Saturday, June 30, 2007

Women LOVE Contests!

“You will never win if you never begin.” Helen Rowland

A few days ago I wrote about contests, blogs and more. I mentioned that one of my friends Beverly Mahone, the BABY BOOMER DIVA was doing a program about how to use contests to boost business coverage. I forgot to mention that Beverly is the QUEEN of Contest Creation. She seems to have a contest for every season and even no reason. And she has received a lot of press for her efforts - more importantly she has made great friends as she has announced winners and contributors to her efforts. So I just had to start this post with her Hot Fun in the Summertime Essay Writing Contest. Entry deadline is July 6th. Be sure to submit your entry with "My Vacation from Hell" (in the subject line) to

Here are some more summertime contests you can enter:

Sunsilk is hosting the "Hairapy Makeover Sweepstakes." When you enter you might win a fabulous makeover, a trip for you (plus 3 friends) to NYC for Fall Fashion Week, and $10,000 cash. Enter now and get free samples *and $2 in gift cards*.

Neutrogena is giving young women a forum to share tips on how they deal with stress with a Web series and a contest that awards a posh trip to the Bahamas. Got to The Big Blush and check it out!, Inc.(TM) is hosting the "Getaway with BOOMj" Hawaii Sweepstakes. Each member that joins between June 1, 2007 and July 31, 2007 will be automatically entered into the Hawaiian Sweepstakes. To enter the sweepstakes, register at BOOMj at

Enter the Italian Grand Prix Getaway Sweepstakes With AT&T Williams for the chance to win a trip for two to the September 2007 FIA Formula One World Championship Race in Monza, Italy. Now through Monday, July 16, fans aged 21 and older can go to to complete the official entry for the sweepstakes.

The Grand Prize includes: Admission for winner and one (1) guest, to the 2007 FIA Formula One World Championship Race in Monza, Italy Round-trip air transportation for two to Italy and more!

Buona fortuna (good luck) to all!


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

20 Characteristics of a Good RYZE Leader (or any social Networking Forum Leader)

"The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not a bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly."
Jim Rohn

A forum, network or any organization for that matter is only as good as the leader’s commitment to it. The number one goal of the leader should be to create the right environment for its members to succeed. That’s not to say that the network leader should not get anything out of the exchange. Quite the contrary! Although most network leaders start a network or forum for the purpose of “networking” and sharing his or her own expertise with a “captive” audience, there are also other reasons such as to learn how and to practice leading, to sharpen their own skills, to gain knowledge and to make friends.

As a leader of many organizations and most recently a new RYZE network leader (Her Mastermind Network), I have observed the leaders of more than 100 forums, and found the most active forums are those run by men and women with common traits and skills. Here’s a list of 20 characteristics the best leaders share (in no particular order):

1. Good leaders clearly define the purpose of the network.

2. Good leaders set a course of action that reinforces the purpose – it could be with a specific agenda or daily topic calendar or it could be with a list of guidelines that support the purpose.

3. Good leaders never tell or ask others to do something that they do not or would not do themselves.

4. Good leaders don’t have to have the last word in a conversation (thread).

5. Good leaders treat others like they want to be treated. One of my favorite sayings is “you get more flies with honey than you do with vinegar” and it’s evident on many of the boards.

6. Good leaders know it’s not just about them. It’s about all of them! They allow others to appropriately promote themselves – such as on a specific day.

7. Good leaders recruit other leaders to help (co-moderators or topic facilitators), which increases participation and gives others the opportunity to shine.

8. Good leaders recognize involvement by thanking members for posting, sharing their own expertise or asking good questions.

9. Good leaders ask for feedback, surveying the members to find out what they need from the forum. If there is a common or recurring request, the leader will take action to comply with the request.

10. Good leaders stop by members home page and say hi, or PM them once in a while.

11. Good leaders welcome and introduce new members publicly. It is amazing how much excitement this simple act will generate among other members.

12. Good leaders find and share resources.

13. Good leaders encourage interaction among members by asking thought-provoking questions.

14. Good leaders don’t have too many rules.

15. Good leaders are positive and optimistic – they use positive words to express themselves.

16. Good leaders never admonish members publicly; they “PM” the member who may need to be set straight.

17. Good leaders acknowledge others publicly – after all, according to Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs the number one thing people need (after all our needs for survival are met) is that of recognition.

18. Good leaders will remove toxic members – a little controversy can be good especially when it encourages dialogue among members, however, too much of it can become toxic and off-putting to members. If this happens frequently the good people will leave.

19. Good leaders invite members to talk about themselves – that includes what they do professionally as well as their personal lives. True networking cannot take place until people get to know, like and trust one another.

20. Good leaders say thank you, often.

One of my favorite quotes is by Lao Tsu (Taoist philosopher that lived more than 3,000 years ago) - “The Leader's role is ultimately to help people learn to lead themselves.”
Lead on...
Heidi Richards, Founder & CEO TheWECAINetwork™ - “Helping Women Do Business on and off the WEB™”
EdenFlorist - "NO Reason is the BEST Reason to Send Flowers!
Be sure to check out the Women’s Writing & Publishing Summit taking place Online July 19-21st, 2007

Monday, June 25, 2007

Join us for a Franchise Update!

