Conscious Men

Good friends of mine, Dr. John Gray (the author of Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus) and Arjuna Ardagh, have recently released their newest novel, Conscious Men. This wonderful book highlights me, and the story of BNI, in numerous places throughout, and I’m honored to have been mentioned in their latest work. My “Village People story” and the “story of Bob” are both highlighted in this book.

To get a copy of the book, visit the promotional website here.

Check out this week’s video blog, featuring both John and Arjuna, by clicking on the graphic above, or clicking here.

Three Essential Questions to Ask When Looking for Networking Events

ID-100303851Attending enough and the right events for networking your business can be hard. How do you know which events will be a waste of your time, and which will benefit you in the long run?

Figuring out a plan to help you pick the right events is an important step to making sure you’re not wasting time. While you have to spend a few minutes up front, you’ll save hours in time that you won’t spend at events that won’t benefit you.

To develop this plan, you should ask yourself three questions:

  1. Who are my best prospects?
    Yes, you really do need to ask yourself this. Believe it or not, it is more common for people not to know. This is a prime reason why businesspeople waste their time attending every networking event under the sun – they just don’t know who they want to do business with. One you nail down your prospects and the types of people who tend to work well for you, you can move on to the next question.
  2. Where can I meet my best prospects – or people who will introduce me to my prospects?
    If your business is geared toward a specific type of person, some events will be more effective uses of your time than others. If your business is geared toward executives at large businesses, attending a Chamber mixer after-hours is a waste of time – these people probably won’t be there. Nail down where your ideal prospects go, and attend those types of meetings.
  3. Who, exactly, do I want to meet?
    You don’t know who other people know, and guessing would be a waste of your time. So, to best get in contact with the people you need, you need to know how to describe them. If you can tell your contacts what kind of consumer you’re looking for, in as much detail as possible, you’ll be able to get connected easier.

These three steps are detailed fully in “Avoiding the Networking Disconnect: The Three Rs to Reconnect,” my most-recent book with Brennan Scanlon.

Who are your best prospects? Where are you meeting them? Share your tips in the comments below!

The Power to Get Things Done

thepowerHow often do you hit a slump in productivity? Worse, how often do you know what you should be doing, but then fail to do it regardless? It happens to the best of us, but the good news is that this is entirely avoidable.

Steve Levinson, PhD, and Chris Cooper recently released a book titled The Power to Get Things Done, and in it, they tackle how to turn your good intentions into actions and ultimately results.

This is one of those books that I stand behind, because I really believe that strong businesspeople can benefit from the tools to help follow through. As I said in my foreword for the book, the ability to turn good intentions into action is one of the most valuable assets that anyone who is serious about achieving their goals can have.

For me, the most impactful tips of the book are the keys to maintaining follow-through mastery. Everyone has done it at least once – you work hard to perfect your ability with something, you reach a level where you are satisfied, and then immediately stop practicing because you reached what you saw as the pinnacle. The thing with skills, though, is that you lose your ability when you stop practicing, or striving for better. What this book teaches is to always have goals in mind, and to always strive for your goals – both valuable suggestions to all business professionals.

The Power to Get Things Done was recently released and is available on Kindle or in paperback.

What goals do you consistently set for yourself to help keep your productivity up? Share with me in the comments below!

Does Your Business Card Take Care of Business?

Earlier this week, Danealle Marshall of a BNI chapter out of Orlando, Florida, BNI Gold Partners, reached out to me via Twitter to ask a great question that a lot of business professionals will face during their career.

I love this question. Why? As I often say, giving out and receiving business cards is an extremely powerful part of connecting with new contacts. That being said, sometimes your business card can be what sparks someone’s memory of you. Why wouldn’t you want yours to stand out?

In 2003, I released a book with Candace Bailly and Dan Georgevich titled “It’s In the Cards!” In this book, we discuss the powerful tool that is your business card, and how so many people may be under-utilizing this networking tactic.

ID-100275566To answer Danealle’s question, and to build off of some of the ideas we published over a decade ago in the aforementioned book, here are four things that I have seen in my years in business that have really elevated some business cards.

  1. Mix up the orientation. It is such a small change, but making your business card vertical instead of the more traditional horizontal orientation can really help it stand out. People receive and look at innumerable horizontal business cards on average, but you are likely able to remember the last time you saw a vertical card.
  2. Utilize graphics. And no, I don’t just mean your company’s logo. If you include your Twitter handle, consider using the Twitter bird logo instead of using the word “Twitter” on your card. Another option, though use with caution, is including your picture. This can work, but only if the rest of your card is completely spot on and has more of a creative feel. I recommend this more for marketing agencies, or those more right-branded ventures.
  3. Color your card accordingly. Have you ever heard that fast food companies frequently use red and yellow in their logos because these colors subconsciously promote hunger? Think about your product, and about your brand, and if you choose to use color on your cards (which I recommend to at least do minimally), use a color that conveys what you want contacts and consumers alike to associate with your brand.
  4. Consider your company and alter your card accordingly. I’ve seen some very cool cards that really cater to what services or goods a company provides, but I will warn that these can get costly. I’ve seen a video company with cards shaped like a clapboard, and a software engineer whose cards looked like HTML coding. Where this gets ineffective is where you take it too far – bakeries should steer away from an edible business card, despite the appeal.

