend you further. We save thank-you notes, we don't save thank-you emails."

Finally, it's important to store your hard-earned contacts. Carole Stone, a prolific party hostess and author of Networking - The Art of Making Friends, keeps a personal database with more than 25,000 "friends". The database contains information on when they met, who introduced them, what events she's invited them to before as well as details on their partners - both personal and professional.

Stone is famous for her regular "salons" at her London flat, attended by some of Britain's leading movers and shakers. Her annual Christmas bash is no drinks'n'nibbles affair with the rellies, but a gargantuan military operation with a guest list of 1000 including cabinet ministers and movie stars. "As the replies come in, I update my database with new telephone numbers and addresses," she says. "That's a big job that sometimes keeps me up all night."

Stone is the ultimate proof of how networking can, as RoAne says, become a "lifestyle not a work style".

So where does that leave me? I'm still a grumpy hermit who enjoys showing disdain for 99.9 per cent of human kind, but I must admit the concept of networking has become ever-so-slightly more palatable.

At a social event the day after speaking with RoAne, I decide to follow some of her advice. I talk footy, despite not having touched a playing field this side of the millennium. I discuss my career without being stunted by a terminal bout of self-deprecation. I even log the phone numbers of people I meet on something more durable than a napkin.

As I walk away with a fistful of contacts and a small glow of self-satisfaction, I begin to wonder if being "a schmoozer, not a loser" is really as hideous as it sounds.

Is networking a necessary evil? Share your tips at radar.smh.com.au

HOW TO GET AHEAD

* Treat networking as a lifestyle, not a work style.

* Before you attend an event, use the internet to find out about people who might be there.

* Read that day's newspaper to pick up some conversation starters.

* Prepare a seven-to-nine-second light-hearted introduction explaining what you do.

* "Good mouth" others and pass on praise you have heard.

* Follow up contacts in a timely and "appropriately persistent" manner.

* Send handwritten thank-you notes - we all want to be appreciated.

* Stay in touch via phone, fax and email even when you need nothing from people. You'll seem altruistic even though you're not.

Source: Susan RoAne

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Sylvester Stallone: Hulk Hogan - He killed me: Rocky III Hollywood movie

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Media Man and Wrestling News Media with yet another bodyslamming news report from the world of professional wrestling meets Hollywood. Fact or fiction? You be the judge, jury and executioner.

Sylvester Stallone recalls his memory of receiving a beat down from wrestling living legend Hulk Hogan in ROCKY III - because apparently his co-star didn't realise he had to fake his punches. That's the story doing the rounds as of late.

Stallone says no one has hit him harder than Hogan (Terry Bollea), did as they filmed the iconic 1982 boxing movie - and one scene left the actor a shattered mess cowering in the corner of a boxing ring.

Sly tells VH1's Big Morning Buzz Live TV show, "He killed me. He beat me up badly... He didn't get that he's supposed to pull his punches (back)... and we took four or five (guys) right into the ambulance right to the hospital with broken collarbones and this and that.

"The hardest I was ever hit was by him... I (still) have visions of it... I'm in the corner and Rocky's been stunned... I'm laying there... and I see this guy running... and he comes down and hits me and I'm laying on the ground saying, 'Don't shove me, don't roll me over... I know there's a bone sticking up here with a vein... and part of my heart.' Oh my God. I said, 'I know I'm shattered'."

Hogan recently apologised for hurting Stallone in the film when he appeared on the VH1 show, but the movie star insists that's not enough.

He joked, "How about my turn? I get a stepladder..."


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Sylvester Stallone says that despite his “Rambo” image and new shoot-em-up film 'Bullet to the Head,' he’s in favor of new U.S gun control legislation.

Stallone supported the 1994 “Brady bill” that included a now-expired ban on assault weapons, and hopes that ban can be reinstated.

“I know people get [upset] and go, ‘They’re going to take away the assault weapon.’ Who … needs an assault weapon? Like really, unless you’re carrying out an assault. … You can’t hunt with it. … Who’s going to attack your house, a [expletive] army?”

The 66-year-old actor, writer and director said he also hopes for an additional focus on mental health to prevent future mass shootings.

“It’s unbelievably horrible, what’s happened. I think the biggest problem, seriously, is not so much guns. It’s that every one of these people that have done these things in the past 30 years are friggin’ crazy. Really crazy! And that’s where we’ve dropped the ball: mental health,” he said. “That to me is our biggest problem in the future, is insanity coupled with isolation.”

Stallone is now in production on his next project, pairing up with the former “Raging Bull” Robert De Niro for “Grudge Match,” about two aging boxers.

“People think it’s going to be some geezer brawl. Really? OK, they’re in for a surprise. I’m telling you. I’ve been working on the fight, the choreography. He’s taking it deadly serious. Because no one wants to be shown up,” Stallone said of De Niro. “It’s going to be like a ‘Rocky’ fight. This will be ‘Rocky 7,’ with me fighting — with Rocky fighting the ‘Raging Bull.’”


Bullet To The Head: Profile...



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Sylvester Stallone stars as Jimmy Bobo, a New Orleans hitman who forms an alliance with Washington D.C. detective Taylor Kwon to bring down the killer of their respective partners. From director Walter Hill comes the action thriller “Bullet to the Head.”

Genre: Action Thriller Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures / Dark Castle Entertainment Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Sung Kang, Jason Momoa, Sarah Shahi, Christian Slater Directed By: Walter Hill Screenplay By: Alessandro Camon; Based on the graphic novel "Bullet to the Head," written by Matz and illustrated by Colin Wilson Produced By: Joel Silver, Alexandra Milchan, Miles Millar, Alfred Gough, Kevin King-Templeton

Wrap-up: "If your a Sly or action film fan, you really just need to see this flick. Just reading about Stallone's movies never does them justice. Go see the living legend's latest most impressive effects.

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