"The two most important requirements for major success are: first, being in the right place at the right time, and second, doing something about it." Ray Kroc (Founder of McDonald's)

On Wednesday, June 27th, I will have the pleasure to interveiw Therese Thilgen President/Chief Content Officer, Franchise UPDATE Magazine. Therese is the President / Chief Content Officer and co-founder of Franchise UPDATE Inc. and the Business Resale Network. She has over 25 years experience in the franchise industry. Prior to Franchise UPDATE, she served as Vice President of Franchise Development for a national franchise chain for over seven years. Therese will be discussing the ins and outs of Franchising and share some success stories (and failures) during this one-hour interview.

You can join us online in our NEW web conference room at (Once you download and install the software, you don't have to download it again).

When you get ready to enter the room, fill in your name (do not enter anything in the password box, leave it blank) and you will get right in. If you have been to a Verbal Networking session before you don't have to register or download again, just click on the link to enter the room.

If you prefer (and for Mac users) you can join us on our teleconference bridge line by dialing 1-218-486-1300 then enter your Conference Bridge Number: 498386 to gain access.

For a list of upcoming speakers and to register for updates, visit:

Hope to see you there!

Heidi Richards

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Of Contests, Blogs and The Media

“Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough.” Oprah Winfrey

Today I received a Google alert for a sweepstakes being held by my good friend Yvonne DeVita of Lip-sticking blog fame. Not only is Yvonne highly regarded in the blogging world, she is one of my personal heros. I had the pleasure to interview her for our Marketing to Women series back in the fall of 2006. That's when I got to know her. She is by far one of the most innovative and interesting bloggers out there. Just check out her blog Lip-sticking and see what I mean.

In the meantime, I wanted to put in a word about her first monthly sweepstakes. She writes: "My goal is to support small businesses across America (yes, it’s local to the U. S. at this time), and to learn a little more about my readers. By learning more about you, I will be able to focus my content on your wants and needs in the marketing to women online space. "

And she means it! She is forever promoting and getting to know other bloggers and what a great way to encourage more interaction than with a sweepstakes or contest. And she makes it easy to enter. All you need to do to ENTER is fill out the Lip-Sticking Sweepstakes Entry Form (click here). ** And the prize … Blue Moon Bliss Bath & Body Products. Be sure to visit Lip-sticking and enter her contest today.

And speaking of contests, at 2pm EST join Access Referral Network and learn about Using Contests to Boost Business Coverage with Beverly Mahone - Beverly, a veteran journalist and savvy marketer, will be presenting "Games People Play: Using Contests To Generate Business!"

Do you wonder how to attract customers to your site? How do you let people know about your business? The truth is people like to win, and they love contests! As a journalist and media coach, Mahone has used multiple hooks to capture the attention of her audience. She is now bringing her expertise to business owners needing to upgrade their advertising techniques.

With Beverly's extensive media background, she is the perfect person to discuss ways to bring traffic to your business. If you've heard Beverly speak before, you also know she is one of the most entertaining speakers you'll ever hear, and she knows her stuff!

She will share techniques she uses herself, and teaches others, that landed her a recent interview that was just published last week in the New York Times!

Join Beverly and Access Referral Network for this complimentary webinar when you download the following VAisBorn (conference room) link, save it to your desktop, and you'll be able to attend this and future webinars at:

For directions on how to be an active participation in a Webinar, visit:

Looking forward to seeing you today!

Warmest regards,


Wednesday, June 6, 2007

17 TIPS to Get the Most Out of RYZE Social Networking

"The pros, the champions, the ones who are determined to succeed (and you're one of them), do the little things right, consistently." Bob Burg

I have been a member of RYZE Social Networking Site since January 2004 and in that time have participated in more than 60 networks. Some of those I am still a member of and some of them I have left for a variety of reasons. What I would like to share with you today are ways to get the most out of your membership in this Network (or any Social Networking site for that matter) – to truly make the time you spend there worthwhile. So here are a few things I have learned in the past 3.5 years. Please feel free to share your ideas as well.


#1 Participate! The key to success in networking is allowing others to get to know you. That means responding to posts you have an interest in as well as posting items of interest to women.

2. Ask questions! If you have a challenge, need or concern, use your network to seek guidance. With the number of members in this network, there is certain to be someone who can help you.

3. When you post a new topic, please include a specific topic or brief description in the subject line. That way, only those interested will read and respond. It will also endear you to the members because they will know you care enough about them to not waste their time by making them read items that they have no interest in.

4. The length of the message is not as important as the details necessary to get your point across. Given our limited time, IMHO the best posts are those that "get to the point" early in the conversation. Exceptions are when you are selling something. People ask me all the time how long a sales page should be and I have learned from many experts that it depends. It depends on what you are selling, how much it costs, who you are selling to and a number of other factors. Your message should be as long as it needs to be to "tell the story."

5. If you want to post an article that pertains to a specific topic, please post the first paragraph and a link to read the rest of the article. Also, be sure to give proper attribution to the author of the article, especially if the author is you:).

6. Create a signature line to use with your posts. Something that tells us about you or displays your websites. Give people a reason to click on the links. Hint: when you include the http:// in the URL it makes the link clickable on the page.

7. Say hello to other members of the network by stopping by their RYZE (or other Network) page and signing their guestbook.

8. Be open, listen and read other posts and respond in a positive way. I have seen Negativity MULTIPLY on other boards, leading to hurt feelings and withdrawal (or even banishment) from the boards. My grandmother use to say “You attract more flies with honey than vinegar” words I live by and try to model each and every day.

9. Posting MLM opportunities – I have not problem with MLM opportunities, many of them are worthwhile and have made people very wealthy. However, this board is not the place for recruiting your downline. If you want to share a tip that helps other MLM folks, it is welcome. However anything deemed inappropriate will be quietly removed. RYZE has many other networks devoted to Network Marketers. HER Mastermind Network is for learning, sharing, and connecting with other women.

10. When someone on the network has done something nice for you or provided a great service, feel free to thank them publicly. Let us know who you do business with and help promote one another in a positive and supporting way. You will be a hero in there eyes (and ours).

11. Lurking is encouraged here. Until you feel comfortable getting to know the members and the “attitude” of our network, feel free to lurk. However, if you want to get known quickly, the best way is to jump in with both feet and get involved. It is remarkable how much more you will receive out of your membership once you engage in the conversations.

12. Stay on topic. If the post is about relationships, and you have something to add to the conversation, please do. I have seen people “hijack” conversations by changing the topic in midstream, which can demonstrate to others a lack of respect for the poster. If you want to change the subject, please start a new thread.

13. Introduce yourself. After visiting a lot of members it seems they have very little information about them on their RYZE home page. Which means we don’t know if you are married, single, have children or pets, what your hobbies are, etc. The best way to develop rapport and build a relationship is to share personal tidbits over time about yourself. Feel free to include those tidbits here. Let us know what you do professionally and personally.

14. Get organized and keep track of where you are posting by making a folder to store those valuable responses, and keep track of which networks regularly visit. (Submitted by Susan Anderson)

15. Some networks require you to post in certain threads only. You can save those posts as FAVORITES on your computer and then when it is time to post to that thread you have it as a favorite and don't have to look for that thread when you need it. (Submitted by Kimberly "the Eagle" Motivator)

16. Appreciate diversity. Many of us come from different walks of life--some from different countries and I believe we can all learn something from each other. If we feel uncomfortable branching out and getting to know others because they look different, we may be missing out on a grand opportunity (Submitted by Beverly Mahone)

17. Connecting with people via private message is a good way to network if; you are truly looking to expand your circle, you have something to offer and it is clearly stated in the message. In the book "Never Eat Alone" Keith Ferrazzi makes a point of always telling folks what's in it for them before he EVER asks something of them (except a meeting). He makes the offer almost irresistible by doing research on his prospects to find out what hot buttons they are most likely to respond to. (Thanks to Martin Russell for initiating a conversation resulting in this tip)

I also suggest you check out the Frequently-Asked Questions page on Ryze for more ideas -

If you have questions about RYZE that the FAQ page does not answer you can also contact and ask them!

Building trust takes a lot more time in an online networking environment. You will see the same people posting week after week and month after month. They do this because they know participating on a regular basis helps the members to get to know them. Be one of them and let the other members get to know, like and trust you!

Wishing you a terrific day... and then some!


Heidi Richards, Founder & CEO - The WECAI Network™

Sunday, June 3, 2007

1st Fridays Goes Verbal (Networking That is!)

"The successful networkers I know, the ones receiving tons of referrals and feeling truly happy about themselves, continue to put the other person's needs ahead of their own." Bob Burg

The second 1st Fridayz™ was another success! Women (and men) from around the world participate in the 36 hour networking event both via our email listserv and in the Web Conference Room. And there was more! In addition to the two previous ways to network our guests could connect with one another in the conference room via a telephone bridge line AND if they chose, they could listen to our conversations via streaming audio.

A GREAT BIG thank you to Roy Montero, The SEO Guy and President of Verbal Networking™ for providing the Conference Room, the bridge line and streaming Audio for our “live” meetings. He made it possible to offer networking options to our guests. And a special thank you goes to Katherine Reschke for helping to put it all together!

Everyone who participated will receive a contact book of each of our guests and will be eligible for inclusion in our 1st Fridayz™ Yearbook of Networkers (a compilation of attendees from all the 1st Fridayz™ events.

In addition, during the event, we shared
The WECAI Network™ new promotional video. Again our thanks go to Roy Montero for posting the video on Google Video for us. You can see the video on The WECAI Network™ site at: or you can watch it on Google at:

Be sure and check out one of our other networking and learning events -
eWednesday Chats
! You can review the upcoming schedule and sign up for them at

I cannot wait until July 6th to do it all again!

Looking forward to meeting more women and men in the coming days, weeks and months.

Warmest regards,

Heidi Richards, Founder & CEO

The WECAI Network- "Helping Women Do Business On and Off the WEB"