Bob Burg

How to Cyber-Influence – Even When You Disagree (by Bob Burg and John David Mann)

Today’s blog is written by an expert on networking and a good friend of mine, Bob Burg. Bob and his co-author, John David Mann are good friends of BNI.

Social media is a fantastic invention that connects and gives a voice to millions of individuals in ways never before possible. It’s exciting just to consider the good that can be accomplished as a range of varying viewpoints communicate and interact without the filter of the usual centralized filters. Imagine the potential for new mutual understanding!

Unfortunately, cyberspace these days is rife with “dialog” that consists mainly of hurled insults between people who may be kind and thoughtful in person, yet who express their opinions online in ways that do nothing but sharpen our differences and divide us further.

Ignorance on Fire

We’ve noticed an interesting correlation in many such attack-style tweets and posts. Those with the strongest opinions and most insulting comments often seem the least informed regarding the issue at hand.

In a way, this makes sense. The more people allow their emotions to control their actions, the less room there is for logic and thoughtfulness. Our guess is that those with the most emotionally charged opinions obtain their information mainly from sources they already agree with: their tribal echo chamber.

While this is natural, that doesn’t make it productive — not for the commenter, the one with whom they’re trading insults, or society at large. Sure, it allows us to feel the righteous indignation of our own convictions, but it generates no new understanding in the process. And it’s hard to feel good about yourself when you’ve been acting thuggish.

There’s a saying in sales, “ignorance on fire beats knowledge on ice.” Maybe so — but ignorance on fire can also be incredibly destructive, especially when it comes to online debate.

It’s All in the Frame

One of the most powerful secrets to effective dialogue is one that so many people today seem to overlook completely: the power of the frame.

“The frame,” as the Judge Henshaw character explains in our book The Go-Giver Influencer, “is more important than the content, because the frame is the context. Whoever sets the frame of the conversation also sets the tone and the direction in which it will go.”

We all set frames constantly, often without realizing it. A smile and an open handshake, versus a scowl and a stern “Now, see here…,” and things have gotten off to a very different start. When your girlfriend or boyfriend texts you and says, “We need to talk…,” the conversation itself hasn’t even started yet, but a frame has been set!

A dog might greet a newcomer by showing his teeth, or his belly. The first sets a frame that says, “I am top dog here, watch it!” while the second says, “I’m a friend, you’ll find no fight here.” We humans do exactly the same thing, only with words, starting a Facebook comment with an antagonistic taunt (“As any idiot knows” or “If you’d just paid attention to what I actually said”), or with a statement of our own vulnerability (“I probably didn’t say that as well as I could have” or “Just to backtrack, it seems like we both agree on X, but where we differ is Y, do I have that right?”)

There are two critical things to know about frames: there is always a frame being set, and no matter what the frame is, it can nearly always be reset. By setting (or resetting) the frame, you set the tone and direction. And here’s the irony: when you set a positive, collaborative frame, while it may appear that you’re showing your soft underbelly, this actually puts you in a position of greater influence.

The Path of Influence

The key here is that tact is not the same thing as compromise. We can always speak tactfully and respectfully to others without compromising our own values. You can disagree without personally attacking the other person. Pay attention to the frame you’re setting, as distinct from the point you want to make.

And before you express your opinion, take the time to learn more about the issue. Even better, study the issue from the opposing side’s point of view. Tune to media outlets with opposing views to yours, not to point out their flaws but to genuinely understand their point of view. As the saying goes, “You don’t truly understand an issue until you can argue both sides.”

We’re not suggesting you’ll necessarily agree with the other viewpoint. We’re saying you’ll come away with a much better understanding — and communicate your own viewpoint far more effectively.

The Go-Giver Influencer

Bob Burg and John David Mann are coauthors of The Go-Giver Influencer. Legendary business coach Marshall Goldsmith says, “This may be the most important Go-Giver book yet—and in today’s polarized world, it could not be more timely.” Download the first two chapters at www.thegogiver.com/tggi.

Shawn Yesner and Tiffanie Kellog

Tips About Asking for Referrals by Tiffanie Kellog and Shawn Yesner

Guest Video Blog:

Tiffanie Kellog, a trainer with Asentiv and author of 4 1/2 Networking Mistakes, interviews Shawn Yesner of Yesner Law in Tampa, FL about asking for referrals.

