Chernobyl Cheese

Chernobyl Cheese – defined as cheese that can survive a nuclear disaster.

I’ve been wanting to write about my “Chernobyl Cheese” experience for a while now. Since my wife and I are currently working on the final draft of our Misner Plan recipe book, I thought this might be a good time.

Back in 2013, we transitioned from our home in Southern California to a home in Austin, Texas. In late 2014, we moved all of our remaining furnishings out of the Southern California home. I checked the contents of the refrigerator to make sure it was empty. Much to my surprise, I discovered a small, opened (but resealed shut) bag of sliced cheese which had been sitting in the back of a drawer in the refrigerator for a year! An entire year!!! The “sell by” date was September 7, 2013!

I thought to myself, “don’t look at it – it’s going to be a petri dish in a bag.” I need to go out and get an HAZMAT suit before I handle this infectious item. But, I couldn’t help myself, and I peeked. I was expecting to spontaneously utter some line out of Apocalypse Now like… “The horror, the horror.” But, instead, to my surprise – the cheese looked great! Not a single fungal-like substance to be seen. Actually, it looked as fresh as the day we bought it.

How could that possibly be? Real cheese doesn’t hold-up in a refrigerator for a year – even if it is in a zip-sealed bag. The answer – processed food is not real food. It may have some food-like ingredients but it certainly doesn’t behave like real food does. Real food typically doesn’t last in a fridge for more than a year. One of the fundamental elements of the Misner Plan is: “Eat real food.”

For those of you following my journey into health, be on the lookout for our upcoming book: Healing Begins in the Kitchen, which should be released in a few months.

We seriously considered naming the book “Cure Yourself Before You Kill Yourself,” but the lawyers didn’t approve of that title!

I’d love to hear your food- or health-related stories. Comment below.

Halloween

In celebration of Halloween, I’d like to share a “scary” networking experience I heard about from a friend:

 There are many ways that I’ve seen networking partners abuse the relationship, but the following “scary”story is absolutely one of the most glaring examples of this situation. 
 
A woman I know was invited to attend a Halloween costume party of an associate who used to belong to a networking group in which she also participated.  They once had a long-term working relationship, and so out of respect, she decided to dress up and attend.  When she got to the door, she looked through the window and noticed that people were arranged in a semi-circle listening to a presenter in front of an easel board.   When she stepped in, it was very obvious that the “party-goers” were being recruited for a business opportunity.  As resentful as the woman felt, she and other mutual friends found it difficult to remove themselves from the “Halloween party” despite the fact that the only refreshment being served was the company’s pumpkin spice diet shake!  
 
Never, ever mislead your networking partners (for that matter – never mislead anyone).  Trust is everything when you are talking about relationship networking.  Inviting these people to a “Halloween party” which turns out to be a business opportunity is not being honest with the very people with whom you want to build a trusting relationship.
 
All of these faux pas directly relate to good people skills.  The prevailing theme of this ghostly tale is to treat your referral partners (or potential referral partners) with professionalism and care.  Make sure to respond to them quickly, don’t treat a networking opportunity like a cold-call, and don’t abuse a networking relationship.  Instead, treat your referral partner like you would a #1 client.  Use networking opportunities to meet people and begin the process of developing a genuine relationship.  Lastly, always network in a way that builds credibility and trust – be candid in telling your referral partners what you need and what you’re asking of them.  Do these things and you’ll help to avoid some serious mistakes in relationship networking.
 
Happy Halloween!

Battling Millennial Stereotypes in the Workplace

ID-100342595As I announced in my blog last week, for the 2016 International Networking Week, we’re asking that everyone bring a young professional to their networking meeting sometime between February 1 through 5, 2016.

Young professionals and millennials are hitting the job market in masses right now, and there are plenty of misconceptions regarding the age group. They’re lazy, they expect things to be handed to them, they can’t do things the way they have been done before. You name it, someone has said it – not just about them though, but about every generation before them, as well! Older generations always say that the one after them is like this; the only difference with millennials is the use of the internet to spread this.

While the stereotypes about millennials are just that – stereotypes – there are a few codes of conduct that millennials in particular need to be sure to adhere to in order to avoid negative views on them and their generation in the workplace or in business settings.

As if I even need to say it, say please and thank you. Good manners go a long way to establish credibility and a positive rapport with coworkers and contacts. Stand when you’re introduced to a new person, extend your hand for a handshake whether the other person is or not, and ignore the gossip around the office.

In the same vein with good manners, be respectful of others’ time. Never be late. It seems cliché, but people will never notice if you are on time, they’ll notice but say nothing if you’re early, but the moment you’re late, you’ve tarnished your reputation.