Have a question you want me to answer in a future blog post or podcast? Write me at AskIvan@bni.com to submit your questions.

The Top 4 Reasons You’re Avoiding Networking

41xThu+7htL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ (1)Late September 2015, Avoiding the Networking Disconnect: The Three R’s to Reconnect, my new book co-authored with Brennan Scanlon was released to the public. So many business people walk into a networking event with the intention to sell, and they never are trying to buy. When you’re in a room full of people, all trying to sell their products and services, but nobody is buying, this is essentially the networking disconnect.

Along with explaining this disconnect, and many other topics, Brennan and I also go into the top four reasons most business people avoid networking. To learn more about connecting over disconnecting, be sure to pick up a copy of our book.

 

Lack of Confidence

Many people fear not being able to contribute in a networking setting. More confident and experienced networkers can intimidate newbies in the crowd. Fear of rejection and an apprehension toward new contacts can also hinder one’s confidence in the networking arena.

These are all mindsets. So many businesspeople identify as an introvert, but are able to get themselves out of their own heads and put themselves out there in the name of building their business.

 

Being Too Busy

No matter what business you are in, sometimes it can just feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day. With work, your family, and your friends, do you really have time for any more commitments? Especially something as trivial as networking? You might think no, but the answer is yes, you should! If you want your business to grow, you’ve got to make time for networking.

We all have 24 hours in a day, and seven days in a week. People who seem like they have everything balanced simply don’t have more time in the day than you do, they just prioritize things more than you do. People will always, 100 percent of the time, make the time to do what is important to them. Make networking and growing your business one of those priorities.

 

Impatience

Networking is like farming, because it is about cultivating long term relationships to help your business grow. There is some, but minimal, immediate return on your time investment, but any large reward will take a while to begin rolling in. You need to dedicate the time to build your relationships so that your contacts trust you and are more willing to help you. Don’t let impatience get in your way of growing your business.

 

Lack of Understanding

Despite all the obvious pros to networking, there is still so much misunderstanding about the true gain to be had here. Many believe networking is about selling, which goes right back to our networking disconnect. Networking is something that you do with people, not to people. Walking up to someone and introducing yourself and asking to do business with them is not networking, it is direct selling, plain and simple. Understanding what networking is and how to do it effectively is step one of the journey.

 

Leave me a comment in the field below if you are guilty of avoiding networking. What are you going to do to turn that around?

A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea

Throughout my years in networking, I have worked and connected with countless amazing businesspeople. I have seen successful business campaigns, and I have seen drives that could have used a little more planning. After seeing all ends of the spectrum, it is gratifying when a close friend takes a leap and succeeds.

Go-Giver-Print-flatBob Burg, whom I have known for more years than I could count, recently re-released his wildly successful The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea. Co-authored between Bob and John Mann, The Go-Giver focuses on the story of Joe, a young businessperson, who is trying to make his way in his field and searching for success. Despite being ambitious and working hard, Joe isn’t getting the results he wants. While working with The Chairman, his mentor, Joe beings meeting Go-Givers, whom are friends of The Chairman. Here, he learns the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success: The Law of Value; The Law of Compensation; The Law of Influence; The Law of Authenticity; and The Law of Receptivity.

After selling over 500,000 copies, Bob went back and expanded on his powerful novel and released the new edition earlier this month. The Go-Giver closely aligns with many of the core philosophies that I have encouraged over the decades, and Bob himself is the embodiment of ‘Givers Gain®.’ After reading both versions, I can say that the expansion truly adds another dimension to the work, with a new introduction, foreword, author Q&A, and discussion topics, so even if you have already read the original release, take some time to pick up a copy of the 2015 re-print. Click here to get your copy.

Have you read The Go-Giver? How do you use the principles expressed in the book everyday for your business?

Talking to Crazy

A good friend of mine, Dr. Mark Goulston, is preparing for the publish of his new book, Talking to Crazy. This book deals specifically with handling those irrational people in your life, whom we all have one or two of.

Talking to CrazyWhen you are networking, you are sure to run into a difficult person from time to time. Oftentimes, the way businesspeople deal with these irrational people can make or break their relationship with not just that individual, but with others as well. Think about it, if you were to watch someone get openly and outwardly frustrated with a difficult person, would you want to connect with either individual? Probably not.

After reading the book myself, I have to say that it is a great resource to help improve everyone’s patience. Whether it’s in our personal life, our work environment, or during our day-to-day activities with the general public, all too often we talk to someone and find ourselves shaking our heads and thinking, ‘This person is crazy!’ But now, with this breakthrough book, Mark has given us the ultimate key to finally understanding how to make sense of the ‘crazy’ and effectively handle the irrational people in our lives. Simply brilliant!

Mark’s prior book, Just Listen, became a chart-topper upon its release, as well. This book is all about learning how to listen to others – not just in professional environments, but in personal life as well. I highly recommend in, as well.

Right now, Talking to Crazy is available for pre-order, but it will officially launch on October 15.