Are you wondering why you are not getting referrals?
You need to be specific to become terrific. Just like when you order your favorite soda.

Click here to watch the video

Networking for Millennials, by a Millennial

This article is from guest blogger and BNI Executive Director Dana Gallagher.

For the first time in American history, three generations – Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials – all with different work ethics, values, beliefs and experiences are working side-by side.  One generation stands out from the rest because they have become the largest generation in the workforce.  Who are they?  You guessed it… Millennials!

Let’s take a step back. What is a Millennial?  This term refers to the generations born between 1982 and the early 2000’s.  Born in the year 1990, I am proud to say that I, myself am a Millennial.  In this article I will be focusing on how my generation does business, communicates, and networks.

Face-to-face networking will never go out of style.  This leads me to a common misconception; that millennials would rather network with one another via social media than face-to-face. All of my experiences, and everyone I know, have shown this to be the exact opposite. If we had a choice of either type of networking the answer would be face-to-face every time, hands down.  Human interaction is one of the most powerful ways to network and connect with others.

With that being said, getting out to networking events every night and seeing people isn’t always an option.  Lucky for us, we have other means of building relationships when we are unable to meet face-to-face.  So what are some of the other ways we network and how does our different generational attributes effect the way we communicate?

Communication Style:

On a daily basis, I communicate with people approximately ten different ways.  The most common ways are text messaging, group text messages, phone calls, e-mail, Facebook, Facebook group pages, Facebook Messenger, SnapChat, FaceTime, and LinkedIn.  Many other millennials use apps, like GroupMe, Voxer, Twitter, Skype, and Kik as a means to meet and connect with other people.  Wait a minute, why do Millennials choose to use all these ways to communicate?  Simply put, it’s quick, easy, and switching tasks helps hold our interest.

While referring to our communication style, informality is key.  For the most part we find it completely acceptable to reach out to other business associates, bosses, and acquaintances via text, LinkedIn, Facebook messenger, Google hangouts, or whatever else.  As long as we get in touch with the person we need, why does it matter how we do so?
Building Relationships:

After meeting someone at a networking event, wedding, back yard barbecue, or any other get-together, we will most likely friend them on Facebook, add them on SnapChat, follow them on Instagram, connect with them on LinkedIn, or all of the above.  By having so many resources to connect with each other we are able to build relationships faster (from the mass amounts of information online) and keep our relationships longer because of the ease of staying in touch.  I may not see you for two years but I know you have become engaged, bought a house, went on vacation, and adopted a new dog, all because you friended me on Facebook.  In short, it’s easier for millennials to establish long term relationships.

Team Oriented:

We are a generation that prefers to socialize and work in groups because we grew up in an environment that promoted constant team work.  On a daily basis, our school teachers would have us work in groups to accomplish assignments.  When everyone played their part, we learned that by working together we can achieve more, create a better result, and have fun!  Our grade school teaching style fostered the belief that collaboration is the most effective way to get a job done.

One of the reasons that BNI is so great for millennials is that it accomplishes two things at once.  We are able to socialize in a group setting while also building a network of people who can help accomplish one another’s goals by working together as a team.  There is no better support system for a young entrepreneur or business professional than a group of entrepreneurs, professionals, and field experts that can share their best practices and learn together.

Business Focus:

Our generation is pursuing careers for more than a paycheck and rejecting the old school mentality of the more you work, the more you’re worth.  We believe that success is based on efficiency and results, rather than long hours and harder work.  By completing our work quicker, we are able to get more accomplished throughout the day and fulfill our desire to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

The focus on a healthy work-life balance has caused a change in the beginning stages of networking.  Rather than the typical conversation starter, “Tell me about your business,” you are more likely to hear millennials start a conversation off with, “What do you like to do?” or “Tell me about yourself.” Why is that? Well, we’re pickier about the people with whom we do business. Millennials prefer to work alongside people whose values and interests align with their own.

Of course, it goes almost without saying that every person is an individual, so keep in mind that some of the characteristics we’ve discussed may not be applicable to every millennial. However, the information in this article refers to the millennial generation as a whole and the common trends that will help you to network and better communicate with them in professional circles.

 

 

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