Finally, millennials should always be willing to take on additional responsibilities. When your boss or supervisor asks you to do something, always do it with a smile. Even if it is a task that isn’t in your job description, or is something that maybe you’ve never done before, you should always be willing to give something at work your all.

Millennials are fighting an uphill battle to gain credibility – a battle that as a whole the generation can definitely win.

What workplace suggestions do you have for millennials – or, if you are a millennial, what has worked for you? Share them in the comments below!

Classic Video Feature–Networking Faux Pas: Not Following Up

I have been doing video blogs for quite a few years now and a while back it occurred to me that some of the videos I’ve previously posted focus on timeless topics that deserve to be revisited and not buried way back in the video blog archive.  For this reason, I decided to occasionally feature a “classic” video blog from my blog archive and today I am sharing the fourth one–”Networking Faux Pas: Not Following Up”

In this video, I talk about the faux pas which I see happen most out of all the faux pas which can possibly occur in the world of networking.  It also happens to be the faux pas which frustrates me the most (Seriously–it drives me crazy!)–it’s when you give a networking partner a referral and they drop the ball and don’t follow up on it.

Remember, if you aren’t following up when your referral partners call you and/or aren’t following up on the referrals you’re given, you’re not just losing business . . . you’re also losing your credibility and that’s something which is extremely difficult to earn back.  So, for those of us in parts of the world who are currently starting a brand new year, why not make a vow right now to make following up our number one networking priority this year?  I guarantee it will pay off in big ways. 

Have you had an experience where you gave a referral to someone and they didn’t follow up on it?  If so, will you continue to give that person referrals?  Or, have you dropped the ball on following up on a referral before?  If the answer is yes, did you learn a lesson from it?  Please share your experiences in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

It Never Hurts to Ask . . . Right?

How many times have we heard people say that it never hurts to ask? Surely more times than we can count. 

Well, in this video, I explain why it definitely hurts to ask sometimes–especially if you ask to soon!  I share a personal story of a recent time when a stranger contacted me via LinkedIn wanting to connect and accompanied the connection request with a note asking me something which I found inappropriate to the point that I decided right then that I was never even going to consider connecting with her.

Watch the video to hear the story and to find out why I flagged the woman’s LinkedIn request as problematic on three significant levels.  Let me just say that this is ‘Networking 101’ and if I were her teacher, she would have gotten a failing grade–this is not the way to network!  Whether you frequently participate in face-to-face networking, online networking, or both, you’ll definitely want to hear this story so you never make the three mistakes that this woman did.

I’d really love to hear your feedback on this.  What are your thoughts?  Also, please share any similar horror stories you may have in the comment forum below–I’m looking forward to hearing from you.  Thanks!

Facebook

Hey, Facebook, Free Ivan Misner!

Last week, Facebook closed down my personal account as they claimed that I was “impersonating Ivan Misner.”  

While waiting for Facebook to fix this, I began thinking that there just might be an opportunity here to turn “lemons into lemonade.”  Turns out there certainly is such an opportunity.  Austin Coulson (from Riverside California) came up with a great idea. He suggested we create a social media campaign called: “Hey Facebook, Free Ivan Misner.”   We’re hoping this will aid in helping to wrestle back the social media pages that are linked to my account AND serve as a social media boon for us at the same time.  (Thanks, Austin–great idea!)  

Please take five minutes to watch this video and, most importantly, please join the group: “Hey Facebook, Save Ivan Misner” at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/829011050464326/.  I really appreciate you taking the time to help–thank you so much!

[Important Update:  Since this was published, I am very pleased to announce that Facebook has let me out of Facebook Jail!  I have my page back. I want to thank the Facebook employees who helped to make that happen.  I also want to thank the hundreds of people who assisted by joining the “Free Ivan Misner” group on Facebook.  This truly shows the power of a personal network!  Check out the video though – it is pretty funny (in a sad sort of way).]

What Marketing Genius Thought of This?

 

It was 11:30 AM in Paris last Wednesday and Beth (my wife) and I had a lunch meeting that was set for 12 noon with a couple business associates. As we headed out to the curb to get into a taxi in order to drive to the restaurant, we noticed something odd. There were no taxis in the taxi stand in front of our building!

Unbeknown to us, the taxi drivers in Paris, were all on a two-day work stoppage (yes, a strike) in protest of the “Uber” App, (a personal sedan service that can be requested via an app) which has been cutting into their profits, according to the taxi drivers.  Apparently, they are hoping that the French government will ban the use of Uber in France!

