Does Business Networking Have a Place in Formal Education?

In this short video, presented by Applied Transformation, Inc., Roger Green asks me about my view on the idea that high cost education doesn’t necessarily prepare students for the real world.

In answering him, I talk about my feelings on where business networking fits into the world of formal education and I share some statistics about the true effectiveness of networking which, to me, are mind boggling; I also tell a personal story about having lunch with the Dean of Business at a prominent university and how his words to me speak volumes about the current position business networking holds in the world of higher learning.

What are your personal feelings on where business networking currently fits into, or currently should fit into, the world of formal education?  Did you study business at the university level?  If so, what was your experience?–Did you receive any education about networking while you were working on your degree(s)?  Please share your thoughts/experiences in the comments section.

Survey Says: Summarized Conclusions about Business Networking & Gender

What have my Business Networking and Sex co-authors and I concluded after 12,000 individual surveys, almost 1,000 comments and stories, numerous interviews, months of research, and years of experience?  Below is a recap of the facts we uncovered.

Study Findings, Summarized

  • Men and women were closer together than we expected in most areas.
  • However, the perception of the difference is very dramatic.  Remember: The exception becomes the perception.
  • Women feel that networking has played a slightly larger role in their success than men.
  • Women use a much wider variety of techniques to learn their networking skills than men do.
  • Men are more likely to focus on business first than women are.  Women are a little more likely to focus on building the relationship first–then the business.
  • The time of day for networking was not a big issue for either gender.  This was a surprise to us.
  • Family obligations were more of a problem for women.
  • Women definitely did not feel as safe as men in attending evening events.
  • Men preferred either a structured or unstructured networking event.  Women felt okay with either.
  • Both men and women felt that other people were more uncomfortable networking than they felt about it themselves.
  • Men felt stronger about transactional aspects of networking.  Women felt stronger about relational aspects of networking.
  • Men spent a little more time networking.
  • Women received a higher percentage of their business from networking than men.
  • The more time either men or women spent in their networking efforts, the higher the percentage of business they generated.
  • The more often people used systems to track their business from networking, the more likely they were to feel that networking played a role in their success.

Men and women are not so different in the success they desire in business and networking.  However, the process, the mindset, and the way of making the results happen are very different.  The reason is that we have different ways of viewing the world.  Some of this comes from nature and some from nurture.  What it means is that if we want to be more effective, we must learn how to respect, appreciate, and embrace one another’s differences.  We must understand that we can work more effectively together as a team in business and in our networks.  We just need to learn to be adaptable, empathetic, sensitive, and understanding that THEY are not you.

You can and will beat the odds.  The exception doesn’t have to become the perception.  It can be you! 

Come back next week for some advice from the whole team of Business Networking and Sex co-authors–these tips will help you achieve your highest potential when it comes to networking and guide you into your brightest future in referral marketing.

My ‘Business Networking and Sex’ Epiphany

In this video, Hazel Walker, one of my Business Networking and Sex co-authors, asks me what I learned from the research we conducted for the book and, specifically, what my biggest epiphany was.

I explain the answer that really blew me away and caused me to come to a major realization when I was interviewing someone prior to writing the book.  I’m telling you, no matter how much you may learn about networking, there’s always more to learn!

Audit Your Activities — “Navigating the VCP Process(R) to Networking” Series

TR Garland (pictured with me in the photo below) is a friend of mine and co-author of one of my most recent #1 best-selling books called “Building The Ultimate Network.”  He’s also considered a top trainer for the Referral Institute. 

For some time now, we’ve both observed a need to drill down on one of the most important and foundational concepts to networking – The VCP Process®.  Five months ago, we started a much-anticipated 12-part monthly series of blog posts which addresses this and contains some very timely information for networkers across the globe.  Today, we’re proud to share with you Part 5 of the series.  Enjoy.

 

AUDIT YOUR ACTIVITIES
(Part 5 of 12 of the “Navigating The VCP Process® To Networking” Series)

In Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 , and Part 4 of this series, we introduced and re-introduced the concept and steps of The VCP Process® to Networking for our readers through brief anecdotes, relevant comparisons, and sometimes even humorous situations.

Today, we’d like to share with you one laser-focused Power Habit that you can use on a weekly basis to increase the number of referrals you receive. And, that Power Habit is based upon the following underlying Success PrincipleIt’s not always about the ACT of the ACTIVITIES that one should focus on. It’s the ANALYSIS of those ACTIVITIES that produces your greatest results.

A close friend of ours, Jim Cathcart (www.Cathcart.com), is listed in the professional Speaker Hall of Fame and is a very well-known author and speaker on the topic of Sales.  In fact, for 3 years in a row Jim has been selected as one of the Top 5 Speakers on Sales & Service.  So, I guess what we’re saying is that we believe “Jim knows his stuff!”  And in a recent conversation, he said: “Things that are measured tend to improve.”

