Networking Archives - Dr. Ivan Misner®
More Business Through Networking

Want More Business Through Networking?

In this classic video, I explain a proven way to get more business through networking.  I also discuss the results from a survey I conducted.

Everyone wants to be successful in or at something in their life. Success is determined largely by hard work, but also by good choices. Everyone feels like they deserve better at some point. Get over it. The most successful people plan their work and work their plan. They put serious effort into making good choices and carrying them through. Therefore, if you spend more time doing one thing, you will get more business through networking.

The Secret to Getting More Business through Networking

I’ve been asked time and time again by people all over the world what I consider to be the secret to getting more business.  I can, without a doubt, say that there is, indeed, one thing you can do to get more business from your networking efforts.  However, do you know what it is?  The answer may surprise you . . .

Watch the video and then take a minute to leave a comment if you have the time . . . I’d love to hear what some of your guesses were in regard to what the “secret” to getting more business through networking was going to be.  Chances are, some of the guesses you came up with are pretty good networking tactics as well and it would be great to get a conversation going about them!

NETWORKS AREN’T FLAT: The Seven Stages of Professional Relationships by Andy Lopata

Today’s guest blog is an extract from Andy Lopata’s book, “Connected Leadership”, about the seven stages of professional relationships.

When we picture a network it’s easy to visualize a flat entity, a single structure comprising all of the people we know. Much network theory focuses on the number of people in the average network, with classic studies such as Girard’s Law of 250(1) and the Dunbar Number(2) often quoted.

In my opinion, both of these studies are flawed. They are flawed in their interpretation: The Dunbar Number was never intended as an indication of the average network size. They are outdated: they were both developed in the last century, well before social media dominated our lives and networks. And flawed in the basic premise: Girard’s Law is based on the observation that the average number of guests at a wedding or funeral is 500. I went to a funeral recently that was described as ‘busy’ and I can promise you that nowhere near 500 people attended.

The way both studies have been used in network theory is the biggest flaw. We have been told that ‘the average network size is 250’ (based on Girard’s Law). Other objections aside, this oversimplifies the nature of a network.

Rather than being a flat structure or simple grouping of contacts, networks are more complicated organisms with people flowing in and out and between various levels. I tend to visualize a network as seven levels of a professional relationship with a group of expanding circles, much like the side section of half an onion.

The Seven Stages of Professional Relationships

Within that network, there are seven levels of a professional relationship:

  1. Recognize
  2. Know
  3. Like
  4. Trust
  5. Support
  6. Advocate
  7. Friend (moving into your personal network) 

 

Towards the center of the network are people you have a lot of time for and want to support. That feeling is likely to be reciprocal and you’d be available whenever the other party needs and, at stages six and seven, actively looking out for each other.

This is what we’d call your trusted network, people you are likely to see day in day out, week in and week out (although absence doesn’t necessarily exclude people from your trusted network).

As you move further out through the layers, the relationship becomes a little less trusted, not as deep. You might see each other less frequently, be less inclined to share openly with each other, or ask for help.

At the outer edges of your network are people who come in and out. If we meet at an event or dinner party I’ll be in your network for a few days. By that, I mean that if we bump into each other or I call you, you will remember me and know who I am. But that link is tenuous. After a few days or weeks, we will probably be strangers again.

Compare this to someone in the center of your network. You could probably go three years or more without speaking to each other but still, pick up where you left off as if no time had passed.

People on the outskirts of your network will come in and out. If you want to embed people in your network, your first challenge is to get beyond that outer circle and into their long-term memory.

 

Andy Lopata‘s book, “Connected Leadership” can be bought from amazon.com at a promotional price of $0.99 TODAY. As Ivan’s readership is global, this page lists the book on all of Amazon domains. 

Staying in Touch With Your Clients

Staying in Touch With Your Clients

Your business thrives by networking. Staying in touch is an important part of the networking process. Networking is much more than making contact with others and getting new business from them. The golden rule of networking is staying in touch with your clients. You strengthen your business relationships by fostering solid relationships with clients.