How social is your social network?

relationshipsIn my video blog two weeks ago, The Six Degree Myth and the 29 Percent Solution, I discussed the inspiration for the book that I co-wrote with Michelle Donovan, The 29% Solution. After watching the vlog, one reader brought up an interesting point, and I would love to discuss it further.

Social media changes the game of networking, but not really how you might think. A common social networking misconception is that the number of people that you are connected with online is directly related to the number of people that you truly have a connection with in your day to day life. When widely known networking theories are applied to social media, results can vary.

This is because studies relating to social media connectivity, in this case referring to a study done by Facebook in 2011 which attempts to recreate Stanley Milgram’s Six Degrees of Separation experiment via Facebook, have one fundamental flaw.

These studies assume, and rely on the possibility, that a connection on Facebook is the same to an actual, real life relationship. I have 5,000 connections on my Facebook page. This doesn’t mean that I have 5,000 people that I know well enough to ask for a favor, or that they would actually do it for me if I asked. Facebook has essentially redefined what a “friend” is so that any contact on a profile is considered a legitimate, personal relationships. According to the Dunbar Study, the true number of contacts that one person can have meaningful relationships with is around 150, and naturally this varies from person to person.

That being said, with social media, and in our day-to-day lives as well, it is not the number of links, but the quality of links that makes a difference in our networking attempts. The purpose of The 29% Solution was to explain what things I thought anyone could do to be part of the percentage of people with close, meaningful connections.

What do you think? How has social media changed how you connect with others? Share with me in the comments section below.

The Six Degree Myth and the 29 Percent Solution

So often in networking, people reference the Six Degrees of Separation theory, claiming that anyone they wish to get in contact is only six people away.

What many fail to realize, however, is that this theory is a complete myth. Networking doesn’t just happen, and relying on your network to bring you to your ideal client without having to work for it won’t help you succeed. The story of the Six Degrees of Separation theory also leaves out one key element of the actual study. Only 29 percent of the participants in the study were able to connect themselves back to the target in six steps. 71 percent were unable to do it.

This is the basis for my book, The 29 Percent Solution, co-written by myself and Michelle Donovan. After watching this video blog, I encourage you to check out the book to learn a couple of key strategies to really expand upon your network.

What strategies do you use to grow your network? Do you find that the myth of the Six Degrees of Separation actually holds true for you? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

James Barber–“The Networking Guru”

Just last week at the BNI® U.S. National Conference in Savannah, Georgia, I had the opportunity to have a brief chat with James Barber, author of The Networking Guru.  In this video, I ask James to offer a suggestion or two on how networkers can stand out during weekly presentations in their networking group in order to increase their effectiveness at consistently obtaining referrals from their networking partners.

James reveals his top tip for helping your fellow networkers (i.e., your sales team) to focus and really narrow in on how they can refer you, and he tells a powerful story about a North Carolina business woman who used his top tactic and was so successful that he still finds it amazing when he thinks about the results she got.

Watch the video now to learn how you can stand out and be remembered in order to make it easier for those with whom you network to refer you.  I guarantee that if you incorporate James’ advice into your networking presentations and interactions, you will start to see a significant improvment in your referral marketing results and a noticeable increase in the amount of referrals you’re able to generate.

After watching the video, please share your thoughts.  And, if you’ve had previous experience using the tactic we discuss for generating more referrals, I’d love to hear how it worked out for you–please share your story in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

 

Success through Profitability & Abundance

In this brief video filmed at a recent TLC (Transformational Leadership Council) conference, I talk to my good friend Raymond Aaron about our respective contributions to the newly revised version of Jack Canfield’s book THE SUCCESS PRINCIPLES.  

I am beyond honored to have been asked to contribute to the book and, because of that, I wanted my portion of the book to focus on the most valuable, useful, beneficial information I could possibly offer within my field of expertise.   That information is the concept of the VCP Process®–how to build visibility and credibility to ultimately achieve longlasting success through profitability.

Raymond, a world renowned success coach, offers eye-opening information about what blocks us from enjoying success through abundance and how to overcome those road blocks.

Have you read THE SUCCESS PRINCIPLES?  If so, I’m eager to hear your thoughts on the book in general or on a specific section or sections which resonated with you the most.  Please share your thoughts in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

For more information on THE SUCCESS PRINCIPLES, please visit: www.TheSuccessPrinciplesBook.com.

“Glimpses of Heaven on Earth”–Improve Your Business & Your Life

In this video I talk to my friend and fellow TLC (Transformational Leadership Council) member, Martin Rutte about Martin’s new book, Glimpses of Heaven on Earth.

Watch the video now to learn about Martin’s ideas on how we can all focus on ten fundamental values and take small, simple, easy, concrete steps on a daily basis to mold our own life into one that mirrors our individual idea of heaven on earth in all aspects from business to relationships to personal purpose and more.

After watching the video, think about what one action you might take within the next 24 hours to move yourself forward with beginning to implement Martin’s strategy for improving your business and/or life in general.  We’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas so please share them in the comment forum below.  Thanks so much and, as always, thank you for watching!

For more information on Martin and his new book, please visit www.ProjectHeavenOnEarth.com.

 

 

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