We have used Uber with great success in the United States, and had not thought about using the app while here in Paris. It has been so easy, frankly, to just step outside and into one of any number of waiting taxis, that we didn’t need Uber.

But standing on the curb in the quickly intensifying sunshine with little time to spare to get to our appointment, we wondered if there was any chance of using the app now to book a car for our lunch. Beth tapped the app on her iPhone and within seconds we received confirmation that our Uber sedan would be with us in 15 minutes. After only six minutes, the car pulled up on the curb in front of our building.

Anyone who knows me at all, knows that I put a high premium on a company’s ability to under promise and over deliver. They definitely did just that in the humid Paris heat!

As we headed to our lunch meeting, we began talking about the irony of the taxi drivers’ strike actually driving us (pun intended!) into the waiting arms of the very competitor they were protesting! What marketing genius thought of this blunder-head idea!? To me this is the perfect example of something I call the “unintended consequences of a ‘seemingly’ good idea.” Did no one have a conversation about how this would actually play out? Maybe something like – “let’s see, why don’t we go on strike to protest an online application that will – oh, actually force people to use that online application while we’re all sitting at the brasserie enjoying croissants.” Yea, really smart.

Because of their actions, we have now been reminded of how easy and pleasant using Uber is. There is no money to change hands – all payment arrangements are done through the app. We can enter the request for a car while finishing up whatever it is we are doing and then head straight out into the car once we receive the text notification that it has arrived. We can actually watch the progress of the car as a GPS tracker shows an icon for it en route on our Uber app’s map. Even better – the vehicle is very clean and professional (we drove in a Peugeot to the restaurant and in a Mercedes on the way back – AND it was less than a taxi ride!).

I really like the emailed receipt after being dropped off at our destination. It shows what the average speed of the drive was, the duration of the drive and the final amount. Even better is that Uber ROUNDS DOWN to the nearest dollar! I mean, who actually does THAT?

So, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the taxi drivers who held this work stoppage for reminding me how amazing their competitor really is. Talk about the law of unintended consequences! I wonder how many other people took advantage of this strike to become new Uber customers. I can tell you that I will be requesting an Uber car more frequently on this trip now as a result of the strike.

Epilogue – Note to the Paris Taxi Driver’s Association:

Dear Paris Taxi Driver’s Association, the year is 2014. The internet actually exists and will most likely not disappear no matter how often you go on strike. The Genie cannot be put back into the bottle. Rather than try to “ban” a competitor who actually had a good idea – why not create your own app (as some taxi companies around the world have!) and join the rest of us in the 21st century.

Just a thought.

 

 

Are You Unintentionally Abusing Your Relationships?

Many people in the United States are celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday today–a time when we get together with friends and family to celebrate all that we’re thankful for.  In thinking about the things I’m grateful for, the meaningful, trusted relationships I’ve built with so many amazing people around the world throughout my networking career are top of mind.  These relationships are invaluable to me and I know that investing in them and always respecting them is the key to maintaining trust and reaping the maximum benefits from my networking efforts.

In light of this, I thought I’d share this short video where I tell a story about what can happen when people don’t respect their relationships with their fellow networkers.  Abusing the relationship is probably the biggest mistake people can make when networking . . . not following up, confusing networking with direct selling, and premature solicitation are all faux pas when it comes to networking but abusing the relationship is the worst faux pas of all.

The fact is, we all screw up when we first start networking–I know I did!  The ticket to networking success, however, is learning–recognizing what we’ve done wrong so that we can understand how to do it right.

Do you have a story about how you learned from a networking faux pas you made in the past, or from being on the receiving end of someone else’s faux pas? If so, please go to www.SubmitYourNetworkingStory.com and share your story for consideration of inclusion in the upcoming networking book I’m writing with Jack Canfield, and Gautam Ganglani.  Also, I’d love for you to briefly summarize your story in the comment forum below as well.  Thanks in advance for your participation!

Hyper-Active Visibility Is Not a Good Thing!

Years ago, I met a woman who was known as the consummate networker – she had hundreds (if not thousands) of contacts, giving her a wide-ranging network made up of people from all walks of life.  She was well-known as the go-to person if anyone needed anything.  Then, one day during a conversation she and I were having, she dropped a bombshell . . . she said that her networking efforts weren’t really paying off for her.  She went on at some length about all the groups she went to, all the people she met, and how she had made all these contacts and was continuing to make more all the time but wasn’t actually getting any solid business from her efforts.