During “The Great Pause of 2020”, we started working from home. We created a plan to get through this situation with our businesses. Because we could not go to our usual places to network face-to-face with others, we took action and learned how to network online to stay in touch with people. Now, we need to plan on what we are going to do when society returns to the “new normal”. We need to get back in touch with those people that you have not seen or spoken with recently by focusing on strengthening these business relationships.

Here are six ways for staying in touch with your clients and strengthening your business relationships:

Spread out your phone calls.

Regular contact is important right now regardless of the type of relationship with your clients. Two short phone calls are more beneficial than one long call. Each phone call becomes an opportunity to strengthen the relationship and to enhance your credibility.

Schedule the phone calls predictably.

Stay in contact with your clients. Train them to expect to hear from you at certain times. If you usually contact certain customers during the first week of every quarter, they will come to expect it and will budget time for you.

One phone call leads to the next phone call.

Before concluding your telephone conversation, schedule the date of your next phone call. With this commitment, you are more likely to follow through. This practice establishes a chain of contacts, with each phone call leading to the next.

Assume responsibility for your phone calls.

Take the initiative and stay in touch with your customers. When clients do not feel cared for, they are more likely to leave. You are more likely to head off potential problems by staying in touch with them by picking up the telephone and calling them these days.

Invite them to your online networking events.

One way of making sure to stay in contact with your customers is to invite them to join you at your online networking events. This is a great way to introduce your customers to other people.

Stick to your plan for staying in touch with your clients

Occasionally your clients will telephone you. Do not let this interfere with your contact schedule. Do not count it as one of your prescheduled phone calls when they initiate the phone call.

People need their network, now more than ever. Maintain a powerful personal network by telephoning your clients and adopting these tips right now. You will have a stronger business tomorrow because of the actions you take today by staying in touch with your clients.

new normal

How to Network in the New Normal

With so many businesses and entrepreneurs quickly transitioning from face-to-face interactions to digital, networking has completely changed. Instead of meeting people at in-person events or venues, entrepreneurs are now needing to adapt to digital networking. You can continue to grow your social circle despite the current climate when you learn how to network in the new normal. You and your business can continue to network effectively in the new normal by adapting to digital networking

Please enjoy watching this pre-recorded video when I was taking on questions from the Entrepreneur.com audience to clear the air on a few important topics.

As businesses and entrepreneurs quickly transition from face-to-face interactions to digital, the way we network has completely changed. Instead of meeting people at in-person events or venues, entrepreneurs are now needing to adapt to digital networking.

waste of time

Is Your Networking a Waste of Time?

Do you suffer from “butterfly-itis” at the very mention of networking at business functions? If you answered yes, you are not alone. Many entrepreneurs get a bit uncomfortable when it comes right down to walking up to someone and starting a conversation. Many others are concerned about getting effective results from the time they spend networking. Leave out any of these strategies, and your networking is just a waste of time.

My Top Ten Networking Tips:

1. Have the tools to network with you at all times. These include an informative name badge, business cards, brochures about your business, and a pocket-sized business card file containing cards of other professionals to whom you can refer new business.

2. Set a goal for the number of people you’ll meet. Identify a reachable goal based on attendance and the type of group. If you feel inspired, set a goal to meet 15 to 20 people, and make sure you get all their cards. If you don’t feel so hot, shoot for less. In either case, don’t leave until you’ve met your goal.

3. Act like a host, not a guest. A host is expected to do things for others, while a guest sits back and relaxes. Volunteer to help greet people. If you see visitors sitting, introduce yourself, and ask if they would like to meet others. Act as a conduit.

4. Listen and ask questions. Remember that a good networker has two ears and one mouth and uses them proportionately. After you’ve learned what another person does, tell them what you do. Be specific but brief. Don’t assume they know your business.

5. Don’t try to close a deal. These events are not meant to be a vehicle to hit on businesspeople to buy your products or services. Networking is about developing relationships with other professionals. Meeting people at events should be the beginning of that process, not the end of it.