It got us thinking that nothing could be truer, especially in the process of getting referrals.  Many networkers actually become Referral Institute clients because they want the trainers to hold them accountable for their weekly actions so that they get improved results.  We actually steer them towards an amazing online referral tracking tool called Relate2Profit (www.Relate2Profit.com) to help them hold themselves accountable.  But for today’s conversation, let’s take baby steps.  Let’s talk about something you can do with tools you already have at your disposal…a pen and your Daily Planner.

Our focus is measuring your weekly activities and how they relate to moving people in your network through The VCP Process® all the way from Visibility through Credibility to Profitability.

Here are the recommended steps:

  • First thing every Monday morning block off 5 minutes.
  • Write down the names of 5 people who you want passing you steady referrals.
  • Next, in your Daily Planner block off a 2 minute segment of time for each of the 5 days of the week.
  • Then, during each of those separate 2 minute segments choose 1 of the 5 people who you want passing you steady referrals.
  • Finally, TAKE ACTION by doing something to help YOU move that person (who YOU chose) through The VCP Process® to networking on your behalf.

For example, if you are only at Visibility with 1 of those 5 people, what can you do in those 2 minutes to help you move to Credibility with them?  Or, if you are only at Credibility with 1 of those 5 people, what can you do in those 2 minutes to help you move to Profitability with them?

At a loss for ideas on what you can do in 2 minutes to help compel someone to pass you referrals?  Here’s a brief list of activities that you might want to consider:

  • Search the web for an article relevant to their professional (or personal) goals and email it to them.
  • Go to their Facebook timeline or LinkedIn profile and comment on one of their recent posts to show that you care about what they care about.
  • Send them an email acknowledging that you’re aware of who an ideal client is for them…and let them know you’ll continue to be on the lookout.
  • Call them up and invite them to accompany you on a meeting you already have scheduled with a prospective client of yours.

As noted above, this is a recommended series of actions that we suggest you implement on a weekly basis.  If you do, the COMPOUND EFFECT of these weekly Power Habits will deliver you massive results in the medium and long term with your business relationships.

If this seems too simplistic to you right now, please take special note of the following.  In a recent survey over a 12 week period, when asked if they REGULARLY dedicated just 2 minutes for each of the 5 days of the week to perform ANY of the above recommended actions towards staying “top of mind” with prospective Referral Sources…less than 50% of the respondents reported that they did not.

This means that people have identified key Contact Sphere Professionals who should be passing them referrals.  BUT, they go weeks and weeks without performing small actions to compel these people to pass them referrals or even to stay top of mind!

Where would you fit into this survey?

In closing, we’d like to recommend you consider that the above Power Habit that can be performed is actually only 15 minutes of your work week.  If you work a standard 40 hour week, it’s less than 1% of your time investment for that week.  We believe that there should be no excuse for not dedicating 1% of your work week to “staying top of mind” with prospective Referral Sources.  Do you agree? 

We thank you for reading today’s post and extend an invitation to be on the lookout for next month’s contribution to this series – Part 6 called “The ABC’s of Business Networking”.

Success: The Uncommon Application of Common Knowledge

In this short video by Applied Transformation, Inc., I talk to Roger Green about how I came up with the idea that success is the uncommon application of common knowledge, and explain why I’m such a firm believer in the concept.

If you aren’t buying it just yet, think about this . . . everyone I interviewed some years ago about the secret to success–from Buzz Aldrin, to Erin Brockovich, to average businesspeople, to undergraduate college students–all gave me almost the exact same answer.  So, if we all know what it takes to be successful, then why is it that we aren’t all as successful as we’d like to be?

What’s your take on the secret to success?  Is your recipe for success the same as the answer I heard repeated from each person I interviewed, or do you have different ideas about how success is achieved?  Please leave your thoughts in the comments section.

People Hate to Network… Not!

I was recently contacted by a reporter from a major U.S. national newspaper who said:

“I was wondering if you might be able to point me in the direction of some research that says that many people don’t like networking?  I see that concept cited all over the web, but I can’t find anyone who has actually conducted a survey or done some sort of study to back it up.”

I sent her the chart in this blog, which comes from the research I did for the book: Business Networking And Sex, (not what you think).   She was very surprised by these results.  She said that she had always heard that people didn’t like to network and so she assumed it was true. 

As you can see in the graph, over 57% of the respondents were comfortable or loved to network!  Only 37% or just somewhat comfortable networking and less than 6% were uncomfortable or did not like networking.  This is substantially different than the impression the news reporter had about the process.