Why wasn’t she seeing real results?  Because despite her great talent for making contacts and gaining visibility, she was never really getting to the heart of what networking is about–building relationships.  She was so busy running around and making appearances that she wasn’t ever learning how to actually “work” the networks she had built in order to build deep relationships with people and develop credibility with them.

It’s true that she was visible in the community–very visible, actually.  The problem was that she viewed “activity” as an “accomplishment” when it came to her networking efforts.  Her network was a mile wide but only an inch deep.  She had not taken the next, and most important, networking step with the many, many people in her wide-reaching network–she never devoted the time to developing the kind of rapport with any of them that would allow them really get to know her, like her, trust her, and want to pass her business.

I bring this up because I just recently saw the same thing with someone I’ve known for a few years.  He made a consistent habit of going to every single networking meeting/event he could go to and he was incredibly visible.   Not only was he always at networking meetings but he was always full of energy and enthusiasm from the time he arrived to the time he left.  Again, the problem was in no way due to a lack of activity, effort or enthusiasm in regard to putting himself out there and meeting new people; the problem was that he was running around so much that he never stopped long enough to spend the time necessary to establish the kind of long-term roots that lead to an ongoing, reciprocal referral relationship.

If your goal is to significantly grow your business, networking with your main focus being solely to make as many contacts as possible will not help you achieve your aim.  If you’re networking in this way, you’re also guaranteed to get burned out on networking because constantly being on the go and trying to keep track of hundreds of people who you don’t really know is exhausting.  There needs to be a balance between the visibility-creating aspect of your networking efforts and the credibility-creating aspects of your networking efforts.

What are your thoughts on the ideal networking focus/approach?  What do you feel your main networking focus is currently?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and, also, if you know someone with the type of  hyper-visibility networking style I describe in this blog, please share what you’ve observed as far as their networking technique and how you think it has worked out for them.  Thanks!

 

Networking Faux Pas: Not Following Up

In this fourth installment of the Networking Faux Pas Series, I talk about the faux pas which I see happen most out of the faux pas topics I’ve discussed thus far.  It also happens to be the faux pas which frustrates me the most (Seriously–it drives me crazy!)–it’s when you give a networking partner a referral and they drop the ball and don’t follow up on it.

Remember, if you aren’t following up when your referral partners call you and/or aren’t following up on the referrals you’re given, you’re not just losing business . . . you’re also losing your credibility and that’s something which is extremely difficult to earn back.

Have you had an experience where you gave a referral to someone and they didn’t follow up on it?  If so, will you continue to give that person referrals?  Or, have you dropped the ball on following up on a referral before?  If the answer is yes, did you learn a lesson from it?  Please share your experiences in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

Networking Video: “The People in the Room”–Comic Relief with a Powerful Message

Last Thursday I posted a blog in which I explain why confusing networking with direct selling is one of the worst faux pas you can make while networking as it completely undermines any chance you have of being a successful networker.  The fact remains that if your idea of networking is walking around, shaking hands, and closing deals, you are not going to achieve real results or significant business growth from your efforts.

Today, I’d like to share a fantastic new video with you which not only drives home the points I made in last Thursday’s blog but does so in a highly creative, comical, entertaining, and extremely memorable way.  The video is called “The People in the Room” and it is created and produced by Lawrence Conyers of Anson Corporate Media.  Lawrence is a master networker based in the UK who has done several other stellar networking videos in the past.

CharlieLawsonMustardBusinessCard

Watch the video now to find out what happens to a confused networker who thinks the best way to network is to work the room at lightning speed, focused only on giving people his card and asking them to give him a call so they can do business.  After watching the video, you will very clearly see the difference between real networking and trying to meet as many people as possible in order to sell them on your products and services before you even get a chance to learn their name.  You’ll also never be able to forget the importance of remembering to think not only about the people in the room with you at networking events but also about the people they know who may not be in the room.

I think Lawrence absolutely knocked it out of the park with this video–I love it!  What do you think?  Please share your feedback about the video in the comment forum below.

 

 

Networking Faux Pas: Confusing Networking with Direct Selling

In this third installment of the Networking Faux Pas Series, I discuss the danger of confusing networking with direct selling–it is often this specific point of confusion which really causes networking to go all wrong.

If your idea of networking is walking around, shaking hands, and closing deals, you owe it to yourself to watch this quick video explaining what networking is really all about and how to make sure you’re not going about it the wrong way.

If you’ve had experiences with people trying to immediately sell you on their product or service at a networking event, please tell us about it in the comment forum below.  Where were you and what happened?  What was your reaction to the person who was trying to close a deal with you before putting in any effort to get to know you? . . .

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