6. Give referrals whenever possible. The best networkers believe in the “givers gain” philosophy (what goes around comes around). If I help you, you’ll help me and we’ll both do better as a result of it. In other words, if you don’t genuinely attempt to help the people you meet, then you are not networking effectively. If you can’t give someone a bona fide referral, try to offer some information that might be of interest to them (such as details about an upcoming event).

7. Exchange business cards. Ask each person you meet for two cards-one to pass on to someone else and one to keep. This sets the stage for networking to happen.

8. Manage your time efficiently. Spend 10 minutes or less with each person you meet, and don’t linger with friends or associates. If your goal is to meet a given number of people, be careful not to spend too much time with any one person. When you meet someone interesting with whom you’d like to speak further, set up an appointment for a later date.

9. Write notes on the backs of business cards you collect. Record anything you think may be useful in remembering each person more clearly. This will come in handy when you follow up on each contact.

10. Follow up! You can obey the previous nine commandments religiously, but if you don’t follow up effectively, you will have wasted your time. Drop a note or give a call to each person you’ve met. Be sure to fulfill any promises you’ve made.

The process doesn’t have to be traumatic, scary, or a waste of time. When done properly, it can truly make a difference in the amount of business your company generates. With the right approach, you can use it to build a wealth of resources and contacts that will help make your business very successful.

net

Networking on the Net

Are you suffering from “networking withdrawal”, missing networking at business functions? If you answered yes, you are not alone. In only a few short weeks, an entire technology, vocabulary, culture, and virtual marketplace have been born. Cyber entrepreneurs, online customers, and a whole new net economy have evolved at a blinding speed.  It is no wonder so many business owners are at a loss about what to do and how to do it when it relates to the Internet and their business. The net is to the world what the printing press was hundreds of years ago. It is to the world what radio and television were only decades ago. The Internet has opened doors and opportunities these days in a way beyond anything that has preceded it.

The Internet is an excellent vehicle for networking via social media and “Zoom Room” communities. These communities allow people to connect online regularly, exchange information and ideas, and get to know one another a little better. Besides, staying in touch via the Internet is our only option these days of working from home during “The Great Pause”. I’ve found the net to be a very powerful mechanism for regularly connecting with people with whom I already have a casual relationship. That’s the key–that the Internet is a great tool for staying in touch with people you’ve already established a connection with. Granted, you may do some business with people that you’ve met on social media. However, for the most part, people do “repetitive” business with people they know and trust.

Learn how to utilize the net as part of your networking strategy.

  • Understand that your business fundamentals might need to quickly adapt to the “new normal”
  • Create a social media business plan for your online marketing
  • Develop your online networking skills
  • Update your company’s look and brand with a new website to reflect what is happening with your business during “The Great Pause”
  • Learn how to network on the internet and stay connected with platforms such as “Zoom”

Those businesses that neglect to consider these issues today will most surely be a casualty of this new technology tomorrow. But more importantly, those businesses that do consider these issues today will be the success stories of tomorrow. When done properly, networking on the net can truly make a difference in the amount of business your company generates. Not only now while we are all working from home, but when we return to our “new normal” at the office after “the Great Pause”. With the right approach, you can use it to build a wealth of resources and contacts that will help make your business very successful now and in the future.

Sure, I’ve seen some business relationships begin, develop, and prosper via the net. However, I have found that most repetitive referral relationships start through personal contact and are maintained via Internet communication. We live in the Internet age, where change seems to take place at light speed. Now, more than ever, you need your network. Work together with them by networking online. If you’re in business today, you need to be on the net.

Handshakes

Handshakes in a Post COVID World

In the business world, handshakes are the staple of networking in many cultures. However, during these days of Covid-19, we are keeping a physical distance from each other and have avoided handshaking, It is hard to shake someone’s hand when you are networking online.

So after we are let out of the “Great Pause”, what will happen to our old friend, the handshake? I offer a few options in this video including what I suggest for the post COVID world.

Alternative options to consider instead of handshakes:

  • Asian Bow
  • Bump toes
  • Elbow bump
  • European Air Kiss
  • Fist bump
  • Hugs
  • And…

Learn what I recommend in this short, fun little video.

 

 

converting prospects into customers

Converting Prospects Into Customers

Your referral source has done her job and emailed you a referral. If she is a BNI member, she passed you the referral via BNI Connect. Now it’s time to contact the prospect. But be careful: The purpose of your first contact call is not to make a sale or even ask the prospect if he has questions about your business. If, and only if, the prospect asks, should you present your products or services during this first contact call. Remember, when converting prospects into customers, you must first build a relationship. It may take a while, but if you follow these recommendations, you’ll speed up the process of closing the deal.

Do your homework.

First, contact the referral source who passed you the referral. Ask the referral source for any relevant information. As we are currently practicing physical distancing globally and working from home, the first contact meeting cannot be a face-to-face meeting at this time. Instead, the preferred format for this first meeting is to do a video conference call. However, ask the referral source to contact the prospect on your behalf to determine if the prospect wants to be contacted by you via telephone or video conference call for the first call.

If the prospect prefers this first contact call to be a telephone call, do not delay. Make your first contact telephone call with the prospect within 72 hours.

If the prospect prefers this first contact call to be an online video conference call, send an email to the prospect requesting possible dates, times, and their preferred video call platform (Facetime, Zoom, MS Teams, Gotowebinar, etc..). Please confirm the time zone if the prospect if not living in your area.

If the referral source can be present, invite the referral source to attend this video conference call with you and the prospect. This way, the referral source can introduce you in person to the prospect at the start of the video call with a more thorough briefing about you, your business and your products or services.

First Contact Telephone Call / Online Video Conference Call

Before the first contact call, look up the website and the various social media pages for the prospect’s business for additional information. Review their website to understand their business better. Use these sources of information to get to know the prospect better and to prepare questions to ask about them on the first contact call.

Reminder: The purpose of your first contact call is not to make a sale or even ask the prospect if he has questions about your business. If, and only if, the prospect asks, should you present your products or services during this first contact call.

The purpose of the first contact call is to:

  • Begin to build the relationship;
  • Get to know the prospect better;
  • Help the prospect get to know you better;
  • Find out how you can help them;
  • Position yourself to make your next contact; and
  • Judge if the prospect fits your source’s description of her.

You’ve Got Mail

Within 24 hours after the first contact call, it is recommended to email the prospect with a summary of the call, fun facts about the prospect, any information requested by the prospect, a brief note of gratitude, the next steps, and your contact information.

When you start composing your email, start by naming your referral source–a name the prospect will recognize.

Writing this email gives you a better, more controlled opportunity to convey what you’ve learned about the prospect. It helps develop your relationship to let your prospect know you find him interesting enough to have taken the time to learn a few facts about him. Express an interest in meeting him again, and advise him you’ll be calling to schedule a mutually convenient appointment for the next online video conference call.

Do not attach and send your business literature with this email unless requested by the prospect. This will avoid giving the impression that you’re interested in him primarily as a prospective customer.

Make the Call

Give the prospect a week to process this email before you follow up with a telephone call. When you telephone the prospect, ask if he has any questions from the first contact call. Plus, offer to send more information via postal mail. If the prospect indicates that he would want this, send it right away. Finally, schedule a second video conference call while on this telephone call. Hopefully soon, we will once again be able to meet people face-to-face again.

Following Up When Converting Prospects Into Customers

When building relationships, it’s always important not to let much time lapse without following up on the first contact. Within two to three days of the follow-up telephone call, you should send your prospect a note via postal mail expressing your pleasure in communicating with him. It’s still too early, though, to automatically send business literature unless requested above or to make any move toward sales promotion.

So follow up early, but don’t push beyond the prospect’s comfort level. Once the prospect has expressed an interest in your products or services, you can provide information about them, but don’t force it on him. Continue presenting your products or services, but avoid the hard sell. Focus on fulfilling his needs and interests. Your goal should be to keep your prospect aware of your business without annoying him.

If you have prepared your referral sources well, your efforts may pay off on your very first call. Most often, the prospect from a referral will need more time. Many people were financially affected by the changes from the viral outbreak. Therefore, this may not be the ideal time for them to hire you for your services. They may express an interest in talking later about your products or services and hiring you when the situation improves. Be patient when converting prospects into customers.

Emotional Intelligence

Build a High (EQ) Emotional Intelligence

Building your “Emotional Intelligence” also known as “Emotional Quotient” or “EQ” is extremely important right now. Emotional Intelligence is the ability we have to manage our relationships with other people. EQ is the skill we developed as business owners before the pandemic to network with others face-to-face and build our “social capital”.

However, physical isolation and working from home has led to changing the way we are networking these days. We currently cannot network in person nor meet with clients at our places of business. Instead, our networking is online and our businesses are virtual. Therefore, managing our relationships with other people by building a high-EQ is even more important than ever.

The higher your Emotional Intelligence is, the more natural your ability to network will be. You can improve your EQ by understanding and applying some important online networking concepts.

Develop a dynamic online networking style

Networking is so much more than attending the typical face-to-face meet-n-greet routine events. These days, we are not attending face-to-face events; we are networking online and by telephone. Therefore, your networking style needs to also change to maintain your social capital. Developing an online networking style that is deliberate, dynamic, and habitual will help you to build higher Emotional Intelligence.

This can be done while working from home by reading books and other internet articles about online marketing and learning from others their techniques for applying your previous word-of-mouth networking skills to networking online. Adapting your networking skills will take conscious practice and application before they become habits. Build a high-EQ by creating a dynamic plan to network online these days.

Network online appropriately 

Be sensitive to the fact that we are all in this together when building your online networking style. Businesses not used to networking online promote their company with an almost vulture-like intensity. They flood social media with direct sales ads and posts about their business to people they hardly know. This will result in lowering your Emotional Intelligence. Furthermore, the business world has changed and networking has adapted to a virtual market. We are no longer able to attend face-to-face networking events to pass out our business cards, obtain transactional leads, and ask someone the ubiquitous “what do you do?”.  Instead, we need to post regularly on our social media pages, build our relationships with others, pass referrals, and ask others “How can I help?” Understanding how to network appropriately online is another sign of a high-EQ networker.

Stay connected and follow-up with others

Picking up the phone and staying connected with clients, customers, and colleagues is an area where the high Emotional Intelligence networker excels. A skillful online networker will never miss an opportunity to follow-up after an introduction to a new business contact. I recommend that you write testimonials on the social media business pages for your referral partners. Plus, reach out and do the same for those businesses you have used both personally and professionally over the years. Leave a comment on a few of their social media posts too. I also recommend that you request your clients, customers, and colleagues to write testimonials and reviews on your social media pages too. Now is a great time to create a newsletter that you can email to all your clients about the current changes to your business, special promotions, how you are helping others, and include the URL links to all your social media pages. Ask them to like and follow each of your pages in addition to a request for testimonials from them about your business.

Following up with others on referrals (received & given) is not our favorite thing, but it is something that needs a lot of finesse and demands diligence. Pick up the phone and call. Many business people are working from home alone and do not have other people to talk to. Keeping your name, your business’s name and your expertise in front of others is very important these days. And it’s important to follow up more than once. High-EQ networkers use their telephones, social media pages and emails to network online and re-connect with each other often to build a strong long-lasting relationship.

Maintain customer loyalty

Many entrepreneurs focus so much on bringing in new business that they miss the boat on maintaining customer loyalty with gratitude. Keeping current customers coming back and referring others to you is important for business success and growth! The entrepreneur who understands this makes their customers feel valued and appreciated. They will come back and refer others to you, even if you are working from home. Becoming friends with each person with whom you do business is an indicator of a high-EQ networker.

Business owners will be referred to and promoted by others because of Emotional Intelligence and their ability to develop social capital. With online networking these days, high-EQ networkers can maintain a strong word-of-mouth based business.

Networking Online

Networking Online

Because of the current health situation, a lot of us are working from home. Even if you cannot go to your usual places to network face-to-face with others at mixers, meetings, or social events, you can still take action and build up your networking online.

Earlier this week, I shared some tips for working from home. Please watch this video to learn a few things you can do right now to maintain a powerful personal network online:

Networking Online

Take a few minutes daily to reach out to a few people each day in your network and schedule an appointment to talk to them later in the week. There are many ways to connect with others, even if not face to face. The easiest way is to pick up the phone and actually have a conversation with them. If both you and that person are comfortable with setting up a video call, I recommend connecting with them at a scheduled time on Zoom, Teams, or some other platform. Not only chat about each other’s businesses but ask how they are doing personally. Find out if there are ways you can help them. Finally, it is ok to also ask them for help. We all could use a friend these days.

Now is the time to build up your online networking with your fellow BNI® members using our newest platform: BNI Online™. This will allow you to stay in touch and attend your BNI Networking meetings virtually during these days of social isolation.

If you’re not in BNI®, we are inviting local business professionals to join us online. If you know someone looking to grow their business online during these challenging times, please invite them as our guests to our online meeting. This is a chance for them to experience BNI and networking from the comfort of their home or office.

Find a local online meeting in your area:
https://www.bni.com/find-a-chapter

Please watch this video to learn some things you can do right now to maintain a powerful personal network. Now, more than ever, you need your network. Work together with them by networking online.

Gratitude

The Gratitude Effect

I recognize that when some people hear the phrase Attitude of Gratitude,” they are going to think, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, more new-age psychobabble, but we want hard facts.”  Well, I agree that hard facts are important and here are some from pretty reputable sources who argue convincingly about the science of gratitude’s positive impact.

The Benefits of Gratitude

  • Harvard Medical School recently reported that there have been multiple studies showing that people who express gratitude are “more optimistic and felt better about themselves.”
  • The Templeton Foundation conducted studies that showed that an “attitude of gratitude” can actually have a positive and “lasting effect on the brain.”
  • A paper published by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence concluded that “expressing gratitude completes [a] feeling of connection” with others (something I’d say is pretty important in building relationships).
  • Even neuroscientists argue that gratitude is effective. Paul Zak, professor at Claremont Graduate University states that “the neuroscience shows that recognition has the largest effect on trust. . .” Especially when it’s tangible, unexpected, personal, and public.
  • UC Berkley conducted fMRI scans on individuals who wrote gratitude letters and compared them to the fMRI scans of people who did not. They found that the people who wrote gratitude letters had a greater activation in the medial prefrontal cortex than those who did not write the letters. The medial prefrontal cortex is, among other things, believed to be an area of the brain that triggers responses to nicotine, drugs and alcohol. In other words, showing gratitude is proven to be a healthy way of getting high.
  • Studies by the Cicero Group that were published in Forbes found that people who are on the receiving end of gratitude have a 33% increase in their innovation, a 22% increase in work results, and they stay with the organization longer than those who are in companies who do not have a practice of appreciating their people.

So much for psychobabble. Gratitude improves attitude, feelings of connection, and results.  It’s not new-age; it’s science.

The Gratitude Effect works when someone is coming from a place of being grateful and acknowledging people along the way.  This means that it is important to take time to notice all the good things you might take for granted. Like so many other principles of success, it’s simple, but not easy, meaning that this is a simple concept – but it is not an easy concept to apply regularly in your life.  It’s not easy, because the easy thing is to notice what is wrong, what you don’t like, what annoys you, or the problems that you face.

Solutions Focused

What I have learned over the years is that if you focus on problems – you become a world-class expert at problems, and it is hard to show gratitude when you are obsessed with the problems around you.  However, if you focus on solutions, you can become a world-class expert at solving those problems.  This process begins by recognizing what is right around us.  From that starting point we can be grateful for those elements. Plus, begin to acknowledge those around us for the efforts they are making.  The Gratitude Effect requires a life-long journey of developing our ability to be grateful.

Expressing gratitude completes the feeling of connection with others. Here is how you can start this practice today: many people have helped us during our lifetime.  They are “in our story.”  Have you acknowledged them? Have you thanked them?  Have you recognized the difference they have made for you?

I recently heard a story from a woman whose sixteen-year old son pretty much stopped going to school. His grades began to fail, and he started drinking alcohol.  Worst of all, he was caught stealing a car and joy riding late at night.  She told me that he was making some really poor life decisions and that she was beside herself with what to do.

She decided to send him to a leadership conference to see if that would help take his life in a new direction.  At first, he said, “no” but around the holidays, he said that if this was that important to her, he “would do it for her.”

He attended the multi-day event and came home telling her that the event was amazing.  He learned that people matter.  Decisions matter.  The people around you matter.  She told me that one of the speaker’s at that event had a particularly large impact on the young man.  Then she reached out to the speaker from that event and told him the story.  Expressing her gratitude for the impact that his talk had on her son’s life.  She told him “you gave me my son back.”  The speaker was so moved that he sent a video message to the young man telling him how grateful he was that he said something that the boy found helpful and that he was proud to be a small part of that. What’s more, the young man replied and told him a little about the life that he was now creating for himself.

The Gratitude Effect doesn’t take much effort and costs little or nothing. However, it makes a difference in yourself and the people around you. When you acknowledge people in this way, people are drawn to you like a magnet. This accelerates the relationship-building process. As the story above shows, the Gratitude Effect can come full circle and then continue to spiral off in new, impactful directions. Believe me.  It is science.

humility

Humility Makes For a Great Networker

Humble people don’t think less of themselves, they just think of themselves less.  Some of the best networkers I know are humble.  In fact, many of the most successful people I’ve ever met have been remarkably humble.  Humility and being successful don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

In my late teens, I remember going to a political function.  I had decided that I wanted to pour myself into a campaign for a particular individual whose platform I appreciated.  Then… I met him and was introduced to him by someone high up in his campaign.  As soon as he learned that I was a lowly college student, I almost immediately lost his attention.  His eyes were darting across the room looking for someone more successful than me.  He ended up being very dismissive and came across as incredibly arrogant.  After that encounter, I decided not to help in his campaign.  Instead, I picked someone running for a different office.  This person was engaging and friendly.  He was respectful of people that didn’t “appear” to have much to offer.  Speaking with everyone, rich or poor, educated or uneducated.  He welcomed my involvement in his campaign.  Within six months, I ended up running his entire regional campaign office.  I put in hundreds of hours in that campaign and helped this person win office.  This experience taught me a lot about the kind of leader I wanted to be as I became more successful in life.

Humility costs nothing but yields amazing returns.  Being humble sounds simple enough, but what does that actually look like?  There are many things that can help someone show their humility.  Here is a list of a few traits of being humble that I think are important.

Humility Traits:

  1. First and foremost, their ego does not enter the room before they do.
  2. They are approachable, meaning that they are friendly and easy to talk to.
  3. A humble person listens and asks questions during a conversation.
  4. Maintain eye contact in a conversation and stay engaged in the discussion. This shows genuine interest.
  5. They are comfortable making people feel at ease and thanking people when appropriate.
  6. Humble individuals tend to have an “abundance mentality” and they tend to focus on solutions rather than simply rail about problems.
  7. Be situationally aware and have strong emotional intelligence.
  8. They are not self-absorbed. They know their strengths and are comfortable with who they are, but they don’t behave as though the world revolves around them.
  9. Most importantly, they practice what I call “Givers Gain®.” They approach life with a certain amount of altruism and strive to make a difference for others.

As we become more successful in life, it’s critical to maintain one’s humility.  We’ve all met people whose ego enters the room before they do.  They behave in a pompous manner and generally expect to be the center of attention most of the time.  In the long run, I don’t believe this serves people well.

No one is perfect with this all the time.  The process is a journey, not a destination.  It is something we must always strive for.  At large networking events, I know that I’ve had a good day when people share with me that they are surprised at how easy I was to talk to or that they felt that I came across like a regular person.  I believe that there is a “regular person” in all of us.  Showing that person to others is part of being humble.

If you achieve success in business, strive to shatter people’s expectations and demonstrate real humility.  Be someone who is engaging and caring, as well as knowledgeable and successful. Above all, remember that humble people don’t think less of themselves, they just think of themselves less.

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