I think there may be two reasons why she may have believed that most people don’t like to network. 

  1. The “proximity effect.”  People tend to take on some of the beliefs of people that they hang out with.  Newspaper writers ‘tend’ to be around other writers and editors.  They generally do not hang out with sales people and entrepreneurs.  However, it is the small business person that is out there selling and networking.  The writer is writing about people she doesn’t tend to be with all the time and may get a point of view about networking from other people – not entrepreneurs.
  2. The “I’m better at this than others effect.” One of the things we learned in doing the research for this book was that most people think “they” are better at networking than “other” people.  This tends to create a belief that other people may not like it because they surely are awkward and poor at it (more to come on a future blog about this topic).

The bottom line is that the majority of business people do like to network or are somewhat comfortable networking.  It is a powerful way to generate business and it sure is a whole lot more interesting that cold-calling!

How about you – do you hate to network, love to network, or something in between???

Video: Finding It Hard to Relate & Connect When Networking with Shy People?

A couple weeks back, I posted a video featuring top tips on overcoming your own shyness when networking.  The video featured a good friend of mine, Tara Schmakel, who is an expert on overcoming shyness as she herself was once very shy and is now known as “The Once Timid Networker.”

If you view yourself as being the definition of a gregarious extrovert, chances are that you noticed the video blog post and didn’t pay much attention because you thought the topic of timid networkers didn’t really apply to you.  However, there’s an aspect of the topic you may not be thinking about–even if you’re not shy yourself, if you don’t know how to effectively connect with other networkers who are on the timid side then you really aren’t an effective networker.

This is why I’m posting today’s video which features Tara and offers important insights into how to network and make connections with other networkers who are much more introverted and shy than you are. 

This is definitely one video worth watching–Tara offers some extremely valuable advice on how to effectively connect with timid networkers and, I’ll admit, she taught me a few very important things that never even occurred to me before about what to do and what not to do when it comes to gestures and approach.

After watching the video, I highly encourage you to check out more of Tara’s content by visiting her website: www.TheOnceTimidNetworker.com.

Networking in Thailand, Malaysia, or Japan?–Dos and Don’ts to Note

Understanding cultural differences when doing business and networking around the world is  becoming increasingly important in this global society (click here for an explanation).

On a related note, I posted a blog entry a few weeks ago outlining valuable tips from top networking experts in China and Vietnam which will help people traveling to those countries to position themselves for the most successful outcome when networking and doing business there.  I promised that I would revisit the topic of what to do when preparing to network in Asia by posting another blog specifically offering advice on networking in Thailand, Malaysia, and Japan–today I am following through with that promise.

Thai and Malaysian business networking expert Avryl Au (pictured above) has a number of important recommendations for networking and conducting business in Thailand and Malaysia:

  • When doing business in Thailand, they do not shake hands.  Instead, they put their hands together (palm to palm) and place them just in front of their face, close their mouth, and bow slightly.  It is acceptable for foreigners to do the same.
  • In Malaysia, Au says that the handshake is the official way to greet, but after that you put your right hand on your heart.  Westerners generally have a firm handshake.  However, in Malaysia the handshake is generally softer.  This is not a sign of weakness.  It is simply the cultural norm.  Again, foreigners may do the same.

Asato Ohno (pictured below), one of Japan’s leading experts on networking says, “One big difference between the Japanese culture and Western business culture is an activity the Japanese call ‘nominication,’ which means drinking communication.”  According to Ohno, “In order to build any kind of meaningful business relationship with your associates, you must go out for dinner and drinks.”

While this concept is not foreign in Western business culture, it is something that is much, much more important in Japan.  Ohno says, “People believe they can build deeper relationships with others more quickly by drinking together.  It is almost like having casual one-to-one meetings regularly.  Therefore, it is important for any business person to prepare and to plan for ‘nominication’ sessions in order to be successful.”

Finally, exchanging business cards is an essential part of most cultures.  In most Asian countries, after a person has introduced him or herself and bowed, the business card ceremony begins.  In Japan, this is called meishi The card is presented to the other person with the front side facing upwards toward the recipient.  Offering the card with both hands holding the top corners of the card demonstrates respect to the other person.

The business card is admired much more in Asian culture than it is to us here in Western society.  It is truly an extension of the individual and should always be treated with respect.  Things like tucking it into a pocket after receiving it, writing on it, bending or folding it in any way, or even looking at it again after you have first accepted it and looked at it are not considered polite and can insult your fellow Asian networker.

So, with that last recommendation, I think I’ll grab some business cards, set a reservation at a local restaurant, contact some business associates, and start a little nominication of my own. Cheers.

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