How Not to Make a Business Networking Presentation

By Larry Teren

Recently, I sat in on a session where an expert gave out pointers on how to make a quick, but effective introduction of oneself at a business networking confab. She then asked for several volunteers to go up to the front and make a presentation and then be willing to accept criticism.


The ham that I am, I decided to try my act in front of an audience where no one knew me or my reputation for throw-away lines. As I stood up there, I focused on a few faces going back and forth as if I was speaking only to each one at that point in time. I lead with:

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The Life of Riley

For close to twenty years, starting in April 1983, I subleased a small corner office in a CPA firm. Then, a little more than ten years ago, the firm moved to a new location which ended up being about the same mile and a half distance as before from my condo but heading west instead of north. One morning last week I went to the office to check the mail earlier than usual. But that’s basically all I do there now. I gave up the desk space when they made the move.lifeofriley
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Finally, an Award!

The other day, I received an email that stated the following:

“I am pleased to announce that (name of my business) has been selected for the 2011 Best of (village of my business) Award in the Computer Software Consultants category by the US Commerce Association (USCA).

I’m sure that your selection as a 2011 Award Winner is a reflection of the hard work of not only yourself, but of many people that have supported your business and contributed to the subsequent success of your organization. Congratulations on your selection to such an elite group of small businesses.

In recognition of your achievement, a special 2011 Best of (village of my business) Award has been designed for display at your place of business. You may arrange to have your award sent directly to name of business by following the simple steps on the 2011 Best of _______ Award order form. Simply copy and paste this link into your browser to access the order form: ______________ .”
(It lists a website url with special coding at the end to take me to a specific section.)

Now, anyone who follows this blog knows very well that I have been begging for more than recognition and responsive comments, but for an award. But, I was thinking more like PULITZER! Believe me, I have nothing against winning an award- but when I deserve it. It is true that my numbers were up this year compared to the previous year, but then, who’s wasn’t? The economy did come up for air just a teensy bit, right? And I know of a couple of other colleagues situated in the same village who are much larger than my one-man operation and provide great service.

By the way, when you judge the performance of a given year, aren’t you supposed to wait until the entire year is over? This action here in the middle of December is like giving the World Series championship over to the team that manages to win the first two games, figuring the other two must be a cinch.

Anyway, I decided to check out the validity of the link provided without actually clicking on it. I went to two very popular search engines and pasted the link into their search boxes. Nothing showed up- not even close. I then checked the link without the parameters being passed at the end. Again, nothing, nada, zilch.

Obviously, I don’t need to explain that if I had clicked the email-embedded link, it would have probably triggered something unpleasant. I do have a software guard up against such intrusions, but one never can be perfectly safe. Even if it would not have been an opportunity for a viral attack, I suspect that the award would have cost a lot of money. And if it was for an insignificant amount, why should I pay to receive an award? C’mon! When Sally Field spoke, “they really like me!”, she wasn’t saying it if she found out that the Oscar® came along with an invoice.

While attempting to do research on what commerce associations do, I checked to see if the village of my business has a chamber of commerce website. It so happens that there are at least two competing sites that do not seem to recognize the other. I’m thinking of starting a third and handing out my own awards. Uh, can I have your email address and tell me exactly what you do? And have a good day.

The Office of the Self-Employed

By Larry Teren


There is nothing like being self-employed and working from home as long as you can stand the boss, the hours and the lack of benefits.  Continue reading “The Office of the Self-Employed”

Awkward Moments

It’s not easy to write about those awkward moments in life when you’ve been set up to be a sap and you know you had it coming. And it always seems to involve women. The earliest situation I recall was when I was in my very early teens and there was some type of game going on between the kids on both sides of the block. I happened to be outside and one frisky young lady was going around chasing me trying to kiss me. The thing was I happened to like her and wouldn’t have minded it but not in that situation. She and her friends were in on it and had a look in their eyes like they were going to have a big laugh about this after she had planted her pucker on my face. I did the noble thing and ran as quickly as I could into my house.
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