Networking Archives - Dr. Ivan Misner®
Networking Mentor

The Networking Mentor

 

I have a newly revised book, The Networking Mentor, that is now available on Amazon. It was just released this week!

“The Networking Mentor” is a parable about the transformation of someone’s life because another person took them under their wing and mentored them relating to the do’s and don’ts of networking. It starts with a struggling business owner, Ken, who is invited to a BNI networking group by a business associate. He proceeds to mentor Ken and helps him learn how to network effectively and build a referral-based business. Ken’s mentor teaches him very specific strategies on how to network better and at the same time, the mentor improves his skill set as well.

Each and every one of us have people in our lives who made a difference. We all have someone in our story who influenced the path we took—or perhaps motivated us to carve our own path. These are the mentors we’ve had in our life. Their impact can be life-changing. We firmly believe in the power of mentors to make a positive difference in the lives of others. By devoting time and attention to a mentoring relationship, both parties reap deeply powerful and meaningful rewards that extend well beyond simple financial gain. As we mature and gain more experience, we have the opportunity to transition from mostly being a mentee to also being a mentor. This book is for both mentors and mentees. This book is the second edition of a book originally titled: “I Love Networking.” It has been expanded with additional chapters and graphics.

Please use this link to order your own copy of this amazing book.

https://tinyurl.com/TheNetworkingMentor

Every person that believes in mentoring new members in their network needs copies of this book. It is the story of how a mentoring relationship changed someone’s life in a BNI group. We’ve all had mentors who are in “our story”. When we talk about how our life has changed through our experiences with them, they are part of that story. Mentors can make a positive difference in someone’s life. By devoting time and attention to a mentoring relationship, both parties reap deeply powerful and meaningful rewards that extend well beyond simple financial gain. As we gain more experience, we have the opportunity to transition from being a mentee to also being a mentor. We’ve all had mentors who are in “our story”. However, there is something even more important: The real question is not who’s in our story but whose story are we in? Whose life have we made a difference in? That’s what creates a meaningful life, and that’s why this book is for both mentees and mentors.

So, I have two questions for you.  Whose story are you in as their mentor and how have you helped someone else?  Who is in your story as a special mentor to you in your life or business? Share your story here on my blog.  I’d really like to hear it.  Post it below in the comments.

Scorched Earth Networker

The Scorched Earth Networker

Over the years, I have noticed different styles of networking.  One of these styles results in the ground smoking wherever these networkers tread.  I call this “Scorched Earth Networking”.  It is very important to AVOID this type of networking. Here are the five hallmarks of a Scorched Earth Networker.

Constantly Moves Groups

They are dissatisfied with the referrals received.  The Scorched Earth Networker does not stay in one place long enough to build the type of relationships it takes to really capitalize on networking.  It’s like planting a tree in one spot. When the growth isn’t happening fast enough, it’s uprooted again and replanted.  Each time that tree is uprooted, it takes longer to build itself back up to even where it was before being moved.   A serious networker understands that in order for that tree to thrive, it needs to stay where it is.

Talks More Than Listens

Have you met someone who talks on and on about their services and does not seem genuinely interested in your business? You met a Scorched Earth Networker!   A serious networker will want to learn all about you and your business, and how they can help you accomplish your goals.

Does Not “Honor The Event”

They network at inappropriate events.  You’ve seen the Scorched Earth Networker wanting to do business and passing out business cards at a church function, funeral or other inappropriate events.  The key to networking at all times is to do it in a way that is appropriate.  While it can be entirely appropriate to begin a relationship at an event, such as a wedding or funeral, going around looking for an opportunity to pass out business cards is not the right way to do that!

Thinks That Being Highly Visible Is Enough

The more you are seen in the business community (visibility), the more you become known and trusted (credible).  The problem with the Scorched Earth Networker is that they believe that anything that makes them visible is beneficial.  Wrong!  As people begin to trust you, they begin to refer you to others. This is when you will see more business referrals (profitability).

Expects Others To Be Consistently Referring Them.

The Scorched Earth Networker expects a source of dependable and constant referrals.  This view of networking is a transaction, NOT a relationship.  There is a law of reciprocity and synergy that cannot be denied when you focuses on giving referrals to those around you.

The Scorched Earth Networker Will Fail

Building your business through word-of-mouth is about cultivating relationships with people who get to know you and trust you. People do business with people they have confidence in. It’s not what you know, or who you know, it’s how well you know them that counts. If you go into this process understanding Scorched Earth Networking, you will have a better opportunity to build your business through word-of-mouth.

When you are networking, are you creating relationships by building your social capital or are you leaving a scorched earth behind you?

Honor the Event

Honor the Event

Networking is a lifestyle you need to incorporate into everything that you do. However, I also believe that you must HONOR THE EVENT. For example, networking at a chamber mixer is one thing, while networking at a church social is completely different.

What is Networking

I believe that networking is part of the process of developing your social capital. Building your social capital hinges on the development of meaningful relationships with other people. Since one should always be working on building meaningful relationships with other people, they should always be networking. However, that doesn’t mean someone should always be trying to “sell” something to someone, because that rarely facilitates the development of meaningful relationships. Herein lies the misinterpretation of the practice of networking. Some people think that networking means to be constantly “selling” your products or services.

To me, networking means that you should be constantly building relationships. The best way to build relationships is to help someone whenever possible. A good networker has two ears and one mouth and should be using them proportionately. Hence, if you understand networking to be the process that one uses to develop relationships and build one’s social capital – then it makes sense that someone should be networking everywhere – including the Church social. They key is that you must “honor the event”.

Honor the Event

Your networking must be different in a chamber meeting compared to a social event. In both cases you want to be making contacts, putting people together, helping others and building relationships. However, you should NOT be actively promoting your business in one of those two groups (hint – it’s not the Chamber). Instead, you want to focus on putting people together and helping others portion of the process.

Let me give you an example of what I mean:

Last year, I had the opportunity to attend a formal dinner put on by the “Friendly Sons of St. Patrick.” This was a black-tie social event, NOT a business networking dinner. Yet, I was able to make a great contact that ended up being immensely successful for me (and, I hope, for one of the people I met there!). At my table were seated a prominent senior partner to a major international law firm, a former member of the Beach Boys, and Buzz Aldrin. He was part of the first mission to set foot on the moon and now an entrepreneur as the founder of the ShareSpace Program! During the course of the evening, I mentioned to Dr. Aldrin that I was working on my book, Masters of Success. He’s certainly attained a well-known level of success and has some very strong feelings about the future of the space program so I thought he might be interested in sharing his thoughts in this new book. After getting to know each other better, I asked him if he would be interested in contributing a chapter to the book. He was! Consequently, he was one of the prominent contributing authors to the book.

So you can see that it is desirable to keep your networking goals in sight at all events and opportunities, without becoming a networking vulture, or someone that everyone else runs from when they see you coming! Honor the event; tailor your networking strategies so that you fit in without being tuned out.

Open vs. Closed Networking

When a brand new networker goes to a mixer or other informal gathering, their first glimpse of the room may be daunting. They’ll be confronted with a room full of strangers busily involved in conversations. They’ll notice clusters of two, three, four, or more people. As a stranger, they may feel that if they try to join any of the clusters, it will be intruding. It’s an awkward moment, and they may not know quite what to do or where to start. Be aware of Open vs. Closed Networking.

The way the groups are configured can tell you a lot about how you will be received if you approach them. Notice for instance that some of the groups are “closed”, and no matter which direction you approach from, their backs are turned to you. Therefore, unless you like awkward pauses or hostile glares, don’t try to force yourself in.

Other groups are “open”, and have left an open side from which you can approach them face to face. This orientation is a welcoming configuration; it signals that their conversation is not private and that you would be welcome to join them and introduce yourself.

 

Think about these configurations, next time you attend a networking event. Are you in an “open” group that has a welcoming feel? If you notice you’re in a “closed” group, make sure to position yourself in such a way that any networker, new or experienced, feels at ease.

Transformational Leader Podcast

I was recently interviewed on this topic of “Open vs. Closed Networking” on the Transformational Leader Podcast, sponsored By Paul Martinelli and the John Maxwell Team. This show is designed to help leaders, influencers, and high achievers transform the world through positive influence. BNI has a strategic relationship with John Maxwell Team and I personally recommend their program.

I invite you to listen in to episode #13  of my interview on The Transformational Leader Podcast about “Open vs. Closed Networking”.

Leaders, the way your people are configured in groups during your events can tell your visitors a lot about how they will be received.

It’s important to train people to keep “open” groups: an open side from which visitors can approach others face-to-face. This orientation is a welcoming configuration; it signals that their conversation is not private and that visitors would be welcome to join them and introduce themselves.

The John Maxwell Team Leadership, Coaching, Speaking, and Training Development Program will take your leadership and life to the next level.  They have a great series of podcasts. I recommend you listen to their podcasts at  https://johnmaxwellteam.com/podcast/

Summer Networking

Summer Networking Tips

The temperature is rising and so are your summer networking opportunities!

Every once in a while I hear a BNI member say that their chapter slows down during the summer months. I also know of many chapters that flourish in the summer with new members and referral growth! So why are some up and some down? It is a matter of gearing towards the season by refocusing on referrals during your networking activities? Build your business while traveling on vacation too.

What summertime networking activities are you attending? These may not seem like networking activities, however, you should still always be prepared.

  • BBQ
  • Block Parties
  • Pool parties
  • Picnics
  • Ball games or sporting events
  • Music Festivals
  • Reunions
  • Parades
  • Or just some summertime fun:
    Golf, Boating, Traveling, Fishing, Hiking, Tennis, Sailing, Camping or Gardening?

Barbecue / Block Party Networking!

Whether headed to a holiday block party blowout or a more intimate birthday celebration for a colleague, barbecues are a great chance to meet friends of friends and expand your professional network.

Make the most of your family barbecue. Bring a few sample products to the barbecue to give out to family and friends. Who better to help spread the word for you? If you are so inclined, ask attendees to bring a new friend with them to the event. More than likely, some family members will show up with uninvited guests anyway. The more the merrier, right? Use these opportunities to get to know people and share what you are looking for. You never know who they know! But don’t break out in a sales pitch at a barbecue. Ever. People are there to have fun, relax and enjoy.

Pool Party  / Picnic Networking:

Remember that a good networker has two ears and one mouth and uses them proportionately! Listen to what everyone is saying at your summertime activities. What topics are they mentioning?

Are they complaining about their business? 
Invite them to visit your BNI chapter.

Are they excited about a wedding?
Share about those members in your chapter that are good referrals for them.

Do they talk about their home being too hot in the summer and it costs too much to cool?
Talk about your HVAC or solar member.

Do they want to remodel their home or need to move homes?
It’s Referral time!

Ball Game / Sporting Event Networking:

A great networking strategy is to get tickets to a local ball game or sporting event and invite BNI members and potential referral partners you know to introduce to each other. Whether your team wins or loses, great connections can be made!

Music Festival Networking:

The hills are alive with the sound of networking. Music brings people from all different types of professional backgrounds together networking through all of the music and dancing at a music festival will be a challenge, but it can prove to be invaluable. While each attendee might have a different background, many will have the same overall goal– utilizing networking to make meaningful connections and build their businesses. Every personal encounter is a potential opportunity for networking, so don’t overlook anyone.

Networking at Reunions:

Summertime is the time for both family reunions and class reunions. These are essentially a gathering of (potentially) dozens of people who, despite the fact that they took various different professional paths, automatically have a great deal in common and genuinely want to see one another succeed. So if you’re looking for a job, a career change, industry advice or even if you’re just hoping to network within your field, attending your reunion could be just the ticket. The question is not whether you should attend your reunion, but how you will network effectively at the reunion.

The FOUR hour “one to one” Networking Foursome!

If you are a golfer, find a fellow BNI Member who also plays golf. Set up a round of golf and you each bring a favorite golf playing client to introduce to each other as a referral source for the other BNI member. What a great way to solidify a top referral source and score a ‘hole in one” referral yourself with someone else!

If you do not play golf? Is there a summertime activity that you do that you and a fellow member can invite clients to attend? (Boating, Fishing, Hiking, Tennis, Sailing, Camping,  or Gardening)

The GOAL?

Any place you go with family, friends or strangers is a networking opportunity!

  • Bring Your Business Cards! Bring your fellow BNI members’ business cards with you to all your summertime events!
  • Remember Your Fellow Members and make a goal for one referral per event you attend!
  • Who have you met at these summertime events that you can invite to your chapter as a visitor?

Here’s to a GREAT summer in the Northern Hemisphere filled with lots of referrals! Those BNI Members south of the Equator can wait to use these tips in December or try to network on the ski slopes.

Mentor

One Time, One Meeting

My daughter, Cassie (AKA Dorian Prin – professional name), is a graphic designer and she’s working on the cover of my next book: The Networking Mentor.  I’m including a “sneak peek” of the working graphic for the cover of the book here in this article.

I was talking to Dorian about the paragraph below which is excerpted from the book:

We’ve all had mentors who are in “our story.” When we talk about how our life has changed through our experiences with them, they are part of that story. However, there is something even more important: The real question is not who’s in our story but whose story are we in? Whose life have we made a difference in? That’s what creates a meaningful life, and that’s why this book is for both mentees and mentors.

In our conversation I mentioned that sometimes you might meet someone only once but that meeting is so profound, it can have an influence on you for the rest of your life.

一期一会

Dorian spent some time in Japan and can speak the language.  She said the Japanese have a saying that relates to this concept.  She said the Japanese phrase is: 一期一会 (ichi go ichi e).  Its direct translation is “one time, one meeting” but it probably can be translated more accurately as “once in a lifetime meeting” and is about the cultural concept of the importance of the unrepeatable nature of connections between people who meet. It is a Buddhist concept specifically tied to the tea ceremony and was the topic of contemplation for the tea ceremony she once participated in during one of her visits to Japan.

The lesson here is that you never know how the things you say may influence someone else.  Even if you only meet them once.  An off-handed comment can have a profound effect (either good or bad) on the person you are talking to.

So, I have a question for you.  What has someone said to you that profoundly affected you in business OR in life?  Share your story here on my blog.  I’d really like to hear it.  Post it below in the comments.

Wallflowers

Always Get to Know the Wallflowers

I was recently talking about networking with a good friend of mine, Dr. Mark Goulston. Mark is a psychiatrist and consultant, and he said something that intrigued me.  “People should always introduce themselves to the wallflowers in the room. Nobody attends a networking event wanting to stay in a corner and be left alone. They’re in that corner because the most technically skilled people are often socially shy.”

“You never know when you’ll meet the next Bill Gates”.

This comment really resonated with me, and it reminded me of a time a few years ago. I was at a party put on by Virgin Galactic relating to the testing of White Knight Two and SpaceShip Two. I walked outside the party and looked over in the corner by the pool where I saw a man standing by himself. He was looking uncomfortable and very much out of his element. Then I noticed who it was. It was Burt Rutan, the founder of the aerospace company Scaled Composites and designer of the SpaceShip Two. He was by himself at a party with hundreds of people celebrating the work of the company he founded, as well as Virgin Galactic.

I said to him, “It must be incredible to see this amazing, long-term vision come to fruition.”  He replied, “This isn’t my long-term vision of what the company can do.”

I’m sure I was visibly surprised, so I asked him, “What’s your long-term vision?”  He said, “Well, I believe the company can push forward past sub-orbital flights and expand to allow space tourists to do orbital flights around the earth.”  I naively said, “That’s an amazing long-term vision.” He replied, “That’s not my long-term vision.” I was really surprised and said, “Okay, what’s your long-term vision?” He replied that he felt “the company could provide orbital flights to passengers who could then stay at a hotel in space for a short period of time.”

At this point, I’m completely blown away, and I once again said, “That’s an amazing, long-term vision,” and, yet again, he said, “That’s not my long-term vision.”  At this point, I’m all in, and I’m completely fascinated with this visionary, so I again asked, “What’s your long-term vision?” He replied, “I believe we can launch flights into orbit, stay at a hotel in space, and then take flights around the moon and back. That’s my long-term vision.”

Burt was probably in his late sixties when we had this conversation, and I asked him one final question, “When do you think that vision can become a reality?” And he replied, “I think it can be done in my lifetime.”

Gobsmacked

The British have a term for what I felt at that moment, “gobsmacked.”  I was utterly astounded by this man’s vision, and I was incredibly honored to have had this opportunity to talk with him.

I founded the largest referral networking organization in the world, and I’ve met tens of thousands of people during my tenure in BNI. I can easily say that this was one of the most interesting conversations I ever had with someone at a party or networking event. Burt Rutan’s and, of course, Richard Branson’s,  vision of what can be done through their entrepreneurial efforts have left an indelible mark on me.

The important lesson here relates to Dr. Goulston’s belief that we should always look for the “wallflowers” in the room. Not every one of them will be a Burt Rutan, but I’ve found that most of them are interesting and well worth the conversation.  Just every now and then, you might meet a Bill Gates or a Burt Rutan, and that makes the effort of finding those wallflowers worth it.

Not Taught

WARNING! This is Not Taught in Schools or Colleges

I once suggested to the dean of a large university that the business curriculum should include courses in networking. His response, “My professors would never teach that material here. It’s all soft science. This is not taught in schools or colleges.”

I shouldn’t have been surprised. I’ve run into this attitude many times. We give people bachelor’s degrees in business, but we teach them little to nothing about the one subject that virtually every entrepreneur says is critical — networking and social capital. Why don’t business schools teach this subject? I think it’s because most are made up of professors who’ve never owned a business. Almost everything they know about running a business they learned from books and consulting.

The science of networking is not taught

Can you imagine a law course taught by someone who’s not an attorney? What about an accounting course taught by anyone with no direct accounting experience? Yet we put business professors in colleges with little or no firsthand experience in the field. It’s no wonder that a subject so critically important to business people would be so completely missed by business schools.

The science of networking is finally being codified and structured. Business schools around the world need to wake up and start teaching this curriculum. Schools with vision, foresight, and the ability to act swiftly (the way business professors say businesses should act) will be positioning themselves as leaders in education by truly understanding and responding to the needs of today’s businesses.

At the end of our conversation, I asked the dean, “How are courses on leadership any less a soft science than networking?” He didn’t have an answer.

Successful entrepreneurs understand the importance of a strong network. They are willing to put in the time it takes to develop fruitful connections. If any of these misconceptions are holding you back, it’s time to correct it with the tips provided — and watch your business grow.

Find a Job

Six Steps to Find a Job Through Networking

It’s graduation season so, I thought I would share some ideas on how new graduates (or even seasoned professionals) can find a job if they are looking for employment. Over 80% of all jobs are found through networking according to a recent study published on LinkedIn. Here are six steps to help someone who is looking for work (along with two bonus ideas when they get a great connection).

1. First, get your mindset right.

Desperation is not referable. Since you’ll be depending on your network to speak highly of you to their hiring manager and contacts, practice confidently touting your skills.

2. Image-check your social media.

Potential employers will – and you won’t want to make your network look bad if they stick their neck out and recommend you. I was once considering hiring someone and I checked out his Facebook page. OMG! He threw out the “F” bomb time after time on his posts. In addition, he posted widely inappropriate comments and tirades about people. He was not the kind of influence I wanted in my office.

3. Start with current relationships.

Reach out to friends, family and business contacts in person, on LinkedIn and via social media to tell them exactly what kind of position you’re looking for. Ask if they can check for any upcoming openings and keep you in mind.

4. Inventory your other connections.

Don’t forget to check in with neighbors, professional organizations, past customers, and community organizations for more contacts. When it comes to referrals for employment, don’t underestimate the strength of weak ties.

5. Determine where you stand with these contacts.

Whether they are active, passive, or dormant will determine the strategy. I can outline how to approach each. Active; pick up the phone and ask for assistance. There’s a relationship. They will most likely love to help. Passive; set an appointment to reconnect (preferably in person). Find out about them and let them know you’re looking for something. Dormant; reconnect by social media or email. Just talk. Don’t ask for anything – yet. Stay in touch, build the relationship before you ask.

6. Visit organizations in the industry you want.

Network right there, on the ground. Check in with the front desk, drop your resume off in-person and ask to meet with the HR director. Better yet, find out if someone in your network can connect you to a current employee in that company. Contact them through the referral. Meet them for coffee and come prepared.

Once you get a referral, do these two things:

1. Research your prospective employer.

Never go in without being prepared on the history of the company, their latest press releases, their corporate culture and values – whatever you can find. Checking out their website is only the start. Google the organization to get more information. If possible, find out who might be interviewing you and learn more about them. I landed one of the biggest jobs of my career (before starting BNI and long before Google) because I researched the company and knew so much about the organization and the professional background of the person interviewing me that it blew him away and he hired me.

2. Offer to do a “working interview.”

This is a great way for any company to take your experience and work ethic for a “test drive.” It will give you an opportunity to show them what you’re made of. If all goes well, ask them to consider you for the position. I’ve been recommending this to job-seekers for many years. In fact, one week before I wrote this article, I suggested this idea to my eldest daughter. She tried it out with a company she wanted to work for and they took her up on a “working interview.” She did such a great job, they hired her the next day!

Your network is the lifeblood of your career. Don’t let it die of professional loneliness. Learn how to network your way into a job.

Share this with anyone you know who is looking for employment.

Who’s In Your Network

Who Will You Let In Your Network?

Do you know the #1 source of business pain in the lives of most people?

It all stems from letting someone in their network that is not aligned with their values. This might be because you were born into it, like family! Or you chose it like friends, colleagues, acquaintances, or business partners. Regardless of how they got there, they are infiltrating the quality of your life and as a result, YOU SUFFER!

So you have a choice to make…

Allow them to impact you

OR

Make a change today!

I am hosting a MasterClass to help you not only make the choice, but also to give you tools and resources to make your NETWORK a safe space for only those who are worthy of entering. Join me for “Who’s In Your Network”

Thursday, May 2nd at 1pm ET (10am PT).

Please reserve your spot here: https://bni.synduit.com/WN0001

Boring Networking Events

Boring Networking Events

I was recently asked this question by a reporter: How can you best deal with a BORING networking events?

Here was my answer to the reporter:

I remember going to a networking event many years ago, looking around the room and thinking – “wow, this networking meeting is really boring.”  As I stood there and observed the room, I came to the realization that, “if I am bored at this networking meeting – it’s all my fault!”  I’m here to network.  Networking starts with “being interested” and not with “being interesting.”  With that, I dove into the room and was committed to be interested in meeting other people and learning about what they do.  All of a sudden, the meeting became interesting.  For me, it was a reset, of the mindset.

If you’re bored at a networking meeting, you’re doing it all wrong.

Dive in to the meeting and start learning about the people in the room.  Ask them questions like:

  • What do you do?
  • What’s your target market?
  • What do you love most about what you do?
  • What’s new in your industry?
  • What sets you apart from your competition?
  • Why did you start your business?
  • What’s your most popular product?
  • What are some of the challenges for you and your business?

Focus on being interested.  You’ll find that there are many people in the room that are interesting and you’ll walk out with some valuable contacts.

[See Chapter 29 of The 29% Solution for more ideas.]

Currency

Relationships Are Currency

How can you deepen the relationships with people to get to the point where they will be be willing to help you out in the future? Here are four quick steps about relationship currency to get you moving in the right direction.

Social capital

Social capital is the international currency of networking, especially business networking. If you take as much care in raising and investing your social capital as you do your financial capital, you’ll find that the benefits that flow from these intangible investments will not only be rewarding in themselves, but they will multiply your material returns many times over.

How many times have you seen an entrepreneur, maybe even yourself, go to a networking event, meet a lot of good people, then leave and never talk to them again, right? It probably happens too often. Not because the entrepreneur doesn’t like them; it’s really because they haven’t had system to connect. New contacts are really where future business is often born. It’s meeting those new people and getting into visibility that leads to the rest of your business.

It’s not the number of contacts you make that’s important, but the ones that you turn into lasting relationships. You’ll always get better results trying to deepen relationships with people you already know than starting relationships with strangers.

Relationships are part of the fabric of the development of your social capital. You must keep investing in the relationship if you ever expect to make a withdrawal. 

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
1 2 3 59
   Follow Me

Get every new post delivered to your inbox