Barbara Kincaid is a real-life connector. Many make the claim, but she truly lives up to it as the organizer and facilitator of three large monthly business-to-business (B2B)meeting events at different northern Illinois locations. In fact, her meetings consistently attract so many attendees that she has been asked to start up similar B2B meeting events in other states. Furthermore, she is definitely the go-to gal when you are looking to connect with a particular kind of professional and just can’t seem to locate him or her. Chances are, Barbara will know someone.
Here she’ll talk about the importance of having complete control of her life; ‘chunking’, as in your time, not a piece of cake; and you’ll learn what she’s referring to when she says three words: Know, Like & Trust.
Barbara is sparkly-eyed and vivacious and it’s my pleasure to introduce her to you.
Holly: What would you call yourself and what you do? (I know you’re involved in a number of activities!)
Barbara: A Connector…it is my Goal and Enjoyment to connect others to things, people, services and opportunities.
Author of Cocktails & Profile Pix – to help others make their networking efforts more effective, productive and profitable.
Creator of “Network Connections Mix, Mingle & Meet!” – Large B2B networking events in Northern IL/Southern WI (Gurnee), South/Southwest Suburbs of Chicago (Joliet)and Western Suburbs of Chicago (Aurora).
Account Executive for CardPayment Solutions Merchant Services – helping small to medium size businesses process Credit/Debit Cards or re-negotiating their existing processing to put more profit in the Company’s bottom line.
Holly: As the author of “Cocktails & Profile Pix-Traditional Networking Strategies for your 2.0 World”, how long did the book take to complete? What opportunities have come your way as the result of being an author?
Barbara: It was originally a project of interest and was written on a part-time basis. I realized from the networking groups that most people had not been afforded the opportunities to learn and fine tune their networking skills…most had just been thrown into it. It took one year from start to publish date. Writing was about 10 months. The opportunities have been wonderful. I have been a public speaker since the 80’s and this gave me the platform to get back into that and share my expertise and experiences with others. Yes, I do sell books and do often get paid for speaking engagements, but that has been just the icing on the cake. It has given me the opportunity to help others and meet some wonderful people. It was also the opportunity to utilize ALL the skills I had learned, compile them in one place and then share with others.
Holly: What critical decisions did you have to make along the way to becoming who you are today?
Barbara: There’re way too many to list here, but I would say that I think deciding to do something new. Sometimes that was moving to a new town (I have lived in 11 States & 19 Cities and overseas in Okinawa, Japan), sometimes that was diversifying my Career path by changing Careers (Hospitality Industry, Advertising in Newspapers and Yellow Pages, Phone lines/DSL and now the 3 above) and now it is pursuing the things I truly like. Another critical decision was to leave the Corporate World where I had little control of my destiny and moving to a Personal World where I have (mostly if not entirely) complete control.
Holly: What are some of the major challenges you face or have faced?
Barbara: Definitely financial…however that has been a great lesson as to what is really important to me. I have learned to give up the things that tie and bind me in an effort to have more freedom and peace both professionally and personally. I’ve decided I’d rather be poor in material things and RICH in experiences and relationships and I have a sneaking suspicion if I stay on this track I will be RICH in both.
Also in the beginning it was contacts…good contacts. However that has gotten much better as time goes on. You have to look for the people who support you and what you do and not those that just want take from you. Telling the difference has been another Great lesson.
Holly: What mistakes have you made and what have you learned?
Barbara: I’ve always been too much of a Trusting & Giving soul. Don’t misunderstand…I haven’t changed that about myself but I have learned to qualify those that I Trust and Give to. One of my favorite phases to use is from Bob Burg author of “The Go Giver”…”All things being equal…people will do business with people they KNOW, LIKE & TRUST!” It has become the mantra I use for myself instead of just rushing into things. I realize that if I don’t do this I leave the door open to become someone’s Victim or Bashing Board and that is not good for anyone.
Holly: How do you balance your professional and personal life?
Barbara: This is something I had always been good at in the Corporate World. When I was at work…I was at work! When I was at home…I was at home! But now the lines are blurred as I work from home. I use what I call “Chunking” in that I schedule times to work and times to play. An example is…I recently started ignoring phone calls I don’t recognize after 5pm and on weekends. All my clients and close friends/family are in my phones contact list and I answer for them anytime. But if it is someone other than that it waits until the following business day and then I return the call promptly. This one step has given me peace and much less stress.
Holly: What in particular or in general has helped you grow in your avocation to become who you are today compared to when you began?
Barbara: Reading, Learning and Listening. I read 3 types of books…Motivational, Biography’s of successful people and Fiction. I read them in rotation and it helps my attitude, aspirations and creativity. For Learning I love to take Webinars and learning new things like Social Media and other personal areas of interest. And last but not least Listening…as a sales person I’ve been a pretty good listener and therefore really targeting in on the wants, needs and desires of others.
Holly: Do you ever enlist the services of a coach or mentor?
Barbara: Regarding Coaches…Though I have met with many through networking and have read many articles by others I have not yet enlisted one. I want to though…it’s on my “List of things to Do” for next year. I think a coach has to be a great fit. Many don’t have the experiences I have had and though I don’t think they have to have all of them they do have to have some or similar ones.
Regarding Mentors…I have several. They range from good personal friends to networking connections to those I have attended workshops and/or read their books. They are different for the different parts of my life personal and professional. Bouncing things off them (sometimes several of them at once) and getting different points of view is helpful to me in seeing the common denominators, hearing their experiences and the ideas they suggest that I probably wouldn’t have thought of. That’s helpful to me when making my own decision.
Holly: Do you ever coach or mentor others?
Barbara: I coach people in how to be a better networker. Recently at Network Connections SOUTH I coached each attendee to be more specific in their 30 second Introduction. I walked them through the right process. I really didn’t realize I was doing it until at the end one of them thanked me for such a great coaching session. I can tell, with some of those that have read my book, that I have become a mentor for them as they ask me for advice and/or implement a part of the book…that is extremely rewarding for me. When it comes to personal relationship (and only when asked) I will describe my experience…but always avoid “telling” them what they should do as I have learned that even though the situations may be similar there are always differences and people are in different places in their life then I might have been when I experienced it. Coaching to me is a little like “Selling”. I approach it by Listening, sharing my experience, offering solutions and then letting the other person make their own decision. Not “Pitching” or shoving my opinion on anyone else.
Holly: How do you refresh, recharge and stay motivated?
Barbara: Different things at different times. Sometimes it’s a good book in a quiet place, or Music that is soothing to relax or has a strong beat and melody to motivate, a nap to recharge or to sit on the Beach. It could be attending a Webinar, Workshop or Conference. I like to take photos so sometimes it’s just playing with my camera or sewing or knitting or making jewelry (my creative side). And of course I love spending quality time with my Grandchildren…it allows me to be a Kid again. It’s more about doing what I WANT to do not what I HAVE to do.
Holly: What inspires you?
Barbara: All of the same things in the previous question. In addition to that…brainstorming with close friends and connections.
Holly: What advice might you have to someone starting out in your profession?
Barbara: Surround yourself with others that not only want to succeed but move towards success…People who are encouraging and yet kindly realistic. Create a mastermind group of people who care for you and your success…that will at times empathize with you, at times inspire you and at times just plain listen to you.
Take classes that will enhance your business or help you by organizing, streamlining and such. I see many people get into business and though they are good/great at what they do…they are not good at business. Things like Accounting, Marketing, Market Research, Internet Marketing…things like Business Plans and such. Even if you are going to outsource these things you need a general understanding so you can hire the right people for what you need.
Join Social Media group sites and groups that can help you like those found on LinkedIn. I belong to several for Authors. One time I was reading posts by other Authors about what marketing ideas had worked best for them. One gentleman stated that he had “Book Markers” made instead of Business Cards and that just made so much sense. I now have Cocktails & Profile Pix Book Markers that I had out at networking events and to all attendees at my Speaking Engagements.
And of course join Face-to-Face networking Groups that are B2B and less Social. You want to find Business minded people that you can connect and share with not just “Pitch” to you or Socialize with you.
Plan for but don’t worry about the future…enjoy the journey and path to the future. And find a sense of Humor in everything…that probably could be said about every one of these questions.
Holly: Have you ever had a particularly funny or embarrassing moment, and if so, please share it!
Barbara: Once, a year and a half ago, at a Network Connections NORTH Breakfast I had 95 attendees. We only have an hour to go around the room and let everyone stand up and introduce themselves. So I announced that instead of the usual 30 seconds everyone was only going to have 10 seconds and I did mine as an example. The first 3 people not only went over the 10 seconds but went over 30 seconds. This just wasn’t going to work as I knew some had to get to their job or off to another appointment. I stopped them and explained again and since I never have liked groups that use bells, buzzers or lights to limit people I explained that when they got to their 10 seconds I was going to come and “Touch” them. That worked very well and then one of the members got up and said…”Hi my name is Blah Blah and I just want to be “Touched” by Barbara”. The entire room burst into laughter and to this day a year and a half later it still comes up occasionally at the Breakfast! Some want to be “Touched” some don’t want to be “Touched” and some want to be “Hugged”!
Holly: Tell me about your children –how many, ages, where are they now? Also, how many grandchildren do you have?
Barbara: I have 3 Children ages 42, 41 and 36.
My Daughter (42) is married has a son and a daughter and lives in the SW Suburbs of Chicago.
My oldest Son (41) is divorced and has a daughter and also lives in the SW Suburbs of Chicago.
My youngest Son (36) is single and has a son and lives in New Orleans, LA.
I was a single parent from the time they were 3, 8 & 9…I was married for 11 years.
All in all I have 4 GrandChildren – 2 Boys and 2 Girls ages 11-14.
As I reflect, it is apparent that ALL my experiences have groomed and led me to where I am. Jobs, people, places and experiences have molded who I am and what my passion is. With all these life experiences I have been most fortunate to have made some of the closest and best relationships personally and professionally throughout the years and around the country. I have learned that the KNOW, LIKE & TRUST is a two way street. It is only when it travels both directions is it a rewarding and lasting relationship both professionally and personally.
Barbara’